I collected so many amazing things over three days at the ASCD Empower17 conference in Anaheim that I had to buy a big plastic tube and pay for a second checked bag. However, it was completely worth it and today I get to share with you The Leaderally picks for what every teacher can’t live without!

1. Seed to Plate Childhood Nutrition Program from PowerfulPlants.

There is a lot of buzz right now about classroom gardens and teaching kids about nutrition through teaching them gardening.  The Comprehensive Seed to Plate Curriculum for $249 (special through June 1, 2017) is really amazing. The seed packets have amazing augmented reality ( The vegetables dance and tell a story when you look at them through the app!) But the comprehensive nature of the curriculum kit will help even the most cautious gardener (me) feel like they can make a successful growth experience for the whole classroom.

2. WRiTE BRAiN Books

At Leaderally, we believe firmly that all learning is based in the ability to connect language and imagery. Write Brain Books has developed a writing curriculum firmly routed in that idea and it looks like so much fun!

3. Kagan Journal and Discussion Dice

What is it about dice? Is it the opportunity to allow the fates to choose? I have NEVER met a kid who didn’t love dice. I brought these home from the ASCD conference and had to go track them down to write this article because my kids (from age 5 to 14) had obsconded with them. Kagan makes lots of different dice for different classroom opportunities but I especially like the Journal Starters and the Famous People discussion ones.

4. Teacher’s Pet — #1 Whiteboard Eraser on the Planet.

So “#1 Whiteboard Eraser on the Planet” is their sales phrase, not mine, but I have to admit I was pretty sold on both the product and the cuteness. I also have a huge pet peeve about “ghosting” on my white board (“Ghosting” – when it’s kind of still there even after you’ve used the spray three times. While I didn’t know this term before, I so love to be able to give this annoyance a name). Anyway, this product completely eliminates “ghosting” so I had to have one.


5. The Kleen Slate

SO FUN! I love these individual white boards that you can customize to work on ANY activity you could dream up. I couldn’t even count how many FREE templates they have on their site. You just print the template, slide it into the slate, and allow every child in your classroom to have a personalized learning experience. SO COOL!

6. Remind

I’m not completely sure I understand the technology behind this one so I’m going to use their words.

Remind is a free communication tool that lets teachers reach students and parents on any device, including by text…Teachers log in to send messages to students and parents via tex, email or push notification (and here’s the reason it made this list) all without revealing their personal phone numbers.

This seems like an amazing communication tool. We all communicate via text but the thought of giving a parent your cell phone number is truly terrifying. Remind can give you peace of mind and great communication and remember it’s FREE.


7. SmithSystem

No list would be complete without a luxury item and I definitely drooled a bit over the products at SmithSystem. (No Prada for me – give me amazing organizational tools and desks that are truly flexible!)  So while only a few of us might be in a position to make a purchase this size, I simply had to show you some of the super cool features that your classroom could have if you won some kind of classroom furniture grant. Can you imagine putting that restless student at a standing desk?


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