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Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I didn’t find the Emerald City or the Wizard of Oz when I visited NW Kansas this week, but I did find teachers with big hearts and great brains that shared these ideas with me! 

Ellie Socks for Pencil Grip (Cyndie Aumiller, Borrowed from OT)

Use a regular or child-sized sock. Cut three holes in the sock so when the child puts the sock over their hand there is a hole for her/his thumb, pointer, and tall fingers. This will promote the correct pencil grasp.

Searching for Rimes

(Tune: “A-hunting We will Go”)
A – searching we will go.
A – searching we will go.
We’ll find a /p/,
And add an /ig/,
And then we have a pig!
(Put up pictures of a pig dog, cat, horse, etc. as you sing.)

Musical Cards (Melissa Bretz)

Purchase musical cards and when a child is having a hard day, find one like “You Are My Sunshine” and leave it on their desk. They can return it back to a special box when they are finished.
*You can also use musical greeting cards to capture the class’ attention. (Heliana Halbleib)

Cadence Attention Graber (Julie Ross)

(Children repeat each line.)
Stop, look, and listen now.
Everyone stand right up now…or everyone hands in the air…or whatever you want them to do next.

Quieting Actions

Start making the following actions loud and then get softer to help the kids quiet down.
Clap clap clap (Clap hands.)
Slap slap slap (Slap thighs.)
Tap tap tap (Tap shoulders.)
Lap lap lap (Put hands in lap.)

6 and 9

The sun is in the sky and 9 will shine.
The ball is on the bottom. 6 is for kicks. 


Partner Tunes (Lacey Bonine)

This is a Kagan strategy for working with different partners. Assign children partners for different songs.
Example: spy partners – Mission Impossible
                dancing partners – disco song
Children have a set meeting place in the room and when they hear their song they meet their partner in that place.

Letter Song (Shanda Brown)

When teaching letters, the kids who have that letter in their name get to stand on their chair as you sing:
Where do you start your letters -
At the top. (Clap Clap)
Where do you start your letters -
At the top. (Clap Clap)
When you want to write a letter then you better, better, better
Remember to start it at the top.

Writing Core (Heliana Halbleib)

Have the students turn their chair around when writing because it will help build their core.

Handwriting Song (Cheryl Soderlund)

Add a little magic to your handwriting lesson by telling students you are going to give them the “secret to handwriting.” Look around and out the window to see if anyone is watching and then sing this song:
Always start at the top and then go down.
Always start at the top and then go down.
Start at the top and you’ll never have a frown.
Always start at the top and then go down.

Start and Stop (Brooke Klitzke)

Put a green “go” sign where the letters (or numbers) start. Put a red “stop” sign where the letter stops.

Vowel Song (Tune: “BINGO”)

We are learning the five vowels
In our (prek, kindergarten) class.
A – E – I – O - U
A – E – I – O - U
A – E – I – O - U
And we have learned the vowels.

Magic Spelling (Lacey Keller)

Write spelling words or sight words with white crayons. Children color over with water-based markers and the writing will appear.

WOW Cheer (Lacey Keller)

Make a “w” with your left hand.
Make a “w” with your right hand.
Put both “w’s” by an open mouth.
Say, “WOW!” as you make it.

Michelangelo Art (Rona Langdon)

Tape paper to the underside of a table. Give children crayons, markers, etc. to write or paint on the paper artist style.
Hint! Explain how Michelangelo had to lay on his back to paint the Sistine Chapel.

Slinky Segmenting

Use Slinkies or ropes to segment compound words, syllables, onset-rimes, phonemes, etc.

Thank You Sign Language

Thank you, thank you
My heart sings.
Thank you, thank you
For everything.
Bon appetite – now you may eat!

Seasonal Bottles (Sharon Shirley)

Boo Bottles
Put spider confetti, orange and black beads, a little orange and black glitter, seasonal erasers, and 1/3 cup Karo syrup in a plastic bottle. Glue on the lid.

Ho-Ho-Ho Bottles – Christmas confetti and objects

Love You Bottles – Hearts
Hop Hop Bottles – Spring or Easter items
Alphabet and Number Bottles – ABC confetti and number beads

Finger Light Pointers (Jana Myers)

Use finger lights (in the toy section of the dollar store) to point at words as students are reading.
*You can also have students print dots under each word in an emergent reader so they know where to place their finger to track words.

Zip Lock Bag Book (Debbie Withington)

Cut paper the size of a zip lock bag. Let children write/draw a book one page at a time. Put pages in the zip bags and zip shut. Staple outside the zipper part to make a book they can read in the bathtub.

Attention Grabber (Dina Heier)

Teacher says: One, two, three,
                        Eyes on me.
Children respond: One, two,
                        Eyes on you.
(Children stop, freeze, and look at the teacher.)

If you’re not having fun teaching; the kids aren’t having fun learning.
HAVE FUN!!! (Karli Kriss)

And I sure had fun singing and dancing in NW Kansas!