Friday, March 30, 2012

IT'S BUNNY TIME!


Flip, Flop, Hop
(Tune:  “Wheels on the Bus”)

The ears on the bunny go flip, flop, flop  (Put head over head
Flip, flop, flop,                                            and wiggle.)
Flip, flop, flop.
The ears on the bunny go flip, flop, flop,
Flip, flop, flop.
The nose on the bunny goes twitch, twitch, twitch…(Wiggle nose.)
The eyes on the bunny go blink, blink, blink…       (Blink eyes.)
The tail on the bunny goes wiggle, wobble, wobble…  (Wiggle bottom.)
The feet on the bunny go hop, hop, hop…   (Hop up and down.)

Bunny Ears - Make headbands to wear as you sing the song. First cut a strip of paper to fit around each child’s head. (Sentence strips work well for this.) Next, let children trace, color, and cut rabbit ears similar to the ones shown. Staple to the headbands and hop, hop, hop!
Drawing Rabbits - Teach children how to draw a bunny from two circles. Add detail to the bunny as you sing the song. Hint! You can also make rabbits out of play dough.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

POPCORN TREE


Popcorn Tree
(Tune:  “Turkey in the Straw”)
I looked out my window   (Hand over eyes.)
And what did I see?      
Popcorn popping on my cherry tree.  (Hands on hips.)
What a surprise spring left for me.
Popcorn popping in my cherry tree.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.  (Wiggle hips to the beat.)
Pop!  Pop!   (Jump up twice.)

Sing faster…faster…super fast!

Popcorn Tree - Trace around the child’s hand and arm on a sheet of paper to resemble a tree trunk. Color or paint the tree. Glue popcorn or cotton balls on the branches to look like blossoms.

Hint! If you shake popcorn in a sack with a little dry tempera it will look like pink blossoms.
Flower Bookmark - Grow into a book with this idea! Each child will need to collect small flowers, petals, and leaves outside. (Remind them to only take things off the ground and never pull live flowers from a plant!) Give each child 2 pieces of self laminating paper cut in 8” x 2” strips. Children take the back off one sheet and place it sticky side up on the table. After they arrange their natural objects, they place the second sheet on top and seal. 

Hint! You can also use wide packaging tape to make these book marks.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WRITING STANDARDS


“Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.”

What better way to nurture the above goal than with this nature book!  Children will have fun making it, drawing in it, labeling pictures, writing in it, reading it, and then taking it home to share with their families.
First, you will have to go on a stick hunt.  Each child will need a stick approximately 7” long.  (If you ask them to find a stick that’s as long as their elbow to their wrist that should work.)  Next, fold three sheets of paper in half.  Punch 2” from each end as shown.  Push one end of a rubber band through the top hole and insert one end of the stick through the loop.  Insert the other end of the rubber band through the bottom hole and slide it in the stick. 
*You can use the book to follow up a nature walk, to record plant growth, as a journal for science experiments, for nature vocabulary words, for taking notes as a non-fiction book is read, or for creative writing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

READ A BAG

Save your fast food and shopping bags and turn them into a learning center.  *Younger children can take magnetic letters and match them up to letters on the bag. 
*Children can use magnetic letters to write words on the bag.
*Children can write words they find on the bag and use them in a story.
*How many words can the children make using the logo on the bag?
*Hole punch bags and put them together with a book ring to make a book.

Monday, March 26, 2012

LET IT BE! LET IT BE!


There’s something on my mind that’s been troubling me.  Sometimes we take a book and chew it up, hack it, and TEACH it to death.  Children can’t enjoy the story for all of the questions about beginning, middle, and end.  Not to mention how that book is like one we read last week….And all the direct vocabulary instruction…Oh, and punctuation…Don’t forget the main idea, yada yada!

Wouldn’t you hate to answer questions about every book you read or every movie you watched?

Don’t take me wrong.  I agree that literature is one of the most effective and powerful ways to develop reading skills.  However, I think we need to balance it with pleasure.  Squeeze in at least one story a day that you and your students can ENJOY together.  Read it, savor it, feel it, and then let it be!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

THE ALPHABET IN MY HAND

This song is similar to the one I shared yesterday, but it introduces sign language.

THE ALPHABET IN MY HAND
(Tune:  “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”)

I’ve got the whole alphabet in my hand,
I’ve got the whole alphabet in my hand.
I’ve got the whole alphabet in my hand
and I can sign!
I’ve got A - /a/ /a/ in my hand  (Sign the letter A.)
I’ve got B - /b/ /b/ in my hand…Z
I’ve got all the letters in my hand and I’m ready to sign.

Make a book to go along with the song by taking a digital picture of your
students signing the letters.  Put them together in alphabetical order to
make a class book.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE ALPHABET IN MY MOUTH

THE ALPHABET IN MY MOUTH
(Tune:  “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”)

I’ve got the whole alphabet in my mouth,
I’ve got the whole alphabet in my mouth.
I’ve got the whole alphabet in my mouth
and I can read!
I’ve got A - /a/ /a/ in my mouth
I’ve got B - /b/ /b/ in my mouth
I’ve got C - /c/ /c/ in my mouth
And I can read!
I’ve got D….
I’ve got all the sounds in my mouth and I’m ready to read!
The children will LOVE making this book to go with the song.  First, take a close up digital photo of each child with their mouth wide open.  Enlarge the picture and glue it to a sheet of paper.  Next, cut letters out of construction paper and glue to the tongue on their picture.  Write words for each page to go with the picture, such as “I’ve got D /d//d/ in my mouth.”
Hint!  If you don’t have 26 students, then use the principal, secretary, custodian, etc. to complete the letters in the alphabet. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

CA RAINBOWS

“In life it’s not about waiting for the clouds to pass over –
it’s about dancing in the rain.”

Sure, there are economic troubles in California, but the teachers there proved that they are going to keep on dancing, and singing, and making this a better world for children!

Last week I was invited to present at the Rainbows Conference in Ontario, CA.  WOW!  It was like going to a rock concert with Greg and Steve.  I’ve been following that dynamic duo for 30 years, and they are just as enthusiastic, entertaining, and fun loving as ever!!! 

I met so many wonderful teachers including Miguele Montagnetti.  He wanted a picture of us with “an attitude.”  He also taught me a new dance version to go with “Bubble Gum.”  First, you draw an imaginary line on the floor:
Bubble (Jump forwards over the imaginary line.)
Gum (Jump backwards over the line.)
Chewy chewy chewy (Boogey down.)
Chewy bubble gum.  (Boogey up.)
Bubble (Jump over the imaginary line.)
Gum (Jump back over the line.)
Chewy chewy chewy (Boogey down.)
Chewy bubble gum.  (Boogey up.)
I love it!  (Throw arms up in the air.)
I love it!  (Throw arms up in the air.)…

Angler Snipes shared a song to the tune of “Twinkle Little Star” to sing when you’re potty training:
Tinkle, tinkle in the potty.
Let’s go in the potty now.
No pull ups or diapers any more.
When you go potty, pull your undies to the floor.
Tinkle, tinkle in the potty.
I’m not a baby any more!

On Monday I shared with some more fantastic teachers on Oxnard.
Jennifer Klein gave us a great idea for helping children speak in a complete sentence.  She wrote a capital “I” on an index card and taped it to a cylinder block to make an “I Phone.”  The children pass this around and say sentences beginning with “I…”  Only the person with the “I” phone can talk.

Veronica Binkley told me about a game she plays called “Clean the Table.”  You can adapt this game for any skill you want to repeat.  Take paper plates and write letters, numerals, words, etc. on them. Spread these out on a table.  One child at a time tries to “clean the table” by picking up plates and identifying the information.  Give them 30 seconds and record their score.  Keep practicing and watch their scores improve.

And, here’s one more idea from Kathy Wadley.  It’s called “I Spy.”  Kathy has the children close their eyes as she hides flash cards around the room.  (Letters, math facts, words, etc.)  The children hunt for the flash cards and bring them to her one at a time.  They must identify the information on their cards before they continue on their hunt.  Talk about easy and fun!!!!

On the road again to Troy, New York, today!  Who knows what treasures I’ll find there!  That’s what keeps my job so exciting.  I keep learning new things from YOU!   Thanks!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

SPRING SCAVENGER HUNT


Make up a scavenger hunt similar to the one below.  Divide children into small groups and let them hunt for the objects on the playground.  Give them paper and pencils to record their findings. 
Hint!  For younger children do this as a large group activity.

         Spring Scavenger Hunt
         Can you find a sign of spring?        
         Can you find something older than you?
         Can you find something younger than you?
         Can you find something rough?
         Can you find something that feels soft?
         Can you find something living?
         Can you find something dead?        
         Can you find something smaller than your fingernail?
          Can you find something bigger than you?
         Can you find something green?
         Can you find something yellow?
         Can you find something that smells good?
         Can you find some trash?  Pick it up and throw it away!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CATERPILLAR ADVENTURES

Caterpillar’s Story

A caterpillar crawled to the top of a tree.  (Hold up right arm and wiggle left index finger up like a caterpillar.)
I think I’ll take a nap said he.  (Wiggle left index finger.)
Under a leaf he began to creep,  (Wiggle left index finger under right palm.) 
He spun a chrysalis and went to sleep.  (Make fist with right hand around left index finger.)
Spring came along, shook him and said,
“Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head.”  (Shake right fist.)
Out of the leaf he spread his wings to fly,  (Hook right and left thumbs together.  Spread out fingers like wings.)
“Look at me!  Look at me!  I’m a butterfly!”  (Fly fingers around.)

Make a butterfly by tearing up little pieces of colored tissue paper and putting them in a zip lunch bag.  Gather up in the middle and twist on a pipe cleaner to make the body and antennae.  Attach a string for flying.

Cut butterfly shapes out of newsprint.  Fold in half.  Children drop paint with a spoon or eye dropper on one half.  Fold and rub.  Open to view a beautiful butterfly.

Make a butterfly snack from celery, cream cheese, and pretzel twists.  Children spread cream cheese in the celery and then insert pretzels for the wings.  You can make a caterpillar snack by inserting berries and grapes on a toothpick.

Tell the lifecycle of the butterfly with a stick, a bean, and pasta.  First, take children on a nature walk and ask them to find a stick that is as long as their arm from their wrist to their elbow.  Glue the bean to the left of the stick for the egg.  Next comes a spiral pasta for the caterpillar.  Then a shell pasta for the chrysalis.  Finally, a bow shaped pasta for the butterfly.

Make a flip book for the children to illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

THE BUTTERFLY

The Butterfly
(Tune:  “Up on the Housetop”)
First comes the butterfly who lays an egg.  (Clasp thumbs and wiggle fingers.)
Out comes a caterpillar with many legs.      (Wiggle index finger.)
Oh, see the caterpillar spin and spin,             (Roll hands.)
A little chrysalis to sleep in.     (Insert right index finger in left fist.)
Oh, oh, oh, look and see.       (Hands over eyes.)
Oh, oh, oh, look and see.
Out of the chrysalis, my, oh, my,
Out comes a beautiful butterfly.  (Clasp thumbs and make butterfly.)

Activities: Let children dramatize this song.  Curl up like an egg, wiggle like a caterpillar, twirl around to be a chrysalis and flap arms and fly like a butterfly.

Make a butterfly puppet from an old sock.  Glue pom poms to the toe of the sock for the eyes and mouth. 
Turn the sock inside out and glue a butterfly made out of felt. 
Begin the song with your hand in the sock.  When the caterpillar spins a chrysalis pull the top of the sock down over the toe.  Turn the sock inside out to reveal the butterfly at the end.

Monday, March 19, 2012

ONE TO ONE BOOK

This is a simple idea that can be used in many ways to reinforce one to one correspondence, sets, and addition. 
Materials:    heavy paper, black construction paper cut in ¾” squares, glue,
book rings, manipulatives (bears, beans, buttons, pennies, etc.)
Directions:   Glue a specific number of squares on each page as shown. 
Write the numeral at the top and the word at the bottom.
Children take manipulatives and match them up one-to-one
with the squares on each page.

Hint!           Adapt this book for older students by having them discover
                  how many different ways they can make the set.  For example:
                  Six could be 3+3, 2 +4, 5 + 1, etc.

Vary this activity by using seasonal objects, such as pumpkinseeds,  holiday erasers, and other small toys.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

FRIENDS OF NUMBERS


If you’ve ever been to my workshops, then you have seen me demonstrate the highway letters that you can download free from makinglearningfun.com.  Did you know that you could also download numerals?  You could put these in clear sheet protectors and let children roll play dough and put it on the numeral.  They could also drive cars over the numerals or use dry erase markers to trace (and then erase) the numerals. 

If you punch holes at the top and tie on string you can let the children wear the number vests to demonstrate counting rhymes, numerical order, inequalities, number sentences, tens and ones, etc.

A good way to help children remember different facts that equal a certain number would be to call them “friends of number.  For example, friends of five would be 5 + 0, 4 + 1,
3 + 2, etc.  Children could wear the number vests and then hunt around the room for the number that would make them a friend of a number the teacher called out.

*Hint!  Ask a parent volunteer to copy the highway letters, numbers, and shapes and you’ll save yourself an ink cartridge.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

TOP O' THE MORNING!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I hope you're wearing green so you don't get pinched today!  Make sure you have green stickers, shamrocks, or something green for your students to wear today.  

When K.J. was in preschool the children took off their shoes at naptime and put them in the hall.  When they woke up there was a Rice Krispie treat in their shoes for snack.  It's amazing how a memory like that can stick in a child's mind because three years later K.J. is still talking about it.

While the children are at lunch today ask a friend to sneak in your classroom and overturn chairs, mess up bookshelves, sprinkle a little gold glitter on the floor, etc.  When you return to the classroom act as surprised as the children.  What happened?  Who is responsible?  Let them write stories or draw pictures to explain the mystery.

Here's a book from an earlier blog this month in case you're new blog friend and missed it.
St Patrick’s Day! 
(Tune:  “Sweet Molly Malone” – Happy Everything CD)

On the 17th of March                  (Point heels on opposite feet as if
About when spring starts                  doing a jig.)
The lassies and leprechauns
Come out to play.

We’ll find four-leafed clovers         (Hold up 4 fingers.)
And wear green all over,                  (Move hands over clothing.)
And that’s how we’ll celebrate         (Put hand in the air as if cheering.)
St. Patrick’s Day!

The legends of old
Say there’re pots of gold                  (Extend arms in a circle.)
A’ sparkling and shining                  (Open and close fingers to make sparkles.)
At each rainbow’s end.

The leprechauns know                  (Point to brain.)
Right where to go,
So if you see a leprechaun         (Hand over eyes as if searching for
Make him your friend!                  a leprechaun.)

On the 17th of March                          
About when spring starts
The lassies and leprechauns
Come out to play.

We’ll find four-leafed clovers
And wear green all over,
And that’s how we’ll celebrate
St. Patrick’s Day!
 *Download this book at drjean.org/March, 2007.

Friday, March 16, 2012

BABY BIRD STORY

Begin this story with a sheet of paper, scissors, and marker in your lap.  Follow the directions as you tell the story. 

It was springtime and mother and father bird decided to
build a nest.  Who can tell me some of the things they
might have used to make their nest?
(Fold the paper in half and cut a semi circle.)
Mother bird sat on the nest and laid a beautiful egg.
(Open the nest to reveal the egg shape.)
Now, mother bird could not leave the egg.  She had
to sit on it and keep it warm and safe.  Even when it
rained and the wind blew hard, mother bird had to sit there
and protect her egg.  Fortunately, two little bugs who
lived in the tree made friends with mother bird and
kept her company.  This is one little bug.  His name was _____.
(Use a child’s name in the class.)
(Draw a little dot for the bug.)
This is the other little bug.  Her name was _____,
(Use another child’s name in the class.)
(Draw another little dot on the opposite side.)
One day as mother bird was sitting on the egg, she heard
a little cracking sound.  She looked down and saw a little
crack in her egg.
(Cut a little slit on the fold slanted toward the eyes.)
Then she heard a great, big cracking sound. 
(Cut around the eye and slit as shown stopping before
you get to the end of the egg.)
And guess what mother bird saw coming out of the big
crack in her egg?  She saw her baby bird!
(Open the egg and bend up the beak as shown.)

Hint!  You can also cut this story out of a paper plate.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BIRDIES!

Birdies
(Happy Everything CD)

Way up in the sky                       (Put hands in arm pits and flap arms
The big birdies fly.                      like a bird.)
Way down in the nest                  (Make a nest by cupping hands.)
The little birds rest.
With a wing on the left,              (Wiggle left arm like a wing.)
And a wing on the right,              (Wiggle right arm like a wing.)
The little birds sleep                  (Put head down on palms as if sleeping.)
All through the night.
SHHHHHH!                               (Put finger over lips.)
DON’T WAKE UP THE BIRDIES!
Then up comes the sun.              (Put arms over your head.)
The dew falls away.                    (Bring down palms.)
Good morning!  Good morning!      (Put open palms around your head.)
The little birds say.

Sing and Act -  Let children dramatize this song.  Choose one child to be the mother or father bird.  Let the other children be the baby birds.

Lunch Sack Nest – Open a paper lunch sack and roll out and down until you reach the bottom and it looks like a nest.  Children can roll play dough eggs for the nest, or they can make a paper bird for the nest.
*Make the shape of a tree on a bulletin board.  Staple the nests in the tree and then let children make birds out of construction paper to go in the nests.
Tomeiko Wright from Lancaster, SC, turned her nest into a flower!!!


Paper Plate Birds and Nests - Let children make birds or nests out of paper plates similar to the ones in the picture.

Bird Nest Snack - Give each child a Rice Crispie treat to mold into a nest.  Put a few jelly beans in the nest and place a marshmallow “peep” on top.  (Yeah, I know this is total junk and you probably can’t do it at school, but I’m going to do it with my grandchildren at Easter.)

Flip Book – Make a flip book of “What’s in the Egg?”  Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise, then fourths and eighths.  Open and cut the crease to the middle fold.  Fold in half to make 4 little flaps.  Children draw 4 eggs on the front of each flap.  Open the flaps and challenge children to draw 4 different things that might come from an egg.  When they hold this book up to the light, they will see their little critters inside the egg.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

LITTLE PIGGIES

I have been waiting two years to paint Kalina’s toes and I finally got to do it last week when she visited.  She loved her toes so much that we couldn’t get her to put on her shoes!

All children love their little piggies, so here is an extension of the traditional rhyme where you can reinforce ordinals at the same time.
         The first little pig went to the market.
         The second little pig stayed home.
         The third little pig had roast beef.
         The fourth little pig had none.
         The fifth little pig cried, “Wee wee wee” all the way home.
         The sixth little pig ate some pizza.
         The seventh little pig ate a pear.
         The eighth little pig had spaghetti.
         The ninth little pig’s plate was bare.
         The tenth little pig cried, “Wee wee wee, I will share!”
Glue pig faces to jumbo craft sticks.  Write the ordinals at the bottom and use as you say the rhyme.

Ten Little Piggies Counting Book
Give each child an 8” x 8” square of paper.  Let them take off their shoes and socks and trace around their feet.  Next, let them decorate their footprints with markers or crayons.  Tape their pictures together to make an accordion book.  Write the numerals 10, 20, 30, 40….on the pages.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

YOU KNOCK MY SOCKS OFF!

You’ll need a stick, a string, and an old pair of socks to make this prop.  Poke a hole in the top of each sock and tie a 3’ piece of string to the sock.  Tie the strings to the end of a stick.  When your children do a good job swing the stick and say, “You knock my socks off!”


Monday, March 12, 2012

SINGING THE WORD WALL

Here are some tunes that you can use to sing high frequency words.  It might be fun to make a list of all the two letter words and sing them on Monday.  On Tuesday make a list of the three letter words and sing them…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.)
*You can also sing three letter words to “Three Blind Mice.”

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.
         S-c-h-o-o-l,
         S-c-h-o-o-l,
         S-c-h-o-o-l,
         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.”

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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

NAME YOUR BABIES!

Several weeks ago when I did a concert there was a little girl with a baby doll.  I asked, “What’s your baby’s name?”  The mother said, “Her baby doesn’t have a name.  My kids never name their babies.”

I said, “Well, you can’t take your baby home from the hospital without a name.  I always named my dolls when I was little.” 

The mother said, “I guess you only had one doll.  My girls have so many they can’t name them all.”

That strikes me as sad somehow.  Less is more.  I had one baby doll (Tiny Tears) and I adored her!

My own children always named their stuffed animals and dolls when they were little.  That’s such an easy thing to encourage your children to do if they bring a toy to school or talk about a doll.  It somehow brings a toy to life and makes the connection more personal.

Another simple thing you can do is ask your students to name their artwork.  All famous artists give a title to their paintings and sculptures, and your children will enjoy doing it as well.  I could even connect art to the Common Core State Standards if I did that!

I’m always looking for creative bridges to the Standards.  You just have to think outside the box a little for possibilities.  What do your students enjoy?  Games, art, music, drama?  How can you tap into what they enjoy and integrate some skills and standards?  A spoonful of sugar always makes the medicine go down!

How I got from naming baby dolls to putting sugar on skills I’ll never know!  But there are a few gems in today’s blog if you look for them!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

MO' IDEAS FROM MO!

I just might be about the luckiest person in the world to meet all you wonderful teachers!!!  You filled my heart this week at the IL ASCD Conference and the VA ECE Conference.  Thank you!  Thank you!  And thank you again!  You’re why I do what I do!

Well, now that I’m home for a few days I can finish sharing some clever ideas from my visit to MO last week!

Letter Looker  (Julie Jones, Lebanon, MO)
Twist a pipe cleaner to look like a magnifying glass.  Use it as a “letter looker” or “word looker” to frame letters or words on charts, big books, and classroom print.
*Use overhead color tiles to cover high frequency words.  It’s a “magic reader”!

Punctuation Detectives (Michelle Landers, Nixa MO)
When children work on their little take home reading books they have to be “punctuation detectives” and highlight punctuation marks.
Period – circle red – red means STOP reading.
Comma – circle green – green means take a breath and keep on reading.
Exclamation point – circle orange – orange means be excited!!!
Question mark – circle purple – purple means be curious.
Capital letters – underline blue – blue means the letter is a capital because it’s the beginning of a sentence or has an important name.
Dolch words – yellow – highlight yellow because it is a popcorn word.  Yeah!  You know this word already!

Spotlight on Reading (Vickie Spencer, Butler Elementary)
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.

Talking Strips (Brandi Housewright, Cuba, MO)
For classroom talkers, cut small strips of paper and put them inside an envelope labeled “Talking Strips.”  When children feel the urge to talk out loud they can write a sentence or draw a picture of what they want to share.  You can share these together at the end of the day.

Microwave or Crock Pot (Robert Reed, Springfield MO)
Take two file folders and glue a picture of a microwave on one and a crock pot on the other.  Write children’s names on craft sticks.  If they feel confident about a strategy they can put their stick in the microwave.  If they are not sure, their stick goes in the folder with the crock pot.
*Instead of a high five, give a wi-five across the room.

Swimming Pool Fun Noodles (Judy Buckley, St. Louis, MO)
Cut noodles into 1” sections with a steak knife.  Write letters or numerals on the sections with a permanent marker. These can be strung on a rope or broom handle and used for patterning, alphabetical order, making words, numerical order, etc.

Sound Show and Tell (Angel Brown, Morrisville, MO)
As children share items ask them, “What sound do you hear when I say ____?”  After they say the sound write the letter on the board.  Continue writing letters as students sound out the word.  This can be a little time consuming so maybe have 5-8 students do this each week.

Give Me a Toe
Instead of having children give you a high five, ask them to “give me a toe” as you touch feet.

Foam Hands (Cheri Rummens, Mansfield Preschool)
Cut hands out of foam and write “left” and “right” on them before taping them above the calendar and flag.  Remind the children to look and see which hand they should place on their heart before they do the pledge. 

Who Let the Letters Out?  (Becky Nuenschwander, Lakeland Preschool)
Get a dog bowl, small stuffed dog, magnetic tape, and magnetic letters.  Attach the magnetic tape to the dog’s nose.  Place the magnetic letters in the bowl and let the children use the dog to “eat” the letters. 
*You can also use this idea with magnetic numerals and shapes.

Class Facebook (Laura Caudle, Buffalo, MO)
Take the children’s picture the first day of school and make an alphabet facebook.  Run off a copy for each child. Use it throughout the year to sing ABC’s, learn alphabetical order, read each other’s names, etc.

Rainbow Alphabet (Joni Swagerty, Neosho, MO)
Put the letters of the alphabet on the wall using the different colors in the rainbow.  A (red), B (orange), C (yellow), D (green), E (blue), F (indigo), G (violet)….  Point to the letters each day as you sing the ABC’s.  Name a color and then look for the letters that color.  Can they make the sound and then think of words that begin with that sound?  They can also look for letters with circles, little lines, big lines, etc.