Wednesday, March 3, 2021


A mnemonic device helps you recall how to spell a word or how to remember a string of words or a phrase that stands for more complicated information. I can remember my fourth grade teacher standing at the board saying, “My father taught me how to spell geography by saying: George Elliott’s Oldest Girl Rode A Pig Home Yesterday.” Some days I can’t remember my phone number, but I’ll never forget how to spell geography! I’m sure all of you have had a similar experience and can attest to the power of these clever tricks.
Note!! I know this isn't that meaningful for young children, but you might need to know this if you are ever on "Jeopardy" or if you're helping older children with homework.  Besides, I just felt like giving you (and me) a break today! 

Homes – The Great Lakes are:
Erie, and

My (Mars)
very (Venus)
eager (Earth)
mother (Mars)
just (Jupiter),
served (Saturn)
us (Uranus)
noodles (Neptune).

Roy G. Biv – He’s your friend when it comes to the color spectrum.

Never (North)
Eat (East)
Soggy (South)
Weenies (or Sour Watermelon) West
*Point to the directions as you say this.

Spelling BECAUSE -

Spelling ARITHMETIC (Bridget Weaver)

Eat (Europe)
an (Antarctica)
aspirin (Asia)
after (Africa)
a (Australia)
nutty (North America)
Sandwich (South America).

Months of the Year
Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one excepting February alone;
Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine, till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

*Hold up knuckles on both hands. Point to the knuckles as you name the months. The months with 31 days will be the tall knuckles and the months with 23 or 30 days will be the lower spots in between.

Multiplication by Nine – Hold up ten fingers.
1 x 9 (One - put down left pinky and nine ones will be left.)
2 x 9 (Two – put down second finger/left pinky and you’ll have 1 ten and 8 ones.)
3 x 9 (Three – third finger down for two tens and seven ones.)
4 x 9 (Four – fourth finger down for three tens and six ones.)
5 x 9 (Thumb down for four tens and five ones.)
6 x 9 (Right thumb down for five tens and four ones.)
7 x 9 (Right pinky down for six tens and three ones.)
8 x 9 (Right middle finger down for seven tens and two ones.)
9 x 9 (Right ring finger down for eight tens and one.)

Do you have any mnemonic devices tucked away in your brain? I’d love to hear about them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021


It makes me sad that there are so many special memories that we can't give children right now.  
One of K.J.'s favorite memories from pre-k was St. Patrick's Day. They got to take off their shoes at nap time and put them in the hall. When they woke up the leprechaun had left them a Rice Krispie Treat in their shoe. 

This blog is a repeat of one I did a few years ago.  I hope you can find something that you can adapt to your current teaching situation - or save these ideas for 2022! 

Leprechaun Mischief
While the children are at lunch or on the playground, turn over a few chairs, put books on the floor, and mess up the classroom. Sprinkle a little green glitter around. Have the children write stories about what they think happened.

Catch a Leprechaun
Challenge children to design “traps” to catch a leprechaun in the block center. Give children an empty sack out on the playground and see who can catch a leprechaun.

Green Snack
Eat foods that are green like celery, broccoli, lime gelatin, snap peas, edamame, etc. You could also use green food coloring to dye cream cheese, milk, yogurt or other snacks.

Leprechaun Lunch
Purchase miniature peanut butter crackers (Ritz), baby carrots, cookies (Chips Ahoy), and other mini-foods. Serve these on dessert plates with napkins cut in fourths. Milk or juice in medicine cups makes this a perfect snack for “wee folks.”

Field Trip
Take a field trip (on the internet) to Ireland. Find Ireland on the globe. How could you get there? Could you go in a car? Why or why not?

Hunting for Gold
Spray paint pebbles or rocks gold. (Spread out on newspaper. Spray with gold paint. Dry. Shake. Spray the other side with gold paint. Dry. Shake. Spray a third time.) Hide the pebbles on the playground before children arrive at school. Tell the children a leprechaun hid some gold for them. What fun they will have hunting for the gold nuggets!

Hint! Need a little bucket for collecting that gold? Hole punch opposite sides of a plastic cup. Insert a pipe cleaner handle and you’ve got a perfect “pot of gold.”

What If?
Have children write stories (or draw pictures and dictate) what they would do if they found a pot of gold.  (I would give it to a food bank!!!)

Monday, March 1, 2021


Bet you didn't know that March 1st was National Peanut Butter Day.
In honor of this day, here's one of my silliest songs that your kids will LOVE!  
(Who wouldn't smile singing about peanut butter on their "underwear"?)

Peanut Butter (Tune: "Allouette")
Peanut butter, we like peanut butter. (Clap hands and march to the beat.)
Peanut butter, that’s what we like best.
Do you like it on your head? (Point to head.)
Yes, we like it on our head.
On your head?
On our head.
Ohhhhhh. (Hands on cheeks and move head from side to side.)

Do you like it on your shirt… (Point to shirt.)

Do you like it on your pants… (Point to pants.)

Do you like it on your socks… (Point to socks.)

Do you like it on your shoes… (Point to shoes.)

On your underwear? (Cover your eyes.)

*Is someone in your room allergic to peanuts? Let them explain what an allergy is and why they can't eat peanut butter. Let them choose another food to insert in the song, such as "macaroni" or "watermelon."

*Tie in with standards by focusing on the questions and statements.

*Cut a sheet of paper in half and then fold in half to make a book. Run off the attached worksheet and let the children put the pictures in the book in sequential order.

Sunday, February 28, 2021


Did You Ever See a Lassie? 
(Traditional Tune - I remember doing this as a kindergartener in 1952, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I bet your kids might enjoy it just as much - and it's something that you could do virtually or in person.)

Children form a circle as you explain that a "lassie" is a girl and a "laddie" is a boy. A girl is chosen to be the "lassie." She gets in the middle of the circle and makes a funny motion that the others must mimic as you sing. The girl then chooses a "laddie" to stand in the middle and make a motion. The game continues as girls and boys take turns leading in the game.

Did you ever see a lassie, a lassie, a lassie?
Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that?
Go this way and that way,
Go this way and that way.
Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that? 

Did you ever see a laddie...

Rainbow Wand
Cut the rim off a paper plate and cut in half as shown. Let children color it like a rainbow and then attach tissue paper streamers. They can use their rainbows as they dance and sing.

St Patrick’s Day!
(Tune: “Sweet Molly Malone”- Happy Everything CD)
On the 17th of March (Point heels on opposite feet as if doing a jig.)
About when spring starts
The lassies and leprechauns
Come out to play.
We’ll find four-leafed clovers (Hold up 4 fingers.)
And wear green all over, (Move hands over clothing.)
And that’s how we’ll celebrate (Put hand in the air as if cheering.)
St. Patrick’s Day!

The legends of old
Say there’re pots of gold (Extend arms in a circle.)
A’ sparkling and shining (Open and close fingers to make sparkles.)
At each rainbow’s end.
The leprechauns know (Point to brain.)
Right where to go,
So if you see a leprechaun (Hand over eyes as if searching.)
Make him your friend!

On the 17th of March
About when spring starts
The lassies and leprechauns
Come out to play.
We’ll find four-leafed clovers
And wear green all over,
And that’s how we’ll celebrate
St. Patrick’s Day!

Saturday, February 27, 2021


March winds will be blowing soon.  Here's some ideas to put in your lesson plans for next month.

Five Little Kites 
One, two, three, four, five little kites (Hold up fingers as you count.) 
Flying up in the sky (Fly fingers in the air.)
Said “hi” to the clouds as they passed by, (Pretend to wave to clouds.)
Said “hi” to the birds, said “hi” to the sun, (Wave.)
Said “hi” to the airplanes, oh what fun. (Wave.)
Then “swish” went the wind, (Move hand down in a
And they all took a dive: swooping motion.)
One, two, three, four, five. (Hold up fingers one at a time and count.)

Paper Plate Kite
Cut the inner section out of a paper plate. Decorate the rim with markers. Glue tissue paper streamers to one side. Punch a hole and tie a piece of string on the other side. Go outside and run to make your kite fly. 

Kite Experiments 
Let children make kites out of lunch sacks, plastic bags, and other materials. Have them predict which one will fly best. Experiment to see which one is best. Why did some work better than others?
*This might be a good family project.

Kite Tales

Ask each child to write a story about what it would be like to be a kite. What could you see? What could you hear? How would you feel? What would you do? 

Lion or Lamb? 
Explain the quote, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Every day ask children what kind of day it is, and then let them color a “lion” or a “lamb” on the calendar. Graph "lion" and "lamb" days and compare at the end of the month.

Wear a Mask ASL
Last spring I did a song about "Wear a Mask" and now Mariela Anderson has provided the ASL version.  She is so talented and adding sign language is just a beautiful thing!

Friday, February 26, 2021


Tell a Fairy Tale Day is February 26th, but any day is perfect for a fairy tale!
Some people think fairy tales are too violent for young children. And I would agree that some of them are a little twisted and dark. However, most of them aren’t any more violent than Saturday morning cartoons. The bottom line is children have enjoyed these stories for hundreds of years. Proof that a good story is a good story! There is usually a protagonist (good character) that struggles with an evil character. The best part of fairy tales is that they always end happily and good prevails. Many psychologists support fairy tales because they believe children will face “dragons” throughout their lives, and fairy tales give them hope, determination, and strength to defeat their problems.

Let’s see how we can use “Tell a Fairy Tale Day” as a springboard for teaching different types of texts.

What is a fairy tale?
What do children know about fairy tales?
Are they fiction or non-fiction? Why?

How many fairy tales can they name?
Make a list on the board as they call them out.
Go to the library and search for fairy tale books.

Get a storybook (without pictures) and have the children close their eyes as you read to them. Challenge them to make pictures in their brain.
*Stop before the end of the book and ask them to draw pictures of what they think will happen. Compare their predictions with what actually happened by reading the end of the book.
*Read several different versions of the same fairy tale and compare and contrast.
*Compare different illustrations of the same fairy tale.

Creative Activities
Let children dress up like their favorite character from a fairy tale. Encourage them to retell the story and explain why they chose that character.
*Have children make puppets of favorite fairy tale characters from lunch bags, paper plates, or sticks.
*Divide children into small groups and let them act out their favorite scene from a fairy tale.

I was a lucky little girl because I grew up before videos and iPads. I do remember my mother reading to us from this storybook every night. Look at the forward I found when I opened the book!

This book is my house.
The door is open and I shall enter.
I shall be happy here because my house has so many windows and
my companions are men and women who love me.
Here I will find laughter, love, romance, beauty, and happiness.

If you are reading my blog today I know you are the type of teacher that instills the “love and happiness” from books. Thank you for keeping the joy alive!

Thursday, February 25, 2021


Looking for something cheap, simple, and easy to do in your traditional classroom or to share with your families?  A bag of large, dry lima beans, a permanent marker, an Altoids tin, and you are all set to reinforce phonics, sight words, and math concepts.  

First, use permanent markers to write the consonants in blue and the vowels in red on the beans.

*Use for making CVC words.
*Use for word families.
*Use for writing word wall words.
*Use for practicing spelling words.
*Use with a friend. One person makes a word and the other person must read it.
*Put the letter beans in alphabetical order.
*Draw ten beans from the tin. How many words can you make with the ten beans? Write them down. 


Write numerals in black and math signs in green.

*Put beans in numerical order.
*Sort odd and even numbers.
*Use for greater than and less than.
*Use for addition and subtraction problems.
*Use for place value.
*Make sets.
*Represent number bonds.

Math Bags

Here's another simple activity with lima beans. Draw a line down the middle of a plastic bag with a permanent marker. Insert beans in the bag. Ask the children to count the beans in the bag. Slide the beans from one side to the other to make different combinations. Can they write down the different combinations?