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Tuesday, August 11, 2015


In a world with so much negativity, it’s heartwarming to join hands with other teachers and focus on the positive side of our profession like we did last week in Austin. 

Class Pledge 
The teacher who shared this said she ended every class by having the students repeat:
I believe that I’m smart.
I am important.
My future is bright.
I CAN learn, so I WILL learn.
I will be the best ME that I can be!

Fiddlesticks! (Lindsay Kate)
Write sight words on one end of a jumbo craft stick and color the other end a different color. (Some will be blue, green, red, etc.) Put the sticks in a cup with the word up.
Rules: Children take turns drawing a word and saying it out loud. If they get the word right they get to keep the stick. If they get the word wrong they have to put the stick back in the cup.
*Designate a certain color as the “fiddlestick” color. Whenever a student draws a word with that color they have to put all their sticks back into the cup and say, “Ah! Fiddlesticks!” as they put them back. The game never ends.
Hint! Change the color so the kids can’t memorize which words are on a color.
*Change the game for letters, vocabulary, math facts, etc.   

Giant Beads (Desirae Team)
Cut pool noodles into discs. Students can thread the disks on a shoelace or twine.

Squish “O’s” (Alisha Greif)
Let children squeeze pool noodles cut in disks for a fine motor activity.
*These can also be used when studying the letter “o” or the number “0.”

Noodle Game (Rachel Nolen)
Cut noodles in half and use to bat a balloon.
1. Children can bat a balloon individually.
2. Bat a balloon back and forth with a friend.
3. Bat the balloon with 2-3 friends and try to keep the balloon up.
4. Bat the balloon while music plays. Stop and go to the music.
5. Bat the balloon around the circle as you say the ABC’s, count, etc. Start over if the balloon drops.
Note!  I think this would be great fun for a kid or adult party.

Crocodile Hand Pencil Grip (Rachel Blunt)
Place the pencil on the table with the point facing the student. Ask, “Which hand wants to grab the pencil?” Now, have them grab the pencil with their other hand. The hand that wanted to grab the pencil first becomes the crocodile and eats the point of the pencil. Then the other hand gets jealous and flips the pencil over (so it sits in the spot between the thumb and pointer finger). Voila! Correct grip!

Batman Match (Mary Herman)
Make a Batman game by having children match upper and lowercase letters or numbers with bat shapes.

Sound Effects (Nubia Polanco)
When teaching students to write letters or shapes make sound effects.
Use the same sound for linear lines, and a different sound for curves, and when to stop writing.

Ready to Learn (Amy Calabrese)
The children love the “Little Red Box” song so use it for a transition by changing the words with the student’s name who is sitting and “ready to learn.” Soon they will all come as you sing their name.

Little Red Number Box (Sarah Wilson)
Put magnetic numbers in a metal tin and then sing the song as you pull out a number. Then count to that number.
For example: I wish I had a little tin box to put a 6 in. I’d take it out and count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and put it back in.

Dream Sprinkles (Sarah Wilson)
For naptime pretend to sprinkle glitter on the kids’ heads after they lie down as you wish them sweet dreams. They don’t get dream sprinkles until they are lying down quietly.

Quiet Spray (Micaela Fuller)
Use body spray as you line up to leave the room. The students will be so busy smelling that they’ll become quiet.

Money Bags (Suzanne Carver)
Use a gallon zip bag and draw a circle with a marker in the bottom right corner. Put 3 quarters, 2 dimes, 1 nickel, and 4 pennies in the bag. As you call out different amounts the children drag the coins down to the circle.

Water Cycle Song (Suzanne Carver)
Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
Water travels in a circle, yes it does! (clap, clap)
Water travels in a circle, yes it does! (clap, clap)
It goes up as evaporation,
Forms a cloud as condensation,
Falls to the ground as precipitation,
Yes it does!

Down Down Baby (Suzanne Carver)
*You can watch a YouTube video of this patty cake activity.
Down, down, baby,
Down by the roller coaster.
Sweet, sweet, baby
I’ll never let you go!
Shimmy, shimmy, coco, pop.
Shimmy, shimmy, pow.
Shimmy, shimmy, coco, pop.
Shimmy, shimmy, pow.
Grandma, grandma got sick in bed.
She called the doctor and the doctor said,
Let’s get the rhythm of the head, ding-dong! (Wiggle head from side to side.)
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands, clap-clap! (Clap hands.)
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet, stomp-stomp! (Stomp feet.)
Let’s get the rhythm of the hotdog, hotdog! (Swivel hips)
Put it all together and what do you get?
Ding-dong, clap-clap, stomp-stomp, hotdog!
Put it all backwards and what do you get?
Hotdog, stomp-stomp, clap-clap, ding-dong.

Expository Song (Suzanne Carver)
Expository, expository,
Gives us facts not just a story!
Subtitles, pictures,
Charts with labels.
Graphs, diagrams,
And sometimes tables!
Expository, expository,
Gives us facts not just a story!

Narrative Song (Suzanne Carver – sing loud and dramatically)
Nar – ra – tive! Nar – ra – tive!
And plot!
This is what a narrative’s got!

Marjorie Green sent me this article from the St. Louis Post that explores the correlation between social and emotional development and long term academic and life success. It’s a little disturbing to read because it will “hit home” with you about children with emotional issues bigger than you can handle. We’ve all had one or two in our classroom and we want to believe and hope we can “save” them, but at what price to the other students? Clearly, this school is doing everything right and has the best support for children, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. But, what’s going to happen to those children? What in their short time on earth has triggered all this anger and outrageous behavior? It makes me sad! But is the glass half full or half empty? I wish the article had included some success stories of children they had helped.

Books Make Me Happy!
And this shirt makes me happy!! Wouldn’t it make a great caption for a bulletin board?