Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Spring is in the air and it's time to do a little planting!
The Planting Song  (Tune: “Farmer in the Dell”)
Let’s all plant some seeds, (Pretend to dig with a shovel.)
Let’s all plant some seeds.
Hi, ho, it’s spring you know,
Let’s all plant some seeds.

The rain begins to fall… (Have fingers fall like rain.)

The sun warms the earth… (Hands over head in a circle.)

The seeds begin to grow… (Make a fist with one hand and bring the other hand up through it.)

Seed Hunt 

Have children hunt for seeds in their kitchen at home. Bring these in and plant them in plastic cups filled with potting soil. Be sure to label. Water and watch.

Seedy Snack 
Popcorn, sunflower seeds, pickles, and strawberries! What do they call have in common? They could all be part of a seedy snack. Let the children brainstorm all the things they eat that have seeds.

Planting Jelly Beans 
Have children brainstorm other things they would like to plant, such as jelly beans or pennies. Plant in plastic cups with the jelly beans and pennies between the cup and the soil so the children can observe what happens.
Purchase carrot seeds, radishes, and other vegetable seeds that germinate quickly and plant.  Water, set in a sunny window, and have the children record the plant growth.  
*Transfer to your school garden or a container garden when the plants are several inches high.

Newspaper Tree
My kids always loved to watch me make this newspaper tree.  Open three sheets of newspaper and lay on the floor as shown. Roll up and tape. Cut down several strips from the top about 8” long. Reach into the middle of the roll, grab the center, and slowly pull up.  Tae daa!


Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Happy first day of spring!!  You can't help but smile and have a spring in your step. And speaking of steps and springs reminds me of how much fun I had jumping rope as a child…and then teaching my students to jump rope. For some of the children it was easy, but other children really had to work at it. Being persistent and not giving up is a good thing to learn. Jumping rope also encourages social skills, motor skills, counting, and oral language. It’s good for the body and the brain!

Here are some chants we used to say, but you can adapt them if you don’t like the words. You could also use these on a rainy day. Just have the children get a pretend jump rope and jump along as you say the rhymes.  What a perfect brain break for kids from pre-k through the primary grades.

*You can jump on two feet or alternate hopping on one foot at a time.

Bubble Gum 
Bubble gum,            
Bubble gum in a dish.
How many pieces
Do you wish?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…(How high can you count?)

Bathing Beauty
Bathing Beauty
Thinks she’s a cutie
All she wears is bathing suities.
If you jump to 24, you will get an extra turn.
1, 2, 3…24

Cinderella dressed in yella.
Went upstairs to kiss her fella.
Made a mistake and kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
1, 2, 3…8 

Engine No. 9 
Engine, engine number nine
Going down the railroad line.
If the train jumps off the track
You will get your money back.
How much money will you get?
1, 2, 3, …10

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear 
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, read the news.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, tie your shoes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down in your chair!

Blue Bells 
Blue bells, cockle shells, eevie, ivy, over.
I like coffee. I like tea. I like you to jump with me.

Here's my "Jump Rope Rally" video so we can jump together!

Jump Rope Rhyme Book 
It might be fun to give children copies of the rhymes and let them make a book of jump rope rhymes. They could illustrate these and use them for independent reading.

Do you remember any jump rope rhymes from your childhood? I’m sure your students would enjoy learning them.

Monday, March 19, 2018


The sun is shining so let's go outside and learn!

I Want to Go Out and Play Book 
(Writing an opinion)
Give each child a sheet of paper and ask them to draw a picture of why they like to go outside. Ask them to write (or dictate) a sentence about their drawing.  Make a cover that says, “I Want to Go Out and Play.” Put their pages together, hole punch, and insert book rings.

Sit and Write 
(Descriptive writing)
Each child will need paper, a clipboard or cardboard to write on, and a pencil or crayon. Have children spread out in a comfortable area and write stories, poems, or descriptions of what they see.

Alphabet Walk 
Divide children into groups of four and give each group a sheet of paper with the letters of the alphabet. (They will also need a pencil and a clipboard to write on.) Challenge groups to find as many objects as they can for the letters in the alphabet. For example: A-acorn, B-bird, C-cloud, D-dirt, etc.

Shape Hunt 
Cut circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles out of construction paper and put them in a bag. Children choose a shape and then try to match it up with a similar shape on the playground.
*Have children lie on the ground and make shapes with their bodies. Take photos to make a class book.

Bounce and Count 
How many times can they bounce a ball and catch it? How many times can they toss a ball with a friend and not drop it?
*Have each child silently count the steps from the classroom to the playground. Compare their answers.

Worm Measurement 
Cut yarn or string into different sections (3”-12”) and place them in a bag. Explain that you have “worms” in your bag and they will all get to choose one. Have them walk around the playground and find objects that are longer, shorter, or equal to their worm. (Exchange worms after a few minutes.) 


P.S. If it's raining where you are today I've got a new "Just for Kids" video where I sing about Bingo and do a tell and draw story.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Here's a "Spring Pencil Walk" that I hope your children will enjoy this week.  Story symbols can help children develop top to bottom and left-to-right orientation. They’re also an engaging way to develop small motor skills. These stories should be told multiple times so children can practice the pre-writing strokes and feel more competent. You might want to do the same story every day for a week as you invite the children to recall what will come next. 
*Make a tape of the story to put in a listening center. 

Hint!  Demonstrate these stories on the board or a large chart so children will be able to copy what you do on white boards or clip boards.

Let’s put a green dot at the top of the page to show us where to start. And let’s put a red dot down here at the bottom to show where our story will stop. Pick up your pencil and let’s use it to tell a story.
It’s a beautiful spring day, so let’s go for a walk.
The grass is growing nice and tall.
The sun is shining in the sky.
The clouds are rolling around.
The insects buzz up and down.
The little rabbits hop around.
The kites are flying in the air.
All of a sudden, the wind starts to blow.
The wind is blowing in every direction.
Better run home as fast as we can!
Home at last!

Here's another story about a walk in the zoo.  Can you guess what the different symbols represent?


Saturday, March 17, 2018


Top of the morning to you! I hope you’re wearing green today or I’m going to pinch you!! 

I’m going to be participating in the Charleston Walk for Water Missions this morning and I can’t wait to get my bucket and walk! It really makes you appreciate turning on the tap and getting water whenever you want it – something we just take for granted.  Fortunately, it's a beautiful spring day.  Spring officially begins this Tuesday, March 20th, so here are a few ideas if you're working on your lesson plans today.

Make a bingo card with signs of spring and objects that children can find on your playground. Children can walk around the playground and and color in the objects as they find them. Children could do this activity individually or with a partner.
*Here's a SPRING-O card I made for you. I'm not the best artist so you'll need to go over the words and the pictures with your students.

Scavenger Hunt
Here’s a spring hunt for older students. Divide them into groups of 4 and give each group a clipboard with the items below. Have them record their answers. When you return to the classroom groups can share their results and compare answers.

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! 

Spring Acrostic 

After a spring walk, have children write the word spring vertically down the left side of their paper. Can they write a word (or sentence) for each letter that is a sign or symbol of spring? 
Hint! With younger children do this as an interactive writing activity. 

Have children make a web of spring using words or drawings.

Spring Words 

How many words can they write from the letters in “spring”?
The information available to teachers now on the internet is mind boggling!! I found this website when I was looking for spring ideas and it seemed to offer some activities…and it’s FREE!!

Friday, March 16, 2018


What's not to love about Letter Baby!  Your kids will love her as well.

(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…Z
And I can read!
I’ve got all the sounds in my mouth,
And I’m ready to read!

*Children spin the wheel around to display the letters as they sing the song.

Here’s another visual to help children focus on letters and sounds.
Color and cut out the bus using the pattern. Add magnetic tape to the back and place it on a magnetic board. Put magnetic letters in the window as you sing the song.

The Letters on the Bus (Tune: “The Wheels on the Bus”)
The letters on the bus all make their sounds,
Make their sounds,
Make their sounds.
The letters on the bus all make their sounds
All around the town.
The B on the bus goes /b/ /b/ /b/, /b/ /b/ /b, /b/ /b/ /b/,
The B on the bus goes /b/ /b/ /b/ all around the town.


Thursday, March 15, 2018


Lucky me to get to visit Manchester, NH, this week! And, lucky me to fly out of there before their big snow storm!

I met some great teachers who shared some clever new ideas with me.

Ice Fishing (Deb Wintle)
Change the traditional "go fishing" game to ice fishing for a winter treat. Put the fish in a bucket and add a stool so the children can sit and fish.
Note! Some of your students in warmer states might not know what ice fishing is, so this would be a good time to learn about it.

*Funny! One of Deb's students explained that their teacher "went to a singing contest with Dr. Seuss!" Don't you love how a teacher conference and Dr. Jean get twisted up?

This is a great game if you've got a few extra minutes in your day.
Form a circle and begin this pattern:
     slap,slap (slap thighs twice)
     clap, clap (clap hands twice)
     snap, snap (snap fingers twice)

The teacher begins by naming a category. As you go around the circle, each person must say a word in the category. It could be rhyming words, colors, fruits, adjectives, or any concept that you are working on.

Bubblewrap Words
Write sightwards on small rectangles of bubblewrap. (Use a permanent marker and write on the smooth side.) Place these in a bag and pass around as you play some music. When the music stops, the child holding the bag pulls out a word, reads it, and then gets to pop all the bubbles.

I even had time to do a concert at Beech Street School before heading to the airport.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


I'd love to come to each of your classrooms in person, but that's not possible. However, I have started doing some short videos of songs, rhymes, and stories "Just for Kids." Here's my latest one about Humpty Dumpty.

Here's the new verse for the end of the rhyme:

     Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
     Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
     All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
     Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
     So the good children got out some tape and some glue
     And they fiddled and faddled until he looked like new.
     Then they carefully placed him back on the wall
     And said, "Humpty Dumpty, please don't fall!"

Rhyme On

Challenge children to fill in the word that rhymes in these additional verses.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a peg.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his leg.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a bed.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his head.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a rose.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his nose.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a pin.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his chin.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a boulder.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his shoulder.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a pie.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his eye.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a deer.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his ear.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the land.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his hand.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the sea.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his knee.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a drum.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his thumb.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a tack.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his back.

Humpty Dumpty said to his friend,
“I’m very tired so this is THE END.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


I love those little graphics, don’t you? They are definitely an example of visual literacy that we use every day as we text and email. You can find images for facial expressions, animals, plants, places, foods, drinks, celebrations, sports, activities, flags, weather, etc. at many sites including:

So, how do we take something that is popular and “child friendly” and turn it into a learning opportunity? Well, I used my   and have come up with a few activities I’ll share today and tomorrow.


Make two copies of emoji animals or faces. Glue one copy to a file folder and cut the other into separate pieces. Children match up the ones that are alike.
Cut poster board into 3” squares. Glue two if each emoji to the squares. Mix up the pieces and place face down on the floor. Children take turns looking for matching pairs by turning over two at a time. They may keep the pairs they match up.
*Hint! Start with 8 pairs and add more as the children become more confident playing the game.

Provide children with emojis from different categories, such as animals, people, holidays, transportation, food, etc. and challenge them to sort these. What was their sorting rule?

Discuss different emotions that emoji are illustrating. What makes you feel that way? Remind the children that we all have different emotions and that’s O.K.!

Sign In 
Children write their name under the emoji that reflects how they are feeling when they come to school each morning.

Glue emoji to crafts sticks and let children use them to work out problems or create stories.
Can you think of other activities with emojis?

Monday, March 12, 2018


Sometimes I wonder if I write these blogs for teachers and children or for myself! Just kidding! It’s fun to look for jokes every month and share them with you. I hope you’ll find one or two here today to make you smile! 
Hint! Some of your children will “get” these and some of your children will just fake laugh. This is a good opportunity to have children “think out loud” and explain the jokes to their friends.

Why did the egg go to school?
To get "Egg-u-cated".

What kind of jokes do eggs tell?
Egg yolks!

What did the mommy egg say to the baby egg?
You're "Egg-stra special".

How do eggs stay healthy?
They "Egg-cercize".

What happened to the egg when he was tickled too much?
He cracked up.

What kind of plants do eggs keep?

What flowers grow on faces?
Tulips (Two-lips)! 

What is a bunny's motto?
Don't be mad, be hoppy!

How do you catch a unique rabbit?
Unique up on it.

How do you catch a tame rabbit?

The tame way.  Unique up on it.

What is a rabbit's favorite dance style?

Why are rabbits so lucky?
They have four rabbit's feet?

Some “bunny’s” got some knock knock jokes for you!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Ether who?
Ether bunny.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Justin who?
Justin other Ether Bunny.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Notta who?
Notta nother Ether Bunnies.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Stella who?
Stella nother Ether bunny.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Juan who?
Juan more Ether bunny.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Chuck who?
Chuck-olate bunny!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Dewey who?
Dewey have to listen to any more Ether bunny jokes?

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Some bunny.
Some bunny who?
Some bunny is eating all my Easter eggs!

My friend Barbara Lees from Las Vegas shared this St. Patrick's Day dance you can teach your kids this week.  She says you can do it to any music, so put on your green and start tapping your feet!
St. Patrick’s Day Dance
Today is the day for the wearin’ o the green
Today is the day when the little people are seen
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so if you’re Irish me lad
Join the celebratin for the grandest time to be had
You put your hand up in the hair
The other hand on your hip
You tap your toe, you tap your heel
You bounce your knee a wee bit
You dance and prance around the room
And circle 1, 2, 3
The Saints be praised, I must admit
You all look Irish to me!

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Whether you celebrate Easter or not, bunnies are a reminder of "hoppy" spring days. Here are some finger plays, songs, and crafts to help you get ready for spring.

Where Is My Bunny?
Where is my bunny? (Put hands behind your back.)
No one can see. (Shake head.)
I think that my bunny
Is hiding from me. (Look over shoulder.)
Here is my bunny. (Hold up 1 thumb.)
He’s found a friend. (Hold up other thumb.)
Look at all the others. (Slowly stick up fingers.)
Now there are ten! (Wiggle fingers.)

Here Is a Bunny
Here is a bunny (Hold up index and middle fingers.)
With ears so funny. (Wiggle fingers.)
And here is his
Hole in the ground. (Make hole with fist of the other hand.)
At the slightest noise he hears,
He pricks up his ears, (Wiggle fingers.)
Then hops to his
Hole in the ground! (Pretend to hop bunny ears into the hole.)

Hand Bunny – Trace around each child’s hand and cut out. Cut off the middle finger. Fold down the pinky and thumb. Glue on a sheet of paper and add a mouth, whiskers, eyes and nose. 


Flip, Flop, Hop  (Tune: “Wheels on the Bus” - Happy Everything CD)
The ears on the bunny go flip, flop, flop (Hands over head and wiggle.)
Flip, flop, flop,
Flip, flop, flop.
The ears on the bunny go flip, flop, flop,
Flip, flip, 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 hips.)
The feet on the bunny go hop, hop, hop… (Hop up and down.)

Bunny Ears - Cut ears out of construction paper and glue them to a headband. You can also trace around children's feet and use them for the ears of the headband.

Drawing Rabbits - Teach children how to draw a bunny from two circles. Add detail to the bunny as you sing the song.

Play Dough Rabbits - 
Challenge children to make rabbits from play dough.

Bunny Basket – Fold the sack in half lengthwise as shown. Draw ears on the sack similar to those shown. Cut on the lines and then cut off the sides. Open the sack. Staple the top points to make ears. Put a face and cotton tail on your bunny basket.

Milk Jug Bunny – Ask parents to send in clean milk jugs. Cut the top off as shown. Add ears and a bunny’s face. Place a small amount of dirt in the bottom of the milk jug and sprinkle with grass seed. Water and place in a sunny window. If you start this project several weeks before your egg hunt, you will have an adorable bunny with green hair!

Saturday, March 10, 2018


I know it seems early to be talking about plastic eggs and bunnies, but Easter is less than a month away. You can't walk in a store these days without seeing a display of plastic eggs. They are inexpensive and can be used for a variety of learning activities in your classroom. Here's a video I did last year where I demonstrate these activities.

Reading Games

Write an upper case letter on one half with a permanent marker and the lower case letter on the other half.
Give children small pictures of objects to put into appropriate eggs.

Put antonyms on eggs for children to match.
Write synonyms on eggs.

Reinforce compound words with eggs.

*Ask older children to write the synonyms, antonyms, and compounds after matching them.

Write two letter words on eggs. Children make words and then read them. Can they use the word in a sentence?
Write onsets (consonants or blends) on one half and rimes (word endings) on the other half. Children twist around and read words. You could also ask children to write the words.
Make puzzles of sight words and put them in the eggs. Children put the letters together, read the word, and then write the word.

Make puzzles of simple sentences and challenge children to put the words together and read the sentence.
Put random letters in the egg and ask children to see how many words they can make and write from the letters.

Write a poem about spring on a small sheet of paper. Fold it up and put it in the egg.

Write numerals or number words on the eggs. Children fill with the appropriate amount of beans or paper clips.
Children match up dots or number words with numerals.

Place a certain number of small objects in the eggs (2-10). Children dump out the objects and then write all the combinations they can make.

Give children a variety of objects. Ask them to predict if each object will fit in an egg or if is too big. Sort the objects after testing if they will fit.
Use the eggs for addition and subtraction problems.

Reinforce place value by writing numerals 1-9 on the eggs. Children put the eggs together and then say the numeral.
Let children draw pictures of all the animals that come from eggs.

Place objects in the eggs, such as popcorn kernels, cotton balls, bells, etc. Children shake the eggs and predict what is inside.
*Make two eggs with like objects for children to match the sounds.

Musical Instrument
Put dried beans in the eggs and tape to a plastic spoon to make maracas.
Spoon Relay
Give children a large spoon and an egg. Can they get their egg from one point to another without dropping it?

Yummy Snack
Put small crackers, raisins, cereal, grapes, or other healthy snacks in the eggs.
Sand and Water
Place eggs in a water table or sand box for pouring and measuring.