Friday, August 31, 2018

RAH! RAH!

You’re going to need some pompoms to cheer for your favorite team this weekend!


Materials: lunch bags (2 for each child), scissors, markers, tape

Directions: Draw lines 1” apart halfway down from the top of the bag to the bottom flap as shown. Have the children use scissors to cut down on these strips. Turn the flap over and then roll it up tightly to make a handle. Secure the handle with tape. (For a good small motor activity let the children wrap rubber bands around the handle.) Wrinkle and fluff up the strips to make pompoms. 



Note! Let children color their bags favorite team colors before cutting them.

*Use the pompoms to clap out syllables.

*Have children repeat a pattern with pompoms. (clap, shake, clap, shake…)

*Play “Simon Says” to demonstrate positional words. For example: Simon Says put the pompoms behind you. Simon says put the pompoms on your shoulders. Simon says put the pompoms under your chin…

*Use the pompoms to spell words. Clap up high for letters that start at the top dotted line. Clap in the middle for letters that start at the middle dotted line. Clap down low for letters with a tail.

*Do addition and subtraction facts with pompoms. Shake left hand and say a number. Shake right hand and say a number. Put hands in the air and shake as you say the answer.

*Play “Follow the Leader” as one child leads and the others must follow the movements.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

If you are college football fans like we are, this weekend is like Christmas.  We can hardly wait for the first kick off!  Football gives us a distraction from the world's woes and it gives us something to cheer for and look forward to each weekend. Football can also be a “kick off” for teaching some skills in your classroom.

College Goals

It’s never too early to plant seeds of attending college in your students. Give them a dream and a goal! One school I visited displayed pennants of the schools where the teachers graduated from in the front hall.
*Have the children brainstorm all the colleges and universities in your area. Talk about why it is important to go to college.
*Encourage your students to think about where they would like to go to college. Give them paper shaped like pennants to decorate with their college dream.
                                   
Math
 
Let children do surveys of favorite college teams. 
Graph favorite teams.
Predict who will win the game. Who was right? Who was wrong?
Predict what the score will be. Who was closest?
*Let children choose a favorite player and write their number on a jersey. How many math facts can they think of to equal that number?

Social Studies
Use a map of the United States and locate where games will be played. 

Internet Search
Look up team mascots and colors. Listen to college fight songs. Do exercises to fight songs.

Art 
Cut pictures of players out of the newspaper or sports magazines. Challenge children to write creative stories about favorite players. They could also write letters to favorite players.

Guest Readers
Invite a local high school football team and cheerleading squad to visit your school to read books. There’s nothing more motivating to a young child than to see someone in a uniform model how “cool” it is to read!

Team Mascots 
This game can be adapted to any school mascot, action hero, or seasonal character. Since I graduated from the University of Georgia, UGA was my first choice. This is a quick, simple game that can be played with any age level or any skill that needs to be reinforced. It’s the perfect game if you’ve got a few minutes before lunch or a few minutes at the end of the day.
                               
WHY? shapes, colors, letters, words, numerals, math facts, etc. 
WHAT? flash cards, picture of a favorite school mascot
HOW? Have children sit in a circle and encourage them to identify the information on the flash cards as you place them on the floor. Tell the children to turn around and hide their eyes. Take “UGA” and slip it under one of the flash cards. The children turn back around and raise their hand if they think they know where UGA is hiding. One at a time, have children call out a word, letter, shape, etc., and then look under that card. The game continues until a child finds UGA. That child may then be “it” and hide the mascot.

*Use a pocket chart to play this game. Arrange the flash cards in the pocket chart and then hide the mascot under one of the cards as the children hide their eyes.

More? Make a concentration game using various college mascots.
Make a matching game where children match mascots to college names.
What characteristics do you need to dress up and be a school mascot?
Have children write which mascot they would like to be and why.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ALPHABET BRAIN BREAKS

You can give kids a brain break and reinforce letters and sounds with these activities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMeGvS0x0kM&list=PL7bsHC8DZJxgo1tIChPhzEYl5gKZuqvof

ABC Kick Box
Directions: Children stand and make fists with their hands. Explain that you will punch across with your right hand and say a letter. Then punch across with their left hand and make the sound.

A – Punch with right hand.
/a/ - Punch with left hand.
B through Z.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxrUgwVbqoM&index=2&list=PL7bsHC8DZJxgo1tIChPhzEYl5gKZuqvof



Phonercise
Directions: Children stand and put their hands in the air as they say a letter. They put their hands on their shoulders and make the letter sound. As they touch their toes they say a word that starts with that sound.

A (Hands up in the air and say “A.”)
/a/ (Hands on shoulders and make the short /a/ sound.)
____ (Say a word that starts with “A” as you touch your toes.)

Adaptations: Say words that are nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech as you touch your toes.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRCVJ0-nB5M&index=3&list=PL7bsHC8DZJxgo1tIChPhzEYl5gKZuqvof

Go Letters!  (Sign language) Directions:  Children stand and roll arms around in between making the manual signs for each letter.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkNND0qZP9g&t=4s

Karate Writing

Directions: Explain that some letters are tall. They start at the top dotted line. Some letters start at the middle dotted line. Some letters have a tail. They go below the line. Sing the “Alphabet Song” stretching up in the air for tall letters, putting hands on waist for short letters, and touching the ground for letters with a tail. For example:

A -hands on waist
B - hands in air
G - touch ground



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO6I8oDREJ4

Cheering LettersDirections:  Children put hands in the air for tall letters, hands in front from middle letters, and touch the ground for letters with a tail.

ABC Actions
Clap on the consonants and hop on the vowels as you sing.
*March, tiptoe, disco (finger up in the air and then cross the midline and point down) as you sing.
*Use a monster voice (loud), mouse voice (soft), turtle voice (slow), or a racehorse voice (fast).  
*Encourage your students to suggest other voices and movements.

ABC Rap Clap
Directions:  Begin a pattern by slapping thighs once and clapping twice.
A (slap on the letter and then clap twice)
B (slap, clap, clap)
C (slap, clap, clap)
D….Z


Alpha-Bodies
Directions: Children stand and as you call out letters they try and make the letter with their body.
*Spell sight words or vocabulary words with their bodies.

Air Writing
Directions: Children stand and extend their index finger in the air. Explain that you will do “invisible” writing in the air with their magic finger. Have children make letters in the air as you call them out.

Note!  The teacher must reverse movements when modeling in front of the children.

Adaptations: Try “foot writing” where they make letters with their foot.




Tuesday, August 28, 2018

FINE MOTOR TUBS

Samantha Goetz posted this idea on Facebook.  I was so impressed that I asked her to be a guest blogger.  This is absolutely brilliant!!!  It is like sending those little fingers to the gym so they have the strength to write, cut, draw, and do other small motor activities.  Samantha is a kindergarten teacher, but this would also be perfect for pre-k.
                    
                                             As a kindergarten teacher, I have noticed an increasingly, alarming trend over the past few years. Despite the best efforts of the preschool teacher, my students were coming into kindergarten with fewer and fewer fine motor skills. I had students who were not able to tie their shoes, let alone cut with mastery. In order to help combat this problem I decided to create fine motor tubs. Actually, I purchased a cart with wheels and drawers. I numbered each drawer and placed inside something for the students to work on to increase their abilities.  To manage who gets what tub I simply made a chart with the numbers of the drawer and a star next to where the student would start. Every morning my students come in and unpack for the day and immediately go pick out their tub. They work with the items provided for about 10 minutes. During this time they are free to talk about whatever they want. They might share what they made or help out each other. I am fairly lenient as long as they are working. When the 10 minutes are over they put away their tub and mark off on the record sheet and we are ready to start the day. The students have used this time to settle into the classroom as well as work on some very important skills. I definitely noticed great changes within my students over the year and was very pleased with the outcome. 
     

Some ideas that I have used are:
Playdough/ Clay / Theraputty 
With extruders
Scissors 
Tongue depressors 
Beads
                         Filled Balloons 
Flour
Rice
Playdough
Sand
Cornstarch
                                                                           Lacing various types of string, yarn, ribbon with beads of various sizes and shapes or buttons
Tongs/Tweezers and marbles or pom-poms
Weaving string, yarn, ribbon, pipe cleaners through a cooling rack
Straight scissors or fancy scissors
Paper 
Cardstock
Straws
Sewing cards
Tennis balls with slits
Beads
Buttons
Coins
Plastic canvas and plastic needle w/ string or ribbon
Hole punches or shape paper punches
Poke a picture 
Stretch rubber bands over cans/ toilet paper tubes
Small hair elastics sorted onto large tongue depressors
Paper clips onto a piece of cardboard
Plastic chains
Melty beads
Clothes pins pinched around a bowl 
Pick corn kernels from the cob (we are a rural farm community ☺ )
Geoboard with rubber bands
Money into a piggy bank
Lightbright
Legos
K’nex
Spray bottles onto a sponge 
Hand pump &/or finger pump
Golf tees into a piece of Styrofoam or pegboard
Tearing paper/fabric scraps
Stickers
Tie/untie knots into fabric strips
Pop-it Beads
Nuts & bolts
Marble mazes
Q-tip painting
Toothpicks
Stencils
Spiragraph
Coloring books 
*Provide fun and not typically used writing materials: mechanical pencils, smelly markers, colored pens, colored sharpies.
             
You don’t have to have a ton of things to make it different for the students each week. Also, it can easily be differentiated for each student’s needs. For example, I usually start with cutting plain paper, maybe then construction paper, cardstock, thin cardboard. Add fancy cutting scissors in between paper changes. As their skills increase then the difficulty changes to meet the needs of the student.  

Sometimes I add other skills to the task, but definitely not required. Example: sort the pom-poms by color using tweezers. 

I try to have at least one writing, dough, pinching, scissor, and lacing activity per rotation. 

While the students are working on this I am completing attendance, checking agendas, and any other small task that may have come up and need taken care of before we start the day.  

The key for me was that the students could complete every activity completely on their own with quick set up and clean up. Also, almost everything was something that I already had either in the room or my home. I did purchase a few things from Dollar Tree. 

The supplies that are not in use are currently just stored in a few big storage containers. I probably should find a better way to store this. 

The students rotate through all drawers at least twice. I usually change the drawers out about once a month and with 10 different activities they never seemed to get bored. Sometimes I try to theme some of the items for the month/season, but usually don’t worry about that much. 

Note: I come from a very small district and have an average of 6 students per year. I could see this being utilized in a larger classroom with another set of drawers. Each drawer could be duplicated repeating some of the same items. 

               
(Typically the students do not share but one started on a “project” and the next day the next student added to it, and then again with the third student)

                                                  (Preschool visitation day… we were a little extra squished and sharing.)

Monday, August 27, 2018

CUT IT OUT! Helping Your Child with Scissor Skills

This blog explains some of the activities I demonstrate on this Youtube video I made to help parents work with their child on scissor skills. Please feel free to share it with your families on your classroom website or blog. You might even 
find an idea or two that you can use in your classroom!



Cut It Out! 



Helping Your Child with Scissor Skills

WHY?

Fine motor skills involve the small muscles in the hands. Learning to control their hands is important for eye-hand coordination and every day tasks such as dressing, eating, brushing teeth, etc. Small motor activities also nurture bilateral coordination – using both sides of the body at one time to perform a task. Cutting may sound simple to an adult, but using both hands to do different things as you cut is a complex skill for young children.

Providing children with a wide variety of activities and multiple materials at home will help them feel competent and capable when they start school and they are expected to write, draw, and cut with scissors. Blocks, dressing toys, puzzles, stringing beads, play dough, crayons and markers, sand and water toys, cooking activities, construction toys, and clapping games and finger plays are meaningful ways that children develop small motor skills naturally as they play.

Observe children as they are engaged in cutting and other small motor activities. You can almost see their brains “firing off” as their minds and bodies work in unison. You’ll often see their tongues moving as they concentrate. As children cut, draw, and work with their hands it’s good for their brains, self-regulation, and a sense of competence.

Many teachers have noticed a decline in children’s fine motor skills over the years. “Tap and swipe” just doesn’t activate the brain and hand muscles like cutting and drawing and building and stringing. Activities involving scissors and fine motor skills can be a fun way for parents to interact with their children. In addition, they are a great balance to “screen time” because they are real, active, and hands-on!

You want your child ready for success at school by purchasing the backpack, school supplies, packing their lunch, and dressing them properly. You can also help your child get ready for this big step by practicing scissor skills.


Tips!!!

*Supervise! Make a cutting tub for your child with a plastic tub and a pair of safety scissors. (Act like it is a gift for your child when you present it to him or her.)

Model, model, model!  Demonstrate these activities and get the child started by engaging with them and carrying on a conversation. Vary the materials in the tub to keep them interested.

*Once the child is familiar with the cutting tub you can take it out upon their request or to entertain them when you are busy.

*Discuss rules for using scissors. No cutting hair, clothes, or anything that is not in the cutting tub.

*Set realistic expectations. Children have to crawl before they can walk, and they have to do a lot of tearing and snipping before they can cut out a shape. Follow their lead and let natural development unfold.


Getting Ready


Picking up a pair of scissors is probably something you don’t have to think about, but children will need some guidance is how to hold scissors correctly.

Thumbs Up – put a sticker or draw a face on the thumb to remind them to keep it on top. Put a ribbon or colorful tape on the hole where the thumb should go.

                                                                
                                                          

Helper Hand – Explain that one hand will cut and the other hand will be the “helper” and hold the paper. “Show me your cutting hand. Show me your helper hand.”

Open and Shut – Practice opening and shutting the scissors and pretending it’s an alligator taking little bites. (Working with tongs or tweezers can help this motion.)

Flying Elbows – Children have a tendency to flap their arms when they cut. Encourage them to keep their elbows at their sides. You can also wad up a sheet of paper to go under each arm to stabilize the forearms.
                                       


Let’s Begin!

Tearing – Children need opportunities to tear before we ask them to cut. Start with thin paper like tissue paper and magazines and progress to thicker paper like cardstock, cardboard, and paper plates.
        
Encourage children to make small tears to make confetti. Let them fill a water bottle with the little pieces to make a shaker. Or, let them glue the confetti to a paper plate to make a collage.

Snipping– Give children thicker paper (such as construction paper, index cards, or grocery bags) to begin snipping. They can practice opening and closing the scissors as they make fringe.
                           
*Strengthen muscles by cutting play dough.

*Give them 1” strips so they can snip through.

*Let them snip straws or yarn.
                                                     
*Offer paper plates, greeting cards, wrapping paper, food boxes, and other types of paper in keep children interested.

*Collect natural objects like pine straw, leaves, and flowers for them to cut.

Lines– Draw lines on heavy paper for children to practice cutting lines.

*Draw “paths” about 1” to ½” wide for children to cut between.
                        
*Make dots (use stickers) for children to follow and cut lines.

*Cut up junk mail into strips.

*Ask children to cut out triangles, squares, and shapes with straight lines.

*Have children cut coupons out of the newspaper.
                                                                


Curves- Have children cut on curved lines.

*Let them cut out complex shapes or objects from magazines or advertisements. (Toys are always fun!)

*Have children trace around cookie cutters and then cut out the shapes.
           

*Encourage children to do creative activities by providing them with paper, markers, yarn, and a wide variety of art media.


It’s the Process, Not the Product!

Early childhood teachers will agree that when it comes to drawing, cutting, and creating it’s the process, not the product. Your child might not be Edward Scissorhands, but she’ll certainly feel more comfortable and competent when she’s handed a pair of scissors at school!


Here's Kalina and I singing "Scissor Snip."


http://bit.ly/drjeanCutItOut


Sunday, August 26, 2018

LETTER MONSTER AND LETTER BABY

If you haven't watched my "Letter Land" video you can see me tell this story.

LETTER MONSTER

This story is similar to “Scat the Cat” using alphabet letters. Trace around the monster pattern on the front of the file folder and cut it out. Write the alphabet letters in bold on paper. Place inside the file folder. Glue the story to the back of the folder. Remove one sheet of paper at a time as you tell the story.


Letter Monster wanted to read.
He thought if he ate letters, it was all he would need!
On Monday he ate A B C D E F.
Then he closed his eyes to get some sleep, but the pointy part of the “A”
kept poking his tummy and he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Tuesday he chomped G H I J K .
Then he closed his eyes to get some sleep, but “H” and “I” got together and made a word and he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long. “Hi! Hi! Hi!”

On Wednesday he nibbled on L M N O P.
Then he closed his eyes to get some sleep, but “O” kept rolling back and
forth in his tummy and he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Thursday he feasted on Q R S T U V.
Then he closed his eyes to get some sleep, but “S” kept playing snake
and going “SSSSSS” in his tummy, and he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Friday he swallowed W X Y Z.
Then he closed his eyes to get some sleep and he dreamed sweet “zzzzz’s” all night long.

Sweet dreams letter monster!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljQXh1T2hpTXI4LXc/view?usp=sharing


LETTER BABY

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


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…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.
       
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljNDYwUzM0c0RTTkk/view?usp=sharing



ON THE ROAD WITH HIGHWAY LETTERS

I think most of you have heard me pitch the "Highway Letters" many times before.  However, just in case you don't know about them, they are a MUST for playing with letters. Best of all you can download them FREE! (I’d ask a parent volunteer to do this because it will use a lot of ink and paper.) I put mine in clear sheet protectors because it’s cheaper and easier than laminating. The uppercase letter is on one side and the lowercase letter is on the other side.

http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/RacecarABCcards.htm

Here are a few ways you can use the highway letters with different skills throughout the school year.

Letter Vests – Punch holes at the top and tie on string so the children can wear them like letter vests. Pass these out and let children stand when their letter is sung in the song.

Toy Cars - Let children drive over letters with toy cars.

Writing - Trace over the letters with dry erase markers. Erase and use again and again.
Hint! Put a green dot where they start and a red dot where they stop.

Play Dough - Roll play dough and place on top of the letters.

Phonics - Practice blending C V C words. (consonant, vowel, consonant) with vests. Add the “silent e” to words to change the vowel sound.

Chunking - Start by asking children who are wearing “a” and “t” to stand. What does that say? Ask “m” to stand in front of “at.” What does that say? Tell “m” to go away and have “r” stand in front of “at.” Have children suggest other letters to stand in front of “at.” Reinforce other word families with this strategy.

Spelling Words - Slowly call out sight words or spelling words. (Stretch out the sounds.) Children come up if they are wearing that sound and make the word.

ABC Order- Children arrange themselves in alphabetical order according to the letter that they are wearing.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

SIGN TO LEARN

Sign language is multi-sensory, quiet, and engaging for children. It’s also good for developing small motor skills. There are several excellent free websites where you can learn to make the manual signs.
Hint! Encourage the children to make “strong” letters. As children tighten up muscles in their hands, they will also be strengthening small motor skills.

Where Are the Letters?   (Sing to Learn CD)

Change the words to "Where Is Thumbkin?" to teach children how to make manual signs for the letters.

Where is A? (Place hands behind your back.)
Where is A? (Children repeat.)
Here I am. (Make "a" with your hand.)
Here I am. (Children repeat and make an "a" with their hand.)
What do you say A? (Wiggle hand.)
What do you say A? (Children repeat.)
/a/ /a/ /a/ (Make the short a sound.)
/a/ /a/ /a/ (Children repeat.)

The Alphabet in My Hands  (Move It!  Learn It! CD)
(“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”)


I’ve got A /a/ /a/ in my hands. (Sign the letter “a.”)
I’ve got A /a/ /a/ in my hands.
I’ve got A /a/ /a/ in my hands
And I can read.
Continue signing and singing other letters.


Take photographs of the children making the manual signs and use them to make a book to go with the song.


Letter Box (Totally Reading CD)
Here’s another song you can use to teach children manual signs for letters. It goes to the tune of “Polly Wolly Doodle.”

I wish I had a letter box
To put my A in.
I’d take it out and go (Hold up sign for a.)
/a/ /a/ /a/
And put it back again. (Pretend to put hand back in box.)

Continue singing other letters and making signs for other letters.

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

Sign Language Center
Make a SIGN LANGUAGE CENTER with a pocket folder. Glue a copy of manual signs for letters on the inside of the folder. Write alphabet letters on index cards and place in the pocket. Children choose a card and then try to reproduce that sign. For older children, write sight words or spelling words on index cards for them to practice spelling manually.

*Make a matching game with letters and signs.

Friday, August 24, 2018

MAGIC MAGNETIC LETTERS

Magnetic letters are inexpensive, durable, and plentiful. Best of all they are REAL (as opposed to a screen)! These activities can be adapted for many different skills and age levels.

Can You Find Bottle? 
Fill a large plastic bottle with salt or sand. Insert magnetic letters and shake. Children shake the bottle and try to identify letters.

*Give them a grid with the alphabet letters. They can color in the letters as they find them in the bottle.

Sand Box Treasure

Hide magnetic letters in your sand table. Children can take a magnet and try to identify letters they “attract.”

*Can they make the sound? Can they think of a word that starts with that sound? Can they write a word that starts with that sound?

*Hide the letters in Styrofoam packing. Add a clipboard, paper, and pencil for children to write the letters as they find them.

Touch and Tell
Place a magnetic letter in a sock. Can children reach in the sock and identify the letter by feeling it?

Letter Password
Place several letters you are working on around your door frame. As children leave the room, ask them to touch a particular letter. (You could also ask them to touch the letter they hear at the beginning of particular word.)


Letter Tin
Place magnetic letters inside a cookie tin. Make three lines with a permanent marker on the inside of the lid. As you call out sounds children place the letters on the lines to make CVC words.
         
Hint! Place in a center for children to make and write word families.


Building Words
Demonstrate how to build words with magnetic letters using a document camera.

Alphabet Soup
Place magnetic letters in a mixing bowl. Children take a big spoon and scoop out some letters. How many words can they make with their letters? Ask the children to write the words they can make.

What’s My Letter
Have children cup their hands and then distribute a letter to each. Children give clues to help their friends identify their letter.

For example: My letter is made with two straight lines. You hear it at the beginning of turtle and at the end of bat. What’s my letter?

*Number socks for older students and let them record their answers.

Letter Hunt
Hide magnetic letters around the classroom as the children hide their eyes. Explain that they can only find one letter at a time. They have to bring the letter to the teacher, identify it, and then hide the letter again.

Fistful
Put magnetic letters in a lunch bag. Ask children to reach their hand in the bag and pull out a fistful of letters. How many words can they make with those letters? Ask them to write the words.

MAGNETIC LETTER MUSIC VISUALS

These visuals will engage children’s attention in the letters as you sing.

The Letters on the Bus
Draw the shape of a bus on a magnetic board. Place letters in the bus as you sing this song to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

The A on the bus goes
/a/ /a/ /a/
/a/ /a/ /a/
/a/ /a/ /a/
The Aon the bus goes
/a/ /a/ /a/
On the way to school.

If you have a toy bus, write the letter on an index card and tape it to the bus as you sing.

You could also download this pattern to use with magnetic letters.


Who Let the Letters Out?  (Kiss Your Brain CD)
Place letters in a dog dish or empty box of dog biscuits. Children reach in and pull out one letter at a time as you chant:
                                                       
Who let the D out?
/d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/

Thursday, August 23, 2018

SINGING LETTERS AND SOUNDS

Music is the most natural way to learn anything. Mary Ann Wolf (one of the top reading researchers in our country) recommends singing alphabet songs with young children. She explains that songs act like an umbrella and “place holder” in the brain. When the letters and sounds make sense to the children, they have a “place” to go.

Hint!
There are many ways to introduce alphabet songs, but it might be helpful to introduce a new song each week. Sing it every morning to start your day, and then use it as a brain break during the day. The next week you can teach the children another song and then review the song you sang the previous week. Write the titles of the songs as you introduce them on a sentence strip and add a picture clue. That way you can let children choose different songs and repeat them.

Visual Connections
As you sing alphabet songs, it will be helpful to connect the visual with the auditory. You can use alphabet cards or point to the letters in your classroom.

Stop and Touch
Here’s another technique that will help children connect with the letters as they sing. Have the children stand and dance as you play an alphabet song. Stop the music on a random letter. At this point, children must tiptoe around the room, find that letter, and touch it. Continue playing the song stopping at several random letters.
                                   
Note! This is a fun way to teach self-regulation and to help children make a physical connection with the letter name and symbol.


LETTER TAILS (Tune: "Gilligan's Island" – Is Everybody Happy? CD)
This is one of my favorite alphabet books that Barb Smith created several years ago. It's good for letter recognition, phonics, and visual closure (recognizing the whole from the part).

     This is a tale about the letter A.
     It makes a special sound.
     /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ A!
     Let’s learn another sound.

     This is a tale about the letter B….

You can download the book here. If you’ll glue the cover to the front of a pocket folder and put the pages in clear sheet protectors the book will last for a long time.
             
http://www.drjean.org/html/monthly_act/act_2013/09_Sep_css/pg06.html

Hint! This is a great book to put in your listening center with the song.

Here’s a YouTube video of this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rEzOQn5ElM


ALFARDEE OR ALFHARDEE?

It really doesn’t matter how you say it, but you’ll find this song one of the most meaningful tunes you can do with your students. I’ve had countless teachers tell me that they do this song every morning at circle time with their students. By repeating the song daily and adding motions and sign language children are able to make the connections between letters and sounds. This is also helpful for children who have trouble articulating some of the sounds.

Alphardy (“Sing to Learn” CD)
A for apple /a/ /a/ /a/ (Pretend fist is an apple.)
B for bounce /b/ /b/ /b/ (Bounce a ball.)
C for cut /c/ /c/ /c/ (Open and close index and middle fingers as if cutting.)
D for dig /d/ /d/ /d/ (Pretend to dig.)
E – elbow (Point to elbow.)
F – fan (Fan self with hand.)
G – gallop (Gallop in place.)
H – hop (Hop on one foot.)
I – itch (Scratch self.)
J – jump (Jump up and down.)
K – kick (Little kicks with foot.)
L – love (Hug self.)
M – munch (Move mouth as if eating.)
N – nod (Nod head.)
O – opera (Extend arms and sing dramatically.)
Q – quiet (Index finger on lips.)
R. – run (Run in place.)
S – sew (Pretend to hold a needle and sew.)
T – talk (Open and close fingers like a mouth.)
U – upside (Lean over.)
V – volley (Hands in air and pretend to volley a ball.)
W – wiggle (Wiggle all over.)
X – x-ray (Make “x” with arms.)
Y – yawn (Extend arms and pretend to yawn.)
Z – zigzag (Make an imaginary “z” in the air.)
Letter sounds are all you need.
Put them together and you can read! (Hold palms together and open like a book.)

*You can download this book at drjean.org.
http://www.drjean.org/html/monthly_act/act_2005/03_Mar/Alphardy.

              
*Make the black and white student version for children to take home and sing with their families.

Alphardy Poster
Run off this chart for each student and glue to a file folder. Children can use this for choral singing or for independent work at the listening center. If you give them a pretzel stick or Bugle for a pointer they’ll get a little snack at the end of the song!

http://www.drjean.org/html/monthly_act/act_2005/03_Mar/pg04a.html


Singing Names
Insert children’s names in the song:
D for Darren /d/ /d/ /d/
E for Erin /e/ /e/ /e/
S for Sammy /s/ /s/ /s/
H for Hannah /h/ /h/ /h/

Singing Environmental Print
Adapt the words for environmental print:
M for MacDonald’s /m/ /m/ /m/
L for Legos /l/ /l/ /l/

Sight Words
Take color words, number words, or high frequency words and sing them.
R for red /r/ /r/ /r/
P for purple /p/ /p/ /p/


HAPPY BIRTHDAY LETTERS
Who doesn’t like birthdays? Children will love dancing and singing this song.

Happy Birthday Letters (Totally Reading CD)
Yo, A,
It’s your birthday.
Let’s all read
Like your birthday.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
Yo, B…etc.

*Have children stand in a circle and act like rappers. When the letter that their name begins with comes up in the song they get to jump in the middle of the circle and dance.

Letter Birthday Hats
Let the children make birthday hats from sentence strips and wear them as you sing “Happy Birthday Letters.” (Our old stick pony is modeling the birthday hat for you.)

Birthday Cake
Draw a birthday cake on a magnetic board and sing the letters as you place them on the cake:

Yo, M, it’s your birthday.
Let’s all sing like your birthday
/m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/
/m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ m/

Here’s a link so you can download the birthday cake.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljNTdjZWVlZzR5Zmc/view?usp=sharing

Rapper Necklace
Cut letters out of heavy cardboard. Let children decorate them with fake jewels, glitter, or stickers. Punch holes in the letters and tie on string. Children can wear these as you sing this song.