Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Groundhog Day is this Sunday, but you'll want to give this little guy some attention one day this week.

Groundhog Day – February 2nd
(Tune: “Say, Say, My Playmate” Happy Everything CD)
February 2nd, (Hold up 2 fingers.)
Is Groundhog Day.
Gather round his hole (Make circular motion.)
To hear what he’ll say. (Place hand by ear.)
Will spring be early
Or late this year?
Watch and listen
To what you’ll hear.

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with one hand.)
On a sunny day (Stick the index finger from the other hand
His shadow will frighten him (up through the hole and wiggle.)
And he will say,
“I’ll go back in my hole (Tuck finger in your fist.)
And go back to sleep.
You’ll have winter
For six more weeks.”

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with fist and stick up finger.)
On a cloudy day
He’s not frightened
So he will say, (Wiggle finger.)
“I think I’ll stay out
And the weather should clear.
Spring will be here
Early this year.”
*You can download the book at

Cup Puppet
Let children draw a groundhog or download one off the internet. Staple to a straw. Punch a hole in the bottom of a paper cup and insert the straw in the cup. Raise and lower the groundhog as appropriate in the song.

Sidewalk Shadows
Go outside on a sunny day and have children stand with their backs to the sun. Let them make silly motions and play “Guess what I am?” Give them chalk and let them trace around each other’s shadows.
*Draw shadows at 10, 12, and 2 and compare.

*Play shadow tag where they try to touch each other's shadows.

Where’s the Groundhog?
Cut twenty 4” squares out of heavy paper. Write high frequency words, math facts, letters, numerals, etc. on the cards. Glue a picture of a groundhog on a 3" circle. Have the children sit on the floor in a circle. Mix up the cards and place them face up on the floor. Identify the numeral (etc.) on each card as you place it down on the floor. Tell the children to turn around. Hide the groundhog under one of the squares. Children turn back around and try and guess where the groundhog is hiding. One at a time children call out a number and then “peek” to see if the groundhog is under it. The first child to find the groundhog gets to have a turn hiding it. The game continues as children hide the groundhog and then try to discover his whereabouts.

Invite children to dramatize the groundhog peeping out of his hole. What if it's sunny? What if it's cloudy?

Note! Visit for more great ideas!

You can watch me demonstrate some of these February activities on a video I did a few years ago.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


As excitement for the Super Bowl builds, it is the perfect time to brainstorm what players have to do to get ready for the game. Emphasize the importance of good nutrition, exercise, and studying the playbook. These are all things that are important to good students as well!!!

Circuit Training

Here’s a super way to get some exercise when the weather is bad. Write exercises similar to the ones below on construction paper and tape them around the room. Divide children into groups of 2 or 3 and have them start at a station. Put on some music with a good beat. Time the children for one minute at each station and then say, “Switch!” Groups rotate in a circle around the room until they have completed each station.

*tire run (feet apart and arms out as you run in place)

*throw and catch (pretend to throw overhead and then catch a football)

*scissor jump (jump crossing legs right and then left)

*balance (stand on one leg)

*passing run (run in place as fast as you can)

*jump and catch (jump up in the air as you pretend to catch the ball)

*toe touch (touch toes and then hands in the air)

*squats (arms out front as you bend legs up and down)

*jumping jacks (jump out with arms up and then jump in with arms down)

*jump rope (pretend to jump rope in place)

*silent cheer leaders (jump and cheer without making any noise)

Fitness Learning Trail
Reinforce skills as children use their bodies and brains!  This could be done outside when the weather is nice or inside when it's cold or rainy.

For example:

*Count to 100 by 10's as you do jumping jacks

*Patty cake some nursery rhymes with a friend

*Count backwards from 20 as you march in place

*Do squats as you name as many insects as you can

*Balance on one foot as you name your city, state, and country

*Balance on the other foot as you say your address and phone number

*Touch toes and then stand up and read a word in the room 

*Sing the ABC’s forwards and then backwards as you stand on tip toes

*Run in place as you name different shapes that you see


Monday, January 27, 2020



Get ready for the game with these learning activities this week. 

Survey Says
Let children do surveys (classroom, at home, etc.) to find out which team others think will win the Super Bowl.

“Offensive,” “Defensive,” “Penalty,” “Referee,” “Substitution,” “Huddle” …How many football terms can you think of that might be meaningful to learn?

Jersey Math
Let children choose their favorite player’s number and write it on a paper jersey. How many facts can they think of that equal that number.

Starting Line Up
At the beginning of the day let children make two lines facing each other. Introduce one child at a time and let them run through the two lines as their friends give them high five and cheer.

Good Job
At the end of the day make a huddle and say, “Good job, team!”

How many players on each team? How many players in all?
How long is a football field?
How many points for a touchdown? Field goal? Safety?
How long is a quarter? How long is the entire game?
How many yards in a first down?

Let children estimate what they think the total score will be. After the game determine who guessed more – less - the closest?

Put out the scrap box and let children make pennants, hats, pompoms, and other paraphernalia.

Football Practice Game
Cut footballs out on the fold similar to the one shown. Write math facts on the front and the answer inside.
*These can be used for phonics, numerical order, question and answers, etc.

What does "NFL" stand for? Download a copy of the team logos (Mr. Google will help you) and make a visual matching game or memory game.

Sunday, January 26, 2020



February 5, 2020 


Let’s give children a break from “rigor” and “instructional time” and give them the opportunity to do what is becoming a lost art – PLAY!

February 4, 2015, was the first annual Global School Play Day and it has grown rapidly. They are hoping to reach 500,000 students this year and you can join in on the fun!

How do you make this happen? Personally, I would get my families and parent organizations involved. (Administrators might listen to them more than to you or me.)

Here are some other tips I learned from the website:

1. EDUCATE Remind parents and administrators about the benefits of play. (There are some good videos on the GSPD website.)

2. GET SOCIAL Use social media to encourage other schools to get involved. #GSPD2017.

3. CALL FOR TOYS Tell your students they can bring anything they want to school to play with on February 1st. (No electronic devices or toys with batteries!)

Don't organize
Don't tell them how to play
Don't interfere

5. SHARE AND REFLECT Share pictures, ideas, and reflections after the event. Encourage students to talk to their parents about the day and continue to PLAY at home.

Note! Even if your school won't do it for a full day, couldn't they at least let the kids play the last hour of the day?


                          Come on everybody! Let's all PLAY on February 5th!

Saturday, January 25, 2020


O.K. O.K. Just a few more strategies for helping children master those sight words. 

Hint!  Think about how you could use these same techniques for teaching letters, numbers, vocabulary, and other skills that children have to master.

Spotlight on Reading (Vickie Spencer)
Use this idea to line up and learn. Turn the lights off and then pass a flashlight to one child. That child shines the flashlight on a word and reads it. She then passes the flashlight to another friend. Children continue reading a word and passing the flashlight to a friend until all have read a word and lined up.

Sight Word Selfie! (Myca Lopez)
Children walk around the room and take selfies with sight words they can read.

*Have them do this at home using their parent's camera. Parents send these to school and the class can read over them on the interactive white board.

Time Out Words
Make a chart with “Time Out Words.” Those are words that don’t obey rules like “are, the, one, etc.”

*I've also heard these referred to as "Outlaw Words" because they don't obey the laws.


Word Wall Ball (Lynn Urban)
Students earn a bead for each word wall word they learn and string it on a necklace. Once all word wall words have been learned, they earn a star bead. In the spring celebrate with a BALL! Students wear nice clothes and their word bead necklaces. Serve refreshments, and dance!

High Five  
Write sight words on hands and tape to your classroom door. Students must "high five" a hand and read a word before exiting the classroom.


Friday, January 24, 2020


Children have different learning strengths and weaknesses. Some children have good visual memory skills, while others (kinesthetic/tactile learners) learn better through the sense of touch.

Palm Pilot
Practice saving words with palm pilots. Children hold up one palm and write the letters in a word with the index finger of their other hand. Pretend to run your fingers up your arm to your brain as you say the word. Do each word three times to make sure it gets “saved” in the brain.
*Children can also do “invisible” writing in the air or write on each other’s backs.

Rainbow Words
Children write words with a black crayon or marker in the middle of the page and then trace around the word with different colors of crayons.
*Hint! Write a “giant” word in the middle of a large sheet of newsprint. Tape it to a wall and encourage all of the children to trace around it.

Shaving Cream
Squirt shaving cream (non-menthol) on each child’s desk. After they explore with it they can practice writing words.

Cut letters out of sandpaper and glue them on poster board to make words. Children trace over the letters with their fingers as they blend the sounds.

Sand and Salt Trays
Cover the bottom of a tub or shoe box with sand or salt. Let children practice writing words in the tub.
*You can also write words on construction paper and place them in the bottom of the tub. Cover with sand. Children scrape away the sand and try to read the word.

Lotty Dotty
Write words by making dots with a water-based marker. Put a drop of glue on top of each dot. Dry. The marker will bleed into the glue to create a textured word. Children trace over the dots as they read the word.
Hint! Let children make rubbings of lotty dotty words. Can they connect the dots and write the word?

Bumpy Words
Write words on top of needlepoint canvas with a crayon. Children can trace over the bumpy letters as they read the word.


Disappearing Words
Give children a cup of water and a piece of sponge. Children write words with the sponge on a chalkboard. Can they remember the word as it dries and disappears?
*They can also write words with a paintbrush on the sidewalk.

Note!  These strategies can be adapted for learning letters, numbers, shapes, etc.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Music can be the “dessert” in your curriculum. Try using some of these familiar tunes to practice reading sight words.

Singing the Word Wall
Sing the word wall from a to z with the tune of “Gilligan’s Island.”

Sight Word Cadence
Children echo each line as you sing four word wall words at a time.
There are some words you need
If you want to learn to read.
A All And Are
Be Book Boy By…etc.

Two Letter Words
Sing two letter words to “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”
If you want to spell he, say “h” “e.”
If you want to spell he, say “h” “e.”
It’s easy as can be when you sing and spell with me.
If you want to spell he, say “h” “e.”

Three Letter Words

Sing three letter words to “Where Is Thumbkin?”
What spells the? What spells the?
T – h – e (T – h – e)
T-h-e spells the. (T–h–e spells the.)
T – h – e. (T – h – e)
*Sing three letter words to “Three Blind Mice.”

*THE Poem: You can say the, or you can say
but you always have to spell it T- h - e!


Four Letter Words
Learn to spell four 4 letter words with “Happy Birthday.”
T – h – a – t spells that. T – h – a – t spells that.
T – h – a – t spells that. T – h – a – t spells that.
*Sing four letter words to “My Darlin’ Clementine” or “YMCA.”

Five Letter Words
Five letter words can be sung to “BINGO.”
There is a word that you should know and green is the word-o.
G – r – e – e – n. G – r – e – e – n. G – r – e – e – n.
And green is the word-o.
*Sing five letter words to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Six Letter Words
The tune of “Ten Little Indians” can be used to spell six letter words.
That spells school.
*The theme song from “The Mickey Mouse Club” can also be used for six letter words.

Seven or Eight Letter Words
*Fit the letters in longer words to “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” and “Coming Round the Mountain.”

Chiming Words
Use a xylophone for this activity. Strike keys on letters and the blend.

Here's a link to the video I did a few years ago on sight words: