I've got a few classroom essentials to increase student engagement that are easy to implement and fun to use. I teamed up with Oriental Trading Company this year to create a wish list with items I knew would be helpful in my classroom. Although I was given these items for free, I only share classroom resources that I truly stand behind. I have also included a few Amazon Affiliate links where I'm compensated a small fee for sharing the items with you.
Classroom Essentials for Math Games
Kids love games, especially math games. When you can implement them into your lessons, everyone wins. Although I really love laminated math games for math centers and early finishers, sometimes, you need something on-the-fly. All you need are these paint chip circles, operation number dice, and a whiteboard and marker. Before I expect students to play games on their own, we always play them whole group and then with partners. Once I feel confident that they can do it independently, I know it can be added to our math centers. Need help setting up math centers, you'll love this post. I also showed how to play these games along with a few others in this video.
Addition and Subtraction
To practice addition and subtraction, just write a number on the paint chip. For K and 1st, use one digit numbers. For my 2nd graders, I use 2 and 3 digit numbers to differentiate. To play, students just roll the dice and solve. I make sure they write out the number sentence. For my higher friends, we'll be using the multiplication dice. I love this simple math game because it can be easily differentiated for any level.
Tip: Keep dice and paint chips with all of your math manipulatives so early finishers can grab them and play, without any help from you!
You can write different numbers on the paint chips and have students put them in order. This is a great pocket chart activity to have students practice recognizing numbers up to 120. Or, have them grab a handful, order them, and fill in the missing numbers on their whiteboard.
We keep all of our math manipulatives and tools that we use often in a shoe organizer that is nailed to the wall. You can see our dice and rulers that the students can easily grab.
Classroom Essentials for Read the Room
My students love reading the room. We do this a lot in whole group when we're learning a new sound or spelling in phonics. I love to have them look for other words around the room with the same sound and spelling. We also do this during literacy workshop, or center time. It's a may-do activity that the kids love. They take a reading wand and point to the sight words they can read. How fun is that?!?! You can extend the activity by having them write the words down, use them in sentences or even a story.
Classroom Essentials for Focused Reading
Another fun tool I grabbed from Oriental Trading are these awesome reading trackers, which are perfect for my students to use during guided reading. These are especially great for my struggling friends who often lose their place. We love using them with our comprehension passages.
I can't wait to hear how these ideas work in your room. Choose one of these ideas to implement next week. Don't forget to create your very own Classroom Wish List with Oriental Trading that you could even share on your class webpage or weekly newsletter so parents can help support what you're doing in the classroom.
Jerry's Captures says
I would also suggest game play similar to Jeopardy. I use that for my students and it increases class engagement significantly and is a lot of fun. I use a buzzer app students can access via their class tablets or smart devices. One the apps I use for the buzzer is call IamFirst, which is available via GooglePlay. ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=iamfirst.openrobotix.com&hl=it). Interactive learning games are my best advise for increasing class participation and interaction.