Resources I Can't Live Without:
This site helps my first grade students take "brain breaks" or get through transitional moments. The interactive videos motivate the kids to get moving or to calm down. I project it on my whiteboard whenever I feel the kids could benefit from it. Often after recess, I'll put on one of their "Flow" videos which helps the students meditate and refocus before getting back into our classroom work. I've used their "Fresh Start Fitness" as a P.E. warmup, "Indoor Recess" for, well indoor recess, and several others like "Amp Your Champ" or their "MooseTube" videos as a reward at the end of the hour. The students pick a mascot and get really involved in the videos as they obtain points for each one they finish. The students can also connect at home so parents can be involved in the fun.
It's often hard to find the time to assess children's reading levels and constantly find books and resources as their reading levels change throughout the year, especially when you don't have an aid. Raz-Kids makes it easy. You can record your students' reading skills using leveled readers and running records. This allows you to assess the outcome outside of the classroom-- saving you valuable academic time with your students IN the classroom. You can assign specific and individualized reading assignments and constructed responses. The site checks for comprehension through quick quizzes and rewards students with points for each story they accomplish. They can use the points to purchase items for a robot and rocket ship. Raz-Kids allows the students to be self-paced through each reading level. I have found it to be so motivating for my students and I've seen so much progress since the beginning of the year. It's wonderful because each student reads at their own reading level and push them self to improve their own skills and at their own pace, creating a truly individualized experience. You can also see which comprehension skills students are struggling with by checking results and use that information to construct lessons for the classroom that help improve those skills.
I came across this site when I was looking for more exciting ways to teach spelling. If I had more classroom time, this is certainly something the students could do on their own on the computer, but I've used it as a choice on the students' weekly "Spelling Menu." I give the students 10 choices on how they'd like to practice their spelling at home. Spelling City is one of their choices. I've signed all my students up for the program and each week, I upload our class spelling list and the site does the rest. Students can choose from several games, practice definitions, see animations of the words, and give themselves practice tests. I've noticed my struggling students have improved tremendously since they started using the program.m, and my EL students have a better understanding of the words
As the years go by, certain supplemental resources and worksheets to the curriculum seem to go missing. A certain lesson calls for a copy of a brainstorm web and you can't seem to find it anywhere in your school's files. Anytime my curriculum resources fall short, I go to TeachersPayTeachers. Anytime I need something extra or have an idea that I'd like to do with the students, I search it on this site. For instance, I really wanted to wrap up my first grader's animal unit with an organized research assignment about their animal of choice. I had an idea of what I wanted, but there was no way I'd have the time to create all the templates. But someone on TeachersPayTeachers did have the time, and there it was-- all made up for me and ready to copy! I typically search their free resources first-- of which there truly is an abundance . I rarely go beyond the free resources, but there has been the occasion where I'll spend a couple bucks for peace of mind. I also love that the site saves all the resources I've ever downloaded. I've been using the same brainstorm web for 3 years, but instead of trying to save it in some dusty file cabinet, I just search for it in my TeacherPayTeachers file. It saves me time and physical space! You can also download their app and literally have resources at your fingertips.
As a P.E. teacher, I try to find new and exciting ways to teach the students certain physical and motor skills. For instance, when teaching basketball, I like to include different short games where the students dribble the ball or practice passing. But being creative when coming up with games can get difficult. PhysEdGames is a YouTube channel that has games listed for every grade level. I go to their "playlists" section and click "1st grade." The possibilities are endless. Whatever skill I'm teaching, there are several games to choose from that will promote it. Because it's YouTube, the man who makes the videos explains everything with quick pictures and visuals. The videos are all short, quick, and to the point. Even if you're not a P.E. teacher, this YouTube channel has game ideas you could use for Field Days, school festivals, or indoor recess in the gym.