There are few things that I enjoy more than shopping for Kindergarten must haves. Well…..um……er…..I might like playing the piano more. Oh! And I love soft, fuzzy puppies more! Well I even love eating chocolate ice cream more. Actually, let me rephrase that first sentence.
I do NOT like shopping.
However, if you take away the big crowded stores, long lines and my indecision then I can honestly tell you that I love to shop for my kindergarten classroom. In fact, I have found over the years that there are 10 must haves that I…..well…..um…..I just MUST HAVE to run my classroom smoothly. Here are my top 10 kindergarten must haves (in no particular order).
Kindergarten Must Have #1 – A Colorful Rug
I have found that kindergarteners need proximity to the teacher so that they don’t start hanging from the ceiling……..I mean get distracted. I love to have a cozy spot in the classroom to gather together so my students can watch me teach and interact. It’s my favorite learning spot. If you happen to see me taking a nap on the rug, be sure to wake me up.
Kindergarten Must Have #2 – An Easel
This might be a teacher’s most prized possession. If you have an easel in your classroom consider yourself lucky. If not, ask your principal to purchase one for your classroom because they are expensive. My favorite easel is one with a magnetic white board that has room to hang a pocket chart on the backside. Inside the easel has storage space. This is where I put my carpet time materials and books that I’m going to read each day. Having an easel gives you a place to model lessons up close and personal. Here is an example of one similar to the easel I had.
Kindergarten Must Have #3 – Magnetic Writing Paper
I also like having magnetic writing paper that I attach to my easel so that I can model how to form letters on the handwriting lines properly. Having the large magnetic writing lines allows all my students to watch me form the letters correctly instead of watching the gum that is stuck to the bottom of his or her shoe. Although that gum IS more interesting!
Kindergarten Must Have #4 – Wireless Doorbell
Well the heading says it all. When you teach kindergarten you get hungry. I need a way for the pizza delivery guy to let me know he has arrived. What better way than a doorbell? OR you could use the wireless doorbell to get your students’ attention. All you do is plug it in, attach the ringer to your clothes or have a pocket available and teach your students that EVERY time they hear the doorbell they stop and look at you. Here is one that is similar to the wireless doorbell I’ve used.
Kindergarten Must Have #5 – An Apron
Wait……you don’t want to shop for a brand new wardrobe just to have pockets for all the treasures your students give you on a daily basis? An apron will hold those treasures plus sight word cards, band-aides, reminders, and even that special wireless doorbell. If a student gives you something in the middle of your amazing lesson and you don’t want to stop to put it somewhere safe – in the apron pocket it goes. The most important part of using the apron is cleaning it out every day AND remembering to take it off after school BEFORE you go to the store.
Kindergarten Must Have #6 – Magnetic 10 Frames
You can use these for anything! But my favorite reason to use them is to build Number Sense skills. I add dots to the 10 Frame and they tell me how many more to get to 10. If they are magnetic I can put them on the top of my easel and during our math block (or if we ever have a couple of extra minutes) we can play a few rounds of the game.
Kindergarten Must Have #7 – Puppets
I have a giant, fuzzy puppet that I named Harry. He helps me teach social skills, writing skills, math skills and reading skills. I use him in many creative ways and my students always love him. You can have one puppet mascot or change out your puppets throughout the year but if you ever find that you can’t get your students’ attention just pull out your puppet and speak really quietly. You will have all eyes (and ears). Here is Harry:
Kindergarten Must Have #8 – Music
Can you sing? Can you dance? Was this your former profession? Not to worry! Children really don’t care if you are good at singing or dancing. They care that you are participating with them! There are so many choices on YouTube. I have also written my own music for many different themes that I teach throughout the year. If you are interested in new music you can check it out here:
If you are interested in a free resource from this bundle AND want to know how I use this resource please check it out here:
Kindergarten Must Have #9 – Secret Stories
I have used this resource in kindergarten and first grade. It’s by far my favorite way to teach phonics and connect it to the curriculum that I’m required to teach. The author uses a backdoor to the brain approach to teaching many of the letter sounds, digraphs and blends through stories that relate to student experiences. Also, who doesn’t LOVE a secret? SO MUCH FUN!
Kindergarten Must Have #10 – Books
The last of the kindergarten must haves – BOOKS! Children love to listen to stories! If all else fails in your day and your students really are hanging off the ceiling because you fed them too much pizza (remember that pizza delivery guy) you can bring them back to reality with a good book. Did I just say reality? You can also take them out of their reality to a completely different place by reading a great story. I have accumulated an enormous amount of books over the year by shopping at yard sales. Many of them I purchased for 25 cents or less. You can also accumulate free books when you do book orders with your students. Also, be on the lookout for library sales.
So there you have it! Ten amazing kindergarten must haves that will help your year start off right!