Tools Kindergarten visit: Ms. Connell’s Kindergarten is off to the Amazon!

Curious to see what’s happening in real Tools classrooms? Meet our January Tools Kindergarten Teacher of the Month, Christin Connell, and see how she and her Kindergarteners brought the Amazon Rainforest to Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey.

The challenge


What we heard from teachers and administration at after implementing Tools at

Tools Kindergarten visit: Ms. Connell’s Kindergarten is off to the Amazon!


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The process

Committee search to choose the right curriculum

Selection of Tools of the Mind curriculum & professional development

Tools training and implementation for all relevant staff

Teaching and learning review and outcomes

If you’ve never set foot in a Tools classroom, here’s your chance to get a closer look at what’s happening behind the classroom door. Each month, a different Tools Kindergarten teacher posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, sharing photos and updates about what they’re up to each week. Meet January’s Tools Kindergarten Teacher of the Month, Christin Connell, who posts about the goings-on of her New Jersey Kindergarten class.

Ms. Connell, who is in her fifth year teaching Tools, shares, “I am lucky enough to be able to attend many professional development opportunities and I see how the Tools curriculum incorporates all of the important parts...I feel that I am never lacking in any areas of instruction while using Tools!” She loves catching her students in “Aha! moments” at this time of year, as their reading and writing skills blossom, using Tools’ tools like PowerTools for reading and sound maps for writing to embrace their literacy journey with confidence.

Join Ms. Connell and her class on another kind of journey, as they head to Brazil with Jack and Annie, on an exciting adventure to the Amazon Rainforest! 

Setting the scene

During the first week of their theme unit, Ms. Connell’s class transforms their classroom into an Amazon Rainforest. By working together to create the animals, plants and ‘amenities’ that Jack and Annie might find in the rainforest, children grow their background knowledge and use their creativity to build the environment that will inspire their play and learning in the coming weeks. Prop making gets everyone in the classroom ready for the tropical adventure to come!

Ready to take action!

After reading an Interactive Read Aloud about how to save the rainforest, Ms. Connell’s class can’t wait to create their own posters to inform others about the impacts of deforestation. By reading stories that are closely integrated with Tools thematic units, children are able to grow their understanding of science and the world around them, learn new vocabulary and build deeper and more personal connections to content. 

Here, we see Ms. Connell’s children advocating for the rainforest, trying to save trees from being cut down and protect the many species who call the rainforest home.

Learning to write and writing to learn

Ms. Connell’s students draw and write about what they read in Scaffolded Writing. It looks like Annie got something special from the monkey in today’s chapter! By writing about what they read, children are better able to recall the events in a story, as well as deepen their reading comprehension.

Ms. Connell and her Kindergarten class (and these friendly rainforest friends!) hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to the Amazon. Many thanks to them for inviting us along on their January journey. We can't wait to see where they’ll be off to next!

To see the most recent posts by our Tools Kindergarten Teacher of the Month, head over to X, formerly known as Twitter.