Sunday, December 21, 2014


I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in 
jars and open a jar of it every month. Harlan Miller

Isn't that a beautiful thought? You don't need any activities or songs from me this week, but you might need someone to remind you to take a deep breath, focus on the good things in your life, and keep a sweet thought in your head!

The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart. 

Helen Keller

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. 

Charles Schulz

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 

Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. 

Mary Ellen Chase

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.

Eric Sevareid

"Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.” “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”
The Grinch

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

God bless us, every one! Tiny Tim

And God bless each one of you!  I wish you joy and peace and love!
Now, I'm going to turn off this computer and be merry and bright!
You know I love each and every one of you!!!
I'll be back December 26th!
Holly, Kalina (holding Pinky), K.J., Uncle Nick

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I try to be professional on my blog, but every once in a while I’ve just got to speak my mind. I am tired of people picking on Santa. I LOVE Santa and I BELIEVE! He represents love and hope and dreams and goodness. Santa doesn’t say bad words or do drugs or hurt anyone. He spreads happiness to children everywhere and wants to put a smile on their faces. (Kind of like a lot of teachers I know!)

K.J., Santa, Kalina, Madeleine (grandniece)

If you have ever bought a lottery ticket or put a quarter in a slot machine or looked for a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks…it’s the same as believing in Santa. It’s all about wishful thinking. It’s a dream and a hope for something better. The anticipation of what will be under the tree or in your stocking is usually better than reality.

As teachers, we are the dream makers and believers! We give children dreams and believe in the power of making the world a better place one child at a time.

Langston Hughes was a lot like Santa when he wrote:
         Hold onto dreams,
         For if dreams die
         Life is like a broken-winged bird
         That cannot fly.

Never give up...keep believing...keep on dreaming!

Friday, December 19, 2014


Here's a little magic idea in case you need it today!

Use your finger like a magic wand as you wave it and say, "Abracadabra!." Explain that when you say a word, they must become the word. When you say, "Freeze!" they need to stand still until you wave your wand and say another word. For example, "Abracadabra! You're reindeer!"
*You can use candles, snowmen, bells, candy canes, and other seasonal words.

Candy Cane Wand
Here’s the easiest art project ever! Cut paper into 8” squares. Have children color red on each outside edge. Start at one point and roll up. Tape the end in place. Taaa daaa!
*Let children say/write what they would do with a magic wand.

Hint!  I find it easier to roll it around a pencil and then remove the pencil after I tape the end in place.

This would also be a great pointer for reading the room or big books!

If you need a laugh today, take a look at this video Debbie Clement did with jibjab.  There's something wrong with your head if you don't smile when you watch us sing and dance!

My twitter dance partners are:



Thursday, December 18, 2014


Yes, Virginia, this is actually Bake Cookies Day. Here’s what says:

'Ya gotta just love Bake Cookies Day.........
..... Christmas is for Christians
..... Hanukkah is just for Jews
..... Ramadan is for those of Islamic descent
..... Kwanzaa is for those of African origin
..... Native American Day is for American Indians
But, Bake Cookies Day is for EVERYONE!

Play Dough – Put cookie cutters and play dough on a cookie sheet. Add a rolling pin (cylinder block), scissors, and plastic utensils. 

(Thank you, blog for reminding me about my mother's cookie cutters.  They were in the back of a cupboard and I never would have found them if it weren't for you.  Now, Kalina and K.J. can make some new memories with them!!)
Paper Ornaments – Put some cookie cutters, scissors, glue, and the scrap box out on a table. Let children trace around the cookie cutters, cut out their paper cookies, and then decorate with stickers or glitter pens. Punch a hole, tie on a string, and decorate the tree.

Graph – What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Do a bar graph and tally the results.

Recipes – Let children write their own “how to make cookies” recipes.

Descriptions – Give each child a cookie and ask them to draw what it looks like. Next, ask them to write 2-5 sentences describing their cookie. Finally, they get to eat the cookie!

What else? Read books or sing songs about cookies…or, just wait until a boring January day to do these things!!

Read, Read, As Fast As You Can! Here’s a cookie bulletin board that I saw last year at a school in Islip, New York. It’d be perfect for when you go back to school in January. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I feel like I've been neglecting math lately, so here are some simple math games to play today.

Mingle Jingle
Children tiptoe quietly around the room as they whisper, "Jingle, jingle."  When the teacher calls out a number, they must form groups with that amount.  Those students who are leftover can do a jumping jack or other silly movement.  Continue having the children mingle and jingle and form different sets.

Magic Number 
Children stand in a circle and begin counting off.  When you get to 25 (Christmas Day) that child must sit down.  Continue counting until one child is left.

And here are some ideas to recycle all those advertisements that you've been getting in the mail.  

Materials:  advertisements from toy stores, grocery stores, or discount stores, paper, pencils, scissors, glue
Write questions similar to those below on a chart.  Children fold a sheet of paper into fourths and then write a number in each section.  Then they look through the advertisements and cut out an object that answers each question.

1. What costs less than $10.00?
2. What costs more than $100.00?
3. If you had $20 what would you buy for your family?
4. What would you like to buy for yourself?  How much does it cost?

Turn the paper over and draw a T-chart.  On one side write "wants" and on the other side write "needs."  Children cut out pictures (or write words) for things they actually need and things they'd like to have.
Seasonal Shapes
Take a walk around the school and look for different shapes in seasonal objects.  Can they find a circle?  Triangle?  Rectangle?  Square?  Sphere?  Cone?  Cube?
*Let them make a shape collage by cutting objects out of advertisements and catalogs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I'm trying to remember the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) principle this week because I know you are overwhelmed with parties and programs and trimmings and trappings. This activity might actually help with behavior as you build vocabulary.

We Really Like You!
Have children brainstorm positive behaviors as you write the words on the board. Examples might include: “kind,” “helpful,” “polite,” “respectful,” “positive,” “enthusiastic,” “responsible,” etc. Write the words on index cards. (You might need to duplicate words because each you will need one card for each student in your classroom.)  Put the cards in a gift bag and let one child at a time come up and pull out a word. Sing their word in the song below to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

We like you because you’re (word).
We like you because you’re (word).
We like you because you’re (word).
We really like you!

Tape the word to the child. If they misbehave simply ask, “Do you need to take off your word? Act like your word.”

I Really Like Marcus Mariota 
Now, here's a real live hero to talk about!  If you're not a football fan, the highest award in college football is the Heisman trophy.  Marcus Mariota, the quarterback from the University of Oregon, won the prestigious award Saturday evening and he makes me so proud!  (Wish I'd been his kindergarten teacher!)  Every word out of his mouth is "blessed" or "grateful."  He's the first Hawaiian to win the Heisman and he is so humble and credits his team, family, state, coaches...  There are so many negative sports "stars?", but here's a GOOD GUY!  Introduce Marcus Mariota to your students.  Ask your students why they think he won the award.  Emphasize his commitment, hard work, and his JOY in playing the game with his team.  Cheers for the Ducks, the Mariota family, and Hawaii!!!
You, too, will love him after you read this article!

And I Really Like Debbie Clement!
I'm doing my first tweet chat tonight thanks to Debbie!  She'll be holding my hand as I venture into Tweet Land!  Come join the party at 9!

Monday, December 15, 2014


Welcome my guest blogger Bonnie Compton from  Here's a conversation we had that about the present of PRESENCE!  It might be something you'll want to share with the parents of your students.

The holiday season is upon us and it is so easy to get caught up in all of the hustle bustle! Before we know it, the holidays have come and gone and we’re left to wonder “Where did the time go?” and “I wish we spent more family time together”. It’s not that there isn’t enough time, although it certainly feels that way, but that we are not conscious of how we’re spending our time. As a child and adolescent therapist, and parent coach, I often hear from kids that they wish their parents spent more time with them. Parents too complain that they feel they just don’t spend as much time as they’d like to with their kids. Often daily responsibilities get in the way of just hanging out and having fun!

One of the best ways I believe to spend time with your children, is through play. Children learn through play, and they love it when they can bring their Mom and Dad into their world of imagination. I think one of the most important reasons to play with your kids is that the time you spend with your children now is not only priceless, but it’s relationship building. Although they will appreciate their holiday gifts, your relationship with them is what they will really remember when they look back on their childhood.

Please tune-in and join my conversation as we talk about the importance of spending time with children...and there will be free giveaways!!! You can register to win acostume for your little one or an amazing interactive tractor!!!

I’ve invited my guest, Dr. Jean Feldman, also known as “Dr. Jean” to join my conversation. Dr. Jean’s noteworthy educational career has spanned more than 40 years. She has served as a classroom teacher, instructor of adults, author and consultant. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Kindergarten Alliance, and the International Reading Association. Dr. Jean inspires teachers across the country with her engaging songs and creative activities that help make teaching and learning FUN!

I hope you’ll slow down a bit and join our conversation...