Thursday, June 21, 2018


Almost anything children do alone will be more fun with a friend. Take a look at this list and you'll probably find at least five strategies you can use in your classroom.

Partner Projects Part A

Read together.

Look at books or magazines together.

Retell a story. They can also discuss who, what, where, when, why, the problem, resolution, what might happen next, etc.

Whisper a prediction in each other’s ear.

Review information after a science lesson, social studies, etc.

Clean up a center or each other’s desks.

Read around the room. Give them pointers and empty glasses frames for more fun.

Write the room. Give them clipboards and ask them to write words that would reinforce a skill you are working on. For example, they could write compound words, words with the “th” diagraph, two syllable words, etc.

Sing a song or say nursery rhymes together.
Help with dressing, such a zipping coats and tying shoes.

Draw a picture together. They could draw their favorite part of a story, illustrate a poem, draw a picture of their teacher, and so forth.

Build together with blocks, Legos, etc.

Play with play dough or clay together. They can 
make objects that begin with a certain sound, shapes, sets, etc.

Play a computer game.

Review flashcards.

Nature Center (Science)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Through partner activities children can develop social skills, cooperation, problem solving, independence, oral language, and creativity. Peer teaching is also a powerful teaching strategy. To avoid common behavior problems that can occur when children pick their own partner, try these buddy sticks.

Buddy Sticks

Put like stickers on the bottoms of two craft sticks. You will need as many sticks as there are children in your classroom. Place sticks in a plastic cup with stickers facing down. Children choose a stick and then find the person whose stick matches theirs. That is their partner.

Note!  You can also use matching letters, shapes, numbers, etc. on the sticks.


*For small group work, put like stickers on four sticks. Remember, groups of two or four are more conducive to social interaction.

*When there is an odd number of students, let the last child chose whichever group she would like to be a part of.

Go Together

Glue pictures of things that go together like socks and shoes or dogs and bones on index cards.  (You can find these on the internet.)  Children match pictures to find their partner.

*Cut playing cards in half and pass out to students.  When they match up their puzzle they will find their partner.
Study Buddy

Use these sticks each Monday to pair up children. Explain that is their "study buddy" for the week. They can help each other and work with each other all week.

Fishy Math (Math Center)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Every classroom needs a quiet place where children can get away if they need a little time to calm down and center themselves.

Trip to Hawaii


Put a poster of Hawaii and a beach towel in a quiet corner of the room. When the children need to calm down invite them to take a trip to Hawaii so they can rest and relax.

*You can also add a bean bag chair, headset, etc. and call it the "just chillin'" center.

Calming Bottles
Make these bottles for children to play with in the "just chillin" center.  They will give them something to hold in their hands and help them relax.
Directions:  Pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of clear corn syrup in the bottle. Add a few drops of food coloring and a teaspoon of glitter. Glue on the lid. Hold the bottle and slowly move it around to coat the inside.
*Add crayon shavings to a bottle of water to help children relax and focus.

Math Mat (Math Center)

Monday, June 18, 2018


The "peace flower" is the perfect way to empower two children to work out their own problems

Peace Flower
Take a fake flower and have the children hold the flower with both hands. Next, tell them to look at each other and discuss their issue. Explain that when they work out their problem and have “peace” they can hug and go back and play.

Tell the Mirror
When a child says something unkind to a friend tell them to go look in a mirror and say that to themselves. How did it make them feel?


Put Ups
Write "Put Ups" on a notebook.  If a child says something unkind or tires to put someone down hand them the book and ask them to write something positive about that person.

Book Boxes (Writing Center)

Sunday, June 17, 2018


A "sitter spot" and "brain toys" are tangible tools to help children self-regulate.

Sitter Spot
Cut 8” circles out of fun foam or felt and write the children’s names on them. Arrange for circle time to give children a special place to sit.  Arrange spots to disperse problems and encourage social interactions.
*Children can also use these for their “special spot” for doing quiet activities like independent reading.

Brain Toys
Fill a shoebox or basket with stress balls or knotted socks. Suggest children get a "brain toy" when they can’t keep their hands to themselves.  You'll be surprised how a knotted sock can keep little hands still and help them focus.


Stress Button
Glue the hook side of Velcro to a poker chip to make a “stress button.”

Wrap a 20” piece of string around a jumbo craft sticks. Children keep these in their desk and get them out when their hands need to fiddle.

Favorite Songs (Listening Center)

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Self-regulation is a key ingredient in SEL. These chants will help "center" children and remind them that they are the "boss" of themselves.

Brain Hug
Children repeat each line after the teacher demonstrates.

Thumbs up. (Extend arms and stick up thumbs.)

Thumbs down. (Thumbs down.)

Cross your arms. (Cross right fist over left.)

Clasp your fingers. (Clasp fingers.)

Give yourself a brain hug. (Bring clasped fingers down and up as you hug your chest.)

Criss Cross
Children say this with the teacher as they do the movements.

Criss Cross (Demonstrate how to cross legs and sit quietly.)

Be your own boss!! (Cross arms over chest.)

Secret Hands (Melinda Ainslie)
Several years ago at a workshop Melinda shared this idea.  She said that when her daughter started kindergarten she came home from school and asked, “Mama, can you keep a secret? When you put your hands together like this (cross your fingers), it’s MAGIC because you can see better and hear better!”

Lotty Dotty (Pre-Writing Center)

Friday, June 15, 2018


There is a song of mine that you are probably familiar with called "Katalina Matalina." It's a silly song that the kids love, but there is also a special SEL lesson in her heart of gold.

Katalina Matalina
Chorus:    Katalina Matalina Upsadina Walkadina
               Hoca Poca Loca was her name.

Her head was shaped like a baseball bat. (Point to head.)
And right on top was a funny, old hat. (Chorus)

She had two hairs in her head. (Point to hair.)
One was alive and the other was dead. (Chorus)

She had two eyes in her head. (Point to eyes.)
One was purple and the other was red. (Chorus)

She had two teeth in her mouth. (Point to mouth.)
One pointed north and the other pointed south. (Chorus)

Her neck was as long as a ten foot pole. (Point to neck.)
And right in the middle was a big, black bow. (Chorus)

Her hips were like two ships in port. (Wiggle hips.)
One headed south and the other headed north. (Chorus)

Her feet were as flat as a bathroom mat. (Point to feet.)
How did they ever get like that? (Chorus)

But she had a heart, so I’m told. (Put hands over heart.)
That was made of purest gold. (Chorus)
*Have children discuss what it means to have a “heart of gold.” Make paper hearts from gold paper and attach a piece of string so it can be worn around the neck. When you see children being kind let them wear the heart of gold for the day.

Kindness Club
Make a poster that says "Kindness Club."  When friends do a kind deed ask children to write their name on the poster.  You could also run off "Kindness Tickets" that children to give to friends to thank them. 

Rainbow Writing Book (Writing)