September 5, 2015

Teachers LOVE GoNoodle!

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I couldn't function in my classroom without GoNoodle!  

We start our year off with our favorite champs, and we use it all day long at specific times.  

While KooKoo Kangaroo is my sentimental favorite, my kiddos and I LOVE MooseTube!  We also use cool down brain breaks like Maximo, Flow, and Think About It often.  

I also love that you can add your own videos to the YouTube channel!  It's fun to get points for the content-specific songs that we have always used in math and literacy time!  

This helps our champ visit the  transmogrifier much more often! :)

Did you know GoNoodle has a shop?  Right now, you can get 15% off with the code BTSwithGoNoodle.  This is good until September 11th! 

My little guy LOVES wearing his Champ shirt to school! 

Grab my favorite, the MY CLASS IS A DANCE PARTY shirt, while you can! :)

Make sure to check my INSTAGRAM (@mrsbanisterskindergartenkids) and FACEBOOK pages Saturday morning for some fun giveaways! :)

August 25, 2015

Music, Poetry, and Fun... Oh My!

Show of hands...  How many of you use music or songs to build skills?  I know I use songs regularly, even if they are not actual songs, to teach my little learners skills.

It is no secret that I am pretty much obsessed with EVERYTHING my good friend Deedee Wills creates for the classroom.  I am pretty sure I own all of her products, and trust me when I say, they are worth the investment!  

I have used Deedee's poetry packs for four years.  We use them in whole group as well as during literacy station time.  In a word, they ROCK!

When I found out Deedee was creating a product that would put her poems to music, I was THRILLED!  Knowing how much we sing these poems, and the fact that I wouldn't have to do my best Broadway renditions anymore, I snatched those packs up as fast as I could!

There are endless ways you could use the music to enhance your poetry instruction.  In a whole group setting, you could, of course, burn the files to a CD.  To do that, it does take some technical skill, but this video explains the process beautifully!

Courtesy BestLaoSong's YouTube channel

I do not prefer to use the CD in my classroom; instead, I play them directly from iTunes on either my computer or iPad.  

I also use the music file to supplement my literacy work stations.  Each week, my students visit the poetry station.  While at this station, students have always read the poem, completed the word work activity that accompanies it, and read the poem again.  This is all great, but I was so excited to use the music to really beef up this station!

Here is how I do it:

Our school district uses an LMS called Canvas.  Canvas is used in all grade levels in our district, so naturally, I have chosen to use this with my students.  If your school does not have an adopted LMS, I would recommend using Showbie to push files out to your students.  Showbie is free to use, and pretty easy!

In Canvas, my students download the file to their iPads.  After the file is downloaded, students can listen to the poetry songs right on their device!  I love taking it a step further and having students create a ChatterPix of them reciting or singing the poem of the week!  

Make sure to check out this fantastic resource ASAP!  It's a must-have, for sure!

August 24, 2015

Peek At My Week: All About Our Friends

Real talk, people...

The first few weeks of kindergarten are very similar to having a newborn baby.

You don't remember how hard it is because it quickly becomes the most wonderful thing.

But dang... Last week was a reminder of how the beginning of the year really is, and how far these babies will come in the next 170 some days.

So, we got through a lot of what I had planned for last week, but I'm going to be honest:  We are doing a re-do of last week's stations.  The kids need more practice on those skills, and we need more practice on the procedures, so why prep anything new???

This week is all about our friends, so we will be starting on a digital book using Book Creator which is, you guessed it, all about our friends.  I will partner kids up, and the kids will author a book about one of their classmates.  They will use a template (that I haven't gotten around to making yet... more real talk) that I will push out to them using Canvas (our LMS) and add pictures, drawings, and kindergarten-appropriate text to write all about their new friend.  On Friday, we will share what I'm sure will be the most darling books you've ever seen. :)

We are truckin' right along in reading, writing, and math.  This week's book is Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon.  Pretty appropriate for our theme of the week, if you ask me!

Here are my visual plans.

Now, link up with Deedee for a Peek at YOUR Week!

August 16, 2015

I'm Baaaaack.... A Peek At My Week

I know it's been ages since I've blogged.  I'll be honest... I just haven't been feeling it.  It was a short summer, filled with professional development, presenting, and a little family time.  I think my avoidance of this blog stemmed from the fact that summer was so short and I wanted to soak it all in, and quite frankly, avoid school stuff for a bit.

We have been back to school for a week and a half, but before that, we spent a week with our new kindergarteners at Jump Start.  This week consists of a half day program where students can become acquainted with our school and the three teachers.  We already knew our class lists at this point in time, so we were able to get to know our kiddos a little better.

I am really going to make an effort to keep up with blogging this school year!  I love what I do, and I love sharing what we do.  There will be some changes to this blog that I'm pretty excited about, but more on that later.

Right now,  I'm here to share my lesson plans for the week!  I'm going to make my best effort to blog each Sunday about our upcoming week, and my good friend Deedee gives teachers the accountability with her Peek At My Week linkup.  

For those of you who don't know, I teach kindergarten in a 1:1 school district, meaning each of my students have their very own iPad mini.  The world is at their fingertips!  My instruction has transformed, and student learning has deepened.

Last week began our color study.  Each day, our students wear the color of the day, and we learn all about that color.  Using our iPads, we have gone on a color scavenger hunt around our school and made collages using the PicCollage app.

Red Day... This was our first PicCollage, and I really think they did GREAT!

We took it outside for our yellow PicCollage.  The kids are really getting the hang of using their camera!

We will continue with our colors through this week, and we will continue to search our school for the color of the day!  

We have always celebrated our colors to teach those who come to K not knowing them, but let's be real for a sec... 99% of my students know their colors.  I love incorporating how to spell and recognize the color words into this unit!  I adore my sweet friend Cara's True Colors pack to do just that!  We have using these resources heavily and will use most of these for centers this week!

This week's unit is All About Me!  Not me as their teacher, but the 22 sweeties that belong in my classroom!  We will be focusing heavily on NAMES!  I love teaching names, and another sweet friend (the one and only Deanna Jump) has created a fun, perfect-for-kindergarten pack that I am thrilled to pieces to use this week!

This year, our school district has allowed us to adopt Deanna and Deedee's reading, writing, and math workshop packs for our curriculum.  We started last week, and I am loving the results.  We are tweaking specific aspects of all three to work for our students, and, of course, adding lots of technology to the lessons, but we love the scope and sequence, the engaging lessons, and the fact that real teachers created it all.  

We also use these resources to beef up our alphabet instruction!

Homework also started last week.  You can find our homework bag instructions in my store!

We will also be learning a brand new app this week:  Chatter Kids!  

This was one of our favorites last year.  We use it often for story retell, making connections, and stating opinions!

This app makes relaying thoughts and ideas fun by taking an image (you can find one online or take a picture on your own) and making that image "talk."  It's P-E-R-F-E-C-T for little learners!  We will be using this app during Guided Reading this week!

Here are the rest of my lesson plans for this week.  Enjoy!

July 24, 2015

All About This Kinder Teacher (A Kinder Tribe Linky Party)

I'm linking up with Kinder Tribe for an awesomely fun link up all about kindergarten teachers!  

This will be my eighth year in K, and I can honestly say I learn something new every day.  

I drink a tea from McDonald's or Sonic every morning.  I need it to function.  It's not healthy, but I need the caffeine!  

Smelly markers are my vice.  I bought 5 packs just for me this year.  I can't wait to make some anchor charts with them! 

Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom is a CLASSIC!  I love starting our alphabet study with this book.  The kids love it, too!

It is so difficult for me to choose just one KinderBlog!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections

Kickin It In Kinder

July 1, 2015


It can't be July... It was just the beginning of June!  

Last month literally flew by.  Here's to the last 27 days of summer. :(

Listening:  We are in a hotel room in Hershey, PA, listening to American Ninja Warrior!  We are heading to the factory and Gettysburg tomorrow before heading back to Indiana.

Loving:  I had the most amazing week at ISTE.  Lots of learning happened, and I made so many connections.  My BFF and I presented poster sessions twice and my students and I were able to present as well.  On the opening day, I presented an Ignite session to approximately 4200 people (GASP!).  That was crazy, but amazing!

Wanting:  As I wrote earlier, there are only 27 days left of summer break for me.  That. Is. Crazy.  My kiddos and I are going to make the most of it!

Needing:  I need sleep.  ISTE exhausted me, so I'm looking forward to sleeping in for the next few days!

All Star:  My favorite job is Mommy!  My kiddos are both in bed with me while Daddy is lounging in a huge bed by himself reading.  :)  I love it, but I'm squished!

Now head on over to link up with Farley for your July edition of Currently!

June 27, 2015

Camp GoNoodle is Coming Your Way!

Raise your hand if you are excited that it is

I, for one, love being home with my kiddos in these summer months, but I will admit, there are days when I really think my kids have more energy than average.  With a fairly rainy summer season so far, we’ve been limited on what we can do outside.

When GoNoodle let me in on this little piece of information back in the spring, I was totally excited.  I know how much my own kiddos love GoNoodle, so I knew that I would want to help get the word out about


Here are the details:
Camp GoNoodle is a free online program for kids to stay active and be creative this summer! If you already know and love GoNoodle for the classroom, you’ll love Camp GoNoodle -- a summer extension of the GoNoodle experience kids love at school.

If this is your first time hearing of GoNoodle -- Camp GoNoodle is a great introduction that you can do with your whole family!

Head to Camp!
Each Monday starting June 29, a new set of five adventures will appear at

Go On Adventures!
Each adventure uses’s active videos and games for inspiration, and challenges kids to use their imaginations, get moving, and be outside. Picture building your own DIY jetpack, creating an obstacle course race, or making sushi with things you already have at home.
Sing along! Each week includes two brand new camp songs to inspire creativity and movement.
Connect with fellow campers! Share your adventures using the #campgonoodle hashtag to join the camp community. Each week, Campers of the Week are recognized as all-stars and earn exclusive Camp GoNoodle prizes.

Earn badges!
Complete each week of adventure by printing the weekly badge to hang up, loud and proud.
There will be 4 weeks of camp...each having a different theme!

All you need for Camp is...
a free GoNoodle account
a device with internet access
a family ready for adventure!

If you already have a GoNoodle teacher/classroom account, but want to participate at home with your own family, you will need to sign up to receive Camp GoNoodle emails >>

*This is important because Camp emails are only being sent to parent accounts. We know lots of teachers use their school accounts at home -- completely fine, we just need to make sure we get them in the Camp email list!

To add to the fun, GoNoodle is hosting a fun summer linky!  

Check out my answers below!

If you would like to join the fun, fill out your own survey and blog all about your love of GoNoodle!

And that’s not all!  GoNoodle will give some fun swag to a few lucky bloggers who join in the fun!  

So reflect on all things summer and GoNoodle, and link up below!

June 26, 2015

Summer Stock Up!

It might be summer break, but let's face it... What teacher actually takes the summer off, totally free of any thought of school?  I know I have been so busy creating materials for my classroom, thinking about how I will change instruction for next year, and cutting out lamination (yes, the dreaded lamination).  

As we enter the month of July and the beginning of school is starting to creep into our minds, some of my blogging buddies and I have organized a HUGE Summer Stock-Up weekend full of must-have items for Back to School.  Here, you will find awesome products for Guided Reading, Guided Math, Classroom Decor, Posters, Behavior Management, Get-to-Know-You Activities, Classroom Organization, Project Based Learning, and Interactive Notebooks.  Seriously... We have everything you need for your classroom!

I am excited to share the products I will be featuring this weekend!

Project Based Learning
It is no secret that I love Project Based Learning.  I set a goal to do at least one immersion project per quarter.  Even when we aren't knee deep in a project, we are always learning in that style.  

This year, we added a unit on space to our lineup.  We spent the week immersing ourselves in all things space related.  Our big project was to create our very own planet.  

Part of our research was to learn about a planet of the student's choosing.  Each student created some kind of digital product.  

This student chose Popplett as their digital tool!

Students had to create their planet using a digital product.  

Poplett was a popular choice for this activity!

There are tons of great resources for this project in my Out of This World Space Unit!

Getting to Know You Activities
Building relationships with students is my number one objective for the beginning of the year.  Getting to know them is top priority, and I'm sure it tops your list as well.  

I achieve this goal in a number of ways, but one of the most enjoyable is through our All About Me books!  

On the first day of school, I have always read a book that I create about myself.  I've struggled over the years with finding a cute version, so I just created one! :)  This pack includes an easy to use template for you to insert your information.  

Each week, a Student of the Week gets to take our class mascot, Owley the Owl, home on Friday.  Owley comes in a backpack with instructions, a diary to write about their adventures, and an All About Me book for the student to complete.  We read these books when students return on Monday, and they enter a special basket in our classroom library, where they stay until the end of the year.

It's fun to see students learn about their classmates. It's the first step in building a classroom culture and community.

Click below to find more great products!