Tuesday, May 8, 2012


You’ve got to love the Midwest – the heartland of our country!  Here are some great ideas that teachers in Omaha, Des Moines, and Chicago shared with me last week.

My Flag (Tom Brady, Chicago PS)
Tune:  “When the Saints Go Marching In”
My flag is red.
My flag is white
And in the corner it is blue.
Oh, how my flag stands for my country.
How I love red, white, and blue!
Some stripes are red.
Some stripes are white
And in the corner it is blue.
Oh, how my flag stands for my country.
I love red, white, and blue.

Toad”ally Awesome Cheer
Squat down like a toad and then jump up with your hands in the air as you say, “Toadally awesome!”

Hello Right Hand  (Lori McGraih)
Every morning give students a “right hand hello” by putting a squirt of water or smelly hand sanitizer (great ones at Bath and Body Works) on their right hand.  They can smell it, shake it, wave it, wipe it and then place it on their heart for the pledge.

May 4th
It’s too late this year, but remember that May 4th is Star Wars Day.  “May the 4th” be with you!!!

May 1st – National Mother Goose Day
I’m a day late and a dollar short on this one as well, but next year you can remember to celebrate Mother Goose Day on May 1st.

Silly Band Writing
This is the coolest idea with silly bands.  Explain that when you go for a ride in the car you have to wear your seat belt.  When you write you have to put a seat belt on your pencil.  Put a silly band on your wrist, hold your pencil, and then loop the silly band around the pencil.  It will stabilize the pencil and make it easier for the children to write.
*A teacher also suggested holding the lid of the marker in your hand when you draw to get the correct grip.

Birthday Do Dah (Mary Lehman, Indiana)
(Tune:  “Camptown Racers”)
Our friend name is age years old
Do dah, do dah.  (Wave scarf up and down on “do dah.”)
Our friend name is age years old
Oh, do dah day.
Let’s all shout “hooray!”
It’s a special day.
Our friend name is age years old
Oh, do dah day.
*Take scarves, streamers, or just wave your hand as you “do dah” the person’s age.

Misc. Tips (Julie Shallenberger, Ralston)
  1. Count with the children while you push the button to get to the right song on a CD.
  2. Water drops on wax paper with an eye dropper makes a fine motor activity.
  3. Put a smelly chapstick on the right hand before the pledge so children know which hand to put on their heart.
  4. Make an “Itsy Bitsy Spider” puppet with a glove from Dollar Tree.  Add googly eyes.

Plant a Garden on My Back (Becky Carlson)
First the child chooses what kind of garden they want.
Rake up the dirt.  (Use fingers like a rake and drag across the back.)
Then dig the holes.  (Use finger to make a shovel motion.)
Next, plant the seeds.  (Use finger to lightly touch where the holes are.)
Cover the seeds with dirt.  (Use hand and rub around.)
Now, pat down the dirt.  (Gently pat the back.)
Here comes the rain. (Use fingers to tap on back.)
Up come the plants!!  (Use fingers to scoop in an upward motion.)
Now pick them.  (Use light pinching motion with thumb and finger.)

Heads Up Sight Word Up  (Christine Lieber)
Using jumbo craft sticks with sight words on them you can play a game similar to “Heads Up 7-Up.”  Children hold up their fist while hiding their eyes.  Seven students get to choose a word and put it in a classmate’s fist.  First they must read the word, and then they can guess who gave it to them. 
Hint!  Let students ask a friend if they don’t know their word.

Catching Words (Elizabeth Philson, Lincoln)
Cut the netting out of butterfly nets and let the children “catch” sight words that you have put up all over the room on walls, cupboards, etc. 
Select two children at a time to play the game.  The children hold the butterfly net as they close their eyes.  The teacher says a word and when he says “GO” they race to find the word first.  They have to say it, spell it, and use it in a sentence to win a point for their team.

Letter Islands  (Julie Andresen & Margie Crowe, St. Stephen, Omaha)
Each week take a trip to the island of the letter your are focusing on.  *Choose your mode of transportation (surf, swim, airplane, dolphin).  *Prepare for your trip by packing your suitcase.  (Make a suitcase by folding a sheet of paper in half.  Children write the letter inside the suitcase and then cut items from magazines that start with that letter.)