Sunday, January 12, 2014


Have I ever told you about Ralph the Rag? I saw someone demonstrate this at a conference years ago and it was so absurd that I tried it in my classroom and it worked! I think I got a bigger kick out of Ralph than the children. Ralph can be used as a brain break, during transitions, or to focus children’s attention.

Get an old towel or rag and knot it at the top as shown. The children should be sitting down and Ralph should be sitting on your palm as you explain: “This is my friend Ralph the Rag. He wants to see if you can do what he does. Ralph has little tiny ears so you don’t want to make any noise or he’ll run and hide. Watch carefully now!”

Hold up Ralph. (Children stand up. You might have to repeat, “Look at Ralph and do what he does.”)
Lean Ralph left. (Wait for children to move in that direction.)
Lean Ralph right. (Children move right.)
Bend Ralph to make him bow.
Turn Ralph around.
Jump Ralph up and down.

Continue making other motions with the towel.
End by having Ralph (and the children) sit down.

Hint! If the children don’t follow Ralph or get noisy, simply put Ralph behind your back and say, “It hurts Ralph's feelings when you don’t cooperate. He’ll come back when you are ready to participate.” (I used to make Ralph fake cry and the kids would get upset and say, “We’ll be good Ralph.” It was too funny! Give it a try and you might get a chuckle.)

Singing Changes Your Brain!
Cheri-Winston Gaetz sent this link for an article called “Singing Changes Your Brain.” According to research, group singing has scientifically proven to lower stress and elevate endorphins that make you happy… What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like a perfect tranquilizer that soothes nerves and elevates your spirit.

For years I’ve been preaching that music will ease classroom blues and is the most convenient way to teach children anything. You don’t have to join an adult chorus or choir to be happy, just shut your door and SING! Sing for the children and sing for YOU!