Using a TV in the Classroom - ELA and Math

place value fish app

Having a TV in your classroom can seem overwhelming at first, but it really is an amazing way to increase learning. Click here to read about how I incorporate it into our morning meeting.

While I love how it enhances our morning meeting, I think what it does for my teaching in ELA and Math is what causes me to love it the most!

ELA Uses 

  • Vocabulary

Whenever we are reading a new book, I use the TV to help my students understand new words. For example, when we were reading The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater, they mention a baobab tree. I use my TV to show them a picture:

baobab tree
The Big Orange Splot

When we read A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook, I always have a picture of a scepter ready!
scepter image
A Bad Case of the Tattle Tongue

I gather the pictures I need prior to the lesson on my Google Drive, but occasionally they will enquire about a word I wasn't prepared for. Then I just use Kiddle when I Google it.

In the beginning I would do this for my English Language Learners, but I have found over the years that it is a great way to activate prior knowledge for all of my students!

  • Reading Activities

Hello Literacy Label It

We use Hello Literacy's Label It as a pre lunch activity for the first month or two of school. I display it onto the TV, and we label all the items we see on the whiteboard. This is a great way to model spelling strategies and patterns in a quick format each day.

Hello Literacy Picture of the Day

I love using Hello Literacy's Picture of the Day with my class after lunch. They really look forward to it and gather quickly at the rug to see the days pictures. I call it up on Google Drive. This works really well since it allows me to zoom in close when they need to see something better.

observe, infer and wonder chart

We study the picture and then make a chart on our whiteboard of all the things we observe, what we infer and questions we have based off the picture.

In the beginning of the year the inferences are a bit hard to generate and the questions are quite simplistic. As the year progresses, they begin to come up with some very creative inferences and questions! 

Hello Literacy Reading Task Cards

To expose my early readers to good reading strategies, like self-correcting, we also use Hello Literacy's Reading Intervention Task Cards. My students get a kick out of the incorrect sentences.

In the beginning of the year I read it to them off the TV and they choose the answer. As the year progresses more and more students can volunteer to read it to the class. It is a fast and easy way to make sure you are talking about monitoring for meaning and self-correcting every day!

  • Online Reading Programs


I have used Raz-Kids with every class I have every taught, including the computer lab pullout years! I have never met a student K-5 who does not enjoy this program. I start off using it in September with my Kindergarten students.


I use the TV to show them how to log in and navigate the program. We do this a lot, so when they begin using it independently in October, the majority of the class is able to login and navigate between the books,


and the rewards program.


Raz-Kids is a wonderful tool for pre-readers as it tracks the word while it reads to them.


This is another way to expose kids to left to right directionality and tracking. It also helps reinforce the sight words we learned. They love finding our Sight Word of the Day in their Raz stories!

  • Modeling Worksheets

One of my favorite uses of the TV is for displaying worksheets. Getting Kindergarteners to understand how to complete worksheets can be tricky, especially in the beginning of the year.

I simply put the worksheet into my Google Drive, then project it onto the TV with the ShowMe app. Then I can write on any worksheet I choose!

monthly hundreds charts

I can show them where to put their name when we complete our first monthly 100's chart and how to begin filling in the numbers.

monthly reading logs

For their monthly reading logs, I show them where their parents or siblings can write the date, title and author.

editable calendars

Modeling how to fill in the behavior calendars is very helpful. Behavior calendars are a great way to easily maintain communication with their parents.

I show them how to cross off the days we aren't in school that month. Then we find that day and color it in correctly. It is a fast and fun way to review calendar and days of the week each day!

When I started using the TV to model how to complete worksheets last year, I noticed a huge improvement in their work. It is a great visual tool for all students who are just beginning to understand how to participate in a classroom setting!

Math Uses: 

  • Songs

When I was little, my mom used to joke about singing all of my lessons to me. She was convinced that this would be the best way I could learn. I had a tendency to learn songs quickly - but Math, no such luck! I always keep this idea in mind when it comes to teaching new skills to my student. There is a vast array of songs relating to content out there!

The majority of these songs come into play for my class during math. I blogged a few years ago about some of our favorite counting songs, but since then we use it for so much more!

Every time I have a new skill to teach in math, I use a song to introduce it first. My classes love these songs so much, they beg to hear them each day! Personally I adore them due to the combination of music and visuals.

I have playlists for all content areas. They are a great time fillers when you have a quick issue arise, or waiting to go to an assembly or event. I just choose a skill we need to review and we're off!

  • Workbooks

I try to limit the amount of worksheets we do in Kindergarten. I believe some are important, but I do not want to stifle their learning by burying them in worksheets. We used McGraw-Hill My Math last year for the first time. 

show me whiteboard app

I really loved the online components. Instead of doing the workbook, we would do it together on the TV and then I would give them extra examples to complete in their notebooks or on whiteboards.

show me whiteboard app

When I tried to use the workbook for number formation, it was hard to keep them all on task. However, when I model it on the TV and we complete it on the rug, I can easily see who is forming the numbers correctly and who needs support. 

show me whiteboard app

These online worksheets were a big success last year, and one that I will definitely be incorporating into our math block again!

  • Apps

I posted about some of the apps that we use during morning meeting, such as Place Value Fish, Google graphs and Educreations.

Here are a few others we love to play on the TV. They gather at the rug and each play a turn and then pass the iPad around. Watching it on the TV keeps them hooked!

Sushi Monster app
Sushi Monster app

Sushi Monster is a fun way to practice addition facts. My classes always like to play this in a group of three. One student runs the game and the other two give "advice!"

universal numbers appuniversal numbers app

I have had this app awhile, its is called Universal Numbers: Visual Counting. You select a number from the right hand column and watch it drop in.

Ones are green and tens are blue and drop down as a rod. It is a great visual resource! Even though I have it, I can no longer find a link for the app. I will let you know if they update it.

dice appdice app

Dice is a great way to reinforce number recognition, subitizing, and addition. You can roll just 1 dice or as many as 21! The number fades in slowly, allowing everyone a chance to guess the correct number.

  • Student Examples

showing student samples on tv

Throughout the day we use the TV to showcase their work. Whether it is things they have built

showing student samples on tv
showing student samples on tv
showing student samples on tv
showing student samples on tv

stories they have written (using The Moffatt Girls amazing Journal Prompts!)

Moffatt Girls journal prompts
student work samples

or lessons they succeeded in completing

student work samplesstudent work samples
student work samples
student work samples

nothing motivates the class more than seeing what their friends achieved displayed on the TV!

Oftentimes I will wander around the room with my iPad mirrored to the TV in camera mode. Anytime I see something to display I pop it up on the TV.

This is a great tool to assist students who are stuck too. Rather than me explaining, I show what they did on the TV and their peers help them to solve it the correct way.

student work samples

student work samples

I hope this has given you some ideas of how you can incorporate a TV into your routine! If you have any other ways, let me know in the comments!

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