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Monday, August 6, 2012


As I danced my way across Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia last week I picked up some souvenirs (aka new ideas) for you! 
Treasure Boxes
Take pictures of the students in your class the first day.  Make a copy of the pictures for each child and cut them out.  Students make treasure boxes from lunch bags as shown and write “My new friends are my treasures.”  Give children copies of the pictures to take home and share with their families.

Guess Who?  (Pam Ledwell)
Make a book for your class called “Guess Who?”  Take a photo of the back of each child and place it on one page and write “Guess who?” Take a photo of the front of the child and place it on the next page.  Write “It’s child’s name.

Letter Substitution
Substitute the letter you are working on for directions at transition times.  For example:  B –“Bine bup bor bunch.”  The kids have to figure out the real directions.

Morning Baskets
Here’s a great idea for “morning baskets” that the children can do each morning when they arrive at school.  Each teacher in their kindergarten team makes 7 different buckets with 4 different activities for math and reading.  They rotate these each week at the tables in their classrooms.  They have a set for the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year.

Nursery Rhyme Club  (Janie Moore)
Challenge your students to learn 8 nursery rhymes and say them in front of the class.  Create a poster where they can sign their name and give them a membership card to the “Nursery Rhyme Club.”

ABC Patty Cake (Veronica Thomas)
Children face each other and patty cake.  They say the letter as they tap right hands, clap, and then make the letter sound as they tap left hands.

Daily Countdown  (Wendy Merrifield)
Draw large T-shirts on poster board.  Take photos of students doing daily activities.  Write the activity, time, and glue the picture to the T-shirts.  Next, hang a clothesline across the top of one of your bulletin boards.  Clothespin the T-shirts in order to the line.  As you move through the day, turn over each shirt so the students can see their day get shorter and shorter.  When you get to the last T-shirt do an “end of the day” dance!!!

Cheer!  (Debbi Smith)
Pat yourself on the back.
Shake your own hand.
Point to yourself and say, “Very good job!”

Train the Brain (Susan Sayre)
Our brains are trained to go up from eating and drinking.  However, children need to learn to pull down when they are writing.  Here’s an exercise that will help:
1st  Open your arms wide to the side.
2nd Move palms up and above the head.
3rd Palms together and slice down in front of your body.

Magic Door (Lisa Haines & Julie Wilson)
Once you go through the magic door (Point finger framing a door.)
You go like this (Shhh!)
Because we can’t talk anymore.
Zip it.  (Zip lips.)
Lock it.  (Pretend to lock lips.)
Put it in your pocket.  (Put imaginary key in your pocket while wiggling hips.)

Paper Plate Name Game (Hillary Warren)
Put each child’s name on a paper plate.  Sing, “If your name is on the plate pick it up.  If your name is on the plate, pick it up.  If your name is on the plate, then you’re doing really great.  If your name is on the plate, pick it up.”  Put down one plate at a time.  At the end when you pick up the plates you can ask each child to spell their name, say their birthday, tell you their address, or whatever you’re working on.

Birthday Circle  (Lucy Pittenger)
Let the birthday child choose friends to be the candles on their cake.  Candles form an inner circle around the birthday child.  The rest of the class holds hands and makes an outer circle.  As you sing “Happy Birthday” the candles go counter clockwise as the outer circle walks clockwise.  The birthday child taps the heads of the “candles” to light them.  After blowing on their tummy the candles fall down.

Singing  (Angel Hollandsworth)
When you sing “Today Is Sunday,” Give each child a paper plate and plastic fork or spoon to keep the beat.
*Sing the ABC’s as you tap them on a keyboard.

Kids Wanna Have Fun!  (Tanya Lane)
During parent orientation use paper plate “clappers” to sing “Kids Just Wanna Have Fun.”  This will break the ice with parents and show them how much fun you can have learning.

Body Spelling
For tall letters put your hands in the air.  For midline letters stick your arms out by your sides.  If a letter goes in the basement, touch your toes.

Fun Friday (Erica)
Choose a key idea to focus on and review on Friday.  Make games, crafts, food, or stories to reinforce the skills.  This will give kids (and teachers) something to look forward to each week.

Open Mic Friday
Every Friday during “Writer’s Workshop” give children a play microphone and let them read one of their stories to the class.

Egg Hunt  (Leila Hinkle)
Hide sight words in plastic eggs.  Use different colored eggs for each group.  Children collect the appropriate color and read the words.

Sound Substitution (Courtney Tisdell)
Insert different sounds in “Tooty Ta.”  Example:  “Cooty ca” for Cc.

Give Me Five 
Make a poster for the classroom door with two hands.  Attach a Velcro circle to each hand.  Write sight words and attach them to the Velcro.  Children give the poster a high five and read the words every time they leave the classroom.

Oh, the Places You Will Go!
Ask each child’s parents to purchase this book by Dr. Seuss.  The book is passed to each teacher through the K-12 years.  Each teacher writes an encouraging word or positive comment about the child.  What a special graduation present when they leave high school!

Waiting Crown (Nicole Edwards)
When working one-on-one or testing, wear a toy crown as a visual to show others in the class that they have to wait and can’t interrupt.