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Over the course of my 18 years of teaching, I’ve seen many trends in skills that aren’t mastered before kids move into the next grade level. I’ve also been in schools where funding is not adequate for curriculum and supplies that are needed. Most of my teaching experience has been with early childhood, Pre-K through third grade. When kids enter my classroom lacking a solid foundation in crucial skills, I see it as my responsibility to find resources to help bring these students up to par. I have several ‘go-to’ materials in which I have seen consistent success that I would like to share.
Challenge: Basic Multiplication Facts Resource: Times Tales
I have begun using this resource with my first graders! Times Tales pulls out the more challenging multiplication facts and puts a simple story and visual with the fact, and it’s broken into two parts. I use this resource consistently and always see success within three weeks of its introduction. There is also a basic division facts component that flows right along with the multiplication facts. My first graders can already perform the basic multiplication facts on a consistent basis, in written form. This is also a super resource to use if you have students who struggle with dyslexia, have weak executive function or just have difficulty memorizing mundane facts.
Challenge: Reading Comprehension Resource: Frank Shaeffer Reading Series
These are very simple stories with questions that break the stories down into several parts, focusing on who, what, where, when, how and why. As the student progresses through the book, the stories begin focusing on reading for details, inferences and prediction. There are several different levels of this series and the workbook is reproducible. If you need a quick reinforcement for teacher table time, desk time or homework time, this is a good resource.
Challenge: Disorganized Children Resource: Organizing the Disorganized Child, By Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran
This is an amazing book! If you have a student, or even a child of your own, who struggles with keeping homework organized, desks organized or just a classroom routine in check, this book offers many solutions to multiple challenges, including how to get parents on board with organizational techniques.
Challenge: Wiggly Kids Resource: KORE wobble chairs or Hokki Stools
Have a fidgety kiddo? Have a child who is in constant need of kinesthetic stimulation? Sign up for one of the many donor websites and see if you can get a few of either one of these stools! These stools have a slightly rounded bottom so they ‘wobble’ when sat in. Children who need to bounce, tap fingers, wiggle legs or rock back and forth, get the stimulation they need without it being disruptive to the rest of the class.
Challenge: Indoor Recess/Science Reinforcement Resource: Popular Mechanics For Kids DVD Series and Magic School Bus DVD series
If your district allows you to show videos, these are a good investment. The Popular Mechanics For Kids is great for second grade and older. Each 30-40 minute video can be tied in with science standards and most even include easy-to-do labs for class or at home. The Magic School Bus is based on the kid’s series and is appropriate for preschool through third grade.
Challenge: Social Studies Reinforcement Projects Resource: Evan-Moor History Pockets
Covering a variety of major units (colonization, civil war, explorers, etc.) these books provide everything you need to pull a kinesthetic project in with your social studies curriculum. There are also tools that you can use for read-alouds, review and student-led focus groups. This resource is great for second through sixth grade.
Challenge: Weak or No Science Curriculum Resource: ScienceWorks for Kids
This series has a ton of topics and comes in sets appropriate for first through third grade or fourth through sixth grade. Aligned with National Standards, these books provide everything you need content-wise to have a successful science class, including labs.