New! Finger Counting Addition- and a SALE!

Finger Counting Addition

Hello everyone!  Today I would like to share with you a fun activity that I just posted on our website!  It’s called Finger Counting Addition, and it is just $2.00!  We are also having our last Back to School sale this weekend!

This is your LAST CHANCE to get 15% off on ANY purchase from our website, from today, Sept. 20th, until next week on Thursday, Sept. 25th, 2014 at midnight!  Use the code APPLES.  Make sure that you enter the code all in capital letters!  (Case matters.)

Journeys 2014 3 Disk Set

Our Sing and Spell the Sight Words from Kindergarten Journeys, 2014 is FINISHED! Get it here.

By the way, we finally finished up our version of Sing and Spell the Sight Words for Kindergarten JOURNEYS 2014- all 91 words in it!  It had to be placed on THREE different DVD disks, though, because there were too many songs to fit on just two DVD’s.  You can find it here.

I originally came up with this idea when I saw a picture on Pinterest that someone had posted of some hands that were traced, cut out, and glued to a piece of construction paper.   It also looked like the fingers had been folded up and down, and there were addition problems below it.

That inspired me to come up with something a bit simpler for even younger children, putting a set of hands above each and every addition problem!

FingerPrint Addition to 4 Example

I also decided to include one sheet with a pair of “life sized” hands so that the teacher could work on this with the children in a guided lesson before releasing them to do the worksheet on their own as independent practice.

Hands Paper Example Small with logo


In this case, the children would practice by putting the sheet into a page protector or dry erase sleeve, and then using dry erase or water soluble markers to make equations.  The children can spin a spinner or roll a die to generate the numbers, of course!

Finger Picture from Heidi with equation


There are lots of ways to use this idea!  Here’s another one:  Cut out the hands, but only glue down the palms, leaving the fingers free.  Let children fold the fingers up and down as they count them.  Naturally, you could do this just as well by tracing the children’s REAL hands!

Fingers all folded up

One problem we had, though, was that the fingers that are folded down don’t really STAY down until the crease is really “in” and they’ve been used a lot.  I think that a better use for this is to have the children make one addition problem with the correct amount of fingers pointed up/folded down, GLUE them, and then display them on the wall.

This is a sample of what one of the FingerPrint Addition worksheets look like.  This one includes sums up to seven.  The worksheets go all the way up to ten.

This is a sample of what one of the FingerPrint Addition worksheets look like. This one includes sums up to seven. The worksheets go all the way up to sums of ten.


This activity helps bridge the gap between the natural inclination of young children to count on their fingers when learning to add and the pictorial representation of doing so on a worksheet!

Finger Counting Addition from HeidiSongs!

The $2 packet contains instructions, the masters for the hands in the picture, and seven worksheets to help kids practice addition facts with sums that total no more than four and progress in difficulty up to sums that total no more than ten.  I hope it is useful for you and enjoyable for your kids!


Follow me! Did you enjoy this post? Do us a favor and share it with your friends! And follow this blog by signing up email updates, or follow on Bloglovin’. You can also follow me on TPT! I’m also on PinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and YouTube, too! Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter (on the left sidebar) for special deals and promo codes that you won’t find out about anywhere else.

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Top Ten Kindergarten Teacher Tweeters to Follow


Top Ten Kindergarten Teacher Tweeters to Follow

Are you on Twitter? I am!  I love using Twitter to stay in contact with friends, learn new ideas, and share information with my followers.  But if you are new to Twitter, who should you follow?

Twitter Top Ten Kindergarten Teachers to Follow

Here are my picks for the “Top Ten Kindergarten Teacher Tweeters to Follow!”  MOST of these were recommended by Matt Gomez, although not all of them. Matt is definitely the “Kindergarten Teacher Twitter Expert Extraordinaire,” so I went to him for a few recommendations to help make this list.  And that’s why he is right there at the top!  I also have included one “favorite tweet” from each person, so you can get a sense of “the flavor” of each person’s types of tweets.  :)

Journeys 2014 3 Disk Set

For those of you that have been waiting for our Journeys 2014 version of Sing and Spell the Sight Words, it’s HERE!!! (All 91 words of it!) Click here to find it.

Please note that these are KINDERGARTEN TEACHER TWEETERS- (not Pre-K teacher tweeters, or any other grade!)  These are strictly people that now teach or have taught kindergarten, plus a couple of honorable mentions of people to follow that don’t teach Kinder at the bottom.  Note that this list would look totally different if I decided to include every single grade level out there.  There are some really spectacular teacher tweeters out there that are not focused on Kindergarten issues, but we’ll have to save that for a different post.

Twitter Friends Image


And don’t forget to join us on Tuesday nights for our #TeacherFriends Practice Twitter Chat!  It starts at 9:00 Eastern time, but if you are new to Twitter, Debbie Clements will help you get started at 8:30 PM!  So open a Twitter account (they’re free!) and join us on Tuesday nights!  It’s my turn to be “featured” next Tuesday night, and the topic is Active Strategies for ADHD.  Oh boy!  AND… ESGI will be giving away one year’s subscription FREE to one randomly picked winner that participates in the chat!

1. Matt Gomez at @MattBGomez


Twitter Bio:  Kindergarten teacher since 2001, founder,  moderator, photographer () and Texas Aggie!



“A2: texting: if parents are willing to trust me with their baby I can trust them with my cell #. Quick and easy communication

2. Maggie’s Kinder at @maggieskinder

Maggie's Kinder


Twitter Bio:  I am a kindergarten teacher from Southern Missouri with a background in early childhood and music. If I didn’t need the money, I’d teach K for free :)


“A1: Critical thinking means we as teachers do not settle for simple answers. We keep asking them why, how, etc.,

3. Kristi Meeuwse at @KristiMeeuwse


Twitter Bio: Apple Distinguished Educator 2013, Kindergarten teacher in 1:1 iPad classroom, DEN Star, writer, photoblogger.



“Individualized Technology Goals (ITGs) for Teachers: A Fable of the Staff Development with No Clothes: via


4. Jon Fines at @JonFines


Twitter Bio: Kindergarten teacher. M.Ed Instructional Tech. Learning, laughing, singing, dancing, ukulele-playing dad. Changing lives…making a difference!


“Why must the kids that struggle with writing their names have the most letters in them? Please name all your children TJ. Lol.

5. Jen Jones at @HelloJenJones


Jen Jones Twitter Profile Pic

Twitter Bio: K-12 Reading Specialist . PD Provider . TpT Top Seller . Blogger . Common Core Nerd

Blog: HelloLiteracy.blogspot


A1: In school, critical thinking can be taught as early as K by asking Ss Qs that do NOT have yes/no or right/wrong answers.”

6. Kim Vij at @EducatorsSpin  (Yes, Kim is the one with more than 1.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS on Pinterest!)  You can find her Pinterest boards here.

Kim Vij Twitter PIc

Educator, Writer, Pinterest Consultant, Early Childhood Advocate, Speaker, Social Media Curator & CoCreater of The Educators’ Spin On It.  (Although Kim now stays home with her children, she taught Kindergarten for eight years, and also first and second grade for a year each.)


“One tip is to watch your analytics to see what’s being pinned from your site, once you see a few from a holiday.. start pinning

7. Mme Kathleen at @MmeKathleen


Twitter Bio: A Reggio-inspired kindergarten (French Immersion, sometimes!) teacher, moderator, tech lover. Cupcake eater. Coffee drinker. Carb lover.



“I just need you all to know that I am walking to fitness class holding a piece of cake.

8. Miss Amy Night at @happycampergirl


Twitter Bio: Champion of hope. Play is a practice. Tech is a tool. If you don’t have a sandbox, you don’t need an iPad. I heart the . My tweets are my own.



“Gave my annual “There is a rule in this classroom that everyone’s pants must remain UP at all times” speech last wk.

9. Kristen Poindexter at @fuzzlady77


Kristen's Kindergarten Twitter Pic

Twitter Bio: 2014 National Shell Science Teacher Award recipient and a Kindergarten teacher who loves to rubber stamp and make cards! I love to blog and share my adventures!



“A3: By allowing students to be the facilitators of their own learning…not answering every single question! :)”

10. Heidi Butkus at @heidisongs (Disclosure:  Yup, that’s ME!)
Twitter Bio:  I have been a K/1 teacher since 1986, and I am the owner and founder of : Sing Along Songs that Teach!
Here’s a little bit more about me on Twitter:  I tweet out most of what I pin on Pinterest, and I am very active there!  At present, I have almost 21,000 followers on Pinterest, and pinning is one of my favorite things!  I also tweet “the best bloggers” blog posts, too- each time they are updated.  In addition to that, I tweet research related to issues pertaining to early childhood and special needs, such as autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities.

“The Center Based Classroom – A great list of FREE websites to use for your listening center!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:  (Teachers to follow that are not Kindergarten teachers):

1.  Debbie Clement:  @KweezleQueen  (Debbie focuses on pre-K and preschool, but is great with all early childhood topics!  Her degree is in art, and her collection of childhood artwork photos is outstanding!  Follow her on Pinterest here.)

Debbie Clements Twitter Pic

Twitter bio:  Award Winning Picture-book author/illustrator! Music! Keynotes! Passport-ready! Blogger! NAEYC! KINDER! SKYPE! Art! Founder: Tues PRACTICE Chat


“Eager to continue PRACTICE chat w Experienced chatters welcome to support newbies! Tues 9PM EST”

2.  Erin Klein:  @KleinErin  (Everybody who’s anybody in education knows about Erin Klein!  Erin’s topics cover all ages and grades.)

Erin Klein Twitter Pic

Twitter Bio:  Scholastic Top Teacher. MACUL 2014 Teacher of the Year. Blogger. Member. SMART Exemplary Educator. Michigan Reading Association Tech Chair.



“Guess What… is Hoppin’ – Must Have Fun for Back to School (l.o.v.e)!

3.  Deborah Stewart  @TeachPreschool  (Deborah runs just about the most well known and high quality blog for preschool teachers, and is EXTREMELY active on Twitter!  She retweets an amazing amount of early childhood blogs every week, including mine.)

Deborah Stewart

Twitter bio:  Promoting excellence in the field of early childhood education… Learn with me at !



“Hosting a Reading Party


Here are some of my best tips for getting the most out of Twitter!

1. To Follow A Twitter Chat:

If you have been on Twitter before you might be familiar with the idea of a hashtag, a # followed by a word or phrase. Hashtags make it possible for multiple users to have a conversation. If you are following the hashtag just by reading through your feed, it can be a little difficult.

To easily follow a twitter chat go to and enter the hashtag. This will sort out just the tweets from your Twitter feed that are related to that chat, making it easier to participate.

2. To Send A Direct Message:

Sometimes you want to send a message to someone without the whole twitterverse seeing it. To send a message to an individual, click on the mail icon by the search bar and select new message. Type in the user name of the individual you would like to message, type your note and hit send.

Something to keep in mind: You and the person you would like to message must be followers of each other.

3.  To Get Answers to Questions About ANYTHING at ALL:

Got a question you can’t find the answer to online?  Just tweet the question and wait for someone to reply!  The great thing about Twitter is that anytime you tweet out a message, as long as you attach a hashtag, it is likely that someone will see it and reply- even if you have never met that person ever before!  For example, last spring I tweeted out the question, “Has anyone ever used #ThinkingMaps in Kindergarten?”  It was less than an hour before someone started replying, answering my questions and posting pictures so that I could see what a thinking map in Kindergarten might look like!  I was really amazed!  So Twitter really CAN be a place to go to when you need help finding resources online.  The person that helped me also told me all kinds of tips for using Thinking Maps with young children and answered several other questions I had.


Follow me! Did you enjoy this post? Do us a favor and share it with your friends! And follow this blog by signing up email updates, or follow on Bloglovin’. You can also follow me on TPT! I’m also on PinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and YouTube, too! Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter (on the left sidebar) for special deals and promo codes that you won’t find out about anywhere else.


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More Tips for Helping Young Children with ADHD Succeed in School

More ADHD Tips

If you work with young children, chances are very good that you will have a few that  have the SYMPTOMS of ADHD!  So whether or not the children have been diagnosed, you will need to figure out how to help them succeed.  Here are several more ways to make that happen!
And guess what!  I, (Heidi), am going to be the featured “Edu-Celebrity” of the Teacher Friends Twitter “Practice Chat” on September 23, 2014!  I am truly honored to be mentioned among this list of FABULOUS educators!  Debbie Clements of Rainbows Within Reach has organized this fun weekly online event.  My topic will be Active Strategies for ADHD.

Twitter Friends Image

To participate, all you have to do is open a Twitter account, (if you don’t already have one,) log onto Twitter on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 9:00 PM Eastern time and then search for the hashtag #teacherfriends.  It should bring up any tweets related to the chat.  If you are new to Twitter or Twitter Chats, you can log on at 8:30 PM Eastern to start chatting just with Debbie Clements first.  You can ask her any questions you have about using Twitter (or anything else) before the real event gets going at 9:00 PM.  (Remember, that’s 6:00 PM Pacific time, etc.!)

When I participate in Twitter chats, I use my Twitter account through a site called Tweet Deck makes it easier to follow just one hashtag by filtering them out so that you will see all of the tweets that have just the one hashtag that you want.  Otherwise, on Twitter, you may all of the tweets from anyone that you already follow. does the same thing. 

Twitter Chats are fun because you can chat in real time with people from all over the world.  It’s exactly like sending an instant message, but it goes out to the entire world that has a Twitter account!  The way people “filter in and filter out” what they want to see is by using hashtags.  So each time you write a message, (tweet!), you need to include the hashtag #teacherfriends.  That’s it!  It’s not rocket science!  So lots of educators will be logged on to chat about ADHD strategies and exchange ideas on Sept. 23.  AND… ESGI will be giving away one FREE YEAR subscription of their fantastic time saving software to one of the Twitter chatters!  Oh boy!  Don’t miss that!

And now on to more strategies for ADHD!

1.  Reduce Classroom Stimuli- (AKA:  Keep the clutter under control, and don’t over-do on decorations!)

Zoo Animals Bulletin Board

When we decorate our classrooms for special events, sometimes the extra visual stimuli can affect special needs children negatively. But they sure are beautiful, aren’t they?


Before the year begins think about the decorations and layout of your classroom. Chances are pretty good that there will be at least a handful of students who have symptoms of ADHD on your class list. Some children may not be able to focus in a highly decorated room, unfortunately!  If you wind up with a child that simply can’t focus at all, it’s worth considering how your room environment is affecting him or her.  You may want to run a little experiment to see if covering up a wall near the child with a sheet or a piece of butcher paper helps the child focus.

Community Helpers Bulletin Board

The larger the class size, the harder teachers work to get every child’s artwork and work samples on display for both parents and administrators to see. BUT sometimes this is not the best thing for distractible children- even though the bulletin boards may be absolutely ADORABLE, as this one is!

If you can’t bear the idea of a sparsely decorated room, but you have a child that needs less stimulation, another alternative is to provide an uncluttered, simple work area with no decorations for a child that needs that type of environment to help him or her concentrate.  As you make your way through the school year, you will likely have to experiment to find out what types of interventions and accommodations are helpful to each child, and which don’t seem to matter.  It may be helpful to the next teacher if you make notes on what worked (and what didn’t) and pass them along.


2.  Give Instructions in More Than One Way

Give Directions More Than One Way

One of the symptoms of ADHD is difficulty following directions. Many children with ADHD struggle with verbal directions.  So to save your own sanity, do your best to give directions in as many different ways as possible.  Picture icons for non-readers to refer to and written directions for those that can already read should help, as long as you show children how to use them when they don’t know what to do!

One thing that made a HUGE difference in my classroom was having the children act out the procedures that I wanted them to follow.  This is beneficial for English Language Learners as well as students with ADHD, or anyone that learns better by moving or watching than by listening.

To have children act out or model the instructions or procedures, first give the directions as you normally would.  Tell the children to pay careful attention, because you will be choosing someone to help you show the class what you mean.

Then, I choose a child that may have trouble following my directions… and ask that child model how to do it the right way!  When I bring that one child up to the front- (the one that seems among the least likely to follow the directions) that child gets the opportunity to show the whole class that he or she really CAN do it RIGHT!  Then we all cheer for that student and I get to praise that student for following directions!

That child gets to feel what it is like to follow directions, get praise from everyone in the class, and we also establish that the child and I BOTH know that he really DOES understand those directions!  So after that, there is simply no excuse for not following directions, at least not for that child.

Older students will likely benefit from hearing the directions, and then being able to read them on their own. They should be encouraged to take notes on the directions on their own.


3.  Find Any Excuse You Can to Get Your Kids Up and Moving! 

Movement is a great way for all students to stay focused throughout the day and for students who have ADHD, movement is vital. Have you ever had to sit through a staff development day that stretched on and on, all day long without a break?  It’s HARD to sit there all day!  So try singing and dancing during math or spelling practice, or try doing jumping jacks or deep knee bends while working on math facts, or even taking a break to run to the fence and back if students are showing signs of getting antsy.  Sometimes I tell children that we must stop and go pick up trash (inside or outside) for five minutes just to get them moving!

Below is a clip from Sing and Spell Vol. 6!  Sing and Spell the Sight Words is a great way to get kids up and moving while they are learning!

4. Put Up a Barrier

We used these home made privacy dividers whenever a child needed to be shielded from distractions while working.

We used these home made privacy dividers whenever a child needed to be shielded from distractions while working.

Sometimes, a visual barrier can help children concentrate. Desk partitions (as shown above) are helpful for this. The ones in the picture above were home made out of some particle board and duct tape.  They aren’t fancy, but they work!  They are VERY old- (they came with the classroom in 1992!)  Older children might find headphones helpful, which should reduce the distracting noises for that child while he or she works.  You would probably have to play some “white noise” types of sounds, or soft music etc.

5.  Remind Children To Keep Desks Organized

Cluttered Desk

Help children stay organized and on task by limiting the number of pencils, crayons and other supplies they have access to. Keeping the clutter down on desks also helps limit the amount of time spent searching for supplies and helps keep children from getting distracted by all the goodies within their reach.  Personally, I NEVER start a kindergarten lesson when ANY children have items in their hands or within reach.  It just doesn’t work!

6.  Find Something the Child is GOOD At!

Kids with Blocks

Often students with ADHD have negative school experiences, which makes it difficult for them to see the point in trying hard in the classroom. So make it a point to notice things that children are doing well and praise them for them!  Set children up for success by saving tasks or jobs that will allow them an opportunity to excel. Is your student with ADHD really good at physical activities? Have them demonstrate the PE lesson for the class. Are they strong in a certain subject? Provide opportunities for them to help other students or be a leader in that area.

7.  Fold or Cut Worksheets to Keep Children From Becoming Overwhelmed

Try folding or cutting a worksheet that may seem too long or overwhelming to a child.  This particular worksheet is from our Counting Creatures series.

Try folding or cutting a worksheet that may seem too long or overwhelming to a child. This particular worksheet is from our Counting Creatures series.

If certain children cannot focus long enough to finish an entire worksheet, try folding a paper to show only part of it, or cutting a paper in half, etc.  Remember, a child doesn’t REALLY have to do 20 math problems a day to practice them.  Five or ten might be enough, and it’s okay to differentiate for the children, depending on their needs.  “Fair” doesn’t always have to mean “exactly the same!”

8.  Give Positive Feedback as Much as Possible!

For some children, "being good" means that they simply didn't do anything wrong!  But if reinforcing that helps you manage the classroom and helps the child have a good day, JUST DO IT!

For some children, “being good” for means that they simply didn’t do anything wrong for the last 15 minutes! But if reinforcing THAT helps you manage the classroom and helps the child have a good day, JUST DO IT!

Don’t forget to let your kids know when they are doing a great job!  I think that most primary teachers are natural encouragers, but sometimes we need to praise those children that struggle just for doing simple things like putting their names on their paper immediately when asked.  Little encouragements help set the tone of the day, and may take you far when you ask the child to do something they perceive as difficult.  They also may help the parents of the child see you in a positive light rather than in a negative one- and THAT’s a good thing, too!



Follow me! Did you enjoy this post? Do us a favor and share it with your friends! And follow this blog by signing up email updates, or follow on Bloglovin’. You can also follow me on TPT! I’m also on PinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and YouTube, too! Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter (on the left sidebar) for special deals and promo codes that you won’t find out about anywhere else.


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Upcoming HeidiSongs Presentations: SCKC’s Fall Workshop in Costa Mesa, CA and MORE!


Mark Your Calendar 

Here is a list of ALL of my upcoming presentations for the 2014-15 school year!  I hope to see you at one of them, so mark your calendar!  And I wanted to let my So Cal friends know that I’ll be presenting in Costa Mesa again on Oct. 11, 2014 at SCKC’s Second Annual Fall Workshop!  This time, Kim Jordano is presenting with me, and I am SO excited!  

I am really honored to have been invited back to present at this SCKC Fall Workshop TWO years in a row!  But there are so many great presenters living in California now that I doubt that this will happen again.  So if you live in the area and have been wanting to come see me do a half day workshop, now is the time!

You can read all about it below, and then read about all of the other great conferences I will be presenting at!

SCKC Fall Workshop 2014

Southern CA Kindergarten Association Second Annual Fall One Day Workshop

Costa Mesa, CA

October 11, 2014

Soaring Through the Year with Common Core!

A Professional Development Workshop for Pre-K, TK and Kindergarten Educators, featuring Kimberly Jordano and Heidi Butkus on October 11, 2014, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Orange County Department of Education!
Join Kimberly Jordano and Heidi Butkus for SCKC’s Fall 2014 Professional Development Workshop!  These exciting educators promise to bring you tons of fun and motivation, and to send you back to the classroom with a whole year full of ideas and a renewed sense of enthusiasm.
The all day workshop includes BOTH presentations. Space is limited, so don’t wait too long to register.  Get approval from your administrator right away, if necessary!  We’ll be selling our materials there on site at a great discount as well.
Kimberly Jordano presents:
Spectacular Common Core style Literacy Centers and Sight Word Activities for TK and Kindergarten Students

Common Core aligned, they are sure to shine!  Uncover ways to update and tweak your literacy centers to align with Common Core.  Discover great tips on how to set up your room and how to get your centers up and running with engaging, hands-on, independent activities your students will love!  Learn lots of new, ready-to-use games and activities that build sight word recognition and fluency and get great tips on how to integrate sight word activities into your literacy block.  These activities are easy to implement, engaging, and lots of fun!


Heidi Butkus presents:
Hands-On, Whole Body Learning Techniques for Teaching Common Core Numbers, Shapes, and Early Math Concepts to TK and Kindergarten Students

This session is jam-packed with music and activities that include movement, learning games, and independent centers that help teach those all-important Common Core skills and concepts of shape and number recognition from 0 – 30, comparing sets, sorting, counting, etc.  Ideas for helping to reach English Language Learner and special needs students will also be included.  We will also do a fun Make & Take project too!  So bring scissors, glue, crayons, and a black medium point marker!

IL ASCD Fall Round Robin

Illinois ASCD Fall Pre-K & Kindergarten Round Robin Conference

Normal, IL

October 15, 2014
Workshop:  Tips for Sounding Out Words and Fun Songs for Phonics

Click here for the brochure.

Plus, more workshops by other great presenters!  One of them is my good friend, Kathy Griffin!  She is AWESOME!  If you haven’t yet heard her present, you will love her!  Just check out her blog here.  Kathy brings a wonderful perspective to teaching for many reasons, but one of them is that she has a special needs child of her own with Down Syndrome.

Another reason I love Kathy’s workshops is that she understands child development and developmentally appropriate practice.  Plus, she has taught MANY different grade levels!  You won’t find her making TPT products that are developmentally inappropriate, “just to sell” so that she can pay her bills.  If she doesn’t believe in it, she doesn’t post it for sale. (Bravo, Kathy!)  In my mind, no one does a better job at bringing together ideas that WORK for all children and a fresh perspective on reaching struggling children in regular ed classrooms than Kathy.  Not only that, she is truly a nice person!  If you don’t yet follow Kathy Griffin’s blogPinterest boards, or TPT Store, definitely do that!  And come see BOTH of us in Normal, IL at the ASCD Fall Round Robin Conference!


Here are some more great conferences that I am speaking at this year, too!  Check them out!  And remember that you can bring me to YOUR school or district, too!  Just give me a call at (909) 331-2090, or email us at  For a list of the workshops that I give, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page.


SDE CA Conference


SDE’s Conference for CA Kindergarten Teachers

Brea, CA

Oct. 23, 2014


9:00-10:15am – Bananas for Apps

10:45-Noon – Common Core Literacy Centers Kids LOVE

1:15-2:30pm – Great Whole Group Games for the Common Core

2:50-4:05pm – Reinforcing Learning:Letters & Numbers & Shapes



Road Trip!


California Kindergarten Association Professional Development Workshop

Granite Bay, CA

Nov. 15, 2014  (Tentative)

Workshops:  To Be Announced


WV Reading Association

West Virginia Reading Association Conference

The Greenbriar, White Sulpher Springs:

November 20-21, 2014

(Additional workshop in Summerville, WV, on Nov. 19, 2014.)


Webinar Graphic 2


FREE SDE Webinar with Heidi Butkus- Using Guided Drawing to Motivate Young Readers and Writers (Grades PreK-2)

Location- Your desktop computer!

December 4:  4:00 – 5:00 PM Eastern Time

Click here to register, and remember to set your calendar for 4:00 PM EASTERN TIME!

To view Heidi’s first free SDE webinar, click here:  (Length- 60 Minutes.)

Music, Movement, and Other Active Learning Techniques (Grades PreK-2)

To access a list of the MANY OTHER FREE archived webinars with SDE, click here.


SDE IL Conference for Kindergarten Teachers


SDE’s Conference for Illinois Kindergarten Teachers

Oak Lawn, IL

December 11-12, 2014


Developmentally Appropriate Ways to Get your Kindergarteners Writing

Differentiating Your Language Arts Program Through Music & Movement

Great Whole Group Games & Activities for the Common Core

Fun & Easy Ways to Incorporate Technology into the Kindergarten Classroom!

Helping At-Risk Kindergarteners Meet the Common Core State Standards

Early Math Learning, Music & Movement

Learning to  Read Words: Sing’em & Sound’em Out



CKA PK1 Conference

California Kindergarten Association’s PK1 Conference 

Santa Clara, CA:  Jan. 16, 17, & 18, 2015

Pre-Conference Institute:  Terrific Ways to Teach the Alphabet, Beginning Reading and Other Common Core Skills to TK’s

Regular Conference Presentation:  Great Whole Group Games & Activities for the Common Core


SDE Pre-K & Kindergarten Conference for Maryland Teachers 

Towson, MD:  Feb. 9-10, 2015  Note:  I am presenting one day at the Kindergarten Conference and one day at the Pre-K Conference… but you are always able to attend any of the sessions that you choose, no matter which conference you sign up for (unless a session is full, which is rare.)

Day One:  Kindergarten Conference

Learning to Read Words: Sing ‘em & Sound ‘em Out

Helping At-Risk Kindergartners Meet the Common Core State Standards

Letters & Numbers & Shapes: Centers & Activities that Reinforce Learning

Developmentally Appropriate Ways to Get Your Kindergartners Graders Writing

Day Two: PreK Conference

Jumpin’ Numbers & Shapes

Guided Reading for Pre-Readers?  Yes!

ADHD & Sensory Interventions…”Get a Wiggle On”

Musical Fun for Phonemic Awareness & More


SDE Kindergarten Conference for Wisconsin Teachers

Madison, WI:  Feb. 23-24, 2015


Keynote – Classroom Bloopers: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

9:00-10:15am – Fun & Easy Ways to Incorporate Technology into the Classroom

10:45-Noon – Sing & Spell Color Words & Sight Words

1:15-2:30pm – Addition & Subtraction Word Problem Wizards

2:50-4:05pm – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classroom Management but Were Afraid to Ask



9:00-10:15am – Bananas for apps!

10:45-Noon –ADHD & Sensory Interventions…”Get a Wiggle On” –

1:15-2:30pm – Letters & Numbers & Shapes: Centers and Activities that Reinforce Learning:

2:50-4:05pm – Great Whole Group Games and Activities


Southern CA Kindergarten Conference

Pasadena, CA:  Feb. 27-28, 2015

Common Core Literacy Centers Kids LOVE for TK and K

Critical Thinking Skills:  Big Ideas for Little Learners


DCFCCA Child Care Conference

Burnsville, MN:  March 7, 2015

Singable Songs for Letters & Sounds, and Other Active Ways to Teach the Alphabet

Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ Shapes

Lap Reading & More:  Easy Ways to Help Children Become Readers

Musical Fun and More for Phonemic Awareness



Iowa Reading Association Conf

Iowa Reading Association Conference

Ames, Iowa

Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24, 2015.
(Heidi will present on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 only:  (Session titles to be announced.)

Eric Litwin, author of Pete the Cat, will be presenting on Tuesday, June 24, too!!


Workshops by Heidi Butkus

Click here to see a list of Heidi’s workshops!


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Top Websites with Learning Games and More For Preschool and Kindergarten



Recently, on my Facebook page I asked for math and reading website recommendations for Preschool and Kindergarten aged children. I received so many great suggestions that I wanted to share them with you here.

1. Starfall

Starfall is a site to help kids learn language arts skills both at home and school. With four different areas of study, this site is great for moving children from basic letter recognition to reading comprehension. Starfall offers packages for families and classrooms and each package includes online and printable materials.  Just about every educator I know has heard of Starfall!  As for me, I never really got “into” using it.  Sorry, but the bitmapped images really bug me!  There is a free site and a paid membership site that starts at $30 for home use and $70 per year for a teacher with six students.  (Who has only six students?)  It’s $150 per year for a teacher with the entire classroom signed up.  (Ouch.)

2. PBS Kids Play


PBS Kids Play provides fun learning games featuring favorite PBS characters like Bob the Builder, Thomas the Train and Friends, Dinosaur Train and Curious George. This site has 56 educational games for reading, math, and science.  Classroom passes are also available. The content of the games are aligned with the Common Core and the material increases in difficulty as children master new skills. PBS KIDS PLAY costs $9.95 a month for a family of up to four profiles.


ABCYA has math and reading games for young children. For pre-K and Kindergartners, there is a great selection of early math concept games that cover skills such as counting, patterns, and number recognition. There is a really fun monster themed game that allows students the opportunity to practice sorting vowels and consonants and spelling sight words. This site is FREE and is great for both home and school use.


ABCMOUSE is a HUGE site that is great for Preschool and Kindergarten aged children. The site features complete curriculum plans that cover number recognition, colors, shapes, letters, reading, counting, and basic math skills. The site is cleverly designed like a classroom, which allows kids to walk through the room choosing different activities to engage in. The curriculum is developed to align with the Common Core Standards and allows students to progress to harder material as they master concepts. The site offers a family plan for $7.95 a month. For schools and preschools it is FREE!

5.  Reading Eggs and Math Seeds 

Reading Eggs

Math Seeds

Reading Eggs and Math Seeds are sister sites offering reading and math games for 3 to 7 year olds. The games are very engaging and focus on the building blocks of math and reading that little minds need. Reading Eggs focuses their games on phonics and sight words while the Math Seeds focuses on number recognition, math terms, shapes, telling time, money, and basic addition and subtraction. Both sites offer apps that can be used on phones or tablets. Reading Eggs starts at $49.95 for six months and $69 for a year. There are options for classroom passes as well as discounts for adding additional children. Math Seeds is $49.95 for a year.

Here are a few more educational sites that you also might find helpful.  These are not “gamified,” entertaining sites, but they do offer other resources:

Raz-Kids costs $84.95 or more per teacher per year subscription.  District licenses are available.

Raz-Kids costs $84.95-$99.95 or more per teacher per year subscription. District licenses are available.

Raz-Kids offers leveled readers and quizzes that are along the lines of Accelerated Reader.  You need a subscription to access it, but there is a free trial.  Usually, if a school has a subscription, the students can access it free.


Math Fact Cafe 2

This is an example of a customized online worksheet that can be printed from MathFactCafe.

Math Fact Cafe

This is an example of an online math activity that can be done at MathFactCafe.

Math Fact Cafe is a custom online worksheet generator.  There is nothing special or pretty about the worksheets, but you can narrow down the questions to exactly what you need the children to work on.  Kids can complete them online or in print.  The site is free, but donations are gladly accepted.


This is a screenshot of a Studyladder video lesson on the sound of  letter A.

This is a screenshot of a Studyladder video lesson on the sound of letter A.

This is a screenshot of a Studyladder activity or quiz that kids do after watching the video above.

This is a screenshot of a Studyladder activity or quiz that kids do after watching the video above.

Studyladder is a site that has lots of short video lessons, followed by online drills for kids and printable worksheets that teachers, homeschoolers, and parents might find useful.  There is a free section and a paid section.  This is not a “game” site, though; the online drills for the children seem to be a like an electronic worksheet (at first glance, not very engaging.)  The child reads the question, and then the child clicks the answer.  That’s all.

The worksheets vary in quality and usefulness, as far as I can tell on a quick look at the site.  However, I’m probably missing something, because this is what one of my Facebook fans said about the site:  “Studyladder has all curriculum areas and games you can play and compete with other kids around the world like a spelling bee game, a maths basic facts race etc.  The child creates their own avatar, collects points and can decorate their own room.”

This is a screen shot from the Storybird website.  Kids choose a picture and then write about it creatively.

This is a screen shot from the Storybird website. Kids choose a picture and then write about it creatively.

Storybird is an INCREDIBLE site for helping kids learn how to write creatively!  Storybird turns the writing process “upside down” by letting children first choose a piece of artwork and then write about it.  This helps give the creative juices a nudge!  Kids can write a poem, a little storybook, or older children can write a longer piece.  With Kindergarten, the teacher could project the pictures and let the children give her ideas to write.  I LOVE this!

I would love to hear about some of the websites you love! Leave them in the comments or jump on over and chat with me on Facebook!


Looking for more fun ways to learn reading and math skills? Check out all our great reading and math products right here!

Jumpin' Numbers and Shakin' Shapes DVD's

Look for our Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ Shapes Vol. 1 here, and our Jumpin’ Numbers Vol. 2 here. These DVD’s help kids learn actively by encouraging them to sing and move along with the music!

Sing & Spell DVD's from

You can check out our Sing and Spell the Sight Words program right here! Kids learn to read and spell by singing and moving along with the music.



Follow me! Did you enjoy this post? Do us a favor and share it with your friends! And follow this blog by signing up email updates, or follow on Bloglovin’. You can also follow me on TPT! I’m also on PinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and YouTube, too! Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter (on the left sidebar) for special deals and promo codes that you won’t find out about anywhere else.

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