Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Oh, I fell in love last week!  I fell in love with Kelowna, British Columbia, and all the warm and enthusiastic teachers there!  Kelowna is one of the most beautiful places on this earth.  It’s nestled between the mountains on Okanagan Lake and is known for it’s orchards, vineyards, and amazing weather.  Look at these fantastic “souvenirs” I collected just for YOU!

The Booboo Whisperer  (Kim Brodie)
When a child comes to Kim in tears with a booboo, she sits them down and says, “Lemme have a chat with your booboo.”  She holds their arm or leg and pretends to have a conversation with the hurt spot.  “Now, listen here.  You need to stop hurting my friend ____.  Stop it now!”  It always calms the child and gets her to smile while the others gather around and show empathy. 

Scissor Wizards (Sandy Spoon)
Buy cheap drinking straws and let the children use these to practice cutting.  They make a “snapping” sound that the children love when they cut.  Keep the straws in a tub and they can cut and recut until they are tiny pieces that can be used for stringing on plastic lacing.

Separation Anxiety (Sandy Spoon)
Make a chart with 6-8 circles on it and hang it on the wall.  Cut out the same number of shapes – happy faces, hearts, leaves, etc.  Use a travel alarm clock and set it to go off 1 hour later.  Hide it in the room.  When it goes off, the children have to find it and then match one of the shapes on the chart.  Repeat until the end of the day.  It will help children understand the passage of time and they know they’ll see their mom or dad when the last one goes off.
Hint!  Set the last one to go off after the parents arrive to allow for a margin of tardiness on the parent’s part.

Use it up.
Wear it out.
Make it do
Or do without!
*Great advice for all of us!

Down in the Jungle  (Tune:  “Down in the Meadow by the Itty Bitty Pool”)
Down in the jungle where nobody goes
Lived a mother gorilla washing her clothes.
Wash-a washa here.
Wash-a washa there.
That’s the way she washes clothes.
High five
Wooby wooby wooby.
High five
Wooby wooby wooby.
High five
wooby wooby wooby.
That’s the way she washes clothes.

*Repeat with the father gorilla, baby, or other animals.

I’m Done Jar (Deb Rocco)
Put pictures of activities that children can do if they finish their work  (puzzle, etch-a-sketch, easel) on sticks.  Place these in a jar that says “I’m Done.”  When children finish their work they can choose a stick and do that activity.

Mind Break Jar (Deb Rocco)
Write ideas for brain breaks on popsicle sticks and place them in a jar that says “Mind Jar.”  (Switch seats, sing a song, do an exercise, etc.)

Mini Smartboards (Deb Rocco)
Use small etch-a-sketches and call them “mini smartboards.”

O “Fishally”  (Deb Rocco)
Prepare a small bag of Goldfish crackers for each student with a note that says, “You are O ‘Fishally’ in kindergarten!”

Caught You Being Good (Deb Rocco)
Write the names of students who have good behavior on small pieces of paper and place them in a special container.  At the end of the month draw a name for a special prize.

Bumspell  (Jessica Bailey)
Divide the students into two teams facing each other.  Explain the activity by telling them that they will be writing their names with their bums (aka bottoms).  Demonstrate how to do that by slowly spelling your own name with your bum.  Then show them what it looks like when you do it fast.  Tell them that they will be competing with each other to see which team can bum spell the fastest.  Each child will spell their name and then gently hip bump the next child in line.  That child then bum spells her name and hip bumps the next child.  This continues until the last child in the line has finished spelling their name.
*Hint!  You can use spelling words, word wall words, or other words for this game.

Read the Room 3D Style  (Charmaine Brade Nixon)
Collect 3D glasses from 3D movies.  Collect “magic wands,” such as pointers, rulers, novelty pencils, etc.  When students finish their assigned work they choose a magic wand and a pair of 3D glasses and walk around the room identifying letters, reading words, making sounds, finding shapes, etc.  They believe the 3D glasses help them become magic readers!!

Bottle Lid Name Puzzles (Karen Bernath)
Print the letters of a child’s name on plastic milk bottle lids to create a name puzzle.  Store the lids in a bag with a label with the child’s photo.

4 Green Jelly Beans (Karen Bernath)
1 green jelly bean           (Hold up 1 finger.)
Down in my bell bean       (Pat tummy.)
Giving me a tummy ache
What am I going to take?  (Open palms.)
All my friends are telling me   (Point finger.)
They’ve got a remedy.
Don’t eat the green ones    (Shake head.)
And jump up and down.      (Jump up and down.)

2 green jelly beans…
Don’t eat the green ones
And rub your tummy, jump up and down.  (Pat tummy and jump around.)

3 green jelly beans…
Don’t eat the green ones
And pat your head, rub your tummy, jump up and down.

4 green jelly beans…
Don’t eat the green ones
And kick your leg, pat your head, rub your tummy, and jump up and down!

Alphabet Scramble (Rhonda Middleton)
Put a set of flash cards with letters scrambled up in a pocket chart.  Tell the children you’re going to sing the alphabet and sing it with the letters scrambled.  For example:  “J, T, Q, E…”  The children will begin shouting, “A – It begins with A.”  Explain that “someone has messed up my alphabet.  Who can help me fix it?”  Call on a child to help find the A and place it in the chart.  Begin singing the song again, “A, J, T, Q…”  The children will get excited and start singing the song the correct way.  At that point take out all the letters and hand one to each child.  Sing again and let each child come up when their letter is sung. 

Crumple Balls (Linda)
Take a piece of recycled paper and write or draw something on it.  It could be a letter, color, word, shape, number, math fact, question, etc.  Children crumple their paper into a ball.  On the count of three, they throw the ball into a circle or around the room.  Each child picks up a crumpled ball and answers the question, gives a word that starts with that letter, etc.
*You can repeat the activity with the same “balls” because they’ll usually pick up a different question.

I Don’t Know 
Here’s a tip for getting a response from a child who is hesitant or typically replies, “I don’t know.”  Just say, “Well, if you did know what would you say?”  Nine out of ten times they will give you an answer.

Picture Cues 
Teach letter sounds with picture cues.  Start with pictures (for the helper of the day).  You might have a cat, ant, snake, sun, ice cream cone, and elephant.  Put a blank under each picture.  Children sound out the helper to be “Cassie.” 
*Make crossword puzzles using the helper’s name and word wall words.

Rock Solid Readers  (Cathy Richardson & Jeanette Wannop)
Children earn a polished rock (from the dollar store) for every 15 books that they read.  Young children love to collect things and you could get a “class granny” to sew little bags for collecting or purchase small bags at the dollar store.

Good-bye Handshake or Hug  (Cathy Richardson & Jeanette Wannop)
Children give the teacher a handshake or hug before they leave at the end of the day.

Standing “O”vation  (Cathy Richardson & Jeanette Wannop)
Everyone stands up and makes an “O” with their arms as they sing “ooooooo.”  This is a great way to recognize something exciting or someone’s success.

Christmas Gift (Deb Lacarte)
You will need a clear plastic glass and a Christmas ball.  Fill the glass half full with candy or small toys.  Paint the student’s name on the ball with glitter glue or fabric paint.  Put the ball on top of the candies and wrap in colored cellophane.  Attach a candy cane and to/from sticker.
*Students will come up years later and say they still put the decoration on their tree every year.

Snowman  (Cindy Garnham)
Build a snowman at circle time during those long winter months with this activity.  You will need to cut 3 circles (small, medium, large) out of white felt.  Make hats, scarves, and other items to decorate the snowman out of colored felt scraps.  Begin by singing this song to the tune of “Up on the Housetop.”
Can you guild a snowman 1, 2, 3.
A lovely little snowman, 1, 2, 3.
What does your snowman need?
Children take turns helping to dress the snowman.

Thanks for sharing these great ideas!