Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Last week I traveled the East coast from Boston to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Asheville.  Check out some of the great ideas teachers shared along the way!

Tick, Tick, Tock  (Heather Anne Angus)
Tick, tick, tock.
Tick, tick, tock.
What time is on the clock?
3:00 o’clock, 3’00 o’clock  (Hold up a play clock as children chant the time.)
And the clock ticks on and on!

Finger Beams  (Debbie McMillan)
You can purchase little lights that attach to the end of your finger from Oriental Trading.  Debbie calls these “ET reading fingers” and uses them to track words, highlight word wall words, choral reading of poems and songs, etc.

ABC Tune  (Marina Attix)
Did you know that you could sing the ABC’s to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  It’s great because L M N O P don’t end up sounding like “a lemon and a pea.”

Button Factory Language Unit  (Ann Michael)
Ann used this favorite song as a springboard for the following activities:
Button box – sort, organize, match, describe
Button fashion show – children wear clothing with buttons
Button shirt – put a wide Velcro strip on a child’s shirt.  Put Velcro on          buttons and have children put the buttons on their shirt.
Button sweatshirt – teacher wears a sweatshirt covered with a variety of   buttons and children describe the buttons

Alphabet Remix  (Rita O’Brien)
Sing the regular ABC song and then yell, “REMIX!”
Get the “rapper” attitude and repeat:
         I say, A B C D E F G!  (clap twice)
         H I J K L M N O P  (clap twice)
         Q R S, T U V, W X and Y and Z.
         Now I know my ABC’s.
         Next time, won’t you sing with me? 
         (clap twice - swipe hands to the right)
         (clap twice - swipe hands to the left)
         (clap twice)   AHHHHH!

Classroom Management Trick  (Alison Barnes)
Teacher:   Give me one.
Students:  One.  (clap one time)
Teacher:   Give me four.
Students:  One, two ,three, four. (clap four times)
*You can do this as many times as you want mixing up the numbers.  End by saying:
Teacher:   Give me fingers to lips.
Students:  (Put 2 fingers to lips and smile quietly.)

Take a Picture Walk  (Lauren Martin)
This activity will help children learn to turn pages from the front of the book to the back.  Use two fingers to mimic walking through a book as you chant:
         Walking through the pictures.
         Walking through with speed.
         Walking through the pictures
         And now it’s time to read.
Students close the book to the front and raise their hands to describe the pictures that they saw. 

Questioning Strategy  (Mary Claire Porter)
When the teacher asks a question have the children blow their answer into their closed fist.  When the teacher says, “What is it?” they “release” their answer by opening their hand and saying the answer out loud.

Pick a Letter  (Annie Williams)
Use the tune of “Pick a Bale of Cotton” to reinforce letters and sounds.
Jump down, turn around, pick a letter.
Jump down, turn around, pick a letter.
Oh, Lordy, pick a name object beginning with letter.
Oh, Lordy, pick a name another object beginning with sound.

Animal Reading (Mary Baykouski)
Read predictable books using different animal sounds or whatever theme sound the children suggest.
For example:  The Farm (moo moo)
The boy is on the farm.  (moo moo)

Transition Song  (Sharon Dudley)
Tune:  La Cuckla Racha
Come to the carpet, come to the carpet.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la.
We are ready.
We are listening.
We are ready for some fun, story, math, etc.

Tune:  All the Single Ladies
All the smart people,
All the smart people,
All the smart people
Come to the carpet.
Sit on the carpet.
Put your hands up.
Put your hands down.

Check out Sharon’s blog to learn more about this amazing teacher!

Candyland Adaptation  (Amanda Dalgleish)
Level one - Write the color names on the color cards.
Level two – Make new cards by writing color words in the same color as the word.
Level three – Make cards with just the word written in black.

More Skill Games with Candyland  (Katie Spies)
Make Candyland cards with numerals, word wall words, math facts, etc.  Put harder level words or facts on the double color cards.

Sing and Read (Deb Smelkunson)
Deb found that since the Spanish language doesn’t have rhymes, it helps to sing a story the second time.  She will often ask her students if they want her to sing it or read it.  (They usually choose to hear it sung.)  Sometimes she’ll sing with an opera voice, low voice, etc.  Her students seem to remember the details better when she sings.

Guess Who?  (Gloria DeRusso)
Change the pictures of the characters on the game “Guess Who?” to pictures of the students in your classroom.  You can also use pictures of Presidents or story characters in the game.

Tattle Stopper (Linda Rossiter)
Pick up some old tax forms at the library.  When children start to tattle hand them a form and tell them to fill it out and then bring it back to you.

Alphabet Cookies (Linda Rossiter)
Purchase a cookie sheet and magnetic letters at a dollar store.  Photo copy the letters on paper and then tape the paper to the back of the cookie sheet.  Color the vowels in red.  Add lines at the bottom of the paper.  Children can match up the letters and then select letters to make words at the bottom.  Store extra letters on the baking side of the cookie sheet.

Waiting Gemstones (Dawn Corkran)
Let students pick a stone and decorate it.  When they need help they lay their stone next to the teacher and return to their work until the teacher can help them.  (Most of the time they will solve their own problem.)

Go Tell Puppy  (Yolanda Coppedge)
When children have an issue, they tell it to the toy puppy in their calm down area.

Eating the Alphabet  (Yolanda Coppedge)
You will need upper and lowercase magnetic letters, a bowl, spoon, and alphabet cards.  Each child uses the spoon to scoop out a letter.  They have to name the letter, make the sound, and say something that starts with the sound before matching it to the alphabet card.

Listening Song  (Yolanda Coppedge)
Sing this song to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?” to quiet children.
Eyes are forward.  Eyes are forward.
Bodies still.  Bodies still.
Voices are quiet.  Voices are quiet.
Listening ears.  Listening ears.

Line Up Poem  (Shannon Walden)
Hip and lip,
Standing tall.
Now we’re ready
For the hall!

Thinking Time  (Maggie Silver)
Some children are much faster at identifying words.  To give an opportunity to all the kids, when you come to a  new word point to it and slowly say, “1, 2, 3, what word do you see?”  That will give the children extra time to sound out the word.

Who Stole the Sound?  (Candice Hall)
Adapt “Who Stole the Cookie?” to letters.  Write letters on cookie shapes and place them in a bag.  Pass the bag around and as children pull out a letter say:
Who stole the letter sound from the cookie jar?
Child’s name stole the letter sound from the cookie jar!
Who me?
Yes, you!
Couldn’t be.
Then who?

Magic Blends  (Candice Hall)
Write a blend (ex: ST) on a square of paper and place it in a magic container.  Write individual letters in the blend (ex: S and T).  Place these in the container and shake it up.  Pull out the pre-made piece of paper with the blend on it.  This really helps children to visually see how the sounds come together.