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Friday, November 30, 2018


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.

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?

Descriptive Writing – Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book for each child. Children think of a title for their books and add their name as author and illustrator. Have them write and complete the following statements on each page:
     (My holiday) smells like…
     (My holiday) looks like…
     (My holiday) sounds like…
     (My holiday) feels like…
     (My holiday) tastes like…

*For younger children run off the sentences and let them dictate sentences.


Preposition Elf – Hide an elf or similar seasonal toy in a different place in the room every day. Encourage children to use complete sentences as they describe where the elf is.

*Let children take turns hiding the toy and calling on friends to describe its location.

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!


Timeline – Give children long pieces of paper so they can make a time line of the “Gingerbread Man.” (I cut my strips from grocery sacks.)
*Read several versions of the “Gingerbread Man” and compare and contrast.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


I was shopping and I saw this on a bag:


Here's a silly holiday parody of my "Banana Dance" (aka Guacamole Song).  It might not "guac" your world, but I hope it will make you smile!

Form the avocado ...
Peel the avocado ...
Guacamole Christmas 

Form the tree 
Trim the tree
Lights to see pretty lights to see

Form the cookies 
Bake the cookies
Eat the cookies

Form the snowball
Roll the snowball 
Build the snowman

Form the house
Decorate the house
Rock the house

Form the stocking 
Hang the stocking 
See the goodies – candy and toy goodies 

Have a happy Christmas, happy happy Christmas
Feel the love
Share the love


Whether you live in Alaska or Florida, everybody loves snowmen!  Here's a finger play, puppet poem, and story you can make this week and you'll be good to go back to school!

Five Little Snowmen Finger Play
Five little snowmen fat.                           (Hold up five fingers.)
Each wore a different hat.
Along came the sun and melted one.           (Bend down one finger.)
Now, what do you think about that?

Four little snowmen fat…                           (Hold up four fingers.)
Cut snowmen out of felt as shown.  Place a different colored hat on each one.  Remove one snowman as each verse is said. 
*Place the flannel board and snowmen in a center so children can practice saying the rhyme and make sets.
*Make a simple flannel board by gluing a piece of felt to the front of a file folder.  Staple the sides.  Store pieces inside and glue a copy of the poem to the back.

Snowman Puppet
Cut a snowman out of heavy paper and decorate with markers.  Cut a circle for the nose the width of your index finger.  Cut another circle the size of your index finger out of a cup.  Match up holes and tape the snowman in place.  Put your hand in the cup and stick your index finger through the hole as you repeat the rhyme below.
A chubby little snowman
Had a carrot for a nose.
Along came a bunny
And what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny
Looking for some lunch
Ate that little snowman’s nose
Nibble, nibble, crunch!  (Slowly pull your finger back into the cup.)
Snowman’s Story
Once there was a beautiful snowman made of white snow.  Along came a red bird one day and the bird said,
Ha, ha, ha,
He, he, he,
You’re the funniest snowman I ever did see.
The snowman said,
Oh, dear, oh, dear,
Oh, me, oh, me!
Why am I the funniest snowman you ever did see?
Well, said the bird, you should be red like me.  Red is such a bright, happy color.
So that night the snowman got some red dye and turned himself red.

The next day along came a yellow duck.
Ha, ha, ha….(The story continues as the snowman dyes himself yellow.)
The next day along came a green frog…
The next day along came blue bug…

The next day the snowman was feeling rather sad.  Just then along came a little girl.  She said, “Why are you so sad?”  The snowman said, “I’ve dyed myself red and yellow and green and blue and I just don’t feel like myself.”  The little girl said, “You are wonderful just the way you are!  Always be yourself!” 
So the snowman blinked his eyes and he was once again the color of snow.  From then on he was happy just being himself.  And that’s why you always see snowmen with happy smiles on their faces.

*Cut a snowman shape out of the front of a file folder.  Insert white, red, yellow, green, blue, and white paper.  Glue the words to the story on the back.  As you tell the story remove the paper to correspond with the story.
Hint!  I painted snow on the file folder with White Out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


I had a great time making this video last year.  I hope they make your children smile!

Sara Lensing adapted these words for the "Santa Hunt" from “The Cool Bear Hunt.” 

Santa Hunt 

Get out your backpacks.
Open ‘em up.
Let’s put in some cookies for Santa and his reindeer.
And, let’s put in a thermos of milk in case he gets thirsty.
Oh. and don’t forget your Christmas lights in case it gets dark.
Zip ‘em up and repeat after me.
(Children repeat each line.)
We’re gonna find Santa (March and slap thighs.)
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly (Extend arms.)
And a long, white beard. (Pull down from chin.)
Look over there! (Point.)
It’s a Candy Cane Forest!
Can’t go over it. (Arms over head.)
Can’t go under. (Arms down low.)
Can’t go around it. (Circle arms.)
I guess we’ll go through it. (Open palms and shrug shoulders.)
Slurp, slurp, slurp! (Pretend to suck on candy cane.)
We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a hot chocolate river.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll swim across it. (Stroke arms as if swimming.)     

We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a gingerbread house!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Yum, yum, yum! (Pretend to eat gingerbread.)
We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s Santa’s workshop.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Shhh! (Finger over lips.)
Get out your Christmas lights. (Pretend to get out lights.)
Turn them on – click.
Let’s set out the cookies and milk.
I see a big, round belly.
And a long, white beard!
It’s Santa!
He-he-he! We can’t let him see us!
Tip toe! (Tiptoe.)
Quick! Go through the gingerbread house! Yum, yum, yum,!
Swim across the hot chocolate river!
Go through the Candy Cane Forest! Slurp, slurp, slurp!
Go home.
Open the door.
Shut the door.
We found Santa.
Merry Christmas to all!

Note!  Each year I buy some inexpensive canvas and let me grandchildren paint a holiday picture.  We date these and they are my favorite decorations.  Some day when they get married I will pass the "gallery" on to them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Here are a few more items I picked up at the dollar store.

Science -Winter Nature center
Materials:  magnifying glass, clip board, paper, pencils, tub
Let children look at the items with a magnifying glass.  Can they make a list of all the items they find in the tub?

Can they write descriptive sentences about what they find?

Gel Stickers
Free play on windows or a mirror. These can also be used on a cookie sheet.

Santa Chair Cover
Those of you who do flexible seating could use this as a special treat.
*Children could sit in the chair and write a letter to Santa.

A Coloring We'll Go
I am the last person in the world who would encourage coloring books over creative art, but the truth is that some kids just like to color. I was working with some child care centers years ago and my rules were no worksheets or coloring sheets and no screen time. I went into a teacher’s room and to my dismay there was a group of girls sitting at a table coloring. They were chatting and have a grand time. The teacher said, “They beg to do worksheets and use coloring books.” Oh, well! So, put a holiday coloring book and crayons in a center as a reward if children finish their work early.  It might entertain them and it certainly will do no harm.

Jingle Bell Club(Kitty Allen)
Kids get to sign their name as members of the “Jingle Bell Club” when they learn to tie their shoes. They also get a jingle bell on a ribbon to tie on their shoe laces.

Monday, November 26, 2018


If you missed my Facebook Live yesterday you can watch me demonstrate 
all of these activities here:

Match and Memory

Materials: stickers or gift cards, heavy paper cut in 3 1/2” squares

Attach 2 of each different sticker to the squares. Younger children can use these as a matching game.

Older children can play a memory game with these by place them face down and turning over two at a time.

Fit Like a Puzzle

Materials: puzzle and frame, marker
Write an uppercase letter on each puzzle piece and a lowercase letter on the shape in the frame. As children match up letters they will complete the puzzle.

*Use for math facts, synonyms, number words, and other skills.

Foam Letters

Materials:  gift bag, foam letters, paper, pencils
Place foam letters in the gift bag.  Children draw a letter, write the letter, and then draw something or write a word that starts with that sound. 

*Hide the letters in the classroom for children to find.  Can they get with a friend and make a word with their letters?

Silly Glasses 

Materials:  silly glasses, paper, pencil, clipboard
Children walk around the room and write words they can read.

*Can they find a word for each letter of the alphabet?

*For a partner project let one child wear the glasses.  The friend takes a pointer and points to words for their friend to read.Book Presents (Danielle Underwood)
Wrap holiday books up like presents. Randomly choose a name out of a popsicle tin and let that child unwrap the present. After reading the book, display it for the children to look at during free time.

Holiday Brain Breaks 
(Sharon Smith)
Have the children stand and in place and

     Melt like a snowman…
     Waddle like a penguin…
     Twinkle like a Christmas tree…
     Prance like a reindeer…
     Laugh like Santa...
     Smile like an elf...

*Adapt for different seasons and themes.


Sunday, November 25, 2018



Keep those little hands busy with these materials.

Cookie Cutters
Materials:  cookie cutters, pencils, scrap paper, scissors
Children trace around the cookie cutters on scrap paper and then cut out with the scissors. 

Children can hole punch and then use the shapes to make ornaments or a necklace.

Paper Plate Sewing Cards
Materials:  holiday plates, hole punch, yarn
Punch holes around the outside of the plates.  Let children “sew” yarn through the holes.

*You can also make sewing cards out of old greeting cards.

Play Dough Writing
Let children make a pancake with the play dough and then write with a golf tee.  This will strengthen those little fingers as they practice writing letters, numbers, shapes, words, etc.

String bells on pipe cleaners and string to make jewelry.

Gifts for the Birds
Materials:  pipe cleaners, cereal with holes
Let children string cereal on pipe cleaners.  Twist the ends to make a circle and hang outside for the birds.

Cut It Out
Materials:  catalogs and advertisements
Put catalogs, coupons, advertisements, etc. in a center with scissors, glue, and paper.
Children can cut out objects they would like to “get or give” and glue them on a paper.

Saturday, November 24, 2018



A package of pompoms, bows, erasers, or other small items and you're set for "merry math."

Materials: pompoms or other small objects


Ask children to sort the pompoms. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way? 

Use the pompoms for making patterns.

Have children estimate the number of each type and then verify by counting.

Math Mat 
Children place the correct amount on the trees.

Match Dot Cards
Pompoms are a perfect one-to-one activity for younger children.

Materials:  foam numbers

Touch and Tell
Place numbers in a bag. Children reach in, feel a number and try to identify what it is. They can take it out to confirm and then write the number.

Number Hunt
Put numbers in a box of Styrofoam packing or sand.  Children search through the Styrofoam packing and color off the numbers as they find them.

Materials:  stamp set

Stamp a pattern, stamp out math facts, or stamp a set.


Materials:  foam dice

Roll of the Dice
Roll them, count them, add them, or let children make up their own games with the dice.

Friday, November 23, 2018


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Yes it is! If you're going shopping this weekend stop by the dollar store and fill up your cart with decorations and "junk."  Over the next few days I'll show you some fun learning centers you can create from inexpensive materials.  I know some schools don’t allow “holidays,” so I tried to focus on a “winter” theme as much as possible. I mean, who can object to winter????


Napkin Books

Materials: holiday napkins, paper, stapler

Cut paper the size of the napkin. Insert 4-6 sheets of paper in the napkin and staple at the top as shown. Place these in the writing center for creative writing.

Note! The front of the napkin could also be used as a story prompt.

Sticker Story

Materials: holiday stickers, paper, pencils, pens

Let children choose a sticker and put it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Challenge them to write a poem or story or draw a picture around the sticker.

Giving Book
Materials: paper, rubber band, seasonal pencil, advertisements and catalogs, scissors, glue

Fold 3 sheets of paper in half. Punch 2 holes about 2 ½” down on the crease side as shown. Insert a rubber band in one hole and slide one end of the pencil through the loop. Slide the other end of the pencil through the other loop. Let children draw or cut out pictures of items they would like to GIVE to family members and friends.

Holiday Card Center


Materials: paper, pencil, envelopes, markers, crayons, stickers, scrap paper, etc.

Place the writing materials in a tub. Make a seasonal picture dictionary similar to the one shown. Add a class directory with students’ names and photos. Teach children how to fold a sheet of paper into fourths to make a basic card. Invite them to make holiday cards for family members and friends.

Note! You could also ask them to make cards for school helpers and volunteers.

Letters to Santa
Some of you may not be able to do this, but an open center where children could write letters to Santa might get them excited about writing. 

Note!  There are several free templates for these letters on the internet.