Tuesday, April 30, 2019

END OF YEAR CAMP

I was looking through old blogs and I found this idea that a teacher in Indiana shared several years ago. What a fun way to end the school year!

Camp Kindergarten (Michelle Page)
We do camp kindergarten the last two weeks in the school year. Every morning we meet at the flagpole for the pledge and camp songs.
*“Baby Shark,” “The Ants Go Marching,” “Banana Dance,” “Chicka Boom,” and “Calamine Lotion” are a few songs we sing.

The parents write letters for “mail call” and the children write back.
                                

We take an ABC nature walk and try to find objects for each letter in the alphabet.
                   


We make s’mores and trail mix for snack.
                                                                             

The children bring blankets, towels, and sleeping bags. They get to take off their shoes to read, do work, listen to a story.

We go fishing for words (plastic pool and words with magnets).

We go on a bear hunt and then draw pictures of our adventure.

To tie in science we study about bugs and worms.



What an amazing way to celebrate and end the school year!

Look at our camp t-shirts with the kids’ names on the back.
       

Monday, April 29, 2019

ENCORE WITH YOUR END OF YEAR PROGRAM!

Check out activities for the end of the school year on my video:

This time of year many of you are stressing out over your “end of the year” program. Listen, no matter what their kids do, the parents will be thrilled and think they are wonderful. So keep it fun this year with these simple ideas.

Who Let the Letters Out? (Kiss Your Brain CD)
Staple ovals to a strip of paper to make doggie headbands. Let children decorate large cardboard letters with glitter and bling bling. Punch a hole in the top and tie on a string to make rapper necklaces. Make a large doghouse to pin on the stage curtains. (Square with an arch cut out. Triangle roof.) As you sing the song children come out of the doghouse dancing and wearing their letters.

Who let the A out?
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
Who let the B out…


Happy Birthday Letters (Totally Reading CD)

Have children bring in baseball caps and sunglasses. Make microphones out of toilet paper rolls wrapped with aluminum foil. Turn the caps backwards as you sing:

Yo A, it’s your birthday.
Let’s all read like your birthday.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
You B, it’s your birthday…




Alphabet Remix (Move It! Learn It! CD)
Sing the regular ABC song. (Fold hands and sing sweetly.)
“Remix!"
I say, A B C D E F G! (clap twice) (Dance from side to side.)
H I J K L M N O P (clap twice)
Q R S, (clap)
T U V, (clap)
W X Y and Z.
Now I know my ABC’s.
Next time, won’t you rap with me? (Make rapper hands and dance.)
A (blow out of the side of your mouth)
B (blow) C (blow)….Z
Now I know my ABC’s (blow).
Now you’re ready to read with me! (blow)

The Very Hungry Class
This is a take off on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." Choose a song, finger play, or poem that you’ve used for every month in the school year. It will bring back fond memories for your students and will be an easy program to put together for the parents. It might go something like this:

When school started we were a very hungry class eager to learn.
In September we learned our rules -THE RULES RAP.
In October we learned the days of the week – DAYS OF THE WEEK.
November was when we said our letters and sounds – ALPHARDY.
In December we learned the months in the year – MACARENA MONTHS.
January was our Hundreds Day Celebration – ZERO THE HERO STOMP.
In February we learned about money – THE MONEY SONG.
March was time to learn to spell – COLOR FARM.
In April we learned to recycle – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.
May was a time to study (plants, dinosaurs, caterpillars, or another song that reflects your standards).
Now, before we say good-bye,
We’ll sing our favorite song for you.
Please stand up and join along
And you can learn to “Tooty Ta”, too! (The audience stands up and does the “Tooty Ta” with you.)

                                                      

Author's Tea
After writing and editing original stories, invite parents to a party where each child gets to share her book and read a few pages.

We Like to Move It!
Invite parents to wear sports clothes and join in as the children lead different exercises and movement songs.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

MAY MEANS MOTHER'S DAY

Working on your lesson plans for May this weekend?  I'm sure you'll find an idea just right for Mother's Day on my blog today.

A Box for Mommy (Tune: "Polly Wolly Doodle" - HAPPY EVERYTHING CD)
I wish I had a little box (Pretend to hold a box in your hands.)
To put my mommy in. (Pretend to put something in the box.)
I’d take her out and go (Take something out of the box
(kiss, kiss, kiss) and kiss in the air.)
And put her back again.

If my mommy were in my box
Were in my box, then she would always know.
School or play, night or day,
How I love her so! (Cross arms over chest.)

I made this box for mother’s day, (Pretend to hold a box.)
It’s full of love for you.
When we’re apart, hold it to your heart, (Put hands over heart.)
And know I’m thinking of you. 
                                  

                                     

Box of Love Necklace
You can collect small boxes that jewelry come in or use matchboxes for this project. Spray paint the boxes and then let the children decorate them with stickers, glitter pens, etc. Glue a small picture of the child inside the box. Punch a hole and attach a ribbon so it can be worn around the neck. Teach children the song and let them present their necklaces at a Mother’s Day tea, or send the boxes home with the words to the song. 




My Mom Can
Let each child make a predictable book about all the things their mom can do.  
 
                                           
Hats off for Moms
These are adorable hats from paper plates that children can make for their mothers. Cut the inner section out of the plate. Decorate the outer rim with markers. Cut 4” squares out of tissue paper and wad up and glue on the rim to look like flowers. Punch a hole in each side and tie on a 16” piece of string or ribbon. Place the hat on your head and tie under the chin.
                                                      
             

LOVE YOU Flower
Trace around children's hands on construction paper and cut out. Glue to a stem and fold down the middle and ring finger to make sign language for "I love you!"

                                                               

A Gift from the Heart
Make a flip book and write the following on the flips:
Some gifts are round.
Some gifts are tall.
Some gifts are large.
Some gifts are small.




Open and write:
But a gift from the heart is the best gift of all!


                                    
(Glue the child's photo or let them draw a picture of themselves.)
*Hint! Write "flip book" in my search engine to see how to make this book.

                  
Handprints
Have children dip their hands in mud (or use paint) and press them on a sheet of paper. Let them decorate and then add this poem:
Here are my handprints made for you
this happy Mother's Day.
These are ones you can always keep
and not have to wash away!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A POEM FOR YOUR POCKET

A Poem 

By Dr. Holly 

A poem, a poem 
Is a very special thing. 
It takes the words 
And makes them sing. 

A poem is a present, 
A poem is a treat 
With words piled like ice-cream 
In your bowl to eat! 

A poem, a poem 
Is a treasure and an art 
So always carry one 
With you in your heart.



To make a poetry pocket seal an envelope, cut it in half, punch holes, and tie on a string. Children can decorate these and then wear them around their neck.  Let them choose a favorite poem to keep in their pocket.

Poem a Day
Cut the pocket off an old pair of pants and staple it to the bulletin board.  Put copies of your favorite poems for children in the pocket.  Start each day by choosing a poem from the pocket to share with your class.



Here are some of my favorite poems I’ve used as a teacher over the years. It’s funny that some days I can’t remember my neighbor’s names, but these poems flow easily out of my mouth and brain! Proof once again of the power and beauty of giving children a poem and a song!!!!

MY WHISTLE
I bought a wooden whistle,
But it wouldn’t whistle.
I bought a steel whistle,
But it still wouldn’t whistle.
I bought a tin whistle,
And now I “tin” whistle!


THE MOON
I see the moon,
And the moon sees me.
God bless the moon,
And God bless me!


WISH UPON A STAR
Star light,
Star bright.
First star I see tonight.
Wish I may,
Wish I might,
Have this wish come true tonight!


FIND A PENNY
Find a penny.
Pick it up.
All day long
You’ll have good luck!
But if you give
It to a friend
Then your luck
Will never end.


LADY BUG
Lady bug, lady bug
Fly away home.
Hour house is on fire
And your children are lone.


WORMS
Nobody loves me,
Everybody hates me.
Guess I’ll go eat worms.
Short, fat, squishy ones,
Long, skinny, slimy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm.

Friday, April 26, 2019

POETIC ART

Children can use their creativity to make poems come alive with art media.


Illustrations 
After listening to a poem, have children close their eyes and make a picture of it in their heads. Then let them draw that picture on paper with crayons, markers, or colored pencils.

Paintings

Have children paint pictures of their favorite poems with water colors or tempera. These could be realistic or symbolic.

Collage
Let children choose a favorite poem and make a collage with magazine pictures, photographs, natural objects, or art media.



Windsock
 
Give children a sheet of paper 12” x 8”. Let them illustrate or write an original poem on the paper. Next, glue 12” x 1” tissue paper strips on the bottom of the paper. Bring the edges together to make a cylinder and staple. Punch 3 holes in the top and tie on 12” pieces of string. Bring the ends of the string together and knot.

Pennants and Banners
Cut pennant and banner shapes out of construction paper and let children write or illustrate poems on them.

Puzzle Poems
Cut cardboard or tag board into 12” squares. Let children write original poems or copy poems on the cardboard. Then give them makers and crayons to illustrate their poems. Finally, have them cut the square into puzzle shapes. Store in a zip bag. Let children exchange puzzles and put them together and read.
                           
Puppets, Sculptures, and Bookmarks 
Let children use a “scrap box” or “junk box” to create other “artful” objects for poems.

Poetry Quilt

Give each child a square and let them write an original poem or rhyme on the square. Let them decorate a frame around their poem with crayons. Glue the children’s squares to a large sheet of bulletin board paper. Be sure to leave at least an Inch between the squares. Take 12” pieces of yarn and tie them in bows.  Glue the bows between the squares so it will look like a quilt.



Poet “Tree”  
Use an old Christmas tree or stick several large, dry branches in a pot of dirt. Invite children to write or illustrate a poems on index cards and then attach to the tree with clothespins. Encourage children to “pick a poem” and read!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

WE ARE POETS AND WE KNOW IT!!!

Ask the children, “What do poets do?” As they respond comment, “You know, we can do that.  We can be poets, too!"  Encourage them to think of themselves as poets because they can all write poems!  Here are some simple prompts to begin.


ACROSTIC
An acrostic is an easy way to begin writing poetry. Model how to do this on the board by writing a word vertically. Have children to think of a word that begins with each letter. Read over what you have written, and you have a poem.

Name Acrostic

Children think of a word that describes them for each letter in their name.

Holiday or Season
Write the holiday or season and then add an adjective that begins with each letter.

Non-fiction
Write a vocabulary word from a unit or theme and then challenge children to write a word that begins with each letter.

Field Trip
Follow up a field trip with an acrostic poem.

 

BLANK POEM
Blank poems are another way children can begin writing poems. Write several lines of poetry, leaving blanks at the end of each line.  Encourage the children to fill in words that rhyme.

Hint! Do this as an interactive writing activity before asking the children to do it independently.

     I saw a pig
     Who could ______.

     I saw a cat
     Who could ______.

     I saw a sheep
     Who could ______.

     And I can rhyme
     Any time!

                                             

*Use similes for blank poems. For example, children could fill in similar lines:

     Hungry as a _____.
     Quiet as a______.
     Sleepy as a ______.
     Mad as a _______.
     Good as _______.
     Sweet as ______. And so forth…

PREDICTABLE POEMS

All children have to do is fill in a missing word, and they’ll have a poem. They can use words that rhyme, nonsense words, or words that don’t rhyme.

     I like_____.                   I want____.
     I like _____                   I want____.
     I like _____.                  I want____.
     Do you like____?           But I don’t want____.

     I can _____.                  I feel____.
     I can_____.                   I feel____.
     I can_____.                   I feel____.
     Can you_____?              Do you feel_____?

*Write predictable poems using the five senses. It looks like…It sounds like…It tastes like… It smells like…It feels like…It’s a ….

*Integrate holidays, topics of study in science or social studies, current events, characters from literature, etc. into predictable poems.

Partner Poems
Divide children up into groups of two and challenge them to write a poem with their partner. (Small groups of 4 could also be used to write and illustrate poems.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SNEAK IN THOSE STANDARDS

You can integrate reading skills in a meaningful way through poetry.


Syllables
After reading a poem with your students, read it again clapping the number of syllables in each word. You could also snap, stomp, hop or make other movements for the syllables.
*Challenge children to identify words with one syllable. Can they find words with two syllables? Can they find a word that has the same number of syllables as their name?

Rhyming Words
Following a reading, mention that you heard words that sounded alike at the end. Repeat two of the words that rhyme. Let’s read the poem again and see if you can listen for other words that rhyme. As children find words that rhyme, highlight them on the poem with highlighting markers or tape. Write sets of words that rhyme on the board. Underline the letters that are the same. Have children think of other words that have the same sound at the end. Write the rhyming words on the board as the children call them out.

Alliteration
Read poems that have strong alliteration. Ask children to identify words with the same beginning sound. Highlight the words in the poem or list them on the board. Can children add other words to the list that begin with the same sound? 

*Just for fun, choose an initial consonant sound and alliterate each word in a rhyme. For example: Bumpty Bumpty Bat Bon Ba Ball. Bumpty Bumpty bad ba breat ball…

Letter Recognition
Glue magnetic letters to the end of craft sticks. Pass these out to the children. Can they find their letter in the poem and match it up?

*Make a “magnifying glass” by twisting the end of a pipe cleaner into a circle. Have children use it to “spy” letters that are in their name.

Predicting
Before reading a poem, encourage the children to look at the title or illustrations and predict what the poem might be about.

Context
As you read poems, stop and leave out a word. Can children supply the missing word?

Punctuation
Ask children to identify punctuation marks in poems.  Read with and without punctuation and discuss the difference.
*Take 3 jumbo craft sticks and draw a period, question mark, and exclamation on one end. Place sticks at the end of a sentence and see how the punctuation changes the meaning.

High Frequency Words 
Highlight word wall words that are in poems. Pass out flash cards with words and challenge children to match them with words in the poem.

Parts of Speech

Ask children to identify verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech in poetry.

Comprehension
After reading a poem, ask appropriate questions that will develop comprehension skills. Is there a main character? What was the setting? When did the poem take place? What happened at the beginning? Middle? End? Was there a problem or resolution? What will happen next? What was the main idea?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

When your give children a song and rhyme,

You give them a gift that will last for all time!

It’s true! We keep songs and poems that we learn when we are young in our hearts and minds all of our lives. Since April is National Poetry Month, I’m going to focus my blogs this week on poetry.


Here are eight great reasons for integrating poetry in your classroom:

     Poetry develops oral language.
     Poetry develops auditory memory.
     Poetry helps children make print connections.
     Poetry develops phonological awareness (rhyme, rhythm, alliteration).
     Poetry enhances fluency.
     Poetry develops vocabulary.
     Poetry sparks children’s interest in reading.
     Poetry helps children fall in love with language.

With all the emphasis on standards and assessment, poems can be like a breath of fresh air. They can add joy, imagination, creativity, and FUN to your classrooms!

Here are some ways to celebrate poetry month in your classroom or in your school.

Poetry Club 
Write “Poetry Club” on a poster and decorate with glitter. Explain that anyone who stands up in front of the class and recites a nursery rhyme or poem can be a member of the poetry club. (You might want to model reciting a poem for them.)  After they’ve recited their poem, let them sign their name on the poster.

          

*Design a membership card for the poetry club and run off on card stock.  
Present one to the children after they’ve recited a poem for their classmates.

Poetry Café
Plan a poetry party for your students called the “Poetry Café.”  Involve children in planning refreshments, making decorations, writing invitations, etc. Encourage each child to learn and practice reciting a poem. Explain that in the coffee houses instead of clapping, the audience would “snap” their fingers for the poets.

Parents and Poems
Ask children to interview their parents about poetry using some of the prompts below:

     Do you like poems? Why? Why not?
     What’s your favorite poem?
     Do you have a favorite poet?
     Did you learn any poems when you were a child?
     Do you have a poetry book?

Visiting Poet
Invite a poet from your community to visit and read poetry. Encourage the children to generate questions to ask the author before her visit.

Poetry Wall of Fame
Decorate a bulletin board in the front hall or lunchroom and encourage teachers to display their students’ poems on it.

Poetry Detectives
Challenge the children to be “detectives” and locate the poetry section in your school library. Learn this rhyme:
For an emergency call 911 any time.
In the library 811 for a poem or rhyme.

Poetry Hunt
Cut out magazine pictures of different objects and glue them on index cards. Place the cards in a sack and have each child draw one. Can they find a poem to go with their picture?  Where could they look to find a poem?           

Laurel Wreath
Just for fun, let children make laurel wreaths out of paper plates and leaves. The Greeks awarded these in Olympic events for sports as well as poetic meets.


Monday, April 22, 2019

KINDERGARTEN DAY

"Kindergarten Day" was actually yesterday (April 21st) in honor of Friedrich Froebel who started the first kindergarten in Germany in 1837. Kindergarten originated to help children adapt to learning and social interactions in a fun way. Froebel believed in self-directed play, singing, dancing, blocks…a “garden” where children could grow! He’d probably roll over in his grave now if he saw what was going on!!

As I write this I am remembering my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Myers. I LOVED her! I mean, I worshipped her! She was a fairy godmother and the center of my world. She seemed ancient to me at the time, but I’m probably way older now than she was when she taught me. Thank goodness for hair dye and make up!!!




Do you see me? I'm in the center front with the dress my mother
made me for my first day of kindergarten.


I remember playing “The Farmer in the Dell” and other circle games. I also remember the finger play “Here are grandma’s glasses…” We had sugar cookies with a hole in the middle that we would put on our finger as we ate and we also had orange kool-aid. (Oh, my goodness! The sugar police would get Mrs. Myers for sure!!!) My favorite activity was painting. I especially liked to paint princesses. Back in those days the only princess I knew about was Cinderella, but I longed to be like her. One day as I was at the easel I painted a stripe down my leg. It looked so good I painted another…and another…and another…until my legs had beautiful stripes all over them. Mrs. Myers could have squelched my creativity right then and there, but she just laughed and said, “Don’t do it again.”

Another memory I have is learning to tie my shoes. I wore corrective saddle oxfords I feared would come untied at school and then what would I do? Everyone would know that I couldn’t tie shoes!!! Well, one day they came untied and Mrs. Myers said, “You’re a smart girl. Now, you just sit down and figure it out.” And you know what? I did!!!! She knew when to coddle and when to push.

And incredible as it may seem, although all I did was PLAY in kindergarten I can actually read and write now!! I imagine most of the adults running our country, writing curriculum, and running schools actually PLAYED when they were in kindergarten and look at them now. It would be interesting to ask those who preach "rigor" and "instructional time" and "high test scores" what they remember about being in kindergarten.


WHAT’S THE POINT? By Dr. Jean

If you cover every objective in the curriculum, but don’t have time to play outside or take field trips—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you do every page in the workbook, but don’t have time to laugh, do show and tell, or sing a song—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you know all your letters and sounds and numbers and sight words, but don’t know how to be a friend or share—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you score high on the standardized test, but don’t like school—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you master every skill and have 2 hours of screen time, but don’t have time to play in the block center or housekeeping or do puzzles—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If teachers are so overwhelmed by the demands, expectations, and assessments they are given that they don’t have time to hug, smile, read, cheer, cherish, and look in the eyes of those wonderful little children in their classroom---
Then what’s the point of being a kindergarten teacher?

But we know that five is a magical time, and children only have one chance in a lifetime to be five. SHUT YOUR DOOR and hold hands, sing, dance, paint, tell stories, make believe, play outside, and continue to give children happy memories! And only you can do that because YOU are a kindergarten teacher and YOU are SPECIAL and AMAZING just like the children you teach!


Here's what I think should be the KINDERGARTEN BILL OF RIGHTS!!







My "kinderoos" in the 1980's. 

I'd love to know where they are now.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

EASTER BLESSINGS!

I wanted to give you something special today to express how I feel.  I think this "Hymn of Promise" says it all.  Blessings of joy and peace and hope and love to each of you!


The Hymn of Promise
By Natalie Sleeth

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

2 Corinthians 1:20 “All the promises of God.”

Saturday, April 20, 2019

ABC COUNTDOWN

Several years ago Brad McKinney (Kindergarten Teacher at Severn Elementary) emailed this idea to me. I was searching through old blogs and I found it!!  And I LOVE it!  In between dying eggs, cooking, shopping, and playing, some of you might be taking a peek at your lesson plans.  This might be the GOLDEN EGG that you can adapt to end your school year calendar.  



Parents and Guardians,
Believe it or not, the school year is quickly coming to an end. During the last 26 days of school, our class will be participating in an ABC Countdown. Each school day will have a different activity related to the letter for that day. Your child may need to wear or bring something special on some days – those days are underlined. This sheet will help you and your child remember what day of the countdown we are on.




A
Monday, May 19
Animal Day
Bring your favorite stuffed animal to school

B
Tuesday, May 20
Bubble Day
We will be making and blowing bubbles

C
Wednesday, May 21
Card Game Day
Bring your favorite card game to play at school

DThursday, May 22
Dinosaur Day
We will be dinosaur detectives with Mr. D

E
Friday, May 23
Everybody dress like Mr. McKinney and celebrate his birthday!!!

F
Wednesday, May 28
Fruit Day
Bring your favorite fruit for snack today
G
Thursday, May 29
Going to Tanglewood and Harris Hill
Bring a packed lunch!

H
Friday, May 30
Hat Day
Wear your favorite hat to school

I
Monday, June 2
I’m going to the library and on an ABC Hunt
Meet your family member at Centennial Park at 11:15 for ABC Hunt on Market St.

J
Tuesday, June 3
Joke Day
Write down your favorite joke to share with class

K
Wednesday, June 4
Kick Off Your Shoes Day
You will be able to take your shoes off in class all day

L
Thursday, June 5
Leisure Day
We will relax outside with a book (weather permitting)

M
Friday, June 6
Memory Day
We will be writing about our favorite memories from kindergarten this year

N
Monday, June 9
Nature Day at the Binghamton Zoo – PAPR Trip
Bring packed lunch

O
Tuesday, June 10
Orange Day
Wear the color orange and bring an orange for snack

P
Wednesday, June 11
Pinkalicious Day
Wear as much pink as you can and participate in activities based on the book Pinkalicious!

Q
Thursday, June 12
Quiz Your Teacher Day
Bring your hardest question for Mr. McKinney to answer. See if you can stump him

R
Friday, June 13
Roadrunner Field Day
Field day games and activities outside with entire grade level

S
Monday, June 16
Sidewalk Art Day
We will be decorating a section of the sidewalk

T
Tuesday, June 17
Talent Show Day
Share your talent with the class

U
Wednesday, June 18
Used Book Day
Bring a used book you would like to donate to the class or library

V
Thursday, June 19
Veggie Day
Bring your favorite vegetable to share with class

W
Friday, June 20
Wishy Washy Day
Be prepared to get wet!

X
Monday, June 23
X-change Autographs Day
Make an autograph book and collect as many autographs as you can

Y
Tuesday, June 24
Year End Clearance
Bring a bag to gather all your items from the year

Z
Wednesday, June 25
Zoom Out of School Day
Last day of kindergarten


Friday, April 19, 2019

YOU'RE IT! TAG GAMES

We used to play "girls chase boys" or "boys chase girls" and then some decided that was politically incorrect. We started mixing the teams up and changed the names to things like "bunnies chase squirrels" or "Ninjas chase Robots." However, I'm smiling because kids will be kids and someone will continue to call out "girls chase boys" or "boys chase girls" forever!

Here are some new versions to the old game of tag that your children might enjoy.

Cat and Mouse
Materials: none
The children form a circle and hold hands. One child stands in the center and is the “mouse.” Another child stands outside the circle and is the “cat.” On a given signal, the “cat” must chase the “mouse.” They can enter or leave the circle only if the other players hold up their hands and form an arch. When the “cat” catches the “mouse,” let them choose classmates to take their places.

*Change the characters for different seasons. You could have the farmer chase the turkey, the witch chase the bat, etc.

Hug Tag
Materials: none
Designate a playing area. One child is “it.” “It” chases other children who must “freeze” when they are tagged. Other players hug those who are “frozen” to “unfreeze” them.

Stoop Tag
One child is "it." Children stoop down on the ground when they are tagged by "it." When everyone has been caught and is stooping down a new person is chosen to be "it" and the game begins again.

Cartoon Tag
Children must name a cartoon show when they are tagged. They can continue to play if they can name a show.

Shadow Tag
You'll need a sunny day for this game. Children must freeze when “it” steps on their shadow.

Sticky Tag

Children must hold the part of their body that is tagged by "it." They can continue to play touching the body part(s) that are tagged.

                                                 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

MATH IN THE SUN

The sun is shining so let’s take state standards out on the playground for some counting and cardinality. 

Number Hunt 
Take lunch sacks and write different numerals on them. Give each child a bag and ask them to make that set and put it in the bag. Let children share what they have found with their friends. Have children return the objects to where they found them. 
*This can also be done with a partner or in small groups. 
Hint! Whenever collecting things outside remind the children to only pick up items off the ground. You never want to pull leaves or flowers off plants because it might hurt them. 
                                                        

Counting 
Children can count trees, fence posts, balls, bushes, and many other items on the playground. 
*Have children estimate how many and then verify their guess by counting. 
                   

Exercise and Count 
Have children count how many times they can jump rope. How many jumping jacks can they do? How many times can they bounce and catch a ball without dropping it? 

Dot to Dot 
Take chalk and write numerals 0-20 randomly on a hard play surface. Children start with zero and run, hop, march, or skip to each numeral in order. 
*Adapt the amount to the ability of your students. 
                                                 

Estimation 
Fill a basket with rocks, pinecones, leaves, or other natural objects. Ask the children to estimate how many there are. Count the objects. Who guessed more? Who guessed less? Who was closest? 

Patterns 
Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with objects in nature. 

Addition & Subtraction 
Work out addition and subtraction problems with sticks, leaves, and other natural objects.


Geometry 
Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Pass out the shapes and challenge the children can find something on the playground with a similar shape. 
                                   
*Divide children into small groups and let them make shapes with their bodies on the grass.

Measurement 
Give children rulers to measure objects on the playground. “Can you find something 2” long? Can you find something smaller than an inch? What’s longer than 5”? How can you measure the slide?”
*Give children a popsicle stick or piece of string and ask them to find something longer, shorter, the same size, etc.
               
Position I Spy! 
Children use positional words to play “I Spy” on the playground. For example: I spy something beside the slide. I spy something behind the tree. I spy something above the sidewalk. I spy something between the big tree and the fence…

Sorting 
Ask children to collect different items on the playground. (This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to sort the objects. What was their sorting rule?

Seriation 
Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.
*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.

Graphing 
Ask each child to find a leaf on the playground. Make a graph and have the children lay their leaf in the appropriate space. Compare quantities.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

HIGH FIVE DAY

Tomorrow (April 18th) is National High Five Day.  Wouldn't your kids be surprised if you drew a smile on your hand like this one and gave them a high five when they entered the room tomorrow?
                                  

High Five Cheer
Teach children how to give themselves a “high five” for a job well done. Hold up both palms facing each other in front of your chest. Pretend to wave with one hand as you hold up five fingers on the other hand. “Hi 5!” Get it? 

Pat on the Back
Trace around each child’s hand on construction paper and let them cut it out. Write a positive comment about each child on the hand and tape it to their back at the end of the day. Parents will be proud when they see their child’s “pat on the back.” 


Pickle Tickle Partner Game
Up high. (Give a high five up in the air.) 
Down low. (High five down by knees.) 
Cut the pickle. (One child touches fingertips horizontally as the other child pretends to slice in between.) 
Give a tickle. (Gently tickle each other.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

SAVE THE ELEPHANT DAY

On April 16th we celebrate SAVE THE ELEPHANT DAY. Elephants are the largest mammals on earth and their numbers are dwindling due to poachers. This is a day remember why we all love elephants and to discuss why it is important to try and protect them.

Several years ago I read a book called ELEPHANT BILL about how elephants were used in Burma in WWII - absolutely fascinating! I never knew that elephants have feelings and protect each other's children just like humans.

Here's a silly elephant puppet that my children always enjoyed making. There's nothing like putting a puppet on your hand to tell a story or sing a song.





Materials: old socks, paper plates, crayons, brad fasteners, gray construction paper.
Hint! Ask each child to bring in an old sock. This shouldn't be too difficult because everyone has a lost sock or two.

Directions: Cut 2 ears out of the gray construction paper. Cut a circle large enough for the child’s hand out of the middle of the paper plate. (Color the plate gray if you desire.) Draw a face on the plate as shown. Attach the 2 ears to the sides of the plate with brad fasteners. Insert the hand in the sock and then stick the sock through the back of the plate to create the elephant’s nose.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jlja2xZQmxOVUtCYjg/view?usp=sharing

What a Nose!
(Tune: "I'm a Little Teapot" - Dr. Jean & Friends CD)
Elephants walk like this and that. (Stick out one arm like a trunk and stomp
from side to side.)
They’re terribly big and terribly fat. (Arms out wide.)
They have no hands. (Hold up hands and shake head no.)
They have no toes. (Point to feet and shake head no.)
But, goodness, gracious, what a nose! (Stick out arm like a trunk.)

One Elephant Went out to Play
One elephant went out to play - (Hold up one finger.)
Out on a spider's web one day. (Roll hands around.)
She had such enormous fun. (Stick arms out wide.)
She called for another elephant to come. (Cup arms by mouth.)
Two elephants went out to play.... (Hold up two fingers.)

*Let children act out this rhyme. The first child chooses the second child. The second child chooses the third child, etc.
*What does "enormous" mean? What are other things that are enormous?
*Could an elephant really play on a spider's web? Why not?


CD Puppet
You can also make an elephant puppet from an old CD. Draw a face on the CD with permanent markers. Tape on construction paper ears and let the children insert their index finger in the hole to make a trunk. (Obviously, my big finger was too large for the hole!)

Monday, April 15, 2019

NATIONAL ARBOR DAY

National Arbor Day is April, 26, so you'll want to be sure and check out this website and plan some special activities for your class this coming week.
https://www.arborday.org/celebrate/educational-resources.cfm

Plant a Tree
Contact your local cooperative extension service, Forestry Services, or National Arbor Day Foundation for free seedlings. Discuss what your tree will need to thrive. Prepare the soil, water your tree, and record its growth.


Brainstorm!
Divide children into small groups and let them brainstorm all the products we get from trees.

*THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein is a wonderful book to share, but my little kids always wanted to know, "Why did he have to get old?" (I wonder the same thing sometimes!!!)



TREEmendous Writing
Let children look out the window or sit under a tree and write descriptions. Think about the colors in the tree. Are there animals in the tree? What are the parts of a tree?


*For creative writing, ask children to complete this sentence: If I were a tree I would...

Tree Identification
Get a book on trees from your school library. Take a nature walk and challenge the children to identify the trees on the school grounds. How does the bark on trees vary? Do all trees have blossoms in the spring? How are the leaves different?
*Hint! Give children a clipboard and let them draw their favorite tree.
*Let them do rubbings of leaves from different trees and compare.

*You can find many different free printables for leaf identification online.
                                            

Vocabulary
What's a deciduous tree? What's an evergreen tree?
Sing this song to the tune of "London Bridge" to help your students learn how about deciduous and evergreen trees.
If your leaves fall to the ground,
to the ground,
to the ground.
If your leaves fall to the ground
You're deciduous.
If your leaves stay green all year,
green all year,
green all year.
If your leaves stay green all year,
You're an evergreen.