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Saturday, January 31, 2015


If you want to hear a story, 

This is what to do. 

I've got some for you!

Friday, January 30, 2015


I want RIGOR!

When I hear someone say that about kindergarten I cringe…and to tell you the truth, I want to shout, “These are just little kids!!  Give them a break!!!  Do you actually think pushing and shoving standards down their throats is going to make them smarter in the long run?  PLEASE!  Let them be children!” 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I was excited when Sarah Antos asked if she could use my song to create a word wall and book for her students.  And I was thrilled when she said you could download it FREE!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


February 12 is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. You might want to integrate one or two of these ideas in your lesson plans next month.

Abraham Lincoln

(Tune: “Pop Goes the Weasel”)
Abraham Lincoln, past President, (Point to a picture of Lincoln.)
Loved and honored by many.
To help us remember this famous man,
We put his face on a penny.

Hold a penny in your hand (Hold up a penny.)
And his face you’ll see.
He always tried to tell the truth.
He’s Honest Abe to me.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Here is a special Valentine your children can make for their families. The directions are the same as those for a flip book.
  1. Make a hotdog fold. (Fold in half.)
  2. Make a hamburger fold. (Fold in fourths.)
  3. Make a juice box. (Fold in eighths.)
  4. Open in half. Tear down each crease to the middle fold.
  5. Fold in half to make four flips.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Will You Be My Valentine?

(Tune: “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”)
Will you be my Valentine, (Point to various friends.)
Valentine, Valentine?
Will you be my Valentine?
I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine! (Point to self and then a friend.)

Some are red, some are blue, (Hold up fingers.)
Some have lace and ribbons, too.
Some are funny, some are not. (Smile and then shake head “no.”)
I like the candy ones a lot.

Will you be…(repeat)

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Some of my “sweetest” memories of being in the classroom are of Valentine’s Day. To see the delight in the children’s eyes when they opened up those little paper envelopes! You can integrate many reading, writing, and math skills as you get ready for the big day.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Look up!  Look down!  Look all around at the art displayed at the California Pk,K,1st Conference in Santa Clara last week.  (What a clever twist to have the snowmen looking up!  The children then wrote about what they saw.)

I've done crayon rubbings on leaves before, but I've never done them with several different colors of crayons.  Lovely!

Friday, January 23, 2015


Goodness gracious, it's getting close to the end of the month.  Where does time go?  Over the next few days I'll be sharing activities for your February lesson plans.  Be sure and visit for more great resources, cutouts, games, etc.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


This is a simple idea that will engage all of your students and can be used in a variety of ways to reinforce math skills. It's perfect if you finish a lesson early or have five minutes at the end of the day.

Make a set of “show me” cards for each child by writing the numerals 0-10 on 3” squares of heavy cardstock. Have children store these cards in a zip bag in their desk. When you have a few extra minutes, ask the children to get their cards and arrange them on the floor or table in numerical order from 0-10. Use the cards for some of the games below.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Skip counting is counting in multiples and a way to help children with multiplication. Of course if you sing and move it will be much more fun and will “stick” in the brain.

Whisper Skip Count

One (Touch head as you whisper “one.”)
Two (Touch shoulders and say “two.”)
Three (Touch head and whisper.)
Four (Touch shoulders and say “four.”)
Five (Touch head and whisper.)
Six (Touch shoulders and say “six.”)
Seven (Touch head and whisper.)
Eight (Touch shoulders and say, “eight.”)
Nine (Touch head and whisper.)
Ten (Touch shoulders as you say “ten.”)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Counting is a key principle in mathematics instruction, but it’s important to tie counting into nouns, such as “How many steps to the lunchroom?” “How many boys are here today?” “How many jumping jacks can you do?” 

Using real objects is also critical to developing number sense. Here are two simple tools that connect the oral with the concrete.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Isn't it amazing that many young children know how to navigate the web, but they do not know how to tie their shoes? Here’s a clever idea from Allison Caspers. She gets a suitcase and puts an old shoe in it along with one of the poems below. Each night a child gets to take home the suitcase and practice tying the shoe. When they have completed their “Shoe Tying Journey” they receive a PASSPORT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT for learning to tie their shoes. 


Sunday, January 18, 2015


Yeah! Another cheap, simple prop that can be used in a variety of ways.

All you’ll need are cheap, white paper plates. Put two plates together and staple about ¾ of the way around. Leave an opening large enough so you can stick your hand in and use like a puppet. Write letters, numerals, shapes, math signs, etc. on the plates and use to really involve your students.
*Write the letters “B-I-N-G-O” on the front of the plates as shown. Cut out hands and write numerals on the back. Choose five children to wear the letters as you sing “Bingo.” Explain that “Bingo” is a word that has five letters. After each verse you will turn over one letter and they should clap instead of saying the letter. Children will learn to go from left to right; they’ll learn that letters make words; they’ll learn number concepts.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Wouldn't "Puzzle Day" be a great way to end your week?

Puzzle Day

Invite children to bring puzzles from home on Friday. During the last 30 minutes of the day have a puzzle party where they can do puzzles with their friends.

Sentence Puzzles

Model writing a sentence on a sentence strip. Cut between the words and then put the pieces in a lunch sack. Shake! Who can put the words in the correct order and read the sentence?
  • Let children make their own sentence puzzles and share with friends. 

Friday, January 16, 2015


I'm off for the CA Kindergarten Conference in Santa Clara this morning and I'll be hunting for some new projects and ideas to share with you.  

Did you ever sing the song "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other is gold..."?  This rings true in early childhood.  We want to be ready and excited to try new things, but we also need to treasure activities and materials that have always worked with children.  Puzzles are one thing that will never go out of style, and to celebrate National Puzzle Day on January 29th, here are some "old" and "new" activities with puzzles.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


National Kazoo Day is January 28th. 

Ask your students to bring in paper towel rolls. (For sanitary reasons it is best to collect paper towel rolls rather than TP rolls!) Cut the paper towel rolls in half and punch a hole ¾” from the top. Let children decorate the cardboard rollers with markers or crayons. Cut 6” circles out of wax paper and use a rubber band to attach to one end of the roller and you’re ready to hum. March around the room as you hum some of your favorite songs. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Several days ago I shared ideas to start your day. Here are some activities to end your day with a smile and a song.
Hint!  If you don't know the tune to a song simply put it in your search engine and you can probably find a youtube video with the arrangement.
Car Wash
Children form two lines facing each other and begin moving their hands in a circular motion like a car wash. One child at a time walks down the center of the car wash as friends gently touch them and say something positive about them.

Thumbs Up
Put your thumbs up if you learned something new today. (Put thumbs up.)
Clap your hands if you had fun today. (Clap hands.)
Give yourself a hug if you were a kind friend today. (Hug self.)
See you tomorrow for another special day. (Wave and smile.) 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


January 25 is Compliment Day.

What is a compliment? How do you feel when someone gives you a compliment? What are some different ways you can compliment someone? How many compliments can you give during the day?

January 25 is also Opposite Day.
(I think I smell some standards here!) Reverse the daily schedule by starting the day with your good-bye song and ending with a good morning song and the morning message. Say your Z Y X’s (alphabet backwards) and count backwards. Turn around in your chairs and face the back of the room. Read a book backwards. Oh, and don’t forget to eat your dessert first at lunch!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015


Need a new idea to start your day this week? Bet you’ll find one that’s just right for your class.

Hand Hug

Children stand in a circle holding hands. The teacher looks at the child on her right and squeezes their hand. That child looks at the friend on her right, squeezes their hand and sits down. The second child looks at the friend on their right squeezes their hand, and sits down….Continue passing the hand hug until everyone is sitting quietly.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I’m back home from a visit to Indiana this week and although the weather was frightful, the teachers were delightful! They held my hand through the ice and snow and warmed my heart. 
KIRPC Head Start, Monon, IN

Don’t you love this curtain around the interactive white board? The teacher said she bought sheets, tied the ends with ribbons, and then hung them on hooks. Show time!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


January 21 is National Hugging Day. Could anything be better than a hug on a cold winter day? Let children make a list of people they like to hug. 
Hint! If your school is cautious about hugging, demonstrate how to give an air hug by squeezing your arms in front of you.

“Hug” in sign language is done by making fists and wrapping your arms around your chest.

Show your students how to give a “hall hug” to friends by crossing your index and middle fingers and wiggling.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Working on lesson plans for the month? Here are some interesting holidays ( that might add a little spice to your curriculum. (Some of the dates fall on a Saturday or Sunday, but nobody will report you to the holiday police if you celebrate a different day during the week!)

January 18 is Thesaurus Day. What a perfect opportunity to show your students what a thesaurus is and model how to use it.

January 19 is National Popcorn Day. Put a clear jar on your desk and every time your students have good behavior put a piece of popcorn (cotton ball) in the jar. When the jar is full they earn a popcorn party.        


Thursday, January 8, 2015


Give children something to look forward to every Friday during the dreary winter months while planting a love of poetry in their hearts.

Write a note asking each family to send in a box of instant hot chocolate and an old coffee mug. Explain that you will end each week with the “Poetry CafĂ©” where children can listen to poetry, recite poetry, and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate. This will be an engaging way to develop listening skills, oral language, and an appreciation of literature.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Mitten Weather

Thumbs in the thumb place (Stick out thumbs.)
Fingers all together. (Put fingers together.)
This is the song
We sing in mitten weather. (Wiggle palms left and right.)
When it is cold (Wrap arms around self and shiver.)
It does not matter whether (Shake head.)
Mittens are wool (Hold out right hand.)
Or made of finest leather. (Hold out left hand.)

Mitten Match 

Cut mittens out of a wallpaper book or wrapping paper. (It’s easy to find a mitten pattern on google images.) Cut two out of each pattern and then mix them up. Give children clothespins clip the two that go together. Introduce vocabulary to describe various patterns, such as “stripes,” “checked,” “plaid,” “solid,” “polka dots,” “animal print,” etc.

  • Make a mitten match game with upper and lowercase letters, synonyms, math facts and answers, etc.
  • Hide mittens around the room for children to find and match.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Let’s see how we can tie in these charming snowmen with skills and standards!

I’m a Little Snowman
(Tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little snowman (Bend knees.)
Short and fat. (Extend arms in a circle.)
Here is my broom and (Hold out right hand.)
Here is my hat. (Touch head with left hand.)
When the sun comes out (Slowly melt to the ground.)
I’ll melt away.
But I’ll be back another day!

I’m a snow lady, (Bend knees.)
White and round. (Extend arms in a circle.)
In my hat and apron (Touch head and waist.)
I don’t make a sound. (Index finger on lips.)
When the sun comes out (Slowly melt to the ground.)
I’ll melt away.
But I’ll be back another day!

                        *Download this book at

Monday, January 5, 2015


Here are some "snowy" projects that will provide January fun whether you live in Florida or Alaska.

Snow Dough

You can use any play dough recipe for snow dough. Simply omit the food coloring and let the children knead in iridescent glitter to make it sparkle. (My favorite dough is: 2 cups flour, 2 cup salt, 2 TB. cream of tartar, 2 TB. vegetable oil, and 2 cups water. Mix ingredients together in a pan until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a ball and sticks to the spoon. Cool and knead. Store in airtight containers.)
Note! Make sure children wash hands before and after playing with dough.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Dr. King’s birthday is just around the corner. Here’s a song my daughter Holly wrote that I am so proud of. The meaning of the song and the vocabulary you can teach are powerful!

Stand Up For Martin Luther King – January 19th

(Tune: “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” HAPPY EVERYTHING CD)
Dr. King stood up for justice. (Stand and sway
He stood up for equality, too. back and forth.)
Dr. King stood up for children.
He stood up for me and for you. (Point to self and then others.)
So now we…
Stand up, stand up, (March in place to the beat.)
Stand up for Martin Luther King.
Stand up, stand up,
Stand up for Dr. King.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

RING IN 2015

Are you busy working on your lesson plans today? Here are a few ideas for the first few days this week.

Ring in the New Year

(Tune: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”)
Let’s all do a little ringing, (Shake hands as if ringing bells.)
Let’s all do a little ringing,
Let’s all do a little ringing
It’s a Happy New Year!

Let’s all do a little clapping… (Clap hands.)
Let’s all do a little dancing… (Dance around.)
Let’s all do a little smiling… (Smile.)

When is your birthday?
When is your birthday?
When is your birthday?
Stand up and cheer.
(Say months of the year.)
January, February, March…(Children stand up on their birthday month.)

Let’s all be a little kinder… (Pat friends on the back.)
For a Happy New Year!

Friday, January 2, 2015


Here's a great idea to start the New Year. It's free, simple, and could engage families in a meaningful way. All you have to do is go to my website ( and click on free activities. Scroll down to the parent resources and you'll find an activity calendar you can send home at the beginning of each month. Ask the parents to do 5-10 of the activities during the month and return the calendar to school at the end of the month.  When my daughter first saw these calendars she said, "Mom, that's really cool."  I said, "Would you do those things?"  She replied, "Of course.  I just don't think about doing those things."  Most of your parents are like my daughter, but if you give them a prompt something special might happen.


Thursday, January 1, 2015


Let’s get this New Year started with a new video and song download. If you go to my website ( today you can see a free new video, and you can download my “Jump Rope Rally” song. Jump roping is a fantastic form of exercise and can be done in a small space. Jump ropes are optional…just jump and pretend you have a rope in your hands. Oral language, counting, and phonological awareness are peripheral benefits of “Jump Rope Rally.” You can also jump as you say the alphabet, the months of the year, the days of the week, read the word wall…Whew!

You’ll find lots indoor games on my website, as well as five minute flash card games to reinforce skills. You know, all you have to do is call something a “game” and your students will want to play. These games support ACTIVE LEARNING because they are multi-sensory and engaging. They also provide PURPOSEFUL PRACTICE FOR AUTOMATICITY (a.k.a. repetition for skill mastery). Most of the games are open-ended so all you have to do is insert your specific standards and skills in them and you’re ready to play and learn!

I'm getting ready to JUMP into a new workshop season.  I'm so thankful I still have a job that I LOVE!