Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I've been getting emails that say, "Where are you going, Dr. Jean?" Well, I've got an exciting new seminar called DR. JEAN'S ACTIVE LEARNING ADVENTURE that will satisfy academic requirements as well as add a whole lotta FUN to your curriculum. I hope you can join me at one of these locations. 

November 2 - Madison, WI

November 9 - Philadelphia, PA

November 16 - Cleveland, OH

December 3 - Concord, CA

December 4 - Rancho Cordova, CA

December 11 - West Orange, NJ

February 5 - St. Louis, MO

February 22 - Baton Rouge, LA

March 3 - Augusta, GA

March 7 - Memphis, TN

April 21 - Austin, TX

April 29 - Birmingham, AL

May 2 -  Arlington, VA
*Go to sde.com for details.

If you live in Charleston I'll be doing "Transition Tips and Tricks" on the afternoon of September 22 at Christ Church Day School in Mt. Pleasant. (Contact Ellen at enietert@christch.org for details.) All of the proceeds from this will go to the Amahoro Children's School in Rwanada. Jane Bond is a retired teacher who raised the money to build this school. She also uses her own money to pay for the teachers, night watchman, cook, supplies.... Jane shows us how one person really can make a huge difference in the lives of others and we are lucky to share our blessings through her.

Here's a video of her children singing "Rise and Shine." Oh, how I'd love to sing with those precious children!!!


Monday, August 3, 2015


Here are a few other tips that might help you integrate music, movement, and FUN into your academic schedule. "Life is lived between the bread and the butter" - and it's all those "little things" that make your school day meaningful and joyful for you and your "little things"!

6th Keep a simple game handy for when you’ve got five extra minutes during the day. (I’ve got lots of these on my website as well.)

*Kids vs. The Teacher and Johnny Jump Up are two of my favorites.

7th Read, read, read! Keep a stack of books handy and squeeze in a story whenever you can. It doesn’t have to “teach” anything or “fit” in with your standards. You can read it JUST BECAUSE!!! (And, if an administrator or supervisor gives you a hard time about this you just tell them to call Dr. Jean!!!!)

8th Make a “juke box” from a gift bag. Make CDs for the jukebox by cutting 4” circles out of poster board or fun foam. Glue words to rhymes, finger plays, or songs on them and put them in the bag. When you have a few extra minutes pretend to give a child a quarter as you say, “Put the quarter in the juke box and pull out a song.” That child can then help you lead the class in the song or rhyme.

9th Create “tubs of fun” for children who finish their work early or for other “in between” times. Each week put skill games, puzzles, play dough, card games, or other quiet activities in a tub for each table. Rotate these every week so they’ll have something new to do.

Hint! One team of teachers said they each created 4 tubs for their own class each month and then rotated them with another class.

10th End your day on a positive note with a song and some cheers. Give the children something to look forward to the next day at school.

Somebody once said, “Great teachers are not born. They are made by the teacher next door.” That is so true! One of your best resources might be right down the hall. We’re teachers and we all love to help! Just ask!

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Several teachers at my workshops have asked, “How do you fit it all in? How do you make it work?” That’s one of the reasons I wanted to give you the free download for the monthly music mix to start your year. (Go to drjean.org if you haven’t downloaded it.) Each class and curriculum and age level is different, but I’m going to suggest ten tips that might be useful to you. 

1st Instead of asking the children sit down and be quiet for morning meeting, have them stand up and start your day with a song. You’ll get blood going to the brain and release wiggles.

*Connect personally and physically by greeting each child with one of my handshakes.
*Do the Pledge and review the rules with the “Rules Rap.”

2nd When the children sit down read the morning message and review the day’s activities and goals.

*Pass around the “I” phone” so each child can say something they are looking forward to doing that day. 

*Choose a “supervisor” to wear the visor with a focus skill.

*Create a “reading calendar” where you can focus on a word family, sight words, letters, or a poem each day. (I’m working on a blog about this that I'll have up in a week or so.)

3rd Be prepared with brain breaks so the children can move every 15 or 20 minutes. In between guided reading groups do an alphabet song, wiggle song, patty cake, or another brain break. (I’ve got TONS of these on my website.)

4th When you want to focus the children’s attention try using a finger play or attention grabber. (I’ve got free YouTube videos with both of these.)

*Take a finger play each week and glue it on an index card. Keep it in your pocket or put it on a book ring and practice it over and over. Yes, doing rhymes repeatedly is good for children’s short-term memory as well as oral language.  

5th Turn transitions into teachable times with “Letter Bears.” (Check out the blog I did on those on July 25, 2015.)

Hint! Think about making seasonal cutouts for each month with specific skills you want the children to master that month.

Okeedookee! Five tips is plenty for today. Come back tomorrow for a few more ideas.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


How about 15 free song downloads to start your year? Yes, indeed, it's Christmas in August on my website (drjean.org) starting today. I've got 15 songs to make you smile and have a happy day. 

Rise and Shine to start each day.

The Rules Rap to encourage positive behavior.

Days of the Week for a calendar song.

Over in the Meadow to connect numbers and sets.

Twelve Days of School to count.

Nursery Rhyme Rap for phonological awareness.

Alphardy for alphabet knowledge and phonics.

Five Senses for science.

The Cool Bear Hunt for sequencing.

Silly Willy for a brain break.

The Wheels on the Bus for fun.

I Like to Come to School for a positive attitude.

Super Star Chant for creating a classroom community.

Gray Squirrel just because it's a sweet song I remember singing with my children.

It's Time to Say Good-Bye to send them out the door on a positive note.

You'll also find links for books you can download to go with the songs.

Happy, happy back to school!

Friday, July 31, 2015



I can teach a little boy anything with a toy car. Well, almost anything! You can still buy toy cars for $1 or less at a dollar store. You can use these cars for centers, games, and other activities in your classroom. Shoot, I bet even little girls would enjoy playing and learning with the cars!

Ask children to sort the cars. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Left to Right
Put a green dot on one side of a poster and a red dot at the opposite end. Children use the cars to drive from green to red on the curves, zigzags, and lines.

Write lower letters on sticky dots and put them on the cars. Make paper houses with uppercase letters. Can they match the cars with the houses?

Phonological Awareness
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.

Numerical Order
Write numerals on sticky dots and place them on the cars. Can children arrange them in order?
Place Value
Use cars for tens and ones.

Sets and Numbers
Make a parking lot with different sets of dots in each space. Children match up numbers on the cars with the correct space.
Roll and Add
Write numerals 1-12 on a long strip of paper. Children roll two dice, add up the numbers, and then move their car to the correct space.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Morning meeting is a special time to celebrate little milestones in children's lives like losing a tooth or getting a new pair of shoes. Here are some songs that we always used to celebrate these events. 

Happy Haircut (Tune: "Happy Birthday to You")
Only sing this song if the children like their haircut. We've all had haircuts where we wanted to hide in a sack!
Happy haircut to you.
Happy haircut to you.
You're sure lookin' good!
Happy haircut to you.

New Shoes (Tune: "This Old Man")
When children wear a new pair of shoes to school, let them stand in front
of the room and dance as you sing this song to them.

Here’s one foot. (Child sticks out one foot.)
Here are two. (Child sticks out other foot.)
Each is wearing a brand, new shoe,
So stand up, turn around, dance around the floor. (Child dances in a circle.)
That’s what these two feet are for. (Point to feet.)

Welcome Back
(Tune: "The Bear Went over the Mountain")
If a child has been absent, insert their name in this song when they return to school
to let them know you missed them.

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

Loose Tooth (Tune: "Turkey in the Straw")
Celebrate when a child loses a tooth by using their name I this tune.
Oh, look in child’s name mouth
And what do you see?
A great, big hole where a tooth used to be.
Well, they wiggled it and jiggled it until it wiggled free.
Now, there’s a window when they smile at me.

This document has some posters of the songs. Someone sent me these several years ago, but I can't remember your name. Thank you whoever you are!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Several years ago when I visited a classroom the children broke into this song to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?” It tickled me to death, and I know visitors to your classroom would feel the same way.
Welcome to our room. (Open arms.)Welcome to our room.
Welcome visitor’s name. (Wave hand.)
Welcome visitor’s name.
We’re so glad to see you. (Clap hands.)
We’re so glad to see you.
Welcome visitor’s name. (Open arms.)
Welcome visitor’s name.

After singing to your visitor give them an eye hug by smiling, closing your eyes, wrapping your arms around your body, and giving a shrug with your shoulders.