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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Last week I was in Roanoke and Richmond and here are some super ideas the teachers shared with me.

Criss Cross Applesauce
Harry has come up with another great adaptation for getting children to sit quietly.  Check it out at:

Let’s Look Important!  (Diane Ringer)
Use this idea instead of criss cross applesauce.
Would you like to know how to look important?  Put your right hand over your heart like this.  (Demonstrate)
Put your left hand across your chest and fold your arms like this.  (Demonstrate)
Lift up your chin and smile importantly.  Now look at all my important people!

Song Requests  (Heather Cline)
Make a box for song requests.  Children write their favorite song on a sheet of paper and put it in the box.  Pull requests each morning and sing.

End of Day Chant (Linda Wood)
Sit in a circle criss cross applesauce and start the chant with this rhythm:
Slap knees two times
Clap two times
Snap two times
Clap two times
“Linda, Linda, what do you say?
What did you like at school today?”
The child has to tell what they liked best that day.  It’s a good way to remember what they learned as you reinforce oral language.

Weightlifting Count to 100 (Amy Gibson)
Pick up your weights and count 1-20 as you do bicep curls; 21-40 for shoulder press; 41-50 tricep press; 61-80 butterfly press; 81-100 overhead. 
Wipe brow!!!

Caterpillar Finger Play (Linda Drake)
Here comes the caterpillar on the green leaf.
         (Place one hand flat and use one finger from the other hand to wiggle          across the flat hand.)
Inside the chrysalis for two whole weeks.
         (Squeeze hand around caterpillar with thumb up.)
Out he pops as pretty as can be!
         (Lock thumbs and flutter fingers.)
He is a butterfly as you can see!
         (Move hands like a butterfly in the air.)

Portable Word Wall (Winter Babko)
Get some McDonald’s French fry containers.  Cut yellow strips and write words on them and put them in the fry box.
*Adapt for letters, shapes, numerals, etc.

Diagraphs (Heidi Brunner)
Teach children these gestures to help them remember the sounds of “th”, “sh,” and “ch.”
“TH” – Stick your tongue out at the teacher.  It is the only time you are allowed to stick your tongue out at a grown up!
“SH” – Hold your finger next to your lips like you are going  to tell someone to be quiet.
“CH” – Put one hand down flat and use the other hand to pretend to chop something.
Sing the blends to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.”
The T and H say /th/ /th/ /th/…all the time.

Who Let the Letters Out?  (Diane Woods)
As you sing this song and other alphabet songs make the motions from “No More Letter of the Week.” 
Hint!  You can also use sign language, Animated Literacy, Visual Phonics, or Zoo Phonics motions as you sing alphabet songs.

Soul Train Scramble (This was such a cute idea, but I lost the name of the teacher who shared it with me.  Email me and I’ll make it right!)
Place letters in students’ names or sight words on a magnetic board.  Play the ABC song by the Jackson Five.  Students have until the end of the song to unscramble the letters to make the word.

It’s a Wonderful World (Celeste M. Jones)
  1. Sing the song “It’s a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong with the children. 
  2. Write the words to the song on chart paper and track as you sing.
  3. Write the words on sentence strips so the children can place them in a pocket chart. 
  4. Students illustrate the words to the song to create a class book.

Rules Rap Hand Signals  (Sharon Walston)
Review the “Rules Rap” daily using these motions:
  1. Point finger for “follow, follow, follow directions.”
  2. Hold up hands and point to feet for “feet and hands to yourself.”
  3. Stoop down and cup hand over mouth for “small voices.”
  4. Stand up with hands in the air for “tall voices.”
  5. Clasp hands for “work together” and shake head no for “don’t fight.”

Rhyming Game (Kim Thurston)
Teacher says, “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with “hat.” 
The students can’t guess using the word.  They have to describe the word. 
Students say, “Is it an animal that says meow?”
Teacher says, “Good guess, but that’s not it.”
Students say, “Is it an animal that flies?”
Teacher answers, “Yes, it is a bat.”

Color Game  (Maureen Goonan)
You will need magnetic crayons.  Review colors and then have the children close their eyes as you take one away.  Can they tell what color is missing?
What are you wearing?
Red – just stand up and touch your head.
Blue – touch your shoes.
Green – look real mean.
Yellow – wave to a fellow.
Purple – draw a circle.
Brown – act like a clown.
Black – pat your back.
Pink – blink, blink, blink.
White – look at the light.
Orange – peel an orange.
You’re great cause your colors are straight and
you’re cool because you learn at school!

The Robot Game (Valona Markovich)
Teacher stands in front of the room and stiffly mimics a robot.
Students have to give the writing strokes to make a letter.
For example D:
Start at the top
Come down
Back to the top
Curve around to the bottom
The key is no yelling.  They have to speak in voice with the group or the robot shuts down!

Letter Pointers (Mindy Pierson)
Make pointers with craft letters on the tip.  (You can buy these at Michael’s)
Play BINGO using children’s names and googly eyes.  “I spy the letter R “ and the children cover it up with a googly eye.
Place alphabet letters or numerals in a pocket chart.  Put a hand behind random letters or numbers.  Children clap when there is a hand behind the card.

White Board Clipboard  (Suzi Burton)
Attach a large butterfly clip to individual white boards for each child.  Voila!  Clipboards!

Fishbowl Families (Robin Singleton)
Write word families on fishbowls (an, op, ill, etc.).  Write words using the different rimes on fish shapes.  Children pick a fish out of the pond and put it on the correct bowl.
Adapt for color words (word on fishbowl and fish of different colors), number words (number on bowl and dots on fish), or letters (letter on fish bowl and pictures of objects that start with that sound on fish).

Category Game
The children repeat after the teacher:
“Pink is a color.”  (Children repeat.)
“Purple is a color.”  (Children repeat.)
“A square is a color.”  (Children yell NO!)
Adapt for shapes, objects in a house, rhyming words, numbers, and other categories.

Dot on the Clock (Peggy Smith)
Put a dot on the classroom clock at the numeral 2 and then teach this poem”
Tick tock, 2 on the clock.
Up and over and around you go.
This is the way to make an “O.”

Heidi and Nellie  (Ginny Van Keuren) and are two great websites with lots of free downloads.  The Kid Writing videos on are fantastic.  
ASL also has free downloads with signs for alphabet letters and heart words/aka high frequency words.