Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back in the USA!

You have to go to other countries to realize that we live in the greatest place on earth!  Happy birthday USA!

Oh, my goodness!  Our trip was incredible!  St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and the "Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen were my favorites.  I'm a "child watcher" so I loved looking at all the beautiful children.  Sorry I didn't get to do a post, but it was a busy "on the bus" - "off the bus" week.  Besides, when you're paying $1.00 a minute to use the computer you realize you don't have anything that important to say that can't wait until you get home.

Can you believe it's almost July?  You'll have to check out my website with the Parent Power Pak.  I've been working on it for months, and I hope you'll get lots of ideas to engage families in your program this coming hear.

My brain is jumbled (8 hour time difference from Russia to SC), so I'll just give you a great summer recipe today.  I promise to do better in the days ahead.

Summer Cobbler

With all the berries and fresh fruit available, I wanted to share my favorite cobbler recipe.  If you “don’t cook,” you can do this!  If you are a “chef” you’ll enjoy it just as well!

You will need:
1 stick butter cut into pieces  (You can use ½ stick if it matters.)
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 TBS baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 cups fruit (blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc. – fresh or frozen)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Put the butter in the bottom of a 9” x 9” pan and place in the oven to melt.  Combine the other ingredients (except the fruit) in a mixing bowl.  Remove pan from the oven and pour the batter on top of the melted butter.  Place fruit on top and return to the oven for 50-60 minutes until crust is golden brown.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Hint!  For the 4th of July use 2 cups of blueberries and 1 cup of raspberries.  When you top with vanilla ice cream you’ll have a red, white, and blue dessert!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Painter’s Tape and the Midline

Draw a line down the middle of your body from the top of your head.  That’s your midline.  Every time you cross over that midline it’s like doing exercises for your brain because it engages both sides of the brain. 

You can explain it to your students by having them put their two fists together.  Now, demonstrate how to cross your fingers to make connections from one side to the next.  When we cross the midline, it’s like building bridges and making connections in our brain.  Give each child a piece of painter’s tape to place on their midline.  This will increase their awareness when you sing songs, do cheers, or do exercises that are good for their bodies and their brains.

P.S.  John (a.k.a. Mr. Dr. Jean) and I are heading for a Baltic Cruise tomorrow.  Wahoo!  I’m sooo excitied!  I will do my best to blog every day, but forgive me if I am lax over the next few weeks.

Doing a blog is like throwing a pebble in the water.  You never know how far the ripples will go…I don’t even know if I’m making any ripples out there???  But it feels good to put something positive out there every day.  If you read my blog, I thank you!  If you read my blog and actually use the ideas you are my BFF!

Friday, June 17, 2011



The first Monday of each month all kindergarteners and preschoolers meet for a sing along they call JAMBOREE.   “Rise and Shine” is always the first song they sing and they end with “May There Always Be Sunshine.”  They sing several songs, say nursery rhymes, and retell stories using props and masks.  The children look forward to starting each month with JAMBOREE, and it creates a positive community spirit!

*This idea came from Teresa Hanak in Linden, MI.  I think it would be a terrific project to implement in your school this coming year.  You could change it to the last Friday in the month and let each class be responsible for leading a song.  Pete Seeger (famous folk musician) said, "Music is a way to help us love each other."  Let's start singing!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Virginia Rocks

I just returned from Christiansburg, Virginia, and the teachers were wonderful!!!  Anybody who would give up a day of summer vacation to go to a workshop is my kind of teacher!  Here are some new ideas they shared.

Focus Finger Play  (Pat Kesler uses this before handwriting.  It wires up the brain!)

Two tall telphone poles   (Fists touching with index fingers pointing up.)
Across them a wire was strung.  (Touch middle fingers.)
Two little girds hopped on  ((Put thumbs up on middle fingers.)
And sung and sung and sung.  (Swing fingers.)

Beach Week  (Kathy Conway)

If you have a family vacation planned take your "readty to make" materials and supplies.  Gather your family around a big table and have a "make and chat" party.  Your family will love to help and the conversation will be great.
*Beach beverages optional but recommended.

Facebook (Ruth Lefko)

Take two boxes and write "Facebook In Box" on one and "Facebook Out Box" on the other.  Provide children with scrap paper, pencils, and markers.  Children fold a sheet of paper in half and draw their face or a picture on the front.  Inside they write a note to the teacher or a friend and place it in the "In Box."  The messages are delivered and then the teacher or friend write a reply and place it in the "Out Box."  What a great idea to encourage writing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

School/Camp Cheer Song

I try to do at least one free concert every week in the schools in Charleston.  My husband calls it getting my "kid fix."  Today I'm going to sing at a camp and this is a song I'm going to use.  You can insert the name of your school, camp, grade, church, etc.

School Cheer
(Tune:  “Father Abraham”)

(Name of school) School has many friends.
There are many friends at (name of school).
I am one of them,
And so are you.
So let’s all give a cheer.
Right arm.  (Begin moving right arm up and down.)

Continue adding left arm…right foot…left foot…nod your head.
End by singing, “Turn around and sit down.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Father's Day

That’s right!  Father’s Day is the this weekend, so here’s an idea for your children to help dad celebrate his special day.  First, give each child a 2 ½” circle and tell them to draw their father’s face when he is sleeping.  Glue this to the top of the flat side of a paper lunch sack.  Next, cut 4 ½ ” x 6” pieces of plaid or striped wrapping paper or wall paper.  Let children glue this to the sack under the sleeping head so it looks like their dad is in bed.  Finally, let children make a card with this poem:

Breakfast in Bed

Since it is Father’s Day
I have something to say.
Don’t lift your head.
Have breakfast in bed!
In the bag you will see
Breakfast prepared by me!

Let children make muffins or another breakfast goodie and place it in the bag.  Punch a hole in the top and tie on the card with a piece of ribbon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

License Plate Rubovers

Happy Sunday!

I saw a license plate from Alaska this morning and was reminded of this activity.  Children take a white sheet of paper and place it over a license plate.  Take the paper off an old crayon and rub over the license plate in one direction with the side of the crayon.  Waa laa!  Children can identify the letters, numerals, and state.  (Obviously, this will need to be supervised!)

It's also fun to make rubbings of the bottoms of tennis shoes.  Cut these out and use them to make a bulletin board called "These feet were made for walking."  Children could also write or dictate stories about "If shoes could talk..."

We saw a play last week called "Gospel at Colonus."  We LOVE gospel music!  Anyway, one of my favorite lines was:  "Life is short.  Try to be happy!"  Do something to make yourself happy today!  :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road Sign Reading

Road Sign Reading

If you're on a field trip or a vacation, reading road signs can entertain children and help them learn at the same time.  Older children can make a list of all the signs they can read, and younger children can identify different logos on stores and restaurants.  It's fun to play "I Spy ABC's" by searching for all the letters of the alphabet on signs.

Do an internet search of road signs and you'll find some great graphics to download.  Even young children can identify the word "STOP."  As they make those print connections they will be on the first step to reading.  You can also use those graphics to make matching games and BINGO games.

Glue road signs to toilet paper rolls and you'll have some inexpensive signs to use in the block area.  Take photos of the fire station, post office, school, and other buildings in your community and tape them to blocks.  You can also cut store and restaurant logos out of newspaper advertisements and tape them to blocks.  Children will enjoy creating their own villages and driving around with toy cars.  Wouldn't this be fun to do outside in the grass or sandbox on a summer day?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Reading Dance!

We've lost some of the joy in teaching children how to read.  One teacher shared that when a child opens a book and says, "I can read!" she celebrates by closing the door, standing on the table, and doing the "Happy Reading Dance."  She waves her arms, kicks her feet,  and sings this song to the tune of "The Noble Duke of York."

I’m H-A-P-P-Y,
And I can tell you why.
Child’s name can read.
What a magic thing!
I’m H-A-P-P-Y!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

American Idol

The season is over, but you can have your own "American Idol" in your classroom.  If you have a few extra minutes at the end of the day or if you need a little time to get organized, choose a child to be the "American Idol."  That child selects a song and then leads the class as they sing along.

I love what I saw on a T-shirt:  "Teachers are the REAL American Idols"!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Little Spider

After reading CHARLOTTE'S WEB, who wouldn't love spiders?  I saw one this morning and she was  working so hard on her web I couldn't knock it down.   We'll just have to go in and out another door.  Here's a spider finger for today!


In the garden tucked away                  (Cup right hand over index finger on left hand.)
Little spider weaved all day.               (Wiggle left index finger up and down.)
Round and round she spun her web.  (Roll hands over one another in a circular motion.)
Silky soft she made her bed.               (Lay left index finger on open right palm.)
Evening sequins it with dew.              (Make rain with fingers.)
Sleep tight until the night is through.   (Close eyes and place head on palms.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Love It Cheer!

Here's a new cheer.  Pass it on!  The world needs as much love as it can get!

Love It Cheer

Make a heart with your hands (index fingers touching at the top and thumbs at the bottom) and extend from your heart.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monster Cookies

My grandson K.J. is visiting this week and he always likes to make Monster Cookies.  This recipe makes a TON, so we always freeze several bags to take to neighbors and share with friends.  The peanut butter and oatmeal offer a little food value to these treats!

2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons soda
1 pound brown sugar
6 eggs
1 1/2 pounds peanut butter
9 cups oatmeal
1/2 pound M & M's
1/2 pound chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Hint!  Chill dough for 30 minutes before baking.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


(Sailing, Sailing over the Bounding Maine)

Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool.        (Pretend to swim.)
When days are hot or days are cold,                        (Fan self and then shiver.)
In the swimming pool.                                             (Make a square in the air.)
Back stroke, side stroke, fancy diving, too.             (Swim backwards, sideways, and then dive.)
There’s no place I would rather be                          (Shake head “no.”)
Than in the swimming pool.                                    (Make a square in the air.)

Sing softer each time until you are humming the words.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baseball Game

Take me out to the ball game.
Take me out to the crowd...

Your baseball fans are sure to love this game!   Cut 30 5" circles out of white poster board.  Use a red crayon to lightly draw the stitching on each ball.  On three balls write "OUT."  On three balls write "HOME RUN!"  On the other 24 balls write letters, numerals, words, math facts, or other information that you want your students to practice with a black marker.  Children stand and face the pitcher/teacher.  The teacher shuffles up the baseballs and then holds up one at a time for each child to identify.  (If the child doesn't know the information she can phone a friend or ask the crowd for help.)  If "OUT" comes up that child must sit down.  If "HOME RUN" comes up the class jumps up and down and cheers.  When all the balls have been used the teacher shuffles them up and the game continues.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Good News!

Start each morning by asking every child  to share one good thing using a complete sentence.  The teacher who gave me this tip said at the beginning of the year children struggle with this.  She’ll prompt them to think about all the things they have to be grateful for by saying, “Do you have on shoes?  Well, that’s a good thing.”  "Did you eat breakfast this morning?  That's a good thing."   She said by the end of the year they tend to go on and on so she has to limit them to ONE sentence.

Here's another positive way to start the day: