Friday, June 30, 2017

TRUE CONFESSION

I am so grateful to all of you who read my blog.  Believe me, writing this is a task of love.  So many teachers have touched my life and shared with me over my 45 year journey that I feel compelled to give back.  The truth is, writing this blog keeps me from getting dementia.  Seriously, what would I do if I didn’t do this?  So thank you!  Thank you!

But, sometimes I wonder, “Is anybody out there?  Does anybody actually read this?”  Some of you have heard me share the same activities over and over – but how many of you are visiting with me for the first time today?  I always tell people that what I do is like going to a big box store.  You don’t put everything in your cart – you only put the things that you need and want.  I try and give you as much as I can and I invite you to pick, choose, adapt, and make these ideas work for you. 

July is a busy month for me as a consultant.  I love every minute of meeting new teachers and sharing ideas.  (Well, not exactly every minute of lugging my suitcases and dealing with flight delays!)  Last summer I did July PD with a video and activities you can create to make starting the new school year more fun and exciting.  The beginning of the school year is kind of like the anticipation of a party, isn’t it?  You make the guest list, clean the house, decorate, prepare the food, plan the games…. 

Carolyn Kisloski and I have been working on a new project for months and months.  We are going to have the big REVEAL of our HAPPIES at the I Teach Kindergarten Conference in Las Vegas on July 10th.  We're also collaborating on a new blog called "A happie a day keeps the humbugs away."  I'll tell you more about that when I do Facebook Live on Thursday.  Stay tuned for details...

                                         

P.S. I have to give you one new idea today.  Here’s a song the teachers from Pauls Valley, OK, taught me many years ago.  It goes to the tune of “Shortnin’ Bread” and can be adapted to your grade level.

Chorus:
I like grade.
We learn things at school.
Reading, writing, ’rithmetic,
It’s always cool.

*We like recess,
We like lunch.
We like P.E.
A big, big, bunch!
(Chorus)

*Art and music
Computers, too.
Library books
And reading with you!
(Chorus)

Learning good manners
And how to be a friend.
Choosing the right way
Again and again!
(Chorus)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

IT'S A DEAL WITH CARD GAMES

People have been entertained by card games for centuries, so shuffle up that deck and let’s pass on some learning fun with children.
                                                        
Sorting
Ask children to sort cards by color, suit, number, etc.
             
Order Please
Remove the face cards and then have the children put the cards in numerical order.

Patterns
Can children make a pattern with their cards? Can friends identify the pattern?
                                                                                        
Mind Reader
Remove face cards. One child comes to the front of the room and draws a card. Don’t let anyone see what it is! Classmates take turns trying to guess the number by asking yes/no questions that include math vocabulary. For example, “Is it greater than 5? Is it even? Do 3 and 5 equal it?”

Line Up
Remove face cards and pass out a card to each child. Call out directions for lining up using math vocabulary. For example, “If you come between 7 and 9 you can line up. If you are an odd number lower than 5 you may line up. If you add your number to 6 and get 8 you may line up.”

Number Stories
Remove face cards, shuffle, and then have each child draw two cards. Encourage them to think of a number story using the two digits. Can their friends tell the answer?

Memory
Use two suites of cards for this game. Shuffle cards and place them face down in rows on the floor or a table. Children rotate turning over two cards. If their cards match they may keep them and take another turn. If their cards don’t match they turn them back over and the next child has a turn. The game continues until all pairs have been matched.

Top It
(This game was formerly known as “war,” but “top it” sounds more politically correct.) Remove face cards and shuffle. Split the deck and place face down. Children remove one card at a time and turn it over. The child with the highest number takes both cards. If they turn over the same amount they place 3 cards face down and turn over the 3rd card. The highest number takes all the cards. The game continues as long as time permits.

Add It Up
This is similar to top it. Children turn over one card at a time. The first child to correctly add up both numbers gets both cards.
        
High, Low, Equal
Make a game board similar to the one shown. Children place a deck of cards face down. They select two cards at a time and place them in the correct category.
                                   
Scramble
Remove face cards. Pass out a card to each child. The teacher calls out a number between 2 and 20. Children “scramble” around the room and find one or two other numbers that will equal that amount.

Dealer’s Choice
Go Fish and Crazy Eights are other traditional card games your students can play, or let them create their own games.

Homework
Wouldn’t it be great if children taught their parents how to play some of these card games?
Note! I’ve heard that if you have a casino in your area they will donate free cards to your classroom. Apparently they drill a hole through the cards first, but they’d be just fine for classroom activities.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE GAMES

These games will involve all your students and you can quickly check to see who has mastered a skill and who needs additional work.

Cell Phone
Run off the phone pattern on heavy paper. Children can “design” their own cover on the back. As you call out numbers or letters they tap them on their phone.
                                     
*Use phones to practice learning phone numbers.

*Have children spell out sight words on their phones.

*Let children make up their own games they can play with a partner.

*Hole punch the corner so they can take “photos.”

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

Yes/No 

-Each child has two index cards. One says “yes” and the other says “no.” As you ask questions, children respond by holding up the card with their response. For example: “Our state is Arizona.” “Fish has the short a sound.” “Blue and glue rhyme.”
     
*Cut an envelope in half. Write “yes” on one side and “no” on the other.

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.

Wipe Off Boards 
Children write letters, words, or numerals on wipe off boards and hold them up. Erase with a sock and you’re ready to go again.

Hint! Plastic plates or laminated white card stock are great substitutes for white boards.





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BOARD GAMES

There was a study that showed pre-k children who knew how to play games were more successful in kindergarten. When you think about it, games help children learn to follow rules, take turns, and develop the executive function (task initiation and completion). This is good information to share with parents to encourage them to play board games and card games with their children rather than hand them their phone.

Letter Land
Why? letters, sight words, numerals, shapes, etc.
What? ask parents to donate Candy Land Games, markers
How? Write letters on the Candy Land cards. To move their ginger bread man children choose a card. They must identify the letter before moving their piece to the next color.
                                        
Board Games
Let children create their own board games to practice math facts, phonics, or review a unit of study. They’ll love making up their own rules! You’ll find blank board game patterns at these sites:

http://donnayoung.org/homeschooling/games/game-boards.htm
                    
http://boardgames.lovetoknow.com/Blank_Board_Games_to_Print


Alphabet Categories
Sounds, parts of speech, categories, rapid automatic naming, and multiple skills are reinforced with this game. When I introduced alphabet categories we played it as a large group game. Once the kids “caught on” we divided the class into two teams and played. Later, they enjoyed playing the game in small groups or with a partner.
                                    
Why? initial sounds, categories, rapid naming
What? poster board
How? You will need 2 sheets of poster board of different colors. Cut the poster board into 4” squares. (You will need 23 squares of each color.) On one color print alphabet letters. (Print “u & v” on the same card and “x, y, z” on another card.) On the other color print one of the categories below:

something in the yard                                  an animal

fruit or vegetable                                        movie star

something in the kitchen                             body part

river, lake, or ocean                                    town or city

country or state                                          a machine

type of transportation                                 a food

something you wear                                    an action

something in the zoo                                   a plant

a toy                                                          a book

a song                                                        a noun

a famous person                                         a verb

something in the school                              a game

a TV show                                                  a feeling

a color                                                       an occupation

restaurant or store                                     something that flies

Shuffle up each set of cards. Draw a card from the “letter pile” and a card from the “category pile.” Encourage the children to make the sound of the letter. Can they think of a word in the category that begins with that sound?

*When introducing this game, simply play it as a shared group Activity and do not keep score. As children become more proficient, divide the class into teams and give points to the first team to come up with a word that fits the category. Children may also enjoy playing this game in small groups.

*Adapt the categories to the age and ability of your students. For example, you could use adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs, prepositions, mammals, etc. for older students.

Monday, June 26, 2017

SELF-CHECK GAMES

These games have a built in feedback. Children can play them over and over and you’ll make sure they are learning the correct information. These games can be played with a partner or individually.

Flippers
Why? letters, sounds, math facts, contractions, antonyms, etc.
What? spatula or pancake turner, corrugated cardboard, fun foam
How? Cut 3 ½” circles out of cardboard or fun foam. Write uppercase letters on one side and lowercase letters on the other. Place the circles on the floor or a table. Children name the letter on one side, and then flip it over to self-check.
                             
*Write words on one side and glue matching pictures on the back.

*Write children’s names on one side and glue their picture on back.

*Put pictures on one side and initial consonants or vowels on back.

*Write questions on the front and the answer on the reverse side.

*Write antonyms on opposite sides.

*Write two words on the front and the contraction on the back.

Sharks
Why? numerals, math facts, phonics, contractions, etc.
What? heavy paper
How? Cut out paper sharks using the pattern on the following page. Fold down the top fin. Make a set on the body and then lift the fin and write the numeral.
                                                         
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljTTNTLWI0MEwwZ0k/view?usp=sharing


Touchdown

Why? math facts; number words, phonics, review questions
What? construction paper
How? Fold construction paper in half. Place a football pattern with the top of the pattern on the fold. Write math facts, number words, etc. on the front of the footballs. Write the answers on the inside.


Peeking Puppies
Why? words and pictures, upper and lowercase letters, antonyms, math facts and answers, etc.
What? construction paper
How? Cut puppies out of construction paper. Bend down the ear. Write one thing on the puppy’s body and write the answer under the ear.
                           
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljZGxkcDZmaFQ4UVU/view?usp=sharing

Use Your Brain!
Why? math facts, phonics, antonyms, etc.
What? poster board, hole punch, golf tee or pencil
How? Cut a brain out of poster board using the pattern on the following page. Punch 10-12 holes around the outside of the edge. Near each hole write a math fact. On the reverse side, write the answer to the math problem near the hole. Outline the shape with markers and decorate. The child sticks a pencil or golf tee in the front and then turns it over to check their answer.
                                        
*Two children can also play this game. One “pokes” and the other confirms.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljZVZ4VDhsU1czUUU/view?usp=sharing

Puzzlers
Why? rhyming words, compounds, math concepts, blends, etc.
What? paper plates, rhyming pictures, markers, scissors, zip bag
How? Cut paper plates in half using puzzle designs similar to those shown. Glue pictures that rhyme on each half. Mix up the pieces. Children say the words and match up the plates that rhyme. The game is self-checking because the pieces will fit if they match the correct pictures.
                            
*Use hearts, kites, pumpkins, or other seasonal shapes to make puzzlers.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

CENTER GAMES

These games are perfect for children to play with a partner or with a small group. Peer teaching is one of the best ways for children to learn, so children who have mastered skills will be able to help their classmates succeed.

Pony Round-Up
Why? upper and lowercase letters, numbers, beginning sounds, etc.
What? spring clothespins, heavy paper
How? Cut ponies and saddles out of cardstock paper using the pattern on the following page. Print an uppercase letter on each pony, and a lowercase letter on each saddle. Children take the ponies and stand them up using the clothespins as legs. Next, children match the correct saddle for each pony.
                     
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljMXRUdG1rOUp2Y0k/view?usp=sharing


Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Why? matching upper and lowercase letters, pictures and sounds, sets and numerals, math facts and answers, etc.
What? heavy paper, clothespins
How? Cut bears and shirts out of paper. Write uppercase letters on the bears and lowercase letters on the shirts. Children match bears and shirts with clothespins.
                                                 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljTTAxcXBUZzU1dHc/view?usp=sharing


Clip It
Why? letters, sight words, names
What? jumbo craft sticks, clothes pins
How? Write the letters of the alphabet on the clothespins. Write words on the craft sticks. Children match letters and clip them on the stick to make the words.


Concentration ~ Memory
Why? visual skills, shapes, sets, things that go together, etc.
What? poster board, stickers
How? Take ten 4” cardboard squares and put like stickers (or draw like pictures) on two of the squares. Place the cards face down on the floor or on a table. One at a time, children turn over two cards. If the stickers on the cards match, then they may keep the pair and have another turn. If the cards do not match, then the next person may have a turn. Children must use visual memory skills to try and remember where matching pairs are.
                                                                   
*Use holiday and seasonal stickers to make concentration games.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

CAN WE PLAY A GAME? PLEASE!

When my children came to reading group they would beg, “Can we play a game? Can we play a game?” I always told them if they worked hard that we might have time to play a game at the end. What they didn’t realize was that the games I made probably taught them as much as my reading lesson!

Stinky Cheese
Why? sight words, fluency phrases, letters, math facts, shapes, etc.
What? lunch bag, yellow construction paper, marker
How? Cut cheese slices out of poster board or fun foam using the pattern on the following page. Write letters, words, numbers, etc. on most of the cheese slices. On two slices write “Stinky Cheese!” Place the cheese slices in a lunch sack. Children pass around the sack drawing out one slice at a time. If they can identify the information on the slice they
get to keep it. If they get “Stinky Cheese!” everyone holds their noses and says, “Stinky Cheese!” That person must then put all her slices back in the bag.
                                  
*How about a game of “stinky feet” or “stinky socks”?

*An empty cheese cracker box makes a more durable container for the game.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljMXZseHZFTjNxQ3c/view?usp=sharing

Fiddlesticks

Why? letters, words, sentences, math facts, etc.
What? jumbo craft sticks, permanent marker, plastic cup
How? Color the end of five sticks purple, five red, five blue, five green, five orange, and five yellow. On the other part of the stick write skills you are working on. Place the sticks in the cup with the colored end on the bottom. Choose a random color. Pass the cup around. Children choose a stick and identify the information. If the choose a stick with the designated color they yell, “Fiddlesticks!” and they have to place their other sticks back in the cup.
          

My Messy House
Why? sight words, letters, numerals, shapes, etc.
What? different colors of construction paper, clothes pins, piece of string
How? Cut clothes out of construction paper and write skills on them. Tie a string (clothesline) between two chairs. Spread the clothes on the floor as you say, “My house is so messy. Who can help me clean it up?” Children take turns choosing an item, reading it, and then hanging it on the clothesline.
                                                
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljSDk1Z2ZjUldqSlU/view?usp=sharing

Go Fishing
Why? letters, sight words, math facts, etc.
What? stick, string, magnet, brad fastener
How? Cut out fish using the pattern on the following page. Write skills on the fish and attach a brad fastener for eyes. Tie one end of a piece of string to the stick and attach the magnet to the other end of the string. Spread the fish out on the floor. Children try to catch a fish by dangling the magnet over the eye. They can keep the fish if they can identify the information on it.

                          

Friday, June 23, 2017

GIVE ME FIVE!

Got a minute or two, try one of these quick games.

Johnny Jump Up

You will need a photo album and index cards to make this game. Write words on the index cards and insert them in the plastic sleeves. On several cards draw a stick figure jumping and write, “Johnny jump up!” Randomly insert the Johnny cards in the album. As you shuffle through the book children read the words. When Johnny appears they all jump up and shout, “Johnny jump up!”
                            
*Adapt this game to popular cartoon figures or seasonal characters.

Where’s Kitty?
Place flash cards in a pocket chart. Take a small picture of a cat and explain you will hide kitty behind one of the cards. Have children close their eyes as you hide kitty. “Who knows where kitty is?” Children take turns calling out a word and then looking behind it for kitty. The first child to find kitty gets to hide it for the next round.
              
*Adapt kitty for holidays or seasons. It could be a skeleton, turkey, cupid, etc.

Catch and Tell
You will need a beanbag, sponge ball, or tiny stuffed animal to play this game. The teacher says a letter and then tosses the ball to a child. That child must name something that begins with that sound before tossing the ball back to the teacher.
*This game can be adapted for rhyming words, colors, math, social studies, and other skills. It’s perfect for waiting in the hall or during transitions.
                                                   
Snowballs

Each child takes a sheet of scrap paper and writes a word wall word, spelling word, math fact, etc. on it. Children wad up their sheet of paper to make it a “snowball.” Divide the class into two teams and have them stand about 20 feet from each other. When the teacher says, “Let it snow!” children begin throwing their snowballs at the opposite side. Children pick up a snowball and identify the information on it before throwing it back at the other side. The game continues until the teacher says, “Freeze!” Count the number of snowballs on each side. Who has more? Who has less? In this game, the team with the smaller amount is actually the winner! Everyone gets another snowball and the game continues.

*At the beginning of the school year, have children write their names on snowballs and play the game. It’s a great way to get acquainted with classmates.

*As a study review, have children write questions on the snowballs. When children open them they must answer the question before throwing it again. Remind the children that if they don’t know the answer, it’s O.K. to ask a friend for help.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

IN A FLASH!

You can take advantage of all the little “teachable times” in your school day with these ideas. Keep flashcards handy for when you have a few extra minutes before lunch, as children wash hands, or while waiting for the bell to ring. Make a different set of flashcards every few weeks that focus on specific skills your students need to master. You can use these games for letters, shapes, numbers, sight words, math facts, etc.
                                    
*Store games in a sand bucket on your desk for easy access.

*Keeping Score – Try this idea to avoid students being too aggressive. Cut out two circles from poster board and glue them together. Write “high” on one side and “low” on the other. After playing a game toss the circle. If “high” appears the team with the highest score wins. If “low” comes up the team with the lowest score is the winner.
      
Hint! If children don’t know the answer when playing games allow them to “phone a friend” (ask a friend) or “ask the audience” (ask the class).

BOOM!
Write “BOOM!” with a bright marker or glitter pen on several of the flashcards. As you “flash” through the cards, children identify the information. When “BOOM!” appears, children jump up and shout out “Boom!”
                                                 
*Change the surprise word for different holidays and seasons. In January use a snowman sticker and write “Brrrr!” The children stand up and pretend to shiver when it appears.

*Another fun version is “cowboys” and “chickens.” Insert pictures of a few cowboys and a few chickens. When the cowboy appears the children stand up and pretend to twirl a lasso. When the chicken appears they stand up and flap their arms and cluck.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljemwyVl9INlMtNTA/view?usp=sharing

Kids vs. Teacher
Draw a T chart on the board with “Kids” on one side and “Teacher” on the other side. Hold up a flash card. If a child raises her hand and correctly reads the word, she gets a point for the “kids.” If any child shouts out the answer, then the teacher gets a point.

(If children keep talking out of turn, just continue to give points to the teacher. They’ll figure it out!)

Pick Up
Place the flash cards randomly on the floor in the middle of the room.  Divide the class into two teams. Choose one child from each team to come up and play. Call out a word. The first child to pick it up wins a point for their team.

*At the beginning of the school year write the children’s names on plates. Have children stand in a circle and place 5 plates on the floor. Sing, “If your name is on a plate pick it up” to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Musical Plates
You remember the old game where you placed chairs in a circle and walked around until the music stopped? If you didn’t find a chair you were OUT! This is a similar game that can be used to reinforce letters, words, math facts. etc. Write information you want to reinforce on paper plates. Scatter them on the floor. Play some catchy music for the children to dance to. When the music stops each child finds a paper plate and picks it up. The teacher randomly points to various children to identify the information on their plate.
                          
Word Worm
Draw the face of a worm on a 9” circle. Pass out a word card to each child. One at a time children come up and place their word next to the worm’s head. Each child reads all of the previous words before placing her word down. How long can the worm grow?
Note! Children can “ask the audience” to read with them if they are unsure of the words.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

IT'S JUST A GAME!

We’re off on our family vacation today and I won’t be home until July 3rd. Of course, I’ve done my lesson plans like a “good” teacher so you’ll have something to keep you busy while I’m gone.
                                
One of the sessions that I’m doing at the I Teach Kindergarten Conference in Las Vegas in a few weeks is called “Game On!” If you’re not going to the conference, I’ll be sharing the content from that session so you’ll have ideas, patterns, and a bucket of games when school begins.

WHY?
All you have to say is, “Let’s play a game!” and you will naturally engage your students. But there’s more than PLAY going on with these games!

Standards – Sugar coat those standards by developing a game around the skills you want to reinforce.

Executive Function – Through games children can develop task initiation and completion because there is a beginning and an end. They also learn self- regulation and delayed gratification.

Active Learning – With games children can talk, interact with friends, and use multi-sensory materials.

Purposeful Practice for Automaticity – In order to master skills children need to repeat and practice them. Clearly, kids would rather do that with a game than with a worksheet.

Intentional Teaching – Teachers can create flashcard games, board games, or a variety of games based on any skill (letters, numbers, sight words, vocabulary, math facts, science or social studies, etc.) Think about skills in your curriculum and there’s the content for your game.

21st Century Skills – Children will naturally develop cooperation, collaboration, and communication as they share and play games.

Brain Research – The brain likes anything that is novel and challenging. Games add that element of fun and motivation to academic content.

Differentiated Instruction – Games can be adapted for specific needs and used for small group, independent, or take home practice.

Limited English Learners – Games can provide that visual and auditory connection in a non-threatening way.

Instructional Time – Take advantage of transitions and those few extra minutes during the school day by playing games.


HOW?
Look at your standards. What skills do your students need to master?
Are they struggling with any letters, sight words, shapes, math facts?
Be specific with the content you choose. Start simple and make the games increasingly complex. Remember, nothing succeeds like success.


WHAT?
construction paper, poster board, fun foam, file folders, scissors, tape, glue, hole punch, jumbo craft sticks, magnetic letters, markers, recycled materials, small toys and inexpensive items you can find in a dollar store

Tip!
You can make games yourself.
You can ask parents to make games for you.
You can share games and rotate them with other teachers.

WHERE?
Store games in zip bags, manila envelopes, pencil boxes, plastic tubs, or other containers. *Hint! Color code with stickers to indicate content area.


WHEN?
Demonstrate how to play the games and keep the rules simple. It often takes several times for the children to “get” a game. Model how to care for the materials and clean up.

Games can be used for large group instruction during transitions. They can be used with small skill based instructional groups. And, they can be used for independent practice.

Tip! Use games to motivate your students by saying, “If you work hard we will have time to play a game.”

*Try using “Brain Lotion” before playing games with pieces. (Take the label off a bottle of hand sanitizer and replace it with a label that says “Brian Lotion.” This will keep your games clean and germ free.)

ONLY YOU!
YOU add the magic! You can take any game and make it more exciting with your attitude. Be dramatic and challenge your students! Come back tomorrow for some “quickie” flash card games.

STATE SONG, BLESSING, RECALL BEARS AND MORE!

State and City Song (Holly Koop, Grand Forks, ND – Traci Plante / Singer)
Children will easily remember their city and state when you sing them to “Yankee Doodle.”
     Here I am in name of state
     Living happily!
     All my friends and relatives are
     Nice as they can be!
     City, I love you!
     City, is my home!
     State is my state
     And for this we celebrate!


Brown Bag Special (Diane Landoll, Lawton, OK)
For parents who work, send projects home in a brown grocery sack marked “Brown Bag Special.” Include materials, patterns, and directions for what you want them to make. The child will be so excited to take the bag home and the parent will feel positive about what they have contributed to your classroom.

                                          
Blessing (Deanna Hofmeister & Tami Zwaschka, Mankato, MN)
Here’s a sweet blessing to the tune of “Twinkle Little Star.” (Although you can’t use this in a public school, you could use it in a church school or with your children at home.)
     Thank you, thank you, Lord we pray
     For this food we have today.
     We love you so very much.
     God bless every one of us.
     Thank you, thank you, Lord we pray
     For this food we have today.

Recall Bears
Connie Cook cuts out bear heads and writes story elements (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) on them. Children pick a bear before the story and then answer it after the story.
              
Shoe Tying Journey (Allison Caspers, Oak Grove Lutheran)
Kindergarteners know how to navigate the web, but many do not know how to tie shoes. Get a suitcase and put an old shoe in it along with the poem below. (Allison uses two suitcases.) Each night a child gets to take home the suitcase and practice tying the shoe. When they have completed their “Shoe Tying Journey” they receive a PASSPORT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT for learning to tie their shoes.

*There are several sites online where you can download free certificates.
                                                          
1-2-3-4 – Tying Shoes
Let’s get ready to tie your shoes.
Over and under. Now, what to do? (Pull strings tight.)
1. Make a loop that looks like a tree. (Make a loop with right string.)
2. The other string is a rabbit you see. (Hold up left string.)
3. The rabbit goes around and in a hole. (Take left string around loop and stick
in the hole.)
4. Pull the loops tight and there is your bow! (Take both loops and pull.)


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

HOME-SCHOOL ABC AND 1 2 3 BOOKS

We all know how critical it is to involve parents in their child's education.  These books provide a hands-on activity that will encourage parents to talk to their children about school and what they are learning.  The books will also be a great addition to your classroom library.

Home-School Alphabet Book
Send a page with a letter on it home with each child. Ask them to decorate it with their 

parents. Put the letters together to make a class ABC book.
                 
Home-School Number Book
Create a take home number book that every child can add to and will enjoy reading. Include a note so parents will know what to do. The first child takes the book home and makes a set of one on the first page. The second child takes the book home and makes a set of two on the second page. The third child….etc.

                                                 
Brain Hug Song (Dara Gee, Lawton, OK)
(Tune: “If You’re Happy”)
I’m wrapped up (Extend arms and cross.)
Twisted up (Clasp fingers.)
Tangled up (Bring clasped hands under and next to chest.)
With self control.
I’m wrapped up (Extend arms and cross.)
Twisted up (Clasp fingers.)
Tangled up (Bring clasped hands under and next to chest.)
With self control.
I take care of me
With responsibility.
I’m wrapped up (Extend arms and cross.)
Twisted up (Clasp fingers.)
Tangled up (Bring clasped hands under and next to chest.)
With self control.


15 Minutes of Walking/Exercise
Try building 15 minutes of walking each day as you count, sing letter songs, say days of the week, months, and review other information.
 

Twiddle Your Thumbs (Janice Biederman)
While waiting, have the children twiddle their thumbs forwards, backwards, fast, slow, happy, sad, and so forth.
                                    
Electronic Books vs. the REAL Thing
Download a copy of a favorite children’s book on your Kindle, IPad, etc. Let the children compare and contrast illustrations from the real book and the electronic format.

Laptops for Every Child
A teacher explained at her first parents’ meeting that she recommended that every child needed at least one laptop – two if possible. It’s not the kind of laptop that you plug in, but the kind with two knees. This laptop is perfect for reading, talking, hugging, and singing!

Name Cards and Secret Words (Crystal and Shelley, Long Beach, CA)
Make name cards for each child. On the back of each card write a sight word. Look for a word embedded in the child’s name. (Almost everybody’s name has a “secret word” inside.) For example, Lindsey has “in.” John has “oh.” Ashley has “as.”
         
Number Yoga (Michelle Drees, Danbury, IA)
Have children hold yoga positions as you practice counting.
(Scholastic has a cool alphabet book of yoga poses!)
                                            

Bear Hug Letter (Susan Finklestein, Montgomery, AL)
Send home a note shaped like a bear that says, “My teacher is so proud of me. Give me a bear hug!”

                      

Monday, June 19, 2017

QUIET MAN AND QUIET HANDS

QUIET Man (Candace Reed)
Make "quiet man" with your fingers by sticking up pinky and pointer and touching thumb, ring man, and tall man. When the teacher holds up "quiet man" the children respond by making "quiet man" and focusing on the teacher.
                             
Quiet Hands
When you want children to settle down ask them to show you their “quiet hands” as you model folding your hands. When they focus on their hands they will become quiet.


Magic Triangle  (Cathy Crady)
Remind children that they all have a magic triangle in their pocket. (Place pointers and thumbs next to each other to form a triangle.) When they need to calm down or if a child is upset she has them take out their magic triangle and hold it in front of their mouth. She tells them to take a deep breath in through their nose, and then slowly blow through the triangle.


Word Hunt (Amy Fritz)
Each week students use their journal to go on a word hunt. Words must begin with a different letter or digraph each week and must be found in the classroom.

*Adapt for parts of speech, math words, seasonal words, etc.
                                                              
Secret Message in Sign (Melanie Wilkins)
Enlarge sign language letters and attach a magnetic strip to the back of each letter. Write a "secret” message or word each day on the board for the children to decode and write on their morning work.

Karaoke Kafe (Pam Stonecipher)
Encourage children to share their stories, journals, and other writings with Karaoke Kafe. Provide a play microphone and special chair where they can sit and read to classmates. Younger children could recite nursery rhymes.

Good Job Rally (Veda Hamrick)
Have children form two lines facing each other. One at a time children walk between the two lines as friends give them "high five" and say, "Good job!"


Bubbles and Duck Tails (Jennifer Conatser)
Before lining up say, "bubbles and duck tails." Children put imaginary bubbles in their mouths and put their hands behind their backs to make duck tails.

Mailbox Vocabulary (Cheryl Grasso, Boston)
Place a small mailbox on your desk. If the flag is up, that means there is a new vocabulary word in the mailbox. Model using the “special delivery” word in sentences throughout the day.

Happy Day
(Tune: “Happy Birthday to You”)
Hello! Good Day!
You’re looking mighty fine.
Come in and have a seat
And be a friend of mine.

Put Your Bottom on the Rug

(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
Put your bottom on the rug, on the rug.
Put your bottom on the rug, on the rug.
Put your bottom on the rug, then give yourself a hug.
Put your bottom on the rug, on the rug.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

KINDNESS SPRINKLES AND COMPLIMENT COOKIES

Kindness Sprinkles (Christin Cannan)
You “sprinkle” kindness (hands up and wiggle fingers) on the Star of the Week, Birthday Child, or for other occasions.

Spacing Spaghetti and Meatballs
To help children with spacing between letters and words give them a dry spaghetti noodle and a pom pom (meatball). They should use the dry spaghetti noodle between letters and the “meatball” between words.
                                                     
Occupation in a Bag (Megan Pope)
When studying community helpers, send home a paper bag with each student. Ask them to put in items that explain what their parents do. This is great for parents who are too busy to come in and speak about their jobs.
                      
Number Bottle Shake (Jennifer Sitka, Winnipeg, Canada)
Fill an empty plastic bottle half way with water and place a die inside. Place the lid on and seal with packing tape so the students cannot get the bottle open. Let children take turns shaking the bottle with a partner. They can say the number on the die, write the number down, make up a number sentence, etc.


Number Combinations (Linda Patterson, Lawrenceville, GA)
Put dots on paper plates (for example, 6 red dots and 2 blue dots). Flash the plates and children add them up.  Children can whisper the answer or use their fingers to show the sum.
Hint! Use bingo dotters or stickers on plates to make different combinations.

Treasure Box Math (Whitney Farmer)
Buy a treasure boxes at a craft store.  Put 10 gems in the box. Take out three. How many are left in the box?
                                             
Count to 100 (Special K’s, Heritage El., Marion, OH)
Count each “ten” with a different style.
Quiet 1’s (Whisper)
Yucky Teens (Attitude!)
Roaring 20’s (Loud)
Twisty 30’s (Do the twist)
Jumpy 40’s (Jump)
Flying 50’s (Spread arms)
Angry 60’s (Stomp feet)
Spooky 70’s (Ghost voice)
Flip Pancakes 80’s (Pretend to flip pancakes)
Laughing 90’s (Hold stomach and laugh)
Jump and Cheer for 100!!!

                  
Compliment Cookies (Whitney Farmer, Pulaski Co. Schools, KY)
Place a pan somewhere in the room. Cut cookies out of construction paper. Whenever the class receives a compliment, place a cookie in the pan. When the pan is full everyone can enjoy a cookie party!