Friday, July 25, 2014


I’m glad the webinar is over!!! I was really stressed because it was my first one. I stayed awake all last night thinking about how I could have done it better. (See, I’m just like you!) This was what my desk looked like – cheat sheets and all! 

If you missed the live presentation here’s a link so you can watch it:

One of the big things I forgot to do was thank Vanessa Levin ( She’s my techie mentor and she held my hand through the whole process. THANK YOU, VANESSA!!!

I also want to thank Stephen Fite for hosting the webinar and Frog Street Press for sponsoring the event and making it FREE!

I get by with a little help from my friends, so I thank all of you who sent me positive thoughts yesterday! I once heard, “If you have a candle, then pass it on and all the world will shine brightly.” Over my 45 years as an educator teachers have shared with me, and I’m just trying to pass on the ideas to make your job more fun and put a smile on children’s faces.


Letter Necklace
First, make a letter necklace for each child. Cut out 3” circles from poster board, write the first letter of each child’s name on one circle, punch a hole in it, and thread it on a piece of 24” string to make a necklace for each child. Choose one child each day for the routine below:
1. Place the necklace in your lap and do a little “drum roll” by tapping your hands on your knees.
2. Give clues about the child’s name as you write the letters on the board. For example, “The mystery name today has four letters. This friend loves horses and is a good artist. This friend has brown hair and brown eyes. Who can it be?”
3. Present the child with their letter necklace as you sing this song to the Cookie Monster song “C Is for Cookie.”

     M is for Marcus,
     That’s good enough for me.
     M is for Marcus,
     That’s good enough for me.
     M is for Marcus,
     That’s good enough for me.
     Oh, Marcus, Marcus, Marcus starts with M.
4. Encourage children to name other words that start with /m/.
*Let children decorate their own letter necklaces with stickers, fake jewels, and glitter pens.

Giant Letters
Write the first letter in the child’s name on a large piece of poster board and cut it out. Place it at the art center with collage materials. Invite the children to help decorate the letter during the day. Display these letters on a special wall in your classroom.
*You could also send the cutout letter home with the child with instructions for parents to help him make a collage on it with pictures, photos, environmental print, and so on.

Sign Language
Teach children the manual sign for the first letter in their name. Dismiss children to line up by making the sign for their name.

Name Puzzle
Write each child’s name on a 10” sentence strip. Cut between the letters in the name and put them in an envelope. Write the child’s name on the front of the envelope. The children empty the envelope and put the letters together like a puzzle to spell the name.

Unifix Cubes
Place dot stickers on Unifix cubes. Write the first letter in each child’s name on one color and the remaining letters on another color as shown. Store these in a pencil box. Children can take the letters apart and then put them back together to spell their friends’ names.
Flap Book
Turn a brown paper lunch bag horizontally. Fold over the end as shown. Open the flap and print the child’s name so that only the first letter will show when you fold over the flap. Glue the child’s picture under the flap.
Sneak a Peek
Cut off the left edge of an envelope. Write one child’s name on a 12” sentence strip and glue his picture on the right end as shown in the illustration. Place the sentence strips inside the envelope. Children pull out one letter at a time as they predict whose name it will be.
Rub Overs
Write children’s names with school glue. Dry. Children place a piece of paper on top of the name and rub with the side of a crayon.
Push Pin
Write children’s names on sentence strips. Children place a sheet of construction paper on top of a carpet square or mouse pad. Next, place their name on top and punch around the letters with a jumbo push pin. When they hold the construction paper up to the light they will see their name.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I'm soooo excited!  This afternoon is my back to school webinar!  It's my first one and I'm a little nervous...well a LOT nervous!  Here's the link so you can join me and send me happy thoughts:
How about some activities to play with names as you nurture phonological awareness.

Willabee Wallabee

Here’s a good chant for rhyming. Substitute the first sound in each child’s name with a /w/.
Willabee wallabee Wohn.
An elephant sat on John.
Willabee wallabee Wue.
An elephant sat on Sue.

Bappy Birthday Bo Bou 
You can also substitute the first sound in each child’s name in the traditional birthday song. It’s silly, but they love it! Nick’s name would be:
Nappy nirthday no nou.
Nappy nirthday no nou.
Nappy nirthday near Nick.
Nappy nirthday no nou.

Alliterate the first sound in each child’s name as you say it in the Batman chant.
/m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/  Max!
/h/ /h/ /h/ /h/ /h/ /h/ /h/ /h/ Heather!
*Cut a bat shape out of the front of a file folder. Insert paper and write each child’s name so it appears inside the bat. Hold up children’s names as you say the chant.


Invite the children to clap, snap, wiggle their hips, or make other motions for the syllables in their names.
*Use the children’s first and last name to make this more challenging.

Clap a Name
Cut out small hands from construction paper.  Glue them under children's pictures to indicate how many syllables in their names.  Make a book with their pictures and clap your hands!

Rhyme Game
Have the children think of words that rhyme with their classmates names. (They don’t have to be “real” words, as long as they rhyme.)
Example: Sophia, Bophia, Lophia
Sam, Bam, Ram, Lam

Sounds Like…
This is similar to the rhyming game except children think of words that begin like their friends’ names.

*Sing children's names in the "Alphardy Song" to practice alliteration.
     W for Will /w/ /w/ /w/
     B for Bella /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/
     H for Henry /h/ /h/ /h/
     C for Carolos /c/ /c/ /c/

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Children LOVE pictures of themselves, don’t they? If you’ll take photos of children and make multiple copies you’ll be able to use them for dozens of games, books, and art projects throughout the school year.

Cut out 3” squares from cardstock. Glue two photos of each child to the squares. Children can use these for a matching activity. They can also place photo cards face down on the floor and try to match pairs by turning over two cards at a time.

*Write the child’s name on one square and glue their photo to the other square for more a more challenging game.

Have children sort photo cards by beginning sounds, number of syllables, alphabetical order, etc.

Puppet People
Attach photos to straws or craft sticks and use for working out problems or making up original stories. 

TP People
Glue full body photos to TP rolls and use in the block center or with a puppet theater.

Tape children's pictures to unit blocks and use for building, graphing. and other activities.
Flannel Friends
Attach a small piece of Velcro to the back of each photo and use with a flannel board.
*Be sure to include pictures of the teacher, principal, and school helpers.

Clothespin Kids
Glue children’s faces to spring clothespins and store in a cookie tin. Use for songs, asking questions, transitions, etc.

Art Projects
Let children cut out their faces and use them for various art projects. For example, they could draw a picture of what they want to be when they grow up around their face, draw themselves as their favorite storybook character, make a collage with their friends’ pictures, and so on.
Class Stationery
Use children’s photos to make stationery. Use the stationery to send notes home to parents or for the writing center.

Business Cards
Use your computer to help children design personal business cards. Include the child’s name, school, teacher’s name, and a graphic of their choice. Print on cardstock, cut apart, and have children distribute them to family members, neighbors, and friends. How cool is that!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I like to come to school - and you'll be ready to go back to school with my webinar this Thursday. Here's the link so you can register:

I Like to Come to School
(Tune: "The Farmer in the Dell")
I like to come to school.
I like to come to school.
I like to learn and play each day
I like to come to school.

I like to make new friends…
I like to read and write…
I like to do math…
I like to sing and draw…/

*Ask children other things they like about school and insert their suggestions in the song.
*Write children’s suggestions on sentence strips and use in a pocket chart.

*Make a class book where each child draws a picture about what they like best at school. They can dictate or write a sentence to go with their drawings. Read the book several times to the class and then allow children to “check it out” and take it home.

My First Week
You will need zip sandwich bags, construction paper cut to fit in the bags, and photos of each child, a class photo, children's drawings, etc. Glue photos to the construction paper. Next, let the children draw a self-portrait or what they like best at school etc.   (They can dictate or write a sentence to go with their illustration.)  Insert the paper in the sandwich bags and close.  Stack the bags up and then staple outside the zipper to create a water-tight seal.

Hello, How Are You?
(Tune: “Skip to My Lou”)
Hello, first child’s name, how are you? (Wave.)
Hello, second child’s name, how are you?
Hello, third child’s name, how are you?
We’re so glad to see you!
Continue singing the song inserting children’s names.

Turn to your neighbor and shake their hand… (Shake hands.)
Turn to your neighbor and give high five…(Give high five.)

I Like You!
(Tune: “Shortnin’ Bread”)
I like child’s name, there’s no doubt about it. (Point to self
I like child’s name, there’s no doubt about it. and then a
I like child’s name, there’s no doubt about it. child.)
We are all good friends. (Make sign language for “friend”
                                               by hooking index fingers.)

Echo Song
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
The teacher sings the first line and the children answer singing the second line.
Who has two eyes? (Teacher asks)
I have two eyes. (Children respond)
Who has one nose? (Teacher asks)
I have one nose. (Children respond)
Who has two ears (Teacher asks)
I have two ears. (Children respond)
Now we know. (Clap and sing together)
Now we know.

Continue singing other questions about eye color, pets, siblings, likes, hobbies, etc. Talk about how we are alike and how we are different.

How Are You Feeling Today?
Some children will be thrilled about starting school and some children will be scared to death. It is important for children to recognize and name their feelings, and it is also important for teachers to accept those feelings. Teach children sign language for happy, sad, sleepy, angry, scared. (Visit to see a video clip of these signs.) As you sing the song to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It" children can make the appropriate sign and discuss their feelings.

How are you feeling today?
How are you feeling today?
Show us the sign,
And it will be just fine.
How are you feeling today?

*Insert “happy,” “sad,” “angry,” “sleepy,” “scared” in the song as you hold up puppets with those expressions. Children can stand when the emotion they are feeling is sung.
*Make puppets with expressions that children can hold up as you sing.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Oops! Yesterday I gave you the wrong link for my Back to School webinar. Here is the correct link. Hope to see you this Thursday!

You know you're going to have a great year if you plant these "good seeds" in children!

I Am Special
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
I am special.
I am special.
Take a look.
You will see.
You will see.
Someone very special.
Someone very special.
And it’s me!
And it’s me!

*Place a hand mirror in the bottom of a small box and put the lid on top. Explain to the children that the most wonderful thing in the whole world is in the box. “It’s so special there’s only one like it in the world!” Watch children’s smiles as they open the box and see their faces!

What Are You?

Start each day by asking children to repeat this saying from "The Help" in unison.
Teacher says:           What are you?
Children respond:     I am kind.
                               I am smart.
                               I am important.

Looking through My Window
(Tune: “Go in and out My Window”)
I’m looking through my window.
I’m looking through my window.
I’m looking through my window,
And I see my friend (child’s name).

*Take an old picture frame and spray paint it gold or silver. Glue on “jewels” or
glitter. Hold it in front of your face as you sing the song. Pass it to different
children as you use their name in the song.

Important Person
(Tune: “Lassie and Laddie”)
Child’s name is important, important, important.
Child’s name is important to you and to me.
At work and at play
He/she does his/her best each day.
Child’s name is important to you and to me.
*Choose one child at a time and hold them in your lap as you sing the song.

Hand Hug
The children hold hands and form a circle. The teacher begins the hand hug by squeezing the child’s hand on her right as she says something positive about them. That child then squeezes the hand of the person on her right and makes a positive comment. Continue going around the circle giving a “hand hug” and a positive comment.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


While I'm busy getting ready for my back to school webinar this Thursday, I'll give you a sneak peak of some of the activities I'll be sharing.   Here is the registration link
Children love their names and will feel so special when you use their name in one of these chants. These activities will also nurture your classroom community and help the children get to know their new friends.
Who Ate the Cookie?
Child’s name ate the cookie (Hold up name card.)
in the cookie jar.
Who me? (First child responds.)
Yes you. (Class chants.)
Couldn’t be? (First child.)
Then who? (Class chants.)
Second child’s name ate (Hold up another name.)
the cookie in the cookie jar…
*Cut out paper cookies and write the children’s names on them. Store in an empty cookie box and use as you say the chant.
*Cut out gingerbread cookies. Glue children’s faces on the head and write their names on the bodies. Add a strip of magnetic tape to the back and these can be used for signing in, the question of the day, or graphs.
*Make cookies and glue the child’s photo to one side and print their name on the other side. Place the cookies face down on the floor. Children try to read their friends’ names and then flip over with a spatula to confirm.

Hickety Pickety
(Clap hands and snap fingers.)
Hickety, pickety bumblebee
Who can say their name for me? Child’s name.
Clap it. (Clap out syllables as you say the name.)
Snap it. (Snap syllables in name.)
Whisper it. (Whisper name.)
No sound. (Lip sinc name.)

Name Cheer
(Cheer each child’s name.)Give me a ‘K’.
‘K’ - I’ve got a ‘K,’ you’ve got a ‘K.’
Give me an ‘i’…Give me an ‘M’
What’s it spell? ‘Kim’ Say it again. ‘Kim’ One more time. ‘Kim’ Yeah!!!

Shakey, Shakey
(Clap hands or slap knees.)
Child’s name, child’s name sick in bed.
Called the doctor and the doctor said,
“Get up child’s name, you’re not sick.
All you need is an exercise trick.”
So hands up, and shakey, shakey, shakey.
Get down and shakey, shakey, shakey.
Turn around and shakey, shakey, shakey.
Sit down and shakey, shakey, shakey.

Hint! When doing these chants, never force children to participate. If you have a very shy child, I would ask them if they would like you to use their name. Often, they want to hear their name, but they don’t want to stand up and dance.

Name Cards

Glue each child’s name to a sentence strip and write their name. Hold these up as you sing their names in songs.
Hint! When children become familiar with each other’s names, make new name cards without the picture clue.
Little Red Box
(Tune: “Polly Wolly Doodle”)
I wish I had a little red box
To put my child’s name in. (Hold up name card.)
I’d take him/her out and go,
“How do you do?” (Pretend to shake hand.)
And put him/her back again.
*Sing “Hug, hug, hug” instead of “How do you do?” as you pretend to hug.
Cover a small box with red paper and insert the name cards. Pull out one at a time as you sing the song.

Pick It Up
Have children stand in a circle. Spread name cards in the middle on the floor. The children find their name and pick it up when you sing it in this song that goes to the tune of "If You're Happy."
If your name is child's name pick it up.
If your name is second child's name pick it up.
If your name is third child's name pick it up.
If your name is fourth child's name pick it up.

Where, Oh, Where?

(Tune: “Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch”)
Where, oh, where is our friend, child’s name.
Where, oh, where is our friend, child’s name.
Where, oh, where is our friend, child’s name.
We’re so glad that you’re here today.

Letter Song
(Tune: “The Bear Went over the Mountain”)
Use the first letter of each child’s name as you sing.
W is for Will,
W is for Will,
W is for Will,
And he’s a friend of mine.

(Traditional Tune)
There is a friend in our class
And David is his name-o.
D – A – V – I - D
D – A – V – I - D
D – A – V – I - D
And David is his name-o.
*Hint! You may have to be creative as you use different children’s names in this song. Short names you will have to stretch out and long names try using the first five letters.