Learning with Mrs. Langley

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Easy Peasy Word Work

Do you reinvent the wheel every single week when it comes to centers, word work, stations.....whatever you happen to call them? Yeah, me too! I know better, I swear I do but it just never fails. I am here today to tell you that there IS A BETTER WAY!
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
Let me begin by saying I am a big fan of Daily 5. I run my room about as closely to the Daily 5 model as possible but this is one area I just never could give in on. The sisters suggest having out materials for students to build words, write words, and work with words during this choice. It is that simple. It is called word work after all right? 

I have always felt the need for my work work choices to be very specific so that students could be working on what I wanted them to be working on. Wait a minute.....that's the opposite of Daily 5 philosophy. It's all about CHOICE and becoming a BETTER READER so why am I making all of the choices? 

So here is what I did. I put as many random materials as I could find in my classroom and made them available to students. THAT'S IT! Along with a sight word list to use as a reference and one fun morning of showing them what it was all about and I haven't looked back since. They are working SO HARD during our word work time because they are truly using materials they love and making good choices to become better readers and writers. It has been amazing! 

Here are a few simple, simple examples. Again...simple! I did not go out of my way for any of these! 

#1 Magnets
I have a couple of really organized sets of magnets and then these just thrown in a clear shoe box. Guess which one gets picked the most? You guessed it! Maybe it's the bright colors or maybe kids are just drawn to chaos. Either way it's a win!  
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
 #2 Wiki Sticks
I lied. I did go out of my way for this one just because I've always wanted to use them. My students think they are really fun! One of my kiddos who struggles the most during word work time (and refuses to use a sight word list) spelled out "tatr tot" last week using these. He was pretty impressed with himself and I was too!

I got these from Amazon. You can see them through my affiliate link HERE.  
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
 #3 Pom poms
I've used these for fine motor before but I've never just included them in word work. They get picked every round! I didn't originally tell them to use a cookie sheet to build on but I like how it keeps everything in one space. They came up with that idea. 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
 #4 Beads
I has these from the Dollar Tree for my fine motor bins too so I just included them in word work for now. They are REALLY interesting to build with because you have to pick up each bead and set it on its side so it won't roll away. The cookie sheet came in really handy for this one. 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
 #5 Plain OLD white boards
I have really old yucky white boards. Guess what? They don't care! I set them all on the shelf and they pick one, a marker, and a sock (they are baby socks) and write their sight words. Marker dry? DON'T COME GET ME! Just throw it out and get a new one! I put an old assortment of markers in here so we could weed out the bad ones. 
TIP! Put your sight word list in a sheet protector and students can cross off words as they write them. My students figured out that organization tip too. I love when they help me figure things out! 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
 #6 Letter Tiles
These came with our Reading Street materials and they are really fun for building CVC words because there are so many vowels included. I encouraged them to work on sight words but I noticed one student building CVC words, blending them together, and then sorting them into real words and make believe words.You better believe I had him share out at the end of word work to show his classmates and now everyone is doing it too. Instant center.....no prep! 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers
 #7 Scrabble Tiles
Seriously though. I have been collecting these forever and I NEVER use them because well.....honestly I didn't know what to do with them. It bothered me a little that they were all capitals but guess what? My kids don't care! They love using the little stand to build words with and it does not matter one little bit that they are all capitals. 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers

#8 Letter Stamps
I had these already and they are always a part of our word work so this was a station that just stayed the same. I do like that they have to focus on our new words of the week for this one. I have to be in a (little) bit of control sometimes! But my 2nd grade colleague just has blank paper at this station and they stamp any word they want. I'm sure my kiddos would love that too! I might switch it out and have them do that next week. You can get the STAMPS HERE and the STAMP PAD HERE. These are affiliate links which means I get a small amount if purchase through the link at no additional cost to you. Seriously love these though and they have lasted a long time! 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers

#9 Paper Centers
Yes....I still need a little bit of control and my theory is that some kids will totally love using all of the hands on stuff but some kids still want to complete a paper like a cut and glue, word search, or write the room. I didn't do away with all centers, I just added all of the fun word work centers into what we already had going. BUT! This has already saved me a ton of time in the planning department. I put out 4 papers for the week and that's it. All my centers are planned for! You can see the centers I have available that are aligned with Reading Street stories HERE.  This week our story is The Little Engine That Could.

You can see the four paper choices on top and then all of the materials stored below. I love these containers from Walmart because the handles on the sides lock the lids down tight and keep beads, wiki sticks, tiles, and pom poms from flying everywhere. 
Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers

I have reflected a little bit on whether these were just working so well because my students are UBER independent right now or because this is just a great fit. I mean really, they are almost 1st graders after all! But I think that these would have worked great at the beginning of the year with some alphabet options just as nicely as they are working now. I put out similar items at the beginning of the year anyway, this would just be some added options. 

Would I overwhelm my students with all of this in one day. NO WAY! My students have been exposed to all of these items in one way or another (through fine motor stations, word work, or in small group with me) except for the wiki sticks. Those were brand new. I waited a couple of days to add those in to make a BIG deal about them. If this was the beginning of the year I would put out 2 choices until we were really solid with those choices and then add more in. 

Get the sight word list shown in the pictures that aligns with Reading Street Kindergarten words HERE.  These types of centers work great with these Rainbow Word Sight Word lists too!

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Word work in kindergarten, first grade, or even 2nd can be easy with these Daily 5 activities. Students use a variety of materials to work with words. Whether you are using this for centers, a hands on option for stations, or just some easy games to play with words during the day these ideas are a big hit! Organization is simple, there are NO COPIES to make, and your students will become better readers in no time. #kindergartenclassroom #wordwork #centers




Transportation Unit and a FREE Bulletin Board Template

We just had a MASSIVE snow storm in Arizona and it shut down the whole state. Well...almost. I was right in the middle of introducing my transportation unit to my kids when mother nature so rudely interrupted (not really.....2 snow days in AZ is a dream come true!). So anyway....I used my extra time to plan out where I want to go with our inquiry. Extra time is an amazing gift.   

So, what are we going to do? 

What are different ways of going places? 
We started our investigation by asking this question. We made a really basic KWL chart to record what we already knew about transportation and what questions we have.  Our questions were great! How are cars made? Why do people ride buses? What is the thing called that people fly on that has a parachute and a fan? (I had to look that one up!) and Why do people use horses for travel? I will use those questions to guide what we are learning about over the next couple of weeks. Here is an a example of what our chart looks like. I didn't take a picture of it back at school before the snow storm hit! 


Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans


Our next big activity will be sorting types of transportation into land travel, water travel, and air travel. I will start by handing each student a card with a picture of a form of transportation on it. The students will sort themselves into groups that go together. It will take them some time to figure out what they have things that travel on land, water, or in the air but I am excited to see how they do with this.

Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

The cards can be used later in a center as an additional sorting or writing activity too. I love having real pictures for students to use instead of just clip art all of the time. 
Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

The book that we are using from our reading series this week (Reading Street) is Max Takes the Train by Rosemary Wells. I love Max and Ruby! They take me back to when my kids were little and they loved the TV show so this is one of my favorite stories to read to my kindergarten students. We discuss all the different ways that Max travels throughout the book and if his choice of travel really makes sense. Would you take a plane to the ice cream parlor? 

I made a fun activity for this one too. Each student gets a travel card with a clothes pin attached. Name a place in the world (near or far) and they answer with the card how they will get there. With this one I focus on: travel on my own (walk), travel by non-motorized vehicle (bike or skateboard), travel by land (car, train, or bus), travel by air (plane or helicopter), and travel by water (boat or ship).  Modes of transport are the key here. 
Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

Another fun book to read about getting places is How Will We Get to the Beach by Brigitte Luciani. In the book Roxanne tries to go to the beach in many different forms of transportation but they are never quite right. I created some retell cards for this one so we can retell the story afterwards. Students can use these in a writing center after we read the book too. 
Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

To add in a little STEM fun I bought the book If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. The illustrations are fantastic and I think students will really love this activity! After reading the book students will plan out a car and then draw it. I have a page ready for a final copy so they can just draw their car but I am thinking I want to let them create the car out of old junk. Am I crazy? I'm thinking yes but I'm still going to give it a try!
Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

The last idea I have to share today I'm probably the most excited about! I am turning a board in my hallway into a transportation display. Throughout this unit students will create cars, planes, trucks, and boats to put on the board. I can't wait to see their creations! This is the board I have planned out with space for air travel, land travel, and some water travel too.


Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

I created some templates for vehicles to get you started. You can get them FREE here. This is what I am giving my students to get started but I think they won't need those for long. I am hoping this will be a place they can let their creativity soar!

Transportation will be our theme for the next 6 weeks as we work through Reading Street Unit 5. I will be using their questions to guide that instruction as we move through this unit. Here are a list of books we plan on using during this time. They are all great jumping off points for more questions and inquiries! These are Amazon affiliate links which means if you buy through this link I receive a small amount. Thanks for supporting my blog! 



To top off our unit I also created some literacy stations that have a transportation theme too to replace my Valentine themed stuff that is still hanging out there. February is a weird month because the first 2 weeks are all pink and red and hearts and then the last half is just "Please help me get to spring break" mode. These will help fill the gap.


Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplansStarting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplansStarting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans

I focused on digraphs and blends, sights words (40 words introduced in Reading Street for Kindergarten), alphabet recognition, word families and nonsense word fluency. I will add in some hot wheel cars, letter magnets, and other manipulatives to make these as hands on as possible. You can click HERE to see them in my store. 

Wow! That was a lot! I told you I had a lot of extra time on my hands! Check back later for how things went and thanks for stopping by today!  

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Starting a transportation unit in kindergarten or preschool can be daunting because there are so many learning opportunities and ideas out there! This blog post has free bulletin boards ideas, ideas for writing, science, and reading activities. Students will study air, land, and water travel through literature, inquiry, and exploration. Take your transportation unit to a whole new level or extend an existing community helpers unit. These lesson plans are fun and student friendly. #kindergarten #transportationunit #lessonplans



Valentine's Day Plans

What are you teaching this week? We have a lot of fun things planned in kindergarten this week. I actually had to pick and choose because I don't think we will have time to get to it all. I am feeling pretty focused with a clear plan. That is a great feeling! 

Morning Meeting: 
I don't always write down my plans for morning meeting, usually I just play it by ear and go off of my morning message but I wrote down everything I wanted to do this week with intention. 

Morning Work: 
After morning meeting we always go to morning work. This is aligned with our Reading Street curriculum and it keeps me on track with our pacing if we have a crazy week like this one. With Valentine's day and early release for parent/teacher conferences we have a pretty messed up schedule this week. Morning work will keep us on track! 

Daily 5: 
During our Daily 5 time I meet with small groups. These are the choices that are available for students during that time. Each round they make a new choice. We have PLENTY of paper choices available with these Kindergarten Centers for Reading Street Unit 4. We just copy and go. Our hands on choices come from this Valentine Literacy Center unit. We use the computer program Lexia Core 5 and that is a round each day too. 
 Math: 
I have been trying a bit of a Daily 3 for math the last 2 weeks. I teach our main lesson from our Math in Focus curriculum and then we split into three choices, Math by Myself (Zearn), Math with a partner (Math tubs), Math Writing (math journals with me). This is my opportunity to introduce math journals for the first time. Something I have fallen short on this year but I feel like this is a perfect time to get it going. I blogged all about how I start HERE if you would like to learn more and a link to a FREE file HERE

Writing: 
All of our extra stuff this week comes from this Surviving Valentine's unit I put together to help me out this month. We will be learning all about the heart on Monday and write about how to keep our hearts healthy. On Tuesday we will cover our President's day stuff and Wednesday and Thursday we will be using the Valentine's writing prompts. We will complete our Conversation Heart Science activities and write about those too. I love having a week where I can turn Writer's Workshop into science and social studies activities.  
Those are our REGULAR plans for the week. Of course Thursday will be exchanging cards and Valentine centers to make things extra special for an extra special day. What are your plans this week? 

100TH DAY FUN! Freebie link included!

What are you doing for the 100th day of school? Do you celebrate it? Is it a big deal? I have had years where the 100th day came and went and we didn't even realize it but over the last couple of years I have returned to my roots and made a BIG DEAL out of the 100th day of school. It starts with prep on the very first day of school. NOT KIDDING!
We start counting to the 100th day of school on day one and man oh man are they excited when we finally get there! (I am too!)

Any milestone deserves some celebration so here are a few ways that we celebrate.

#1 Centers- The first year I decided to make the 100th day awesome again I wasn't totally prepared to pull materials together so I made this EASY PREP 100th Day set. All it takes is some copies and a few manipulatives you probably already have in your classroom. This is a super simple way to celebrate if you don't have a lot of time!


and I included a FREEBIE "Would You Rather" game here  that makes a great whole group activity throughout the week when you have a few extra minutes.

#2 Counting Collections- We love to introduce counting collections during this time. We introduce all of the strategies and give students lots of little things to count. The forms you see in these pictures are part of the 100th day of school centers.




#3 Free Choice Centers
Last year I made the whole day a celebration with free choice centers. We did all kinds of things throughout the day that had us counting to 100. My kids LOVED it!
Supply them with 100 little cups to build with 
(or Legos, or blocks, or whatever!)

100 kisses hide and seek. We found all but 3! 

Dab 100 gumballs

Make a necklace with 100 beads.
This was my daughters 100th day project years ago and she still has it! 

100th day Trail Mix (we are eating it here)
Students put 10 things in a bag from each bowl.
We took a break about half way through centers to eat it. YUM!
We also built with 100 Legos, 100 marshmallows (and toothpicks), read 100 sight words, found out how many licks to finish a Dum Dum sucker, and Q-tip painting. They were BUSY BUSY BUSY during our entire center time and everyone was happy (including me!).


And finally....Lots of books! I put together all of my 100th day books to read throughout the week. These will be available in a book bin for our Read to Self time too so I am sure they will get checked out a lot! These are the books I have in my classroom, what are your favorites? I've included Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I get a small amount if you purchase through these links at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog! 



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Why I have a Tool Bench in my classroom

Why on earth would you need a tool bench in kindergarten?

I'm sure that's what the grant people thought when they read through my proposal but something I said stuck because I was awarded a grant earlier this year to buy tools and a tool bench for my classroom. Here is a little background information before I show you all of the fun!

I recently attended TheKindergarten Experience by Dr. Isela Garcia. The purpose of the training was to increase the awareness and implementation of evidence-based practices in the kindergarten classroom. These practices include teaching the life skills of attachment, belonging, self-regulation, collaboration, contribution, and adaptability. After attending this training I realized that my classroom is greatly lacking in some of these areas. While we have everything we need for academic success we do not have everything we need to grow socially and emotionally.


The workbench and tools are used in a deconstruction area that Dr. Garcia refers to as a take apart station. Students use the bench and tools to take apart various items like toasters and VCR’s. Not only does this center give students an opportunity to explore how things work, but it also teaches the difference between destruction and deconstructing. Students will need to persevere, use self-regulation skills when they are frustrated, and cooperate with others to get the job done. Later in the year we will use this as a maker space and students will use the nuts and bolts they collected during the deconstruction process to build new things.

When I first introduced this new center my most ACTIVE child blurted out, "This is going to be awesome!" I couldn't help but agree with him! With a little bit of direction on the do's and don'ts of the take apart station it was open for business. Here are some action shots from this week.....
STEM in kindergarten and project based learning doesn’t have to be complicated! These activities are student centered and require very little prep on your part. This science center take apart station will spark engineering in your classroom and foster patience, perseverance, and team building in your kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. #kindergartenclassroom #STEM
This week we took apart a computer. I removed any sharp or dangerous objects first.

STEM in kindergarten and project based learning doesn’t have to be complicated! These activities are student centered and require very little prep on your part. This science center take apart station will spark engineering in your classroom and foster patience, perseverance, and team building in your kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. #kindergartenclassroom #STEM
The drawer holds all of the tools. They feel like real technicians with all of the fancy equipment!

STEM in kindergarten and project based learning doesn’t have to be complicated! These activities are student centered and require very little prep on your part. This science center take apart station will spark engineering in your classroom and foster patience, perseverance, and team building in your kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. #kindergartenclassroom #STEM
I allow 2 people at the station at a time for now.

STEM in kindergarten and project based learning doesn’t have to be complicated! These activities are student centered and require very little prep on your part. This science center take apart station will spark engineering in your classroom and foster patience, perseverance, and team building in your kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. #kindergartenclassroom #STEM
The main goal is to find screws to take out and they have to show lots of patience!
I made sure to buy some goggles to have on hand so they can be safe. Plus it adds to the fun! Here is a link to the set I bought. This is an affiliate link and I receive a small amount of money if you purchase through the link. Thank you for supporting my blog! 



And here is a link to a similar tool bench (for a better price than I got mine for!). I bought mine through the Home Depot. It had wheels on it and I took those off to make it a little shorter. 


So that answers the question why I have a tool bench in my classroom. My students LOVE this station. We've taken apart toasters, VCR's, computers, and a few other electronic items. I remove the covers and they do the rest. 

Want to save this post for later? Here you go! 
STEM in kindergarten and project based learning doesn’t have to be complicated! These activities are student centered and require very little prep on your part. This science center take apart station will spark engineering in your classroom and foster patience, perseverance, and team building in your kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. #kindergartenclassroom #STEM