Monday, January 25, 2021


This is a “quickie” activity that you can use when you’ve got five minutes before lunch or at the end of the day. It would work well with a large group, small group, in person, or virtually. 

*You've really got to think outside the box these days with so many different teaching situations!
Show Me Math
Make a set of “show me” cards for each child by writing the numerals 0-10 on 3” squares of heavy cardstock. Have children store these cards in a zip bag in their desk. When you have a few extra minutes, ask the children to get their cards and arrange them on the floor or table in numerical order from 0-10. Use the cards for some of the games below.
*Adapt the number of cards to the ability of your students.


How Many?
The teacher claps, snaps, or stomps a set. Children listen and then hold up the correct number.

*Show me how many toes you have? How many thumbs at your table? Show me how many days in the week?

*Make a set with felt pieces on the flannel board. Show me how many.

Mystery Number
I’m thinking of a number between 4 and 6. Show me. I’m thinking of a number two more than seven. Show me.

Math Facts
4 plus 2. Show me.
9 minus 3. Show me.

Number Stories
I had four pennies. I found three more. Show me how many I have in all.
*Let children make up math stories for their friends.

Fact Families
Call out numbers in a fact family. Can children write the equations in that fact family?

Number Bonds
How many ways can you make seven?

Base Ten
Put 3 in the tens spot and two in the ones spot. What’s the number?

Odd and Even
Sort the odd and even numbers.

Slap Happy Math
Children get a partner and place one set of show me cards on the floor between them. The teacher calls out different math problems. The first child to slap the correct numeral gets a point.

Hint! Put a line on the bottom of each card to help the children identify the direction they should go.

Note!  Here's where you can download number cards.

Show Me Reading

Make cards for letters and sounds you want to reinforce.

CVC Words
Call out individual sounds for children to select. Blend to say the word.

Onset and Rime
Make a rime and then add different “onsets” to put in front of the rime to make words.

Singular and Plural
Children make nouns with letters and then add “s.”

Note! You can make a frame to stand your letters up in similar to the one in Scrabble games.

Sunday, January 24, 2021


Vocabulary words will "stick" in children's brains with these strategies. These strategies are also good for learning a second language.

When introducing new words invite children to dramatize what the words mean. They can dramatize with their faces, hands, or whole bodies.

Children pantomime vocabulary words as classmates try and guess their word.

Sign Language
Learn how to sign vocabulary words by looking at videos online.


Antonym Actions
Let children act out words that are opposite what the teacher says. For example:
Teacher says “hot.”
Children respond by shivering.
Teacher says “loud.”
Children respond by being quiet.

Call out synonyms for the students to interpret. For example:

Happy – delighted – joyful - gay - pleased

Angry – mad – furious
Sleepy – tired – fatigued

Saturday, January 23, 2021





Directions:    Fold a sheet of paper into thirds to create a brochure.

You can also try the easy version where you roll the paper into a “burrito) and “smash” flat.


Sequence - Write/draw what happened at the beginning of the story, the middle, and the end.


Sorting - Sort words with one letter, two letters, and three letters.

*Sort words with one syllable, two syllables, and three syllables.

*Sort nouns – people, places, and things.


Science - Turn the brochure vertically and sort animals in the air, on the ground, and under the ground.

*Sort food that grows in the air, on the ground, under the ground.

*Sort transportation in the air, on the ground, on water.


Exercise those bodies and those brains with these math songs and games.

Karate Chop Count 
Feet out, knees bent, karate chop with your right hand and then your left as you count by ones.
*Do leg curls and chops as you count by 5’s to 100
*Kick front and back as you count by 10’s to 200.
*Wax on, wax off as you count by 100’s to 1000.   


Pump Up to 100
Pretend to hold weights as you count.
1-20 - bicep curls (Elbows in, pretend to hold weights in fists with palms up as you bring forearms up and down.)
21-40 - for overhead press (Fists face forwards as you start at your shoulders and push the weights overhead.)
41-60 – side raises (Elbows at 90% angles as you raise them out to the side.)
61-80 – upright rows (Fists together close to the body and raise elbows out and up until fists are at your heart.)
81-100 – frontal raises - (Fists together and arms stiff as you raise them in front of your body to eye level.)
Whew! (Wipe brow!!!)

Macarena Count to 100
Directions: Children stand and do the “Macarena” as they count.
1 (Right arm out palm down.)
2 (Left arm out palm down.)
3 (Right palm up.)
4 (Left palm up.)
5 (Right hand on left shoulder.)
6 (Left hand on right shoulder.)
7 (Right hand behind head.)
8 (Left hand behind head.)
9 (Right hand on left hip.)
10 (Left hand on right hip.)
(Clap two times.)
That is one ten. (Hold up one finger.)

*Skip count using the Macarena. Counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc. will help children with multiplication.

Silly Voice Counting
Have children count using different voices. For example: robot, opera, pirate, monster, teacher, cowboy, monkey, surprised, worried, silly, excited, happy, sad, mad, confused, whisper, sleepy, and scared.

*Add holiday or seasonal voices like a scarecrow (reads words in a scary voice), ghost (students say “boo” after each word), witch (read with a cackle while stirring a pot), Rudolph (students flash their hands like blinking lights as they read the word), Frosty (students shiver as they read the words) or Santa (students must say the words three times in a “ho,ho,ho” style), or the Easter bunny (students hop after saying each word).

Counting by Two’s (Melanie Hope)
Have students identify body parts what come in sets of two. Stand and county by 2’s as you touch the following body parts:
2 – hands on eyes
4 – hands on ears
6 – hands on elbows
8 – knees
10 – feet
12 – eyes
14 – ears….
You’ll be able to count to 100 by 2’s before you know it!

Whisper Skip Count
One (Touch head as you whisper “one.”)
Two (Touch shoulders and say “two.”)
Three (Touch head and whisper.)
Four (Touch shoulders and say “four.”)

Five (Touch head and whisper.)
Six (Touch shoulders and say “six.”)
Seven (Touch head and whisper.)
Eight (Touch shoulders and say, “eight.”)
Nine (Touch head and whisper.)
Ten (Touch shoulders as you say “ten.”)

*To count by 3’s, touch shoulders and whisper “one,” touch shoulders and whisper “two,” touch waist and say “three.”
*To count by 4’s, whisper on 1-3 and touch knees as you say “four.”
*To count by 5’s, whisper on 1-4 and touch toes as you say “five.”

Addition Pokey (Tune: “Hokey Pokey” – Totally Math CD)
Put 1 finger in. (Hold up finger on right hand.)
Put 1 finger more. (Hold up 1 finger on left hand.)
Shake them altogether (Roll around.)
And then lay them on the floor. (Place on floor or table.)
Add them both together, (Bring hands together.)
And you don’t want to stall.
Now you have 2 in all.
2 fingers…3 fingers…4 fingers…5 fingers

*Do “Addition Pokey” with other facts.

Hi Ho Adding We’ll Go (Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
1 plus 1 equals 2 (Hold up fingers as you sing.)
1 plus 1 equals 2
Hi, ho, adding we’ll go. (Roll hands around.)
1 plus 1 equals 2

Body Addition and Subtraction
Children stand and put their hands in the air as the teacher says a number. When they touch their heads the teacher says “plus” or “minus.” As they touch their waist the teacher says a second number. When the touch their knees everyone says “equals.” And when they touch their toes they say the answer to the math fact.

Adaptations: Tell number stories where children touch and tell the answer.

Friday, January 22, 2021


Here are some multi-sensory ways to put vocabulary, sight words, and spelling words in the brain. Purposeful practice for automaticity (aka repetition) is essential to skill mastery, and these chants and dances will be more fun than drill and kill. They're also the perfect brain break where children can learn as they move.

Hint! Refer to sight words as “lifetime words.” Explain that if you put these words in your brain, you will be able to read with them the rest of your life!

Clap and Snap – As you spell out words clap on the consonants and snap on the vowels.

Jumping Jacks – Do jumping jacks for each letter in a word.

Palm Pilot – Hold up one palm and trace the letters in a word with the index finger of the opposite hand. After making the letters say the word and “take it to the brain” by pretending to run your fingers up your arm to your brain.

Sight Word Cadence
Children echo each line as you sing four word wall words at a time. Slap thighs and march as you sing.
There are some words you need
If you want to learn to read.
A       All     And     Are
Be    Book Boy     By…etc.

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

Finger up in the air and move it across your body as you say different letters in a word. Hands on hips as you say the word.

Air Writing 
Children use their finger, foot, knee, tongue, elbow and other body parts to spell out words in the air.

Children march and swing arms on each letter. They salute and say the word at the end.


Body Writing
Tall letters (b, d, f, h, k, l, t) - touch your head
Tummy letters (a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z) – touch your tummy
Toe letters (g, j, p, q, y) – touch your feet
For example:
H – touch head
O – touch tummy
P – touch feet
Clap as you say the word “hop.”

Thursday, January 21, 2021


Good listeners are ACTIVE listeners. These are some simple strategies that can engage your students as they listen to instructions, books, or videos.

Teach sign language for "connection" (thumbs make circles with index fingers and join like a chain). Discuss that when they connect what is in the book with what is in their brain they make a "schema." If they've made a "schema" they can show you with their hands. Call on random students to explain how they connected personally with the book.

Me Too!
Teach children sign language for “me too!” (Extend thumb and pinky finger and place the middle three fingers on your palm as you point your thumb toward your chest.) Tell children when you are reading a book they can use the sign to let you know they’ve had a similar experience.


Don’t Understand

Children can use this sign when something is not clear to them. Put your index finger next to your brain and wiggle it like you are turning on a light as you shake your head “no.”
Pretend to scratch your brain.
Big Ears
Download a picture of a big ear and glue it to a craft stick. Remind the children when you hold up the ear, they need to use their "big ears" to listen.

Listening Chant (Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know it”)
If you’re listening to me do like this- (make a face for children to imitate).
If you’re listening to me do like this-(make another silly motion for children to copy).
If you’re listening to me then be quiet as can be.
If you’re listening to me ____(line up, get ready for a story, get out your books, or whatever you want them to do).

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize sounds in oral language (rhyme, alliteration, syllables, etc.). Tie movement in with oral and aural activities to engage the body and brain.


Handy Rhymes
Have children extend their arms as they say pairs of words that rhyme. For example: sun (extend right hand) - fun (extend left hand). As they progress, the teacher says a word (extend right hand) and then children say a word that rhymes (extend left hand).

Rhyming Song
Do this activity to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”
Cat (hold out right hand)
Hat (hold out left hand)
Those words rhyme.
Cat (hold out right hand)
Hat (hold out left hand)
Those words rhyme.
Cat (hold out right hand)
Hat (hold out left hand)
Those words rhyme.
They all end with “at.” (Roll hands around as you say this.)

Rhyme Detectives

Tell the children that they will get to be detectives andlisten for words that rhyme. You say a word, and they put their pinkies up if they hear a word that rhymes with it. Pinkies down if it doesn’t rhyme.
For example: Cat - hat (pinkies up), run - dog (pinkies down).


Mouth It!
Have children gently place their palm under their chin and ask them repeat to words. Surprise! The mouth opens on each syllable (all syllables have vowels and the mouth opens).

Move It!
Clap, hop, walk, or nod the syllables in classroom objects.
*Disco, hula, swim, or march to syllables in rhymes and songs.
“Beep” like aliens or “Wa wa” like Charlie Brown’s teacher as you say words or read.

Have children beat out syllables with instruments.

*You could also use cardboard rollers, straws, pencils, etc. like drum sticks to tap out rhythms and syllables.

Syllable Show

Slowly say a word. Children hold up the number of syllables they hear on their fingers.

*You could also let them show the number of syllables by placing the appropriate number of poker chips or other objects on their desk.


Body Touch
Blend words touching parts of the body. Touch the head as you say the beginning sound in the word. Touch the stomach as you say the middle sound. Touch the feet as you say the final sound. Quickly move from head to feet and blend the sounds.

*You can also use the body to isolate sounds. For example:

Where do you hear the /s/ in bus? (Children touch feet.)

Finger Tap
Bend in your fingers and extend your thumb. Going from left tap a finger for each sound with your thumb. For example:

/j/ /e/ /t/. Run your thumb over your fingers as you blend the sounds and say the word.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


You know I LOVE sign language! I’m certainly no expert, but if I can do it, anybody can do it. Let me give you a few reasons why I’m such a believer that sign language is the perfect vehicle for active learning.
It’s quiet.

It’s multi-sensory.

It’s engaging. (All I have to do is sing a song in sign language and I have children’s undivided attention.)

It’s good for differentiated instruction and for children who are non-English speakers.

It’s free and it’s simple.

It’s like bubblegum. Bubblegum? Yep! We need to figure out how to stick things in the brain, and sign language can provide that connection.

Sign language can be a powerful tool for classroom management.

Sign language can be a strategy to teach children how to communicate with friends and work through conflicts.

Sign language can provide ACTIVE LEARNING for skills and standards!

*Sign letters as you sing alphabet songs.
*Sign spelling words.
*Sign phonics.

*Learn signs for sight words.
*Learn signs for vocabulary words.

Alphabet Book
Make a class alphabet book where your students sign the letters.

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.

Monday, January 18, 2021


Get rid of wiggles and learn at the same time by using sports movements to spell out words.

Pretend to bat the ball as you say the letters in a word and swing around and hit a homerun as you say the word.

Feet apart and run quickly in place with arms out in front of you as you spell out words. Throw a "touchdown" as you say the word.

Kick across your body with your right foot and then kick across with your left foot as you spell words. Kick a "goal" as you say the word.

Shuffle as you say the letters and then pretend to hit the ball as you say the word.
Dribble on letters and pretend to shoot as you say the word. (Jump up on toes.)

Feet spread apart with knees bent. Pretend to chop with your right hand and then chop with your left hand as you say letters. Give a little kick as you say the word.

Knees together and bend to the left as you swing your arms. Knees to the right as you swing your arms. Say letters as you move from left to right and then use both arms as you say the word.

Ice Skating

Alternate arms in front as you pretend to glide on different legs while spelling words.

Hint! Encourage your students to think of other sports and how they can use them to practice skills.

Cheering Words
Children stand and step from side as they clap and cheer words:
Give me a B. B! I’ve got a B, you’ve got a B.
Give me an E. E! I’ve got an E, you’ve got an E.
Give me a D. D! I’ve got a D, you’ve got a D.
What’s it spell? BED! Say it again. BED!
One more time. BED!

Letter Aerobics
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
Use letter aerobics for spelling sight words, spelling words, or vocabulary words.

*Count as you karate chop. Count by ones, fives, tens, etc.

Sunday, January 17, 2021


Make this A YOGA YEAR by incorporating some of these strategies. Yoga has health benefits, as well as learning benefits. "Mindfulness" is a buzz word now in education, and yoga might be just the trick to help children focus and relax.

Yoga Letters

There are several videos where yoga poses are related to the alphabet. Wouldn't it be fun to incorporate yoga poses with phonics? Here's a poster that you can download free:

Young Yoga Masters

Yoga Shapes
I loved the yoga poses for kids I found on this website:

Monument Poses
Linda Smith shared this idea for tying in MONUMENT POSES with social studies standards.

Statue of Liberty – One arm up holding the torch and the other arm holding a book with feet apart.

Washington Monument – Feet together and arms up and with pointed fingers.

Honest Abe – Sitting position with arms out as if on a chair.

The Arch – Arms in an arc twice overhead.


Liberty Bell – Arms down swinging side to side as you say, “Bong, bong, bong, crack!”             

Superhero Yoga
And, wouldn’t your students love doing this Superhero Yoga that Charley Schillinger does with her students?

Superman – Do a plank.
Wonder Woman – Sit in an invisible chair.
Spiderman – Feet together and squat.
Batman – Arms out and one leg up.
Captain America - Squat with legs apart and stretch arms over head and behind as if extending a shield.
Flash Lunges - One foot in front and lean forward and touch the floor.
Black Widow - Take turns stretching out your arms.
Iron Man Pose - Stand straight and look up towards the sky.

Here's here blog so you can learn more about it:

Morning Stretch
Several teachers have told me how my “Morning Stretch” really helps their students focus and get ready to start each day.