Monday, September 24, 2018


Here's a simple craft activity that you can tie into science (seasons), reading (letters and word families), and writing.  It's good for small motor skills as well as cutting.

Directions:  Tear or cut 3 or 4 strips half way down from the top of the bag as shown.  (You might want to draw these lines for younger children.)  Open the bag and twist in the middle to make a tree.  

Seasonal Trees
*Tear red, yellow, and orange scrap paper and glue them on the strips to make an autumn tree.
*Pink and white tissue paper can be waded up to make blossoms on a spring tree.
*What fruits and nuts grow on trees? Let children make their favorite fruit tree.

Letter Tree
*Write letters (or use letter stickers) to make a "chicka chicka boom boom boom" tree.
*Make a word family tree by writing all the words they can make from a specific rime.

Family Tree
*Let children make a family tree by writing names of family members on their tree.

Spooky Old Tree
Twist the strips of paper as shown to make a spooky tree.  Let children cut bats, cats, and other spooky things to go on their tree.

*Use these trees to prompt descriptive writing or poems.

Fall Centerpiece

If you're entertaining this fall here's a centerpiece will get rave reviews.  All you need is a large paper grocery sack.  Wad and crush the sack until it is soft and pliable.  Next, make a large tree using the same process you did with the lunch bag.  Use silk leaves, small pumpkins, and other seasonal objects to decorate your tree.  Taaa daaa!!

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Take advantage of the science lab on your playground with these leaf activities.                                   
Leaf Hunt  
Give each child a lunch sack and let them collect 2 or 3 leaves from the ground. Bring these back in the classroom and sort by shape, color, etc. You could also graph the leaves by shape. (Whenever you collect items outside emphasize the importance of taking things from the ground. Return the objects to where you found them after exploring with them in the classroom.)

Science Center 
Let children investigate leaves in the science center with a magnifying glass or microscope.  Ask children to draw the enlarged leaf.
Hint!  You can also take a photo of a leaf with your phone and enlarge it to show the veins and details.

Check out a leaf identification book from the library. Can children match up their leaves with those in the book to identify which tree they came from?

Leaf Rubbings 
Lay a sheet of paper on top of a leaf. Remove the paper from an old crayon and rub the side over the leaf to make a print.Hint! Use rubber cement to glue the leaf to the table. It will be easier for the children to make a rubbing, and you can just rub off the rubber cement after the activity.
Leaf Book 
Let each child find a "favorite" leaf. To preserve, place the leaf in a sheet of newspaper and put a book on top overnight. Place the leaf in a zip baggie. Encourage children to dictate or write a sentence about their leaf.
*Put several baggies together to make a book.

I Wonder Why? 
Brainstorm why leaves turn colors and fall off trees in the fall. Have children go home and do a little research with their parents and report results in class the following day.

Deciduous Trees (Sandra Kelley)
Tune: "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"
Do your leaves fall down?
Do they tumble to the ground?
Do you lose your leaves in the fall?
Then you are deciduous that we know
because in the fall your leaves all go!

*What's the difference between deciduous trees and evergreen trees? Take a nature walk and ask children to identify both types of trees.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


It's the first day of fall! Football, pumpkins, colorful leaves, and FUN are in the air!
Leaves Are Falling
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
Leaves are falling (Echo song. Children repeat each line.)
Leaves are falling (Flutter fingers down.)
To the ground. (Touch the ground.)
To the ground.
Red, orange, and yellow (Flutter fingers.)
Red, orange, and yellow
Falling down. (Touch the ground.)
Falling down.
*Let children dramatize being leaves and dancing in the wind. As the song ends they fall quietly to the ground.

*What happens to leaves after they fall from the trees? Later in the fall when there are lots of leaves on the ground demonstrate how to pick up a handful of leaves and crumple them in your hands. Explain how those leaves will decay and turn into soil.

Why do you think they call this season “fall”? What’s another name for fall?
What season comes before fall? What season comes after fall? Fall is a cool off time between hot summer and cold winter.

Signs of Fall
Brainstorm signs of fall and write them on the board. What kind of clothes do we wear in fall? What’s the weather like in the fall? Are there any special seasonal foods we eat? What kind of sports are popular in fall? What holidays do we celebrate in the fall? What do animals do to get ready for winter? What do plants do in the fall?

*Let children make an attribute web and label it with pictures or words of things that remind them of fall. Older children can do this as a writing assignment, but for younger children this can be an opportunity for the teacher to model writing and develop vocabulary.

Nature WalkGo on a nature walk and look for signs of fall. Provide children with tablets, paper, and pencils so they can record their “observations” on the walk.

I Like Autumn Language Experience Chart
Let children dictate sentences about why they like autumn. Older children could write their own original stories about, “Fall, Fall, Best of All!”

Acrostic Poem
Write the words “fall” or “autumn” vertically down the side of a sheet of paper. Children think of a word that starts with each letter that relates to fall.

Friday, September 21, 2018


It's almost fall and that means the squirrels are busy gathering nuts and the scarecrows are dancing in the fields. (Squirrels and scarecrows are also good alternatives to Halloween symbols in the fall.)

Squirrel Handshake
Children hold out their right hand and the teacher pretends to be a squirrel and wiggles the index and tall finger up the arm like a squirrel.  Then the children get to be the squirrel and gently run up the teacher's arm.

Gray Squirrel
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close to chest like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Wrinkle up your little nose, (Wrinkle nose.)
Hide a nut between your toes. (Pretend to hold a nut in your paws.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close to chest like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Climb up in the tallest tree. (Arms climb up above head.)
Let your tail blow in the breeze. (Wiggle bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
If you’ll be a friend of mine, (Point to self and then a friend.)
I will be a friend of yours.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.                                       

Here's a link so you can download a book to go with the song.

Gray Squirrel – Have children draw the body of a squirrel on a gray sheet of paper and cut out it out. Staple the squirrel to a straw to make a puppet. Staple a piece of felt or fake fur to the squirrel for a bushy tail.

*Trace around children's feet and attach with a brad to make a squirrel.

Class Scarecrow – Some old clothes, newspaper, and paper grocery sack will work just fine for a classroom scarecrow. Stuff newspaper in the sack and gather the bottom with a rubber band to make a head. Add a face. Let the children wad up newspaper and stuff the clothes. Sit it up in a chair and prop up the head with a dowel rod. Have the children bring in gloves, a hat, boots, etc. from home to complete the scarecrow. Write stories about the scarecrow. What would you do if you were a scarecrow?

Scarecrow Picture Talk- Download a picture of a scarecrow from the internet. Discuss what a scarecrow does. How many details can children notice about the scarecrow? Draw lines to label their descriptions.

Scarecrow Collage – Give children fabric scraps, construction paper, straw, etc. and invite them to create a scarecrow. What is their scarecrow’s name?

If I Were a Scarecrow... Make a language experience chart where children complete the sentence.  Older children could write creative stories about what they would do if they were a scarecrow.

You can say this chant or sing it to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”
Children stand up and stretch out their arms like a scarecrow.
They repeat each line as they make the appropriate movements.

Can you turn around? I can turn around.
Can you touch the ground? I can touch the ground.
Can you wiggle your nose?
Can you touch your toes?
Can you wave up high?
Can you let your arms fly?
Can you give a clap?
Can you give a snap?
Can you jump, jump, jump?
Can you thump, thump, thump?
Can you wiggle your knees?
Can you sit down, please? Yes, yes, indeed! (Children sit down.)

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Let’s make a backpack we can take on our bear hunt! You'll need lunch bags, scissors, markers, and glue.  

*Here's a link to the video:

1. Make two dots about 1/3 down from the top corners of the bag as shown.

2. Cut down on the corners to the dots and stop.

3. Fold the front section of the bag down and hold it with your hand. Cut off the remaining 3 sides.

4. Fold down the front section to make the backpack.

5. Cut the section of the bag you cut off in half lengthwise to make the two straps. Fold the ends and glue to make loops.

6. Glue the loops to the back of the bag for straps.

7. Let children decorate their backpacks with crayons or markers.

Hint! Attach a piece of Velcro to the flap to close.

Note! This is a little complicated to you will need to do it with a small group at a time.
So, now you’ve got your backpack, how can you use it?

Backpack Activities
Let the children draw the items mentioned in "The Cool Bear" hunt and pretend to use them in the song.

Use the backpacks for “homework.” Have children bring in something that starts with a sound…two things that rhyme…environmental print they can read…a shape, etc.

Send home copies of nursery rhymes, finger plays, songs, recipes or other activities children can do with their families.

Send home flash cards with letters, sight words, math facts, or other skills children need to practice.

Grocery Bag
You can make a larger backpack from a paper grocery bag.  
Hint!  Use ribbon or fabric scraps to make more durable straps.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


I'm packing my suitcase with TONS of hands on activities, centers, cheers, games, songs, and stories! I promise I'll do my best to give you lots of great ideas and joy in your heart!!!

Early Childhood Educators Symposium, Odessa, TX
October 6, 2017

Early Childhood Conference, Cumberland, Maryland
October 20, 2019

Georgia Kindergarten Conference (Atlanta)
December 6, 2018

Florida Kindergarten Conference (Orlando)
December 10, 2018

California Kindergarten Conference (Santa Clara)
January 11 & 12, 2019

Ohio Kindergarten Conference (Columbus)
January 14, 2019

Arkansas Kindergarten Conference (Little Rock)
January 28, 2019

Pennsylvania Kindergarten Conference (Harrisburg)
February 4, 2019

New Jersey Kindergarten Conference (Atlantic City)
February 25, 2019

Southern California Kindergarten Conference (Pasadena)
March 1 & 2, 2019

Virginia Early Childhood Conference (Roanoke)
March 15, 2019

Ohio Early Childhood Conference
April 26, 2019

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Our prayers and thoughts are with all our teacher friends and families who were hit by Hurricane Florence.  As the devastation unravels we share in your pain.  If you were at a school impacted by the storm, please contact us ( or so we can give you some free materials and, hopefully, put a song back in your hearts!
Dr. Jean & Carolyn Kisloski

Here is a fantastic THINKING game that you can make in about 15 minutes and use throughout the school year. Write the categories below on index cards. Punch a hole in the cards and attach to a book ring. If you’ve got a few minutes before lunch or while you’re waiting during other transitions you can flip through the category cards and see how many words children can “pop out.”

*Whisper - Let the whole class participate by whispering as many words as they can.

*Toss and Tell – Throw a beanbag around the group and each child must add a word to the category as they catch the beanbag.

*Brainstorm - Write words on the board as the students call them out.

*Think Time - Give older children 2 or 3 minutes to write all the words they can think of. You could also divide students into partners or small groups to do this.

shapes cars
something in the yard animals
fruit or vegetable movie stars
something in the kitchen body parts
river, lake, or ocean towns or cities
country or state machines
type of transportation foods
something you wear actions
something in the zoo plants
toys books
songs nouns
famous person verbs
something in the school games
TV shows feelings
colors occupations
restaurants or stores adjectives
sports teams candy
cartoons things that fly

Hint! Adapt the categories to the specific age, skills, and interests of your students.

Check out this video my webmaster (Alex May) just created to go with my song about "Five Little Fishes."