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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: Herding Kats in Kindergarten

This week's guest blogger is from Herding Kats in Kindergarten. Please take a moment to stop by and check out all the classroom ideas, resources, and best of all FREEBIES!


Hi all! This is Jennifer from Herding Kats in Kindergarten! I am a mom of 4 (ages 5 to 12) and the proud teacher of 19 superfirsties in Oklahoma. I am thrilled to be guest posting on Wishlist Wednesday! When Lori first invited me, I really had nothing on my Wishlist, but then I walked into the kindergarten class across the hall and saw something I really wanted! It was after school, and I went to pick up my son Joshua, who for some reason hadn't come straight to my room at the end of the day. When I walked in, he was siting at a table with his teacher, a few students who hadn't been picked up yet, and our Title I coordinator. They all looked incredibly serious as they gathered around a colorful gadget on the table and they were suspiciously quiet. This is the gadget they were so intent on:

Turns out that Joshua's teacher was using The Eggspert as a kind of quiet game! The Eggspert would randomly choose a color and whoever's color it was would have to sit silently for 10 seconds while the Eggspert ticked down. If they could be quiet for that 10 seconds they got a little candy. What a great way to help a child learn self-control! It was clearly very difficult for one of the students to stay silent - she had to cover her eyes and mouth with her hands and her whole body was shaking, but she did it! It's only 10 seconds, but you can increase the time as they get more self-control. I thought it was a great idea to use with those itty-bitties that haven't mastered sitting still or not talking. A lot of our kinders come to us with no prior school experience, so they find it very difficult to wait patiently, to sit still, to stay quiet etc. What a fun way to work on those so-important skills! 

 Mrs. McKelvey also uses it to randomly choose tables to line up for lunch or which tables get to go to free choice centers first. But, it's so much more than just a fun classroom management device. It also functions as a kind of Jeopardy buzzer system. Just divide your class into 6 groups and assign each student in the group a number. Then assign each group a color on the Eggspert. Now you can have the different tables play against each other as you review concepts. Every child with a 1 in front of them holds the buzzer first and buzzes in if they know the answer. Then they pass the buzzer to the student with a 2 in front of them and so on. This way no one fights over the buzzer and everyone gets a turn! 

The Eggspert is great for making concept review fun - it's easy enough to use that kindergartners and Mrs. McKelvey can figure it out (she is one of those adorable technologically inept people - I frequently have to help her reply to an email or reset her Smartboard - so if she can do it, anyone can do it!). When I get one for my classroom I know I'll use it to practice spelling words, as well as addition and subtraction facts. At the beginning of the school year I can even use it to review procedures, for example, "Who can show me the proper procedure for walking in the hallway?" might be one of my questions. 

 I also have to give a shout out to Educational Insights for standing behind their product. Mrs. McKelvey had some trouble with hers and emailed the company, which sent her a brand new Eggspert! You can't beat customer service like that. In short, The Eggspert is on my Wishlist and hopefully I will be able to add it to my classroom before next year! 

Thanks again to Lori for letting me share my Wishlist, please drop by Herding Kats In Kindergarten and say hello!