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Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Here is a fun way to view nursery rhymes in your classroom using Nursery Rhyme Juke Box!

Nursery rhymes are a powerful way to develop many skills including: fluency and oral language,  phonological awareness, comprehension, speaking and listening, and keys ideas and details.

These nursery rhyme CDs can be used during transition times to entertain children as
they clean up or wash their hands. They can also be used to focus children’s attention
for a new activity.

Introduce the rhymes one at a time and place them in the box. When the children know
several rhymes then you can pretend to give a child a quarter. Tell them to, “Put it in
the juke box and pull out a rhyme.” Repeat the nursery rhyme that the child selects
together. Continue saying letting children choose rhymes.

 Here is a colorful, fun, and ready to use printable...

Monday, July 30, 2012


Here is a “Welcome Kit” that will win the hearts of children and parents!  Place the following items in a gift sack or zip bag along with the note. 
(You may need to adapt some of these objects to the age of your students.)

                  cotton ball                     Hershey’s kiss         sticker
                  rubber band                   penny                      tissue
                  gold star                        band aid                  Life Saver
                  gold thread                    eraser                                   

Welcome to your new classroom.  Each item in this bag
 has a special  meaning for you!”

*The cotton ball is to remind you that this room is full of kind words and warm feelings.
*The chocolate kiss is to remind you that I care about you.
*The sticker is to remind you that we will all need to stick together and
help each other.
*The rubber band is to remind you to hug someone.
*The penny is to remind you that you are valuable and special.
*The tissue is to remind you to help dry someone’s tears.
*The star is to remind you to shine and always try your best.
*The bandage is to remind you to heal hurt feelings in your friends and yourself.
*The gold thread is to remind you that friendship ties our hearts together.
*The eraser is to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and that is okay.
*The Life Saver is to remind you that you can always come to me if you need someone to help you.
                                    With love,  (Teacher’s Signature)

TLC for Parents

Put the note below in an envelope with a cotton ball and tea bag and send it home to the parents the first day of school.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for entrusting your child to me.  I promise to do my best every
day to be your child’s companion in learning.

Sit down, relax, and have a cup of tea.  Hold the cotton ball in your hand to
 remind you of the gentle spirit of your child.  I know we will have a
wonderful year as we learn and grow together!
                                   Sincerely, (Teacher’s Name)

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I Like to Come to School
(Tune:  “Farmer in the Dell”)
I like to come to school.
I like to come to school.
I like to learn and play each day
I like to come to school.

I like to make new friends…  (Find a friend and hold their hand.)
I like to read and write…         (Pretend to read a book.)
I like to do math…                  (Pretend to count on fingers.)
I like to sing and draw…         (Pretend to draw.)

*Let children make up additional verses for the above song about what they like best at school. 
*Make a language experience chart with each child's name and why they like to come to school.

We Like School
Ask each child to draw a picture of what they like best.  (For younger children, photograph them in their favorite area of the classroom.)  Put their pictures together to make a book called “We Like School.”  Read it each morning to create positive feelings about school.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


The SPLASH Conference in Houston this week was a blast!  It was so exciting to put a face with a name!  Kristina Parr has shared lots of PPTs she created to go with my songs and I finally got to meet her and give her a hug of thanks!
I also had fun singing and dancing with the CAP Head Start Teachers in Tulsa.  Here’s a song that Christina Beaman & Jean Humphrey taught us.  It’ goes to the tune of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.”
It’s Friday.  It’s Friday.  It’s really, really Friday.  (Hop, dance,
                                                      move your arms.)
It’s Friday.  It’s Friday.  It’s really, really Friday. 
We will laugh….(ha, ha, ha, ha)
We will dance….(dance in place)
We will sing…(la la la)
Because it’s Friday.  It’s Friday.  It’s really, really Friday. 
It’s Friday.  It’s Friday.  It’s really, really Friday. 
*You can insert any day, but Friday is the best!

Shakara showed us this finger play:
This is my beehive.                  (Two fists together.)
Where are the bees?
Hiding away so that nobody sees.
Soon they will come creeping out of their hive.
Here they come…1, 2, 3, 4, 5!  (Hold up fingers one at a time.)
(Tickle a neighbor.)


If you’re starting to worry about getting your room decorated for the first day of school have I got a great idea for you!!!!  Wrap yellow caution tape around your door and post a sign that says “Under Construction.”  Explain to the parents that you are trying to develop a classroom community and you want your students to decorate their own learning environment.  Invite parents to come back at the end of the week to see what their children have created! 

Here are some great projects that will help children get to know each other as they make their classroom reflect them.

Display Pocket
Make a display pocket for each child from a file folder.  Cut a 1 ¼” border around the top half of the file folder.  Let children decorate it with their name and pictures.  Laminate.  Fold in half and staple to a bulletin
board or tape to a cubby.  Children can display their own work by slipping drawings, stories, etc. in the pocket.
Hint!  You can also use a clear sheet protector to display children’s work.
Class Quilt
Use group art to create a visual representation of the “community” in your classroom.  Give each child a 9” square and have them decorate it with pictures of themselves, drawings of their families or favorite things,
collage materials, etc.  Punch holes in the corner of each square and tie together with yarn to make a quilt to display in the classroom or hallway.
Friendship Chain 
Give each child a strip of construction paper to decorate with their name, symbols of favorite things, or designs.  Staple the strips together to   make a chain.  Remind the children that your classroom is just like that chain.  Everyone must work together to keep it connected and strong.  Drape the chain over the doorway.
Banners, Pennants, and Name Plates
Use construction to let children create banners or pennants that reflect them.  They might include hobbies, favorite foods, pets, family members, goals, etc.
Fit Like a Puzzle
Take a large sheet of poster board and cut it into puzzle shapes.  (You will need one puzzle piece for each child in the room.  Mark the back of the piece with an “X” so they will know which side to decorate.)  After the children have decorated their piece, challenge them to put their pieces together to make a puzzle.  Glue pieces to another sheet of poster board to create a picture puzzle for your classroom.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Oh, what a happy day!  Don’t you just LOVE the Olympics!  It’s a time when everyone in our country can cheer on the same side.  Besides, there hasn’t been too much worth watching on television this summer so there won’t be any channel surfing for the next two weeks.

How about some pompoms to cheer on the red, white and blue? 

Oh, what a happy day!  Don’t you just LOVE the Olympics!  It’s a time when everyone in our country can cheer on the same side.  Besides, there hasn’t been too much worth watching on television this summer so there won’t be any channel surfing for the next two weeks.

How about some pompoms to cheer on the red, white and blue? 

WHY?        small motor skills; reading and math skills; exercising the brain

WHAT?     paper lunch sacks, scissors, crayons or markers, rubber bands

HOW?        Draw lines from the top of the lunch sack to the bottom flap about
                 ½” apart.  Let children decorate their bags, and then cut
                  down on the lines.  Place the flap face down on the table and
                  roll.  Wrap a rubber band around the bottom section to make a
                  handle.  (You can also use tape to secure the handle.)  “Squinch”
                  the strips and shake like pompoms.  Use to engage children,
                  release wiggles, and reinforce skills with the activities below.
                  Hint!  Children can also paint bags or decorate with team colors.

                  Songs – Use for “Who Let the Letters Out?”, “Phonercise,” “The Vowel  
                  Cheer” and other letter chants and songs. 

                  Cheer Words – Move and shake pompoms as you spell out names

                  or high frequency words.  “Give me a G.  ‘G’  I’ve got a G, you’ve
                  got a Give me an O.  ‘O’ I’ve got an O, you’ve got an O.  Give me a
                  T.  ‘T’  I’ve got a T, you’ve got a T.  What’s it spell?  GOT!”

                  Letter Aerobics- Put pompoms in the air for letters that start at 
                  the top dotted line, on your waist for letters that start at
                  the middle dotted line, and down low for letters with a tail that
                  go below the line.  Use for singing the alphabet forward and
                  backwards and spelling out words.

Syllables – Clap out syllables in words using pompoms.

Compound Words – Extend pompoms and say each word; then bring  
                    together and say the compound word.  

Segmenting and Blending Sounds – Put pompoms together and say a word,  
                   such as “sat.”  Take away the /s/ and put an /h/ there. 

Invisible Writing – Write letters, numbers, and words in the air with your  

pompom.  (Children call this “air brush” writing!)
Patterns – Clap out math patterns and have children repeat or extend.

Skip Counting – March and shake pompoms as you skip count.

Partner Patty Cake – Have children choose a partner.  Play some 
music and have children clap, patty cake, and make other
motions with their partner using their pompoms.

Directions – Have children follow directions with their pompoms.  Can you put them on your head?  Can you put them behind you?  Can you put one on your shoulder and one on your knee?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Name Puzzle – Write the child’s name on a 10” sentence strip with a marker.  Cut between the letters in the name and put them in an envelope.  Write the child’s name on the front of the envelope.  Children take the individual letters from inside the envelope and put them together like a puzzle to spell the name.
Name Bottle – Place letter beads that spell the child’s first name in an empty plastic water bottle.   Challenge children to find the letters in the bottle and spell the name.
*Hint!  Add water and glitter to the bottle if you desire.
Unifix Cubes – Use sticker dots to write children’s names on Unifix cubes.  Make the first letter a different color.  Place these in a center with a list of friends’ names so they can take them apart and put them back together.

P.S.  I saw BRAVE and loved it!  I think Merida is my new favorite name.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


What’s your name?
                                       Puddin and tane.
Ask me again
And I’ll tell you the same.
Names are important to children, so here are some name chants that will help 
your students get to know each other as you create your classroom community.

Shakey Shakey  (Clap or snap to the beat as you chant.)
            Child’s name, child’s name, sick in bed.
Called the doctor and the doctor said.
Come on, child’s name, you’re not sick.
All you need is an exercise trick.
So stand up and shakey, shakey shakey. 
(Child stands and makes silly motions.)
Get down and shakey, shakey, shakey,
Turn around and shakey, shakey, shakey,        
Sit down and shakey, shakey, shakey.         (Child sits down.)
…Continue around the room chanting to each child.     
Where, Oh, Where?  Here’s a song to the tune of  “Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch.”
         Where, oh, where is our friend, child’s name.
         Where, oh, where is our friend, child’s name.     
         Where, oh, where is our friend, child’s name.
         There he/she is wearing color child has on today.
         …Continue singing each child’s name and the color they are wearing.

How Are You Feeling Today?  This song is similar to “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”  First, teach children sign language for different feelings, such as happy, sad, sleepy, angry, and scared.  (Visit to see a video clip of these signs.) 
         How are you feeling today? 
         How are you feeling today?
         Show us the sign,
         And it will be just fine.
         How are you feeling today?
Children make the sign and have the opportunity to discuss their feelings.

Hickety Pickety Bumblebee – This chant is great for phonological awareness.  Slap your thighs and clap hands to get a beat going.
         Hickety pickety bumblebee,
         Who can say their name for me?
         First child’s name.
         Clap it.  (Clap out the syllables in the child’s name.)
         Whisper it.  (Whisper the syllables.)
         No sound.  (Mouth the syllables.)
         Hickety pickety bumblebee,
         Who can say their name for me?
         Second child’s name…etc.

Willabee Wallabee - Here’s a good chant for rhyming.  Substitute the first sound in each child’s name with a /w/.
          Willabee wallabee Wohn.
          An elephant sat on John.
          Willabee wallabee Wue.
          An elephant sat on Sue.
Hello, How Are You?  Wave to friends as you sing this name song to the tune of “Skip to My Lou”:
          Hello, child’s name, how are you?         (Wave.)
          Hello, child’s name, how are you?
          Hello, child’s name, how are you?
          We’re so glad to see you!

          Turn to your neighbor and shake their hand…  (Shake hands.)
          Turn to your neighbor and give high five…(Give high five.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


School Friends – Let each child fill out a page similar to the one shown with their name, age, favorite color, favorite book, pet, and other personal information.  Add a photo and put their pictures together to make a class book.  (Make sure the teacher adds a page, too!)  Let one child take home the book each day to introduce school friends to their families.

Autograph Book – Make blank books by stapling several sheets of colored paper together.  Let children go around and get their friends autographs.

Graphs – Get to know each other and develop math skills by creating class graphs.  You might make a graph of how children get to school, the number of brothers and sisters they have, pets, favorite pizza topping, and so forth.

Echo Song    Echo Song - The teacher sings the first line and the children answer singing the second line.  “Where Is Thumbkin?” is the tune.
                            Who has two eyes?                  (Teacher asks)
                            I have two eyes.                      (Children respond)
                            Who has one nose?                  (Teacher asks)
                            I have one nose.                      (Children respond)        
                            Who has two ears?                  (Teacher asks.)                 
                            I have two ears.                      (Children respond)
                            Now we know.                          (Clap and sing together)
                            Now we know.

Continue singing other questions about eye color, pets, siblings, likes, hobbies, etc.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Teachers often ask me if I enjoy traveling.  NO!  Flying, waiting in airports (aka Airport Appreciation Time), noisy hotel rooms, security lines…NO FUN!  However, when I get to share with a group of teachers it is pure JOY!  It makes my heart sing when you smile and get excited about a new idea!  Thank you for making this 65 year old woman feel like she still has something to offer teachers and children!  Besides, YOU always energize me with some great new ideas!  Look what I brought home with me this week from Mobile, Houston, and Huntsville, AL.

Kisses and Hearts
Pamela Pounds draws kisses on her students’ papers for a job well done.  They get to color in the lips.  She also draws hearts when they “make her heart sing.”

Snaps Jar
Kat Baxter has a jar called the “Snaps” jar.  When the kids do something that they are proud of they write it on a strip of paper and place it in the jar.  The teacher pulls their names from the jar and the class gives them “snaps” to celebrate.

Top Priority
When introducing something important to your class put a sign on the door that says “Top Priority.”  (I can think of other situations when you might want that sign on your door!)

New Claps
Teach children the “hotdog” clap by extending your arms wide horizontally and clapping.  For a “hamburger” clap extend your hands vertically.

File Folder Website
Check out for FREE file folder games.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Important Person – Hold one child at a time in your lap as you sing this song to the tune of “Lassie and Laddie.”
                  Child’s name is important, important, important.
                  Child’s name is important to you and to me.
                  At work and at play
                  He/she does his/her best each day.
                  Child’s name is important to you and to me.

We Like You – Invite children to brainstorm words that describe good friends.  Write words on index cards and place them in a bag.  Each child chooses a word.  Sing the word to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

We like you because you’re wonderful.
We like you because you’re wonderful.
We like you because you’re wonderful.
We really like you!

Hint!  You could pin or tape words to children so they could strive for that adjective.


Here’s something fun to make for your door to welcome the students.  Lay on a large sheet of butcher paper and ask a friend to trace around your body.  (You’ve probably done this to your children before.)  Color yourself and cut yourself out.  (Go ahead and take off a few inches.  You can body sculpt all you want!)  Tape this on the door and then make the following labels and attach them to the different body parts. 
“A head full of great ideas.” 
“A mouth to sing you songs and read you stories.” 
“Arms for hugging.” 
“Hands to help you learn new things.” 
“Pockets to hold surprises.” 
“Tennis shoes for outdoor fun.”  
“A heart full of love for you!” 

Special Notes and Pictures
You know all of those drawings and love notes you receive every year.  Here's a way to save them and show the children that you value what they give you.  All you have to do is get an old three ring notebook and make a cover with your picture and the year.  When  a child gives you something you can date it, hole punch it, and put it in the notebook.  Keep it in your classroom library so children can revisit it.  
*One teacher saves these through the years because the children enjoy looking at what other classes have done.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


                                    IT LOOKS LIKE I’M PLAYING BUT….
Make a book by taking pictures of your students engaged in different centers.
 Use the following captions to describe the benefits of each area.
Let one child take home the book each day to share with their families.
Dramatic Play – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing social skills, emotional skills, independence, oral language, my imagination, responsibility, and the executive function.  I may use these skills as a mother, father, safety officer, or politician one day.

Blocks  - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing motor skills, math concepts (number, size, shape, space), oral language, social skills. eye-hand coordination, self control, and my imagination.  I may be a builder or architect when I’m grown.

Art – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing my creativity, small motor skills, problem solving, sharing, cooperation, independence and responsibility.  I may use these skills as an artist, illustrator, or designer one day.

Math  - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language,; social skills, small motor skills, concepts about quantity, shape, size, pattern, and an interest in math.  I may use these tools as a computer programmer, accountant, or mathematician in the future.

Library  - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing alphabet knowledge, oral language, print knowledge, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, concepts about the world,  and the desire to read.  Maybe I’ll be a publisher, author, or librarian when I grow up.

Science  - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing a curiosity about the world, sensory skills, problem solving, language skills, and experience with the scientific process (observing, predicting, experimenting, recording, reporting).  If I’m a doctor, lab technician, pharmacist, or landscaper I will utilize these skills.

Table Toys  - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing small muscles, eye-hand coordination, attention span, social skills, and concepts about size, shape, color pattern.  I might use these skills as a chef or dentist one day.

Language – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language, alphabet knowledge, print connections, phonological awareness, visual skills, book knowledge, phonics; motivation to read.  No matter what I become when I grow it, it will be important to know how to read.

Writing  - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing eye-hand coordination, small motor skills, alphabet knowledge, self confidence, vocabulary, and an interest in print.  I might use these skills one day as a journalist, administrative assistant, or poet.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Probably the last thing you want to think about this summer is ASSESSMENT.  However, here are a few ideas that might make your job easier this coming year.   (Drawings, work samples, observations, checklists, rubrics, journals can all be used for evaluation.)

Portfolio – Individualize children’s growth by collecting samples of their work each month and saving the work samples in a portfolio.  You can use grocery sacks or clasp envelopes and date each month.  Collect a writing sample, self-portrait, small motor activity, math page, etc.  You could bind these together and present them to parents at your end of year conference.
Notebook – Put a divider with each child’s name in a three-ring notebook.  Place a copy of the skills checklist for each child behind their divider.  Also, put a clear sheet protector for storing samples of their work and anecdotal notes.  Simplify record keeping by having this handy when you work with individual students or small groups.
Four Square Assessment – At the beginning of each month, have children fold a piece of paper into fourths.  Ask them to write/draw the same thing in each square every month.  You might have them draw a picture of themselves, write their name, write letters of the alphabet, numbers, shapes, write a story, etc.  Adapt to your age level and standards.  Date and save for a “reliable” picture of the child’s progress throughout the year.
Interest Inventory -  In addition to saving writing samples and self
portraits in a “portfolio” each month, have children complete an
“interest inventory”  by filling in sentences similar to the ones below:
         I am good at______.
            I like to _____.
I want to work on _____.
           My favorite book is _____.
                 I wish _____.
Hint!  Younger children could just dictate their responses to an adult.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Cut 3” circles (cookies) out of poster board.  Write each child’s name on the “cookie.”  Place the cookies in an empty cookie box or bag.  Chose one name at a time and use it in the chant below:
Who ate the cookie in the cookie jar?                          
Child’s name ate the cookie in the cookie jar.        
Who me?         (First child responds.)                                   
Yes you.           (Class chants.)                                            
Couldn’t be?     (First child.)                                   
Then who?       (Class chants.)                                   
Second child’s name ate the cookie         
         (Choose a second child’s name) in the cookie jar.

Cookie Game
Glue each child's picture to the back of the cookie.  Place on the floor and give children a spatula.  They can take turns reading names and flipping the cookies over.
Class Book
Give each child a cookie to eat for snack.  Take a picture of them eating their cookie, and then make a book with their pictures.  Write, "Who ate the cookie from the cookie jar?" at the top of the page.  Write "(Child's name) ate the cookie from the cookie jar.
Let one child take the book home each evening to share with their families.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Yellow Pages
Tear off the front and back of your “Yellow Pages” to use for the outside of this book.  Make inside pages for the book that say, “We are good readers.”  “We can help you with the computer.”  “We can tie shoes.”  “We are good spellers.”  “We like to draw.”  “We are mathematicians.”  “We like to clean.”  (Include pages that represent the different multiple intelligences, as well as common tasks in the classroom.)  Encourage children to sign up on the pages where they can help others.  When someone comes to you for help, remind them to look in the “Class Yellow Pages.”

Friend Phone Book
Younger children will enjoy a "Friend Phone Book."  Take a picture of each child and glue it on a sheet of paper.  Have them write their name at the top and their phone number at the bottom.  (You may need to do this for younger children.)  Tear the front and back off your local phone book to make a cover.  Glue a title that says “Mr./Ms. Name Class Directory” on the front.  Use in the dramatic play center by a play phone or place in the math center with an old cell phone.
Business Cards 
Want to impress your parents the first few weeks of school?  Use your computer to help each child design a personal business card.  Include the child’s name, school, teacher’s name, and a graphic of their choice.  Print on cardstock (you can get about 10 on a page) cut apart, and have children distribute them to family members, neighbors, and friends.