Monday, October 23, 2017

THUH OR THEE?

"Thuh" or "thee"? That is the question. But it doesn’t really matter if you spell it 
“t – h – e.”

“The” Book
Fold two sheets of paper in half and staple. Children write the word “The” at the top of each page and then draw a picture. What a simple way for beginning readers to feel successful.
     
                                  
*Advanced children could write a sentence using the word “the."

*You could also make an “a” book.

THE Song
(Tune: “Shortnin’ Bread”)
You can say the
Or you can say the,
But you always have to spell it
T – H – E.

“The” Flip Book
Fold one sheet of paper into eighths. Open and cut up three creased lines to the middle. Fold in half to make flips. Write “the” on the front of each flip and then have children draw pictures or cut out pictures to put under each flip.
     
                                         

Anybody in Springfield, IL, want a free concert on November 1st?  I'm going to be doing a workshop there on 11/2 and my flight gets in early enough to sing with some Title 1 children on the 1st.  I mentioned this several weeks ago and I have concerts lined up in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, but nobody's emailed (drjean@drjean.org) yet from Springfield.  Just give me a shout if you want to sing, dance, and have some fun!!!

                             

Sunday, October 22, 2017

READ AND WIN!

Several years ago while visiting a school I saw two shiny new bikes on display in the library. Every time a child read a book they got to put their name on a ticket to win the bike. What a great way to motivate children to read! These ideas aren’t quite as big as a bike, but I bet you might spark a little interest with them.
                                                    
Book Drawing

You will need a roll of tickets (purchase at an office supply store) or make your own. Each time a child reads a book she gets to write her name on a ticket. Collect these in a sack during the week. On Friday, draw a name out of the sack and that child WINS a book!

*It could be a book that you purchased or a book that the class has made.

Stay Up Late and Read 
To reward children make copies of “Extra 15 Minutes” coupons similar to the one shown. Children who earn the ticket get to stay up an extra 15 minutes at bedtime and read to their parents.
                                                                             
Book Bucks
Run off "reading-bucks."  (Free if you do a google search.)  When children read a book they earn a "buck."  They can save these to buy a book or other prize.
                                 
Popcorn Party 
Get a large jar and write “Popcorn Party” on it. Every time any student reads a book she gets to add a cotton ball to the jar. When the jar is full the whole class gets a popcorn party.

Reading Incentives
I asked Mr. Google about "reading incentives" and he gave me lots of great links.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

GOT A MINUTE?

If you've got 2 or 3 minutes after you've read a story or taught a lesson, these are some quick ways to assess learning and recall information. These ideas can be adapted for fiction or non-fiction literature, math, science, or social studies. All your students will be engaged and can reflect on what they've learned. That's a win/win!!

Sign Language
Teach children sign language for “yes” (make a fist and nod it up and down) and “no” (extend middle and index finger from thumb and open and close. As you ask questions, children respond with the appropriate sign.

                                                         
Schema
Teach sign language for "connection" (thumbs make circles with index fingers and join like a chain). Discuss that when they connect what is in the book with what is in their brain they make a "schema." If they've made a "schema" they can show you with their hands. Call on random students to explain how they connected personally with the book.
                
Show Me
You will need two index cards. Write “yes” on one and “no” on the other. Children place these on the surface in front of them. As the teacher asks questions, the children hold up the appropriate word.

                     
Envelope
Seal an envelope and cut it in half. Write “yes” on one side and “no” on the other side.

Stump the Teacher
Explain to the children that they get to be the teacher and ask you questions. Remind them to think about what they want to ask you before raising their hand. They must also know the answer to the question they are going to ask.

Friday, October 20, 2017

PINCH, ZIP, AND HOLD UP!

I've got some quick strategies to practice skills when you have a few extra minutes.

Pinch Cards
Cut construction paper or heavy paper into 8 ½ “ x 5 ½” rectangles. Down the left side write the numerals 0-10. Write the very same numerals on the reverse side. As the teacher calls out math problems the children pinch the correct answer and hold up their cards. The teacher can quickly glance around the room to check responses. 
*Make pinch cards for words, numeral recognition 10-20, phonics, etc. 



                                                      
Zip It
Write letters, words, numbers, etc. on the left side of a sheet of paper as shown and insert the paper in a zip bag. Call out a question, and children “zip” to the correct answer and then hold up their bag. 
               
*If you write numerals horizontally you can use it like a number line. 
                                                                        
Hold Up!
Each child will need a wipe off board or magic slate. They could also write on their desk with a dry erase marker. The children calls out a word and children write down the beginning, middle, or ending sound. After several seconds the teacher says, “Hold up!” and the children hold up their answers. 
                                     
*Adapt this for spelling words, math number stories, review questions, etc. 
*Tell the children to “draw what you know” and then share with a friend.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

WANT AN OREO?

I was cleaning out my closet, and look at this great idea some teachers from Nebraska shared with me years ago. You know how those two letter words are difficult for children to learn because they don’t always follow the rules (phonics rules, that is!). Well, here’s a yummy idea to help them taste better. 
                                      
First, have the children brainstorm all the two letter words they can think of and write them on the board. Encourage them to look in books, look at classroom print, and so forth. 

Second, give them a double stuffed Oreo cookie and show them how to open it. Hold one half in each hand. Lick the left side as you say the first letter in a word. Lick the right side as you say the second letter in the word. Then say the word. Continue with all the two letter words on the board.
*If you are in a s
chool where food is not allowed, just pretend you have a cookie in each hand.


Third, follow up with a class book. Write individual letters on 3” circles as shown. Write the two letter word on a 4 ½” circle. Read through the book as you demonstrate how to lick your left hand and say one letter. Lick the right hand and say the other letter. Clap hands and say the word.
Hint! Remind the children that they don’t want to really lick their dirty hand. Just pretend!!!
           

You can also sing two letter words to the tune from “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”
If you want to spell me, say M –E.
If you want to spell me, say M –E.
It’s easy as can be when you sing and spell with me.
If you want to spell me, say M –E.

Duplo Letters and Words
Here is a photo a teacher sent demonstrating how she integrates blocks with phonics and sight words. She said she asked the parents to donate the Duplo blocks and the children thought they were "playing" instead of "learning."
                                  

And you get an "oreo" cheer for visiting my blog today. Pretend to lick your right hand. Pretend to lick your left hand. Clap them together! And that's an "oreo" cheer!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

THE VOWEL FAMILY

First, I have a song that introduces the long and short sounds for the vowels.  Making manual signs for the letters or holding up letters will help add the visual connection as you sing.

The Vowel Song  (Tune: “Are You Sleeping?” Is Everybody Happy CD)
A makes two sounds. (Echo each line.)
/A/ and /a/.
/A/ for apron, /a/ for apple.
/A/ and /a/.
/E/ and /e/ - eagle and elephant…
/I/ and /i/ - ice cream and inchworm…
/O/ and /o/ - open and octopus…
/U/ and /u/ - ukulele and uncle…
                              

The long vowel sounds are easier for children to remember because "they just say their name." Here's a song that will help put those short vowel sounds in the brain. Of course, the letter U will be their favorite!

The Vowel Family (Tune: "BINGO" - Just for Fun CD)
Aunt Aggie had an allergy
and she would always sneeze-o (Pretend to sneeze.)
/a/a/a/a/a/ /a/a/a/a/a/ /a/a/a/a/a/
And she would always sneeze-o.

Grandpa Eddie stayed in shape
and he would exercise-o (Pretend to lift weights.)
/e/e/e/e/e/ /e/e/e/e/e/ /e/e/e/e/e/
He liked to exercise-o.

Baby Izzi had chicken pox
and she would always itch-o. (Scratch body.)
/i/i/i/i/i/ /i/i/i/i/i/ /i/i/i/i/i/
And she would always itch-o.

Cousin Otto’s throat was sore
And this is what he’d say-o. (Put hand on throat.)
/o/o/o/o/o/ /o/o/o/o/o/ /o/o/o/o/o/
And this is what he’d say-o.

Uncle Unk wore underwear
and it did stink-o. (Hold nose.)
/u/u/u/u/u/ /u/u/u/u/u/ /u/u/u/u/u/
And it did stink-o.

Let the children use the attached sheet to make vowel puppets. Tape the letters to craft sticks or glue to an envelope that's been cut in half.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljRjhzN3oxNFliSEU/view?usp=sharing

Five Little Vowels  (Adapted from "Monkeys and the Alligator")
Five little vowels swinging from a tree (Hold up 5 fingers.)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me! (Point finger.)
You can’t catch me!”
Along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be (Open and close arms.)
And snatched that A right out of the tree.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ (Make sign language A with hand.)

E…I…O…U

*Draw a tree on a magnetic board and remove magnetic letters as you say the chant.
                                                 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CVC WORDS

The ability to blend simple three letter words is a big step in learning to read.  Here are some hands-on activities where children can identify initial, medial vowel, and final sounds.

Body Touch  

Blend words touching parts of the body. Touch the head as you say the beginning sound in the word. Touch the stomach as you say the middle sound. Touch the feet as you say the final sound. Quickly move from head to feet and blend the sounds. Next, challenge children to isolate where they hear the sound.
For example: Where do you hear the /p/ in cap? (Children touch toes.)

Park the Car
Make a parking lot with three spaces. As you say a word children park the car according to where they hear the sound (beginning, middle, end) of the word.

                                                           
Letter Tin 
Place magnetic letters inside a cookie tin. On the inside cover make three lines with a permanent marker. Have the children take out the letters and place them around the lid. Call out a sound and have the children select that letter and place it on the first line in the lid. Call out a second sound. Call out a third sound. Blend the sounds and read the word.
                      
Hint! Adapt the number of letters to the ability of the students.
*Store small magnetic letters in a breath mint tin.
*Let children use magnetic letters on a cookie sheet.

Unifix Cubes 
Place dot stickers on unifix cubes. Write letters on the dots.  Children can use these for constructing words.
                                             
Donut Words

Cut donut shapes out of construction paper. Write consonants on either side of the donut as shown. Write vowels on small circles. Children place the donut “holes” between the consonants and blend the sounds.
         
Phonics Fingers 
You will need 3 pairs of white cloth garden gloves for this project. Cut the fingers off the gloves. Write a letter on each finger with markers. (Write consonants in blue and vowels in red.) Children insert glove fingers on their own fingers to make CVC words. Have them substitute letters to make new words.
                                                       



Monday, October 16, 2017

SHAPE UP WITH SHAPES

How about some ideas for geometry?  You can use these activities with young children or school age by adapting the shapes.  You might even “spy” some of your state standards here!!!

The Shape Song  (Tune:  "I'm a Little Teapot"- "October Happies")
I am momma circle round like a pie. (Hands over head in a circle.)
I’m baby triangle three sides have I. (Use 3 fingers to make a triangle.)
I am papa square my sides are four. (Draw a square in the air.)
I’m cousin rectangle shaped like a door. (Draw a rectangle in the air and then knock.)

I am brother oval shaped like a zero. (Make oval with arms over head.)
I’m sister diamond with a sparkle and a glow. (Touch thumbs and index fingers and extend.)
We are the shapes that you all know. (Make circles with index fingers and thumbs and
Look for us wherever you go. place around your eyes like glasses.)

Note! Explain that “rhombus” is the correct term for the diamond shape. Sing the song calling sister a “rhombus” instead of a “diamond.”

*Have children draw shapes in the air with elbows, feet, noses, and other body parts.

*Place foam shapes or 3-dimensional shapes in a bottle filled with sand or salt.  Children spin it around and try to identify the shapes.  Can they draw the different shapes that they spy?

*Divide children into small groups and challenge them to lay on the floor and make various shapes with their bodies.  How many friends will it take to make a triangle?  A square?  A pentagon?  Take pictures and make a book.

*Make spyglasses for “spying” shapes by wrapping construction paper around paper towel rolls.  

*Cut geometric shapes out of construction paper and let children use them to make a collage.  Can they combine simple shapes to make larger shapes?

*Cut sponges into geometric shapes and have children dip them in paint and stamp on paper.

*Download highway shapes from makinglearningfun.com.  Children can drive around these with toy cars or they can roll play dough and place it on the shapes.

*Go on a walk and look for shapes in your school and on the playground.



*Check out Carolyn's idea for creating SHAPE TOWN in your classroom.  It's a great way to involve families and give children hands-on experiences.
                              
You'll find Shape Town and Shape family in our "October Happies" preview.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

DICTIONARY DAY

Did you know that October 16th is Dictionary Day? It's actually Noah Webster's birthday and a perfect day to let each child make her own personal dictionary.
                                      

Materials: pocket folder, prepared pages with alphabet letters, markers

*Here’s a link where you can download the pages with letters: http://www.drjean.org/html/monthly_act/act_2007/02_Feb/pg01.html

Directions: Ask students to tell you what they know about dictionaries. Brainstorm the many uses of dictionaries. Model looking up words and reading definitions. Explain that each of them will get to create their own dictionary that they can use to help them the rest of the school year. First, let the children decorate the outside of their pocket folder. Insert the alphabet pages. As you add new words to the word wall or have new spelling words, ask the children to write them in their dictionary.  These would also be a meaningful way to introduce vocabulary words.  Encourage students to use their dictionaries when they write independently. 


Hint! You might want to go ahead and type your core sight words on the pages before running them off.

Here are some other activities you can play with their dictionaries.

*Play “mystery word” where you give clues about words.
Can you find a word that starts with /m/ and ends with /d/?
Can you find a word that is the opposite of “fast”? 


*Play the “rhyme” game.
Can you find a word that rhymes with “bike”?
Can you find a word that rhymes with “log” and is a pet? 

*How many one letter words can you find? How many two letter words? Three letter words? 

*Ask children to clap out the syllables in words. 

*Can they match up words in their dictionaries with words in the classroom? 

*Sort words that refer to people, things we do, describing words, etc. 

*Have children find a word that starts with each letter in their name. 

*Have children make up sentences (oral or written) with the words. 

*Ask children to illustrate words or find magazine pictures that match the words.

Homework Hint!  Let the children take home their dictionaries one night a week and do some of the above activities with their parents.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

FREE IPADS AND CELL PHONES

Would you like an iPad and a cell phone for all your students? Today is going to be like winning the lottery because I've got a "pretend" iPad and iPhone for each of your students. These can help children with keyboard, letter recognition, sight words, spelling words, number recognition, math facts...Slow down, Jean!

IPad
Materials: pocket folders, keyboard pattern (link below), glue, index cards



 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljb1NUajZXTWZxc1U/view?usp=sharing

Directions: Cut around the keyboard pattern and glue it to the inside top right of the pocket folder as shown. On the index cards write letters of the alphabet. Place them in the pocket. Students choose a card and place it on the top of the screen. After visually matching the letter and "typing" it on the keyboard they place it in the left pocket.

*Write sight words on index cards and place them in the pocket. Children choose a word, type it, and then place it in the pocket on the left side.

*Write children's names on index cards so they can practice typing.

*Use iPads to reinforce spelling words or vocabulary words.

Cell Phone
Materials: copies of the cell phone, heavy paper, scissors, markers, glue

Directions: Make copies of the attached cell phone. Children cut out the front of the phone. Next, let them trace around the back of the phone on heavy paper and cut it out. Glue the front of the cell phone to the back. Decorate the back with markers.

Note! If your copy machine will work with card stock you can copy the pattern on that.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljb0hMY2hKSjJPV1k/view?usp=sharing

Hint! Use a hole punch to make a viewfinder so they can take pictures with their phones. They can take pictures of shapes, words, letters, nouns, tools, friends, and so forth.

*Call out letters or numbers for children to identify.


*Type out phone numbers or zip codes.


*Spell words. How much is a word worth?


*Use for math facts or number stories.


*Teach children how to type 911 in emergencies.


*Let children make up their own learning activities to do with their phones.

Friday, October 13, 2017

ARE YOU ENGAGED?

Springfield, IL, November 2
San Antonio, TX, November 8
Oklahoma City, November 30
Come get "engaged" with me as you learn ways to make standards FUN and Active!

Engagement is a term that is appearing frequently in educational discussions because so many teachers seem to be struggling with getting children to focus and pay attention. Children are increasingly disengaging from the real world because they are living in a passive state on the screen.

First thing to do is TURN EVERYTHING OFF! If there is a screen on the children will look at it and not at you.
                                        
Here are some other tips to engage your students.

1. Look children in their eyes and smile. I don’t care where I go when I sing “I like you there’s no doubt about it” I have the children in the palm of my hand.
     I Like You (Tune: “Shortnin’ Bread”)
     I like you, there’s no doubt about it. (Point to self and then a friend.)
     I like you, there’s no doubt about it.
     I like you, there’s no doubt about it.
     You are my good friend. (Point to friend and then self.)

2. Give your students 100% of your attention. Be in the moment!!! Send the message that YOU are the most important thing in the world right now. I’m giving you my best and I need to you to do the same.

4. Be enthusiastic! Teachers can add the magic to anything with their facial expression, voice, and body language.

5. Be dramatic and break into a song or do something silly. The brain loves novelty!

6. Physical proximity! Get close to your students. Create an intimate space by having the children sit on the floor in a circle. A gentle touch can send a positive message to the brain.

7. Use their name frequently. You might have a child day dreaming and simply saying their name will bring them back to reality.

8. Do a movement activity to focus those busy hands. Lead children in a cheer or a clapping pattern. Use call backs and attention grabbers.
     Tootsie Roll
     Tootsie roll, (Roll hands around each other.)
     Lollipop. (Pretend to lick a lollipop.)
     We’ve been talking, (Open and shut fingers.)
     Now let’s stop! (Make sign language sign for “stop.”)
                         

     Call Backs
     Teacher says: Hands on top (Place hands on head.)
     Children respond: Everybody stop (Children freeze.)
     Teacher says: Macaroni and cheese.
     Children respond: Freeze please (Children freeze.)
     And so forth….
                                                                      
9. Use positive redirection to get them to do what you want them to do. Instead of saying, “Sit down and be quiet,” trying singing this tune:

     Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Lap  (Tune: "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes")
     Head, shoulders, knees, and lap, (Point to appropriate body part.)
     Knees and lap.
     Head, shoulders, knees, and lap, (Point to appropriate body part.)
     Knees and lap.
     Legs are criss-cross applesauce (Cross legs and fold hands.)
     And our hands are in our lap, lap, lap.

10. Lower your voice and pretend to be calm as you cross your hands and smile.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SHOW AND SHARE FROM LAKE CHARLES, LA

Thank goodness Hurricane Nate took a turn and I got to visit Lake Charles on Monday. Talk about friendly, fun, and fantastic teachers!!! Here are some of the great ideas they shared with me.
                               

Tattle Tale Thursday (Brittany Cormier)
When the children come to tattle remind them that they can only tattle on Tattle Tale Thursday. (They usually forget by then!)
                                                
Take a Seat (Annie Sarver)
Take a seat. (Clap)
Take a seat. (Clap)
Take a load off your feet.
Just sit on down, sit on down. WHAT?
Sit on down, sit on down. WHAT?

Happy Birthday Karate Style (Lanetta Boyette)
*When you say, “Chop, chop,” put your hands out like a butcher’s knife and chop the air.
*When you say, “Hiyah!” kick your let out like a karate expert.

Happy birthday to you. Chop-chop, chop-chop.
Happy birthday to you. Chop-chop, chop-chop.
Happy birthday dear (child’s name). Chop-chop, chop-chop.
Happy birthday to you. CHOP-CHOP! HIYAH!

Name Song (Mary Aleshire)
You can sing any name to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.”
M – a – r – c – u - s
M – a – r – c – u - s
M – a – r – c – u - s
That spells Marcus.

Sit Down Chant (Jazzma Reese)
Our hands are in our laps. (Place hands in lap.)
Our feet are crossed. (Cross hands and feet.)
You’re looking at me. (Point to teacher and eyes.)
And your mouths are off. (Turn invisible knob off by mouth.)

Morning Meeting Song (Jazzma Reese)
Sing children’s names in this song to the tune of “Frere Jacques.”
Hello (child’s name). Hello (child’s name). (Wave hello.)
How are you? How are you? (Hand behind.)
We are glad to have you. (Wave hand.)
We are glad to have you.
Here at school. Here at school. (Open palms.)

Parts of a Book (Angela Hollis)
Children repeat each line to the tune of “Frere Jacques” as the teacher points out the different parts of the book.
This is the front cover. (repeat)
This is the back cover. (repeat)
This is the spine. (repeat)
This is the title. (repeat)
The author write the words. (repeat)
The illustrator draws the picture. (repeat)
This is the beginning. (1 time)
This is the ending. (1 time)
And this is the middle. (repeat)

Kiss Your Heart! Lynette Jensen)
When a child is “caught” being kind tell them to “kiss your heart.”
          
Turtle Feet (Kelly Burgess)
(Say this to the children to encourage them to walk slowly down the hall.)
Turtle feet,
Turtle feet,
Nice and slow.
Eyes to the front
Watch where we go.

Stop Interruptions (Kelly Burgess)
To stop storytellers from taking time of learning tell them to “save it in your brain.” (Touch the back of your head.) Then tell them to you tell you later on.

DREAM SHAPES by Rebecca Dargin Rigmaiden
This is a delightful book written by a Head Start teacher in Lake Charles. It’s a wonderful way to reinforce shapes and teach children to follow their dreams. The illustrations were vibrant and charming! Loved it!

                                                  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TAKE YOUR TEDDY BEAR TO WORK/SCHOOL DAY

October 11th really is "Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day."  Who would have thought???  However, everybody loves teddy bears and you could celebrate with a teddy bear party any day.  So where did this love affair with teddy bears begin? President Theodore Roosevelt was a hunter. While hunting in Mississippi in 1902, he refused to shoot a small bear. The Washington Post published a story about it and illustrated the event with this cartoon.
                        
Brooklyn candy shop owner, Morris Michtom, saw the cartoon and asked his wife to make two stuffed toy bears to go in his shop window. After asking permission from President Roosevelt, he called them “Teddy’s bears.” Eventually Michtom started the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

About the same time a German named Margaret Steiff was making her living by sewing stuffed animals. An American saw a stuffed bear she had made and ordered many of them. These bears also came to be known as Teddy Bears…and that’s how the whole thing started.


"Teddy Bear Party"
Ask children to bring their favorite teddy bear (or other stuffed animal) and introduce him/her to their classmates. (Encourage them to name their bear and explain why they love their bear.)

*Let children draw pictures and write stories about their bears.

*Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast real bears and stuffed bears.


*Read some books about teddy bears.  Let children vote on their favorite using a bar graph.

*Play “build a bear” which is similar to hang man. Think of a word and then make blanks for the letters in the word. As children call out letters, write them on the lines. If they call out a letter not in the word begin drawing a bear (body, head, ears, etc.).

*Make a teddy bear sandwich. You’ll need a cookie cutter shaped like a teddy bear. Cut out the bread and then decorate with cream cheese, peanut butter, or your favorite topping. Use raisins, chocolate chips, etc. to decorate.

*Let children make teddy bears from play dough. 


*Peanut butter play dough makes cute bears you can eat. (Mix 2 TB smooth peanut butter, 1 tsp. honey, and 2 TB instant dry milk in a bowl. Stir until smooth.)
                                                                              
This is a delightful youtube video of Anne Murray singing about the Teddy Bears’ Picnic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxFIGWm9M6w