Monday, December 10, 2018


Make a "schema" and put these ideas in your head.

Schema (Anne Evans)
Show students the symbol for join/connect in sign language. (Hook two index fingers together.)
Students put one hand on their head for what’s in their head.
They hold out the other hand for what’s in the book.
Join the fingers together to connect what’s in their head and what’s in the book to make a schema.

Let’s Look Important! (Diane Ringer)
Use this idea instead of criss cross applesauce.
Would you like to know how to look important? Put your right hand over your heart like this. (Demonstrate)
Put your left hand across your chest and fold your arms like this. (Demonstrate)
Lift up your chin and smile importantly. Now look at all my important people!

Song Requests (Heather Cline)
Make a box for song requests. Children write their favorite song on a sheet of paper and put it in the box. Pull requests each morning and sing.

End of Day Chant (Linda Wood)
Sit in a circle criss cross applesauce and start the chant with this rhythm:
Slap knees two times
Clap two times
Snap two times
Clap two times
     “Linda, Linda, what do you say?
     What did you like at school today?”
The child has to tell what they liked best that day. It’s a good way to remember what they learned as you reinforce oral language.

Diagraphs (Heidi Brunner)
Teach children these gestures to help them remember the sounds of “th”, “sh,” and “ch.”
“TH” – Stick your tongue out. “SH” – Hold your finger next to your lips like you are going to tell someone to be quiet. “CH” – Put one hand down flat and use the other hand to pretend to chop something.

*Sing the blends to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.”
The T and H say /th/ /th/ /th/…all the time.

Sunday, December 9, 2018


Have you ever heard one of your students say, "I don't want to do this?"  I love what Barbara Brown (a fabulous kindergarten teacher in Orlando) told me. She said when her students say, “I don’t want to do this!” she responds, “I don’t want to do it either, so let’s just get it done and then we can do something fun.”

There’s an important life lesson here. We all have to do things we don’t want to do. The best thing is just to do it and then you can focus on the things you want to do!  (Get those assessments and reports DONE and then shut your door and sing and dance!)

Happie Sticks
Happie sticks can be a motivation for your students when they finish their work early.  Write special activities on craft sticks and store them in a cup or can on your desk.  Children get to choose one activity at a time, complete it, and then they can choose another stick.  Here are some examples:

     make a book
     play a computer game
     do a job for your teacher
     play a board game
     make something in the art center
     draw on the board
     read a book
     help a friend
     make something with play dough

You Get What You Get
Here is a song to sing when children complain about not getting the item that they want. It goes to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.”

     You get what you get.
     You get what you get.
     Just like in the gum machine,
     You get what you get.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


I've got a great gift idea that you can give your students this year. Best of all, it's FREE!!

Look at the list below and choose five or ten that you think your students would enjoy. Run them off and make a "2019 Gift Card Book." Pass them out the last day before vacation and you'll have children smiling and "planning and plotting" how they are going to use their gift cards when they return to school in 2019. 

*Adapt these to the age and interest of your students.  A four year old might be thrilled to choose the book for story time, but a first grader might prefer being excused from a written assignment.

Chew sugar free gum.

Use the teacher’s stamps, pens, or markers.

15 minutes of free time.

Help the teacher do a special job.

Decorate the bulletin board or door.

Sit at the teacher’s desk.

Take off your shoes.

Listen to an IPod or headset while you work.

Take a class game or book home for the night.

Choose a song and lead the class.

Eat lunch with your teacher or a special friend.

Be excused from a homework assignment.

Choose an indoor game to play.

Select the book for story time.

Sit by a favorite person all day.

Choose a board game and play it with a friend.

Hand out supplies.

Be leader of a class game.

Be excused from a written assignment.

Play games on the computer for 10 minutes.

Visit another class in the school.

Work with a friend.

Be first in line for lunch

Be a helper in the office, lunchroom, or in another classroom.

Read a story to the principal or another class.

Have the teacher call your parents to tell them what a great kid you are!

Take a note to the principal about what a great kid you are.

Make something at the art center.

Have your work displayed in the hall or on the classroom door.

One special wish!

Friday, December 7, 2018


People sing because they are happy and they are happy because they sing!  Let's do a little clapping and singing with these songs.

Hint!  You can find these books and free downloads on

Holiday Cheer (Tune: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas")
Let's all do a little clapping,
let's all do a little clapping.
Let's all do a little clapping
to spread holiday cheer.

Let's all do a little jumping...snapping...blinking...laughing (Let the children suggest different movements. Tie in with the concept of VERBS.)

End by singing:
Let's all do a little smiling,
let's all do a little smiling.
Let's all do a little smiling,
and be kinder this year.

Jingle Bells
Jingle bells, jingle bells, (Pretend to hold bells and shake.)
Jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh. Hey! (Fist in the air.)
Jingle bells, jingle bells, (Pretend to jingle bells.)
Jingle all the way.
What fun it is to ride and sing
In a one horse open sleigh.
*Have children sit on the floor facing the same directions. Demonstrate how to hold the person’s waist in front of you. As you sing the song sway forwards and backwards to the beat as if riding a sleigh.

S A N T A  (Tune: “BINGO”)
There is a jolly bearded man (Put arms out in front of you
And Santa is his name-o. like Santa’s tummy.)
S – A – N – T – A,
S – A – N – T – A,
S – A – N – T – A,
And Santa is his name-o.

He lives at the North Pole… (Clap instead of saying “S.”)
His wears a suit all red and white… (Clap for “S” and “A.”)
He makes toys for girls and boys… (Clap for “S,” “A,” “N.”)
He drives a sleigh with 8 reindeer… (Clap for “S,” “A,” “N,” “T.”)
He’ll visit you on Christmas Eve… (Clap for all letters.)
*Write the letters S A N T A on paper as shown.  On the back of each sheet draw a hand.  Turn over the hands as you sing.

My Dreidel
I have a little dreidel, (Pretend to hold out palm with a dreidel.)
I made it out of clay;
And when it’s dry and ready,
Then dreidel I shall play.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, (Clap as you dance in a circle like a top.)
I made it out of clay.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
Now dreidel we shall play.

Holiday Alphabet
Deck the room with letters and sounds,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la.
Read and use them all year round,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la.
Listen up and then you’ll know,
How the letters and sounds do go.
Start with A and end with Z.
Happy holidays for you and me!
A for angels, /a/ /a/ /a/,
B for bells, /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/
C for candles /c/ /c/ /c/ ...
Kwanzaa – December 26-January 1
Chorus: Kwanzaa is coming
We’ll celebrate with gifts and lights.
Kwanzaa is coming
For seven days and nights.
We’ll unite and come together
With people everywhere.
We’ll work and help each other
To show how much we care. (Chorus)

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Candy Canes
This is a craft idea that you can use to decorate your classroom.  Take a square sheet of paper (8 1/2" x 8 1/2" works well) and color around the edges with a red marker or crayon.  (Demonstrate how to cut a square by folding up the bottom edge to the side to make a triangle.  Cut off the top and you'll always have a square.)  Put a pencil at a bottom point and roll up as shown.  Tape the end, remove the pencil, and use as a pointer or decoration.
*Use the candy cane as a prompt for descriptive writing.  Children could also brainstorm creative ways to use candy canes or write original stories about how candy canes were invented.

Jingle Bell Painting
You will need an empty chip container or similar cylinder shape with a lid. Cut a piece of paper so you can roll it and put it in the cylinder. Take two jingle bells. Drop one in red paint and the other in green paint. Use a spoon to transfer the bells to the can. Put on the lid, then shake up the can as you sing “Jingle Bells.” Take out the paper and you’ll have a jingle bell painting!

Recycle Catalogs
It breaks my heart to think of all those beautiful trees that went into making all the catalogs and advertisements you receive this time of year. Recycle them by integrating a cut and paste activity with skills you want to reinforce.  

Letters - Find things with a particular sound.
Shapes - Cut out geometric shapes they find.
Words - Cut out words that they can read. 
*Can they find words and make a sentence?

Wrapping Paper Tear 
Take in scraps of wrapping paper and put them in a tub. Invite children to tear them and then glue them to a paper plate to make a collage.

Mystery Jar 
Every year I get out my decorations and find a hand full of little holiday "junk."  Put it in a jar and turn it into a learning activity.
*Children can draw what they see.
*Children can make a list of the items.
*Children can write stories using the items as prompts.

Scrap Box - Want to keep children focused in a positive direction. Put out a scrap box with construction paper and other art media and challenge them to create cards for family members.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Here are some holiday jokes to make you smile.  Write one on the board each day to use for choral reading, double meanings of words, and phonological awareness.                          

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Holly who?
Holly – days are here again!

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Dexter who?
Dexter halls with boughs of holly.

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Mary who?
Mary Christmas to you!

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Avery who?
Avery merry Christmas to you!

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Wayne who?
Wayne in the manger…

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Oakham who?
Oakham all ye faithful…


Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Rabbit who?
Rabbit up carefully – it’s a present.

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Donut who?
Donut open until Christmas.

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Olive who?
Olive the other reindeer.

What’s red and white and goes up and down?
Santa Clause in an elevator.

What did the ghost say to Santa?
I’ll have a boo Christmas without you.

Who delivers presents to dogs?
Santa paws!

Who delivers presents to cats?
Santa claws!

Why did the elf go to school?          
To learn his ELFabet!
Why do rappers like Christmas so much?
Because of all the wrapping!

What did the reindeer say when he saw an elf?
Nothing. Reindeer can’t talk.

How do you scare a snowman?
You get a hair dryer.

What do snowmen eat for Christmas?
Frosted Flakes.

What goes, “Oh, oh, oh!”
Santa Claus walking backwards.

What do you call the wrapping paper leftover from opening presents?
A christ-MESS.

What Christmas carol is a favorite of parents?
Silent Night.

Why is it so cold at Christmas?
Because it’s Decembrrrrrr!

What is in December that isn’t in any other month?
The letter “D”!

What do the cows say on Christmas morning?
Mooooey Christmas!

What kind of money do elves use?
Jingle bills!

What does Santa do in his garden?
He hoe, hoe, hoes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


There's nothing quite as sweet as little hands and little feet!  You can trace around your children's hands and cut them out, or let the children dip their hands in paint and print.  

P.S.  These hand and feet projects make great bulletin boards.  The hand tree or wreath could be used on your door.  The reindeer could be used for "Teacher's name  Herd."  Or, how about "Teacher's name Little Angels."

Hint!  Use fabric paint and make holiday shirts with handprints and footprints.