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Saturday, January 28, 2023


Groundhog Day is this Thursday, but you'll want to give this little guy some attention one day this week.

Groundhog Day – February 2nd 
(Tune: “Say, Say, My Playmate”)
February 2nd, (Hold up 2 fingers.)
Is Groundhog Day.
Gather round his hole (Make circular motion.)
To hear what he’ll say. (Place hand by ear.)
Will spring be early
Or late this year?
Watch and listen
To what you’ll hear.

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with one hand.)
On a sunny day (Stick the index finger from the other hand
His shadow will frighten him (up through the hole and wiggle.)
And he will say,
“I’ll go back in my hole (Tuck finger in your fist.)
And go back to sleep.
You’ll have winter
For six more weeks.”

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with fist and stick up finger.)
On a cloudy day
He’s not frightened
So he will say, (Wiggle finger.)
“I think I’ll stay out
And the weather should clear.
Spring will be here
Early this year.”
*You can download the book at

Cup Puppet
Let children draw a groundhog or download one off the internet. Staple to a straw. Punch a hole in the bottom of a paper cup and insert the straw in the cup. Raise and lower the groundhog as appropriate in the song.

Sidewalk Shadows
Go outside on a sunny day and have children stand with their backs to the sun. Let them make silly motions and play “Guess what I am?” Give them chalk and let them trace around each other’s shadows.
*Draw shadows at 10, 12, and 2 and compare.

*Play shadow tag where they try to touch each other's shadows.

Where’s the Groundhog?
Cut twenty 4” squares out of heavy paper. Write high frequency words, math facts, letters, numerals, etc. on the cards. Glue a picture of a groundhog on a 3" circle. Have the children sit on the floor in a circle. Mix up the cards and place them face up on the floor. Identify the numeral (etc.) on each card as you place it down on the floor. Tell the children to turn around. Hide the groundhog under one of the squares. Children turn back around and try and guess where the groundhog is hiding. One at a time children call out a number and then “peek” to see if the groundhog is under it. The first child to find the groundhog gets to have a turn hiding it. The game continues as children hide the groundhog and then try to discover his whereabouts.

Invite children to dramatize the groundhog peeping out of his hole. What if it's sunny? What if it's cloudy?

Note! Visit for more great ideas!

You can watch me demonstrate some of these February activities on a video I did a few years ago.

Friday, January 27, 2023


This is a perfect way to integrate vocabulary and give your students something to look forward to next week. On Monday explain that you will have a “vocabulary parade” on Friday. They will each need to think of a special word that describes them. (You can call these “Fancy Nancy” words or ask them to get their parents to help them think of a big, new word!)

Encourage them to come up with their word by Wednesday, and then use their word as a writing activity. Have them write their word, the definition, use it in a sentence, and then illustrate it.

On Friday give them a long strip of paper or a sentence strip. After writing their word they get to decorate it with markers, glitter, etc. Pin the words on them and let them parade around the room to music. One at a time children pretend they are on the “runway” and model their words. As they model they tell their classmates their word, the definition, and why they chose it.

Holiday Every Day!
This is another great way to extend vocabulary. (K.J.’s third grade teacher Mr. D used this strategy and it was amazing how K.J. connected with the words.) Each day announce what holiday it is and tie in a vocabulary word with the holiday. (There are several websites where you can find random holidays for each day.) For example, on “National Milkshake Day” you could teach the word “savor” or “scrumptious.”

We’re great, but no one knows it.
No one knows it so far.
Some day they’ll realize how wonderful we are!
They’ll look at us, and point at us, and then they’ll shout, “Hurray!”
Let’s cheer how we’re wonderful beginning with A.
A- We’re awesome.
B- We’re brave.
C- We’re creative.
D- We’re dynamic
E- We’re enthusiastic
F- We’re fantastic.
G- We’re gifted
H- We’re honest
I- We’re imaginative
J- We’re joyful.
K- We’re kind.
L- We’re lovable
M- We’re magnificent.
N- We’re nice.
O- We’re outgoing
P- We’re polite.
Q- We’re quick.
R- We’re responsible
S- We’re special.
T- We’re terrific.
U- We’re unique.
V- We’re valuable.
W- We’re wonderful.
X- We’re excellent.
Y- We’re youthful
Z- We’re zany!

*Give each child a letter to illustrate. Put their pictures together to make a class book.

Hint! One teacher said her class sang this song for their end of the year program. Each child held up a letter and said the word.

Thursday, January 26, 2023


These movements will make learning about punctuation more fun!

CapitalCapital letters are at the beginning of a sentence. They tell you to “GO.” Have children stand every time you come to a capital letter.

Periods tell you when to stop. Sit down when you come to a period.

Sit like cowboys and cowgirls by straddling chairs. When you come to a period, children pretend to pull back on the reins as they say, “Whoa!”

Question Mark
When you come to a question mark, put your index finger on your head and shrug your shoulders.

Exclamation Point
Put your fist in the air for an exclamation mark.

Hop for a comma.

Two fingers in the air and wiggle.

*Let children come up with their own movements for punctuation.

Say the abc’s according to the punctuation marks.

Punctuation Detectives
Use glass pebbles to highlight punctuation.

Twist the end of a pipe cleaner and use to find punctuation marks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Do you know the "WH" brothers? Well, they sure are snoopy! They always ask questions and want to know who, what, where, when, and why. 

WHO wants to know the person or thing.
WHERE wants to know the place.
WHEN wants to know the time.
WHAT wants to know what’s happening.
WHY wants to know the reason.

Here's a song to “Ten Little Indians.”
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
The five snoopy guys!

"WH" Sticks
Write "Who?" "What?" "Where?" "When?" "Why?" on jumbo craft sticks and put them in a sock. To prompt your students to listen throw the sock over your shoulder before reading the book. After reading pass the sock around and let children pull out a stick and tell that part of a story.

WH Glove
Write "Who?" "What?" "Where?" "When?" "Why?" on the fingers of a cloth glove. After reading a story children insert the glove on their hand and recall the story elements.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023


How about some simple strategies to encourage children to focus on key ideas and details?  They can be adapted to any age level or content.

Magic Paintbrush
Give students a clean paintbrush and ask them to “paint” details in a book. “Who can paint the main character?” “Who can paint where the dog is hiding?” 

Books Up
Children will need multiple copies of a text for this activity. Ask questions and when children find the page with the answer they hold their book up in the air.

Musical Books
This activity is similar to musical chairs. Arrange chairs in a circle and place a book on each chair. Play some catchy music and invite the children to march around. When the music stops, each child finds a chair, picks up a book, and begins to look through the book. Give the children one or two minutes to scan through their books. The teacher randomly points to children and asks, “Can you tell me the setting of your book?” “Can you tell me a character in your book?” “What do you think your book will be about?”

Mystery Picture
Before reading a book, select a “mystery picture” page. Show it to the class and tell them to look closely at the picture and smile if they think they know what the book will be about. Begin reading the book. When you get to the “mystery picture” page encourage the children to discuss what they thought the book would be about. Were they right or wrong?

*Cut a hole in a sheet of paper and use it to focus on an important image in the book.

Listen, Predict, Draw
Fold a sheet of paper into fourths to make a book for each child and ask them to number each page. Begin reading a book. Stop after several pages and ask children to draw what they think will happen next. Continue reading. Stop after a few more pages and have children draw what they think will happen next. Do this two more times. 

Monday, January 23, 2023



February 1, 2023 


Let’s give children a break from “rigor” and “instructional time” and give them the opportunity to do what is becoming a lost art – PLAY!

February 4, 2015, was the first annual Global School Play Day and it has grown rapidly. They are hoping to reach 500,000 students this year and you can join in on the fun!

How do you make this happen? Personally, I would get my families and parent organizations involved. (Administrators might listen to them more than to you or me.)

Here are some other tips I learned from the website:

1. EDUCATE Remind parents and administrators about the benefits of play. (There are some good videos on the GSPD website.)

2. GET SOCIAL Use social media to encourage other schools to get involved. #GSPD2017.

3. CALL FOR TOYS Tell your students they can bring anything they want to school to play with on February 1st. (No electronic devices or toys with batteries!)

Don't organize
Don't tell them how to play
Don't interfere

5. SHARE AND REFLECT Share pictures, ideas, and reflections after the event. Encourage students to talk to their parents about the day and continue to PLAY at home.

Note! Even if your school won't do it for a full day, couldn't they at least let the kids play the last hour of the day?

Come on everybody! Let's all PLAY on February 1st!

Sunday, January 22, 2023



What do you need to do ahead of time?

Run off copies of my discovery bottles from my website (February, 2017).

Send home a letter to your parents similar to the one below along with directions for one of the bottles:

Dear Parents,

We are excited that your child is going to participate in his or her first SCIENCE FAIR this week. Please help your child make a “discovery bottle” using the attached directions. You are welcome to look on the internet to find another bottle that you’d like to make. (Just search “discovery bottles” or “sensory bottles” for more ideas.)

Water bottles are perfect for this project. Soak the bottle in warm water or blow with a hair dryer to remove the label. The only difficult part is removing the sticky glue left on the bottle. (I’ve found the easiest thing to do is just put a piece of clear packaging tape over the sticky part.) You’ll find most of the materials for making these bottles in a junk drawer or in your kitchen cabinet.

Please send the bottle back to school this Friday. For our science fair we’ll let each child “show and share” how they made their bottle. We’ll create a special science center so the children can revisit the bottles and discover and explore over the next few weeks.

We hope you’ll stop by and see all of the creative ways children can recycle bottles and LEARN!

Note! The only thing you’ll need to do is glue the lids on with E6000 or a similar glue. Shake, rattle, and roll those bottles!

Of course, you'll want to award a "participation" ribbon to each child!