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Saturday, July 13, 2024


Make students beg, "Do it again!" with these quick engaging stories. 

NOTE!  If you want copies of these stories, put the title of the story in the search engine near the top of this page.

Hint!  Before telling your story you need to focus children’s attention with a chant or rhyme similar to the ones below:

If you want to hear a story, (Snap fingers to the beat.)
This is what to do.
Sit down quietly
And I’ll tell one to you!
That’s right, that’s right, (Point to children sitting quietly.)
That’s right, that’s right!

Two Little Hands

Two little hands go clap, clap, clap. (Clap hands 3 times.)
Two little fingers go snap, snap, snap. (Snap fingers 3 times.)
Two little eyes go blink, blink, blink. (Blink eyes.)
If you want to hear a story go wink, wink, wink. (Wink eyes.)
(Lower your voice as you say each line.)

Hands Up High

Hands up high. (Hands in the air.)
Hands down low. (Hands down.)
Hide those hands, now. (Hands behind your back.)
Where did they go? (Shrug shoulders.)
One hand up. (Right hand up.)
The other hand, too. (Left hand up.)
Clap them, (Clap.)
Fold them, (Fold in lap.)
Here’s a story for you!

Friday, July 12, 2024


Join me and discover how to have fun keeping some of the traditional nursery rhymes alive. 


Story Elements

Discuss the characters, setting, problem, resolution, etc. in nursery rhymes.

Rhyme of the Week

Select a rhyme each week and write it on a poster or language experience chart. Reread the rhyme each day.
*Clap the syllables.
*Find words that rhyme.
*Listen for words that start the same.
*Look up unusual words in the dictionary.
*Dramatize the rhyme.
*Say the rhyme the wrong way and let children correct you.
*Leave out a word and let the children fill in the missing word.
*Connect with art by letting children make puppets, play dough characters, etc.

Piggy Back Tunes
You can sing traditional nursery rhymes to tunes such as “100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall,” “Yankee Doodle,” and ”Gilligan’s Island.”

Thursday, July 11, 2024


Here are some "timeless" finger plays that will have those little fingers and hands totally engaged. Don't worry about age, language or mobility issues, these songs work with everyone. Try these during cooldown or on a scheduled basis. 

Finger Play Ring

Punch a hole in the index card and insert it on a book ring. In several months you will have a ring of rhymes that you can use to entertain the children.

Finger Play Juke Box

Glue finger plays to 6” circles and place them in a gift bag. Write “Juke Box” on the front of the bag. When you have a few extra minutes hand a child a pretend quarter. Tell the child to, “Put it in the juke box and pull out a rhyme.” That child can lead the class in the finger play.

Finger Play Book

Get a pocket folder and invite the children to help you decorate it. Each week as you learn a new rhyme put a copy of the words in the book. (Clear sheet protectors work well for this.) During transitions use the book to entertain the children. (And when I say "entertain" there's more going on here because finger plays really do make children smarter!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2024


It's important for early childhood educators to understand how nursery rhymes and finger plays help children develop language skills and small motor skills. It's also important to help families understand the value in these simple rhymes so they can reinforce them at home.

What skills can children develop by saying nursery rhymes and finger plays?

Engagement – Doing a finger play is a natural way to engage children’s attention and help them focus.

Oral language – Repetition of finger plays and nursery  rhymes builds oral language skills.

Auditory memory – Children activate their short term memory as they memorize rhymes.

Comprehension – Most finger plays and nursery rhymes have a simple story plot for children to follow.

Imagination – With so much time spent in front of a screen, finger plays and nursery rhymes encourage children to make pictures in their brains.

Sequence – Remembering the sequence in finger plays can help children retell stories.

Phonological awareness – Nursery rhymes and finger plays build a foundation for rhyme, rhythm and alliteration.

Eye-hand coordination – Visual connections with finger plays are important for writing and reading.

Small motor skills – Doing finger plays is like sending the fingers to the gym to exercise.

Active Learning - Multiple senses are engaged as children watch and wiggle their fingers and repeat rhymes.

Purposeful Practice for Automaticity
(aka repetition) - Children will enjoy saying these rhymes over and over.

Brain Breaks - Children will be oxygenating the brain and crossing the midline as they do finger plays. Memorizing poems and rhymes is also good for short term memory.

Executive function – Children develop self-regulation and impulse control when they participate in finger plays.

Social skills – All children can be successful with finger plays with this group experience.

Transitions - Finger Plays can be used to entertain children during transitions or any time you’ve got a minute or two.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024


Brain breaks are short movement activities that help children focus and give them a positive outlet for energy and wiggles. Young children need brain breaks every 15-20 minutes to energize their brains and activate their senses.

Note! Children tell you things by their behavior and they will usually let you know when it’s time to get up and move!

Here are three pages of brain breaks that are quick, easy, and fun.

My suggestion would be to choose one at a time and practice it for several days. (Not all of these are going to work, so just throw the ones your students don’t like in the trash and move on to another one.) Glue popular activities to an index card or jumbo craft stick and save them in a bag. After a few weeks you’ll have a bag full of brain breaks.
*Older students will enjoy choosing a brain break and leading their classmates.

Monday, July 8, 2024


In today's video you'll find some simple props and classroom management tricks. You'll be surprised how the "I" phone, "Super" visor, "high five hands," and juke box can add a little fun to your day!


Flashlight Spotlight
Take a flashlight and shine it on a child who is modeling the behavior you are looking for. “Spotlight on (child’s name). He’s got his math book and he’s ready to learn.”

Happy Chappy
You will need some lip balm with a fragrance. Gently rub children’s right hand with a “happy chappy” when they are following directions.

You Knock My Socks Off!

You will need an old pair of socks, a stick, and a piece of string 18” long for this project. Tie a sock to each end of the string. Tie the middle of the string to the stick. When children do something outstanding, take the stick and wave it in the air as you say, “You knock my socks off!”

Mr. Good for You!
A cloth glove, markers, fiberfill, and pipe cleaner are all you need to make a “good for you hand.” First, draw a happy face on one side of the glove with the markers. Fill the glove tightly with fiberfill or another stuffing. Gather the bottom of the glove and secure with a pipe cleaner. Children get “Mr. Good for You” and pat themselves on the back when they accomplish a new task.

Magic Lotion
Take an empty pump dispenser of hand lotion and remove the label. Make a new label for the lotion that says, “Mr./Mrs. (your name)’s Magic Lotion” and tape it to the bottle. When children are upset, frustrated, get a boo boo, or have hurt feelings, give them a “squirt” of magic lotion.

Peace Flower
When two children have a disagreement let them hold the flower with both hands as they look at each other. When they have resolved their conflict they can hug and to back and play.

Sunday, July 7, 2024


"Shhhhhh!"  That doesn't work well with kids, so here are some attention grabbers that will engage children in a positive way. 

Hint!  The best attention grabbers involve children's hands as well as their eyes and ears.  Keep doing the motions and chanting the words until the entire class is following along.

MORE?  Here's another video with a few more tricks to help children focus.