Saturday, March 10, 2012


I just might be about the luckiest person in the world to meet all you wonderful teachers!!!  You filled my heart this week at the IL ASCD Conference and the VA ECE Conference.  Thank you!  Thank you!  And thank you again!  You’re why I do what I do!

Well, now that I’m home for a few days I can finish sharing some clever ideas from my visit to MO last week!

Letter Looker  (Julie Jones, Lebanon, MO)
Twist a pipe cleaner to look like a magnifying glass.  Use it as a “letter looker” or “word looker” to frame letters or words on charts, big books, and classroom print.
*Use overhead color tiles to cover high frequency words.  It’s a “magic reader”!

Punctuation Detectives (Michelle Landers, Nixa MO)
When children work on their little take home reading books they have to be “punctuation detectives” and highlight punctuation marks.
Period – circle red – red means STOP reading.
Comma – circle green – green means take a breath and keep on reading.
Exclamation point – circle orange – orange means be excited!!!
Question mark – circle purple – purple means be curious.
Capital letters – underline blue – blue means the letter is a capital because it’s the beginning of a sentence or has an important name.
Dolch words – yellow – highlight yellow because it is a popcorn word.  Yeah!  You know this word already!

Spotlight on Reading (Vickie Spencer, Butler Elementary)
Use this idea to line up and learn.  Turn the lights off and then pass a flashlight to one child.  That child shines the flashlight on a word and reads it.  She then passes the flashlight to another friend.  Children continue reading a word and passing the flashlight to a friend until all have read a word and lined up.

Talking Strips (Brandi Housewright, Cuba, MO)
For classroom talkers, cut small strips of paper and put them inside an envelope labeled “Talking Strips.”  When children feel the urge to talk out loud they can write a sentence or draw a picture of what they want to share.  You can share these together at the end of the day.

Microwave or Crock Pot (Robert Reed, Springfield MO)
Take two file folders and glue a picture of a microwave on one and a crock pot on the other.  Write children’s names on craft sticks.  If they feel confident about a strategy they can put their stick in the microwave.  If they are not sure, their stick goes in the folder with the crock pot.
*Instead of a high five, give a wi-five across the room.

Swimming Pool Fun Noodles (Judy Buckley, St. Louis, MO)
Cut noodles into 1” sections with a steak knife.  Write letters or numerals on the sections with a permanent marker. These can be strung on a rope or broom handle and used for patterning, alphabetical order, making words, numerical order, etc.

Sound Show and Tell (Angel Brown, Morrisville, MO)
As children share items ask them, “What sound do you hear when I say ____?”  After they say the sound write the letter on the board.  Continue writing letters as students sound out the word.  This can be a little time consuming so maybe have 5-8 students do this each week.

Give Me a Toe
Instead of having children give you a high five, ask them to “give me a toe” as you touch feet.

Foam Hands (Cheri Rummens, Mansfield Preschool)
Cut hands out of foam and write “left” and “right” on them before taping them above the calendar and flag.  Remind the children to look and see which hand they should place on their heart before they do the pledge. 

Who Let the Letters Out?  (Becky Nuenschwander, Lakeland Preschool)
Get a dog bowl, small stuffed dog, magnetic tape, and magnetic letters.  Attach the magnetic tape to the dog’s nose.  Place the magnetic letters in the bowl and let the children use the dog to “eat” the letters. 
*You can also use this idea with magnetic numerals and shapes.

Class Facebook (Laura Caudle, Buffalo, MO)
Take the children’s picture the first day of school and make an alphabet facebook.  Run off a copy for each child. Use it throughout the year to sing ABC’s, learn alphabetical order, read each other’s names, etc.

Rainbow Alphabet (Joni Swagerty, Neosho, MO)
Put the letters of the alphabet on the wall using the different colors in the rainbow.  A (red), B (orange), C (yellow), D (green), E (blue), F (indigo), G (violet)….  Point to the letters each day as you sing the ABC’s.  Name a color and then look for the letters that color.  Can they make the sound and then think of words that begin with that sound?  They can also look for letters with circles, little lines, big lines, etc.