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Thursday, November 30, 2017


Save your money with "one of a kind" wrapping paper and cards.

Wrapping Paper – With tissue paper, paper plates, paint, and cookie cutters you’ll be all set to create your own wrapping paper.  First, fold a paper towel and place it on a paper plate.  Pour paint on the paper towel.  Let children dip the cookie cutters in the paint and print on the tissue paper.
*Recycle paper grocery sacks to use as wrapping paper.
*Let children paint with pine boughs on newspaper to create wrapping paper.
*Use fruits or vegetable prints to create one of a kind wrapping paper.

Gift Tags – You’ll need card stock, an ink pad, fine tip markers, and ribbon to make these gift cards.  Cut cardstock into 2” x 5” rectangles.  Fold in half.  Children press their thumb on the ink pad and then print on the front of the card.   Let them add details with markers.  Punch a hole and tie on a ribbon.

Holiday Cards
Demonstrate how to fold a sheet of paper in half and then into fourths. Remind children to put the greeting on the front and be sure and sign their name inside.
Holiday Dictionary
Prepare a folder with holiday words children might use in making cards.

Recycle Cards
Ask parents to send in old holiday cards.
Cut off the front and punch holes around the edges to make sewing cards.
Cut into puzzle shapes.
If cards have a relief children can do crayon rubbings.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Here's my Facebook Live video I did on "December Happies" 
if you didn't get to join me yesterday.

Let's get cooking with some of these recipes!

Snowman Soup – You’ll need instant hot chocolate with miniature marshmallows, zip sandwich bags, wrapped candy canes, and red ribbon to make this treat.  Put the package of the instant hot chocolate in the zip bag.  Tie on a candy cane with these directions:
         Here’s a little snowman soup –
         Complete with stirring stick. 
         Add hot water, sip it slow.
         It’ll warm you up real quick!”
Hint!  This would be a great gift for school helpers and volunteers.

Wreath Sandwich - You will need bagels, cream cheese, green food coloring, and fruit loops to make this snack. First, dye the cream cheese green. Spread it on the bagel and add red fruit loops for berries.

Menorah Snack - Children will need a small banana, pretzel sticks, and a piece of red licorice to make this menorah. Peel the banana and insert a piece of red licorice in the middle. Insert 4 pretzel sticks (candles) on either side.
Reindeer Sandwich – You will need bread, peanut butter, pretzel twists, raisins, and a red M & M to make this yummy sandwich.  Cut the bread into two triangles.  Spread peanut butter on the bread and then decorate with raisin eyes and a red candy nose.  Break pretzels in half and add for antlers.
Note!  If children have peanut allergies spread with cream cheese or another topping.

Reindeer Oats - Put a few tablespoons of butter in a flying pan.  Add a few cups of Cheerios and stir over low heat.  Sprinkle with salt.
*You can also sprinkle on cinnamon sugar for a sweet snack.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


(Yeah, I know it's not a good time for some of you, 
but you can watch the recording any time.)

Holiday Cheer (Tune: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas")
Let's all do a little clapping,
let's all do a little clapping.
Let's all do a little clapping
to spread holiday cheer.

Let's all do a little jumping...snapping...blinking...laughing (Let the children suggest different movements. Tie in with the concept of VERBS.)

End by singing:
Let's all do a little smiling,
let's all do a little smiling.
Let's all do a little smiling,
and be kinder this year.

Jingle Bells
Jingle bells, jingle bells, (Pretend to hold bells and shake.)
Jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh. Hey! (Fist in the air.)
Jingle bells, jingle bells, (Pretend to jingle bells.)
Jingle all the way.
What fun it is to ride and sing
In a one horse open sleigh.
*Have children sit on the floor facing the same directions. Demonstrate how to hold the person’s waist in front of you. As you sing the song sway forwards and backwards to the beat as if riding a sleigh.

S A N T A  (Tune: “BINGO”)
There is a jolly bearded man (Put arms out in front of you
And Santa is his name-o. like Santa’s tummy.)
S – A – N – T – A,
S – A – N – T – A,
S – A – N – T – A,
And Santa is his name-o.

He lives at the North Pole… (Clap instead of saying “S.”)
His wears a suit all red and white… (Clap for “S” and “A.”)
He makes toys for girls and boys… (Clap for “S,” “A,” “N.”)
He drives a sleigh with 8 reindeer… (Clap for “S,” “A,” “N,” “T.”)
He’ll visit you on Christmas Eve… (Clap for all letters.)
*Write the letters S A N T A on paper as shown.  On the back of each sheet draw a hand.  Turn over the hands as you sing.

My Dreidel
I have a little dreidel, (Pretend to hold out palm with a dreidel.)
I made it out of clay;
And when it’s dry and ready,
Then dreidel I shall play.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, (Clap as you dance in a circle like a top.)
I made it out of clay.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
Now dreidel we shall play.

Holiday Alphabet
Deck the room with letters and sounds,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la.
Read and use them all year round,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la.
Listen up and then you’ll know,
How the letters and sounds do go.
Start with A and end with Z.
Happy holidays for you and me!
A for angels, /a/ /a/ /a/,
B for bells, /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/
C for candles /c/ /c/ /c/ ...
Kwanzaa – December 26-January 1
Chorus: Kwanzaa is coming
We’ll celebrate with gifts and lights.
Kwanzaa is coming
For seven days and nights.
We’ll unite and come together
With people everywhere.
We’ll work and help each other
To show how much we care. (Chorus)

Hint!  You'll find most of these songs in our "December Happies."  One teacher said she made four copies of each song and put it in the listening center with the book.

Monday, November 27, 2017



Your holiday dilemma is solved! Here are inexpensive, simple, and easy gifts your students can make. You’ll save money as you nurture the true spirit of giving in children. Best of all, these projects will be treasured because they are one of a kind! They are made by the gifted hand of a child!

It’s important to be sensitive to different beliefs children may have this time of year. Gifts don’t have to be for Christmas or Hanukkah ~ you can give someone a gift anytime just because you care about them!

Hint! Make sure that children DO these projects themselves! They need to reflect the children’s individuality and efforts. 

Materials: juice or vegetable can, glue, pasta, spray paint
Directions: Remove the label from the can. Let children glue pasta (bow ties, spirals, macaroni, etc.) around the can. Spray paint gold or silver.
Adaptation: Children can also cover a can with construction paper. Next, let them create a collage on the can with pictures and words cut from magazines.

Materials: wood scraps (4” x 10”), nails, markers, picture hangers
Directions: Let children decorate the wood with markers. Next, let them hammer 4 nails spaced evenly apart. Attach a hanger to the back.

This is similar to the key rack except children attach plastic hooks to hold scarves, belts, and ties.

Materials: paper, markers, pens, construction paper, ribbon
Directions: Each child will need 3 sheets of paper. Cut the paper into fourths to make 12 pages. On each page, children write (or dictate) a different job they could do for their parents, such as set the table, give a back rub, clean their room, etc. Make a cover from construction paper. Hole punch in the upper left hand corner and tie with a ribbon.


Materials: rocks, yarn, glue, markers, felt, wiggly eyes
Directions: Go on a rock hunt and let each child find a special rock. Have children wash their rocks and set them aside to dry. Decorate the rocks with wiggly eyes, markers, yarn hair, etc. Add a piece of felt to the bottom to make a paper weight.
Adaptation: Let children name their rocks and write stories about how to care for them.

Directions: Cut the cardboard roll into 1 ½” sections. Decorate with stickers, yarn, fabric, lace, etc. 
Adaptation: Insert holiday napkins.

Materials:  cardboard, puzzle pieces, glue, photograph
Directions:  Cut cardboard into 4” x 8” picture frames.  Let children glue puzzle pieces around the edges.  Tape a photo to the back.
Adaptations:  Add a magnetic strip to the back so it can be hung on the refrigerator.
Decorate with buttons for mom and say “Cute as a button!”
Decorate with golf tees for dad.
Stack colored craft sticks to make a frame.
Materials:  copy paper, construction paper, crayons, stapler
Directions:         Ask each child to bring a copy of a favorite family recipe from home.  (You could ask parents to send in a recipe for a special dish from their culture, a healthy snack food, a “kid friendly” dish, etc.)   Have each child decorate his page with a black pen.  Run off copies for each child, and then put them in a construction paper cover to make a recipe book.
Adaptation:  You could also let each child dictate how to make the recipe her parents have sent in.  Put her version at the bottom of the page.
Materials:         old shoes, gallon of school glue, old paint brush, gold spray paint
Directions:  Ask each child to bring in one old shoe.  Pour the school glue in a disposable container, and then let them paint the glue all over their shoe.  (Inside, outside, all over!)  Dry for several days on wax paper.  Have children paint glue all over their shoe a second time.  Dry.  Spray paint gold or silver.
Adaptations:  Stick a sprig of holly in the shoe or add this poem: 
Here is my little shoe. 
I made it just for you. 
When I’m grown and tall,
you can remember me small.

Materials:  burlap, felt scraps, glue
Directions:  Cut burlap into 8” x 3” strips.  Let children unravel ½” from all four sides.  Cut flowers or other shapes from felt and glue on the burlap.
Adaptation:  Children could also use plastic needles to sew yarn designs on burlap bookmarks.

Materials:  pipe cleaners, letter beads
Directions:  Let children string beads on a pipe cleaner.  (They can do initials, names, or a pattern.)  Twist the ends and you’ll have a perfect bag tag.
Materials:  cardstock, black felt tip pen
Directions:  Cut an 8 ½ x 11” piece of paper in half.  Fold in half and ask child to draw a picture of her family with a felt tip pen on the front.  Open and place two pictures at a time on the copy machine.  Make 5-10 copies on cardstock.  Cut apart, fold, and tie with a decorative ribbon.         
Materials:          1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, ½ cup water, ornament hangars
Directions:         Mix all the ingredients together to make the dough.  Let the children mold the dough or flatten so it is ½” thick and cut with cookie cutters.  (Use a straw to punch a hole for a hangar.)  Let the dough dry for a day.  Turn the dough over and dry another day.  Paint with tempera paint and spray with shellac.
Adaptation:           Dissolve 2 Tb. instant coffee in ½ cup hot water and add to the flour and salt.  Your ornaments will look like gingerbread cookies.
Hint!          Shorten drying time by baking in a 250° oven for 5-10 minutes.

Materials:         white tube socks, fiber fill, rubber bands, markers, felt scraps, wiggly eyes, and other craft accessories

Directions:  Have children fill the bottom of the sock with 3 large fists of fiberfill.  Put a rubber band around this section.  Put two fists full of fiberfill in and then put a rubber band around the middle section.  Put one fist full of fiberfill in to make the head and put a rubber band.  Pull the top cuff of the sock over the head to look like a hat.  Decorate with wiggly eyes, felt scarf, yarn hair, etc.  Draw on a mouth and buttons with markers.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Someone once told me that ringing bells make you happy.  Sounds good to me!  I'm tying bells on my shoes and I'm ready to "jingle all the way."  And, WHAT FUN WE ALL WILL HAVE TUESDAY NIGHT ON FACEBOOK LIVE AT  FIVE O'CLOCK!

Sleigh Riding – Have children sit on the floor facing the same directions.  Demonstrate how to hold the person’s waist in front of you.  As you sing "Jingle Bells" sway forwards and backwards to the beat as if riding a sleigh.

Bell Bracelets – Let children thread several jingle bells on a pipe cleaner.  Twist the ends together to make a bracelet children can shake as you sing.

Jingle Bell Painting - You will need an empty cheese ball container or similar cylinder shape with a lid. Cut a piece of paper so you can roll it and put it in the cylinder. Take two jingle bells. Drop one in red paint and the other in green paint. Use a spoon to transfer the bells to the can. Put on the lid, then shake up the can as you sing “Jingle Bells.” Take out the paper and you’ll have a jingle bell painting!

Candy Canes

This is a craft idea that you can use to decorate your classroom.  Take a square sheet of paper (8 1/2" x 8 1/2" works well) and color around the edges with a red marker or crayon.  (Demonstrate how to cut a square by folding up the bottom edge to the side to make a triangle.  Cut off the top and you'll always have a square.)  Put a pencil at a bottom point and roll up as shown.  Tape the end, remove the pencil, and use as a pointer or decoration.
*Use the candy cane as a prompt for descriptive writing.  Children could also brainstorm creative ways to use candy canes or write original stories about how candy canes were invented.

Candy Cane Book
Fold 3 sheets of paper in half.  Punch holes about 2" from the top as shown.  Take a rubber band and insert it through one hole and slide one end of the candy cane through the loop.  Insert the rubber band in the other hole and slide the other end of the candy cane through that loop.

*Make a similar book with a holiday pencil.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Don't let standards be the Grinch and steal away your fun this month. Take a look at some of these ideas I’ve got for you!

Sight Words- Each day let children write a high frequency word on a strip of paper and glue the ends to make a link in a chain. They can practice reading over previous words each day as they add a new word and link.
Hint! You could also use this activity to introduce a new vocabulary word every day. Adjectives abound this time of year.
Snowman Math - Give children the outline of a snowman similar to the one shown. They can take buttons or other manipulatives and place sets in the top two sections. Join them together in the bottom circle to make the sum. Ask students to write the equation.

*Give children a certain number of buttons. How many different combinations can the make on the snowman to come up with the same sum?

Read, Read, Fast as You Can!  You Can Do It!  We Know You Can!
I saw this delightful bulletin board several years ago.  What an engaging way to get children to read sight words!

Don't Throw that Catalog Away!

Recycle catalogs and advertisements by integrating a cut and paste activity with skills you want to reinforce.  
Letters - Find things with a particular sound.
Shapes - Cut out geometric shapes they find.
Words - Cut out words that they can read. 
*Can they find words and make a sentence?

Friday, November 24, 2017


You're still eating Thanksgiving leftovers and it's already time to think about December lesson plans.  Over the next week I’ll post art projects, gifts children can make, recipes, and lots of FUN ideas.  Join me for LIVE at  FIVE on Monday where I'll demonstrate these projects and sing you a song or two.

Note!  If you do not celebrate holidays in your schools, feel free to adapt these projects. 

*You can trace around their hands and cut them out, or let children dip their hands in paint and print.  You could also use fabric paint and make holiday shirts with their handprints.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


I am grateful for you! I am not sure who wrote this or where it came from, but it just seemed appropriate on this Thanksgiving Day.

Today is a day of blessing.

I bless you.

I bless your heart.

I bless your life.

I bless your health.

I bless your home.

I bless your family.

I bless your work.

I bless your spiritual life.

I bless your finances and all your projects!

May your day overflow with blessings!

With love,