Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I am truly grateful for each teacher that I meet and every child that sings with me. You inspire me and keep me going!

Take a look at the ideas teachers shared with me this fall and you’ll understand why I still love to learn!

Letter Chant (Kim Henderson)
Use this chant to review letters and sounds during transitions. Hold up flash cards with letters as you slap your thighs and clap your hands.
What is this letter? (slap thighs twice)
(Children say the letter.)
What does it say? (clap hands twice)
(Children make the sound.)
What is this letter…

*I found these letters at mrprintables.

Criss Cross Applesauce (Eva Thompson)
Tell children to put their spoons (hands) in their bowls (lap).

Christmas Suitcase (Eva Thompson & Christi Harmon)
In December study Christmas around the world and discuss different traditions and food. On the last day make a suitcase out of a brown bag and fill it with postcards so children can draw about each country.

Sight Word Rings (Valerie Finley)
Write sight words on fun shapes like animals, trains, flowers, etc. Punch holes in the shapes and put on a book ring. Send home with the children to practice every night.

Birthday Book (Jennifer Phelps)
Have children draw pictures for friends when it’s their birthday. Put them in a book that they can keep at home forever!

Comfort Dogs
Have you heard about these amazing pets that are trained to visit people at nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and disaster situations? Visit Esther’s facebook page to learn more: EstherComfortDog.

Magnet Pompoms (Jan Platto)
Glue magnetic pieces to colorful pompom balls. Children can use them on a magnetic board to make pictures, do math activities, make letters, or just use their imaginations!

mpom Erasers (Carmen Griffith)
Glue color matching pompoms to the end of dry erase markers. Students will quickly be able to erase their work.
Mr. Munch (Lindsey Koning)
Use a Cascade dishwasher table container to make an alligator. Sing this song to the tune of “I Had a Little Turtle” as you reinforce different letters.
I have a hungry friend.
His name is Mr. Munch.
And what he likes to do all day
Is gobble up his lunch!
He likes the letter say letter!
And things that start with make letter sound.
And he is very happy
When he goes munch, munch, crunch!

Monday, November 20, 2017


Teachers all over the USA are thankful that this is a short week!  Forget "rigor" and give your children some special memories.  Here is a song memory from when I was little girl many, many years ago.  It's still a great song and a meaningful way to compare/contrast and talk a about the "olden days."

Over the River
(Traditional Tune:  Happy Everything CD)
Over the river and through the woods       (Pretend to hold reins of a sleigh
To grandmother’s house we go.                  and drive as you bounce up and down.)
The horse knows the way                           (Put hands behind back and nod
To carry the sleigh                                        like a horse.)
Through the white and drifted snow.                 
Over the river and through the woods,        (Pretend to drive sleigh.)
Oh, how the wind does blow.                        (Wrap arms around self and shiver.)
It stings your toes and bites your nose        (Touch nose and point to toes.)
As over the ground we go.

Through the country and cities far               (Pretend to drive a car.)
In sun or wind or rain.
We might go by train                                    (Pull down on train whistle.)
We might take a plane.                                (Fly hand like a plane in the air.)
Or maybe a bus or car.                                (Hold out right hand, then left.)
Through low valleys and mountains high    (Look down low and then up.)
Now, grandmother’s house I spy.                  (Hand over eyes.)
Hurrah, for the fun!                                       (One fist in the air.)
Is the turkey done?                                   
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!                        (Cheer with other fist.)

Comparisons – Use a Venn diagram to compare what it would be like to visit grandmother a long time ago and how we visit now.  How are things the same?  How are they different?

Graphs – Make a graph of how they will travel to their Thanksgiving dinner.  Car?  Plane?  Train?  Bus?  Boat?  Stay at home!

Olden Days
Bring in a rotary phone, typewriter, record player, and camera.  (A note to parents might help you find one of these.)  Talk about how they were used when their grandparents were kids.  What do we use now instead?
*Hint!  I think it's important for children to know what these items are because most of the books copyrighted before 2000 have pictures or reference them.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I don't know about you, but I've got the Turkey wiggles this week.  (That means I'm ready to get the Thanksgiving party started!!!)  Here are some ideas that might help your children move, learn, and release their Turkey wiggles!


Jump as you read the words on the word wall, count to 100, and repeat other information.
*Children can also march or do other movements as they repeat skills.

Put your hands in the air and say the letter "A." Put your hands on your shoulders and make the /a/ sound. Touch your toes and say a word that starts with that sound. Continue going through the alphabet.

*Ask older children to say words that are nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech.

Stand Up 
Simply asking the children to stand up gets blood going to the brain. They can stand up when they read, count, or review other information.

Air Writing 
Ask children to make numerals, shapes, letters, or write words in the air with their "magic" finger.
Foot Writing 
Use feet to write words, letters, answers to math facts, etc.
Have children stand and dramatize spelling words or vocabulary words.

Balancing Review
Have children stand. Can they balance on their right foot and count? Count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc.

*Can they balance on their left foot and read word wall words?

*Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg as they say the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and so forth?

*Can they balance on their left foot and extend their right leg and read big books and classroom print?

*Can they balance on their toes and read big books and other classroom print?

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Are you working on lesson plans today? Here are some books to encourage the "authors" in your classroom this week.  These are a good example of what I call a "rabbit trap."  Children will want to write in them, read them, and then take them home and share them with their families.

Napkin Book
Purchase seasonal napkins at the dollar store. Cut paper (4-36 sheets) the size of the napkin and staple it inside. Children can draw pictures and write about what they are thankful for.
Paper Plate Book
You'll need paper plates, blank paper, and pipe cleaners (cut in half) to make this book. Cut 8" circles out of the blank paper. Put 4 sheets of the blank paper between the two paper plates, punch a hole at the top, and bind with a pipe cleaner. Children can draw favorite foods or write what they are thankful for in this book.

*Younger children could cut out foods they like from magazines or grocery store flyers.
Thanksgiving Journal
Children can make this book and then use it over the holidays to record what they do. For each book you will need 2 sheets of white paper, a sheet of construction paper, a plastic fork, and a rubber band. Place the white paper on top of the construction paper and fold in half. Punch two holes 3" from the top on bottom on the creased side as shown. Insert the rubber band in one whole and loop the end of the fork through it. Insert the other end of the rubber band through the other hole and secure the fork.

Hint!  Large plastic forks and skinny rubber bands work best.



We Give Thanks
(Tune: “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” – HAPPY EVERYTHING CD)
We give thanks for food we eat.
We give thanks for food we eat
We give thanks for families…
We give thanks for friends so dear…
We give thanks for all the earth…

*Let children suggest other things they are thankful for and insert the words in the song.

Here is a link to run off the above book.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Last month when I visited Giles County they gave me SMILES OF GILES - A COUNTY ALPHABET BOOK.

This precious book was created by Giles Early Education Project and illustrated by the children from Giles County, VA.



For each letter there is artwork by the children, as well as a photograph. What an amazing way to nurture a sense of community pride in children, teach letters, and make them more knowledgeable about the place they live!

Wouldn't this be a great project for any town, city, county, or state? I bet you could get a grant for publishing this book, or perhaps the chamber of commerce or visitor's center in your area would be interested.


I thought the last page was the best. "May the music of Giles play all your life long."

Thursday, November 16, 2017



Make an alphabet book with me!
Take a look and you will see.
Alphabet books from A to Z!

Here are some alphabet books you might want to create with your class. They are a perfect vehicle for alphabet knowledge, reading for information, reading foundations, and many other language skills. And, you know when your children make a book there is a sense of “ownership” and they will want to read it.

I Can Read!
Take 26 large sheets of paper (12” x 16”) and write a different letter on each page. Put pages between construction paper to make a book called “I Can Read My ABC’s.” Hole punch and bind with book rings. Invite children to bring in words from food labels, stores, catalogs, etc. that they can read. As children bring in their words, help them match up the first letter with the same letter in the book and glue their word on that page. 


See - Sign - SING! 
Enlarge copies of the sign language alphabet. Put a different letter and sign on each page; then let different children illustrate a picture that begins with that sound. Bind together to make a book. Encourage the children to reproduce the signs on each page as they read the book.
*Take digital photos of children making the different signs.
*Cut hands out of felt and glue them to make manual signs.
*You can also make a Braille alphabet book by using drops of glue to represent the different Braille letters.

Alphabet Art
Write large letters of the alphabet on paper. Give each child a letter and challenge them to create a picture around their letter. “What does your letter look like? Does it remind you of something? Can you use your crayons to turn it into that object? Try to ‘camouflage’ it so no one knows what your letter is.” Put their drawings together to make a book. Can they find the letter hidden in each picture?
*Give each child the letter that their name begins with to make this book.
*Challenge older children to turn their letter into an object that begins with the sound their letter makes.

Touch and Tell ABC Book
Make letters out of different textures, such as sandpaper, felt, yarn, canvas, fake fur, etc.

AlphaBODY Book
Challenge children to make letters with their bodies.  Or, divide children into small groups and ask them to make letters.

Themes and Holidays
Make alphabet books that coordinate with various themes, holidays, and
seasons. For example, if you are studying the ocean make a “Ocean ABC
Book.”  Wouldn't a "Thankful Alphabet Book" be a perfect project next week?

Oh, but what until you see the special alphabet book I'll have on my blog tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Isn’t it nice to be missed? If a child has been absent, they will feel special when they return to school and you sing this song to the tune of “The Bear Went over the Mountain.”

     Welcome back child’s name.
     Welcome back child’s name.
     Welcome back child’s name.
     We’re glad you’re here today.

Good-Bye Book
I mentioned this book several years ago when K.J. and Kalina left on a long trip and wouldn’t be returning to school. Kalina’s teacher asked each child to draw a picture for her and then they made it into a book. She treasured that book!  K.J.’s teacher did nothing. It's one of those little things that could mean so much to a child.  

Moving away or going to a new school is painful for children. We’ve all felt that sense of loss when we have moved or said good-bye to friends. This book would give children a meaningful way to let their friend know they will be missed. And it would be something the parting child could hold onto and visit when they leave.

*Hint! A class photo would make a great cover.

Welcome to a New Friend
I just remembered this idea that we did when a new child joined our class.  We'd sit in a circle and I'd put a block in the middle.  We'd go around the circle and one child at a time would stand and jump over the block as we sang this song to "Jack Be Nimble."
     (Child's name) be nimble.
     (Child's name) be quick.
     (Child's name) jump over the candlestick.

It was just a silly routine, but the kids enjoyed welcoming a new classmate with it.