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Thursday, January 31, 2019


Children will be thrilled with a little heart pointer.  Let them choose a sticker and attach it to the end of a craft stick.  They can use it to read, identify letters, shapes, and so forth.


A Little Gift
This is a simple Valentine gift that parents will treasure. Let children wrap a small box or a piece of Styrofoam with wrapping paper and a ribbon. (It would be extra special if the children designed their own wrapping paper.) Add this note:

Here is a little gift
That you can never see.
The reason it’s so special,
It’s just for you from me.
Whenever you are lonely,
Or even feeling blue,
You only have to hold this box
And know I think of you.
Please never unwrap it,
And leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold the box close to your heart,
It’s filled with love inside.

Valentine for Parents - Let each child take off one shoe and trace around her foot on white paper. Cut it out. Give each child 5 small pieces of red tissue paper to wad up and glue at the end of each toe for toenails. Write “I love you from my head down to my toes” on the foot.

*You can also make thumbprint cards or handprint cards for parents.

Check out my video to watch me demonstrate activities for February:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


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.
*Download this book at

Chocolate Play Dough

Make play dough using your favorite recipe. Omit the food coloring and let the children knead the dough in cocoa. It will look and smell like chocolate. Purchase a box of valentine candies and remove/eat the candies. Children can roll up the dough and put them in the paper containers.
Valentine Sandwich 

You will need a heart shaped cookie cutter, bread, cream cheese, and red food coloring to make this sandwich. Mix the cream cheese with red food coloring until it is pink. Cut a heart out of the bread with the cookie cutter. Spread on the cream cheese.

Love Is… 
Do a language experience chart where each child completes the sentence, “Love is…” You could also make a class book where each child completes the sentence “Love is…” and draws things that she loves.

Predictable Books 

Have children make blank books using one of these titles: Love is… I love… Happiness is… A friend is… My favorite things to love… Things I love from A to Z.

Heart Critters

Give children several choices of hearts in different colors. Children glue them on a sheet of paper and add details with markers to make imaginary critters. Ask them to think of a name for their critter.

King Kong (The more dramatic you are, the better the kids will like it and get engaged!  Say “King Kong” in a loud deep voice & “teeny tiny monkey” in a squeaky little voice.)
         KING KONG (Flex arms.)
         Was just a teeny tiny monkey (Hold up pinky.)
         Compared to my love for you. (Cross arms over chest and then extend.)
         KING KONG (Flex arms.)
         Was just a teeny tiny monkey (Hold up pinky.)
         Compared to my love for you. (Cross arms over chest and then extend.)
         I love you day (Make circle with arms.)
         And night. (Lay head on hands.)
         My love is out of sight. (Hands in air.)
         KING KONG (Flex arms.)
         Was just a teeny
         Tiny monkey (Hold up pinky.)

         Compared to my love for you! (Softly say this line as you point to children.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Note: If you are at a school that doesn’t observe holidays, you can easily adapt these ideas for writing or math standards.

Special Delivery 
You will need a gift bag or cloth bag for this game.  Write "Special Delivery" on the bag. 
 Write each child’s name on an envelope and place it in the mailbag. One child is “it” and skips around the room as you sing the song below. At the end of the song, “it” reaches in the bag and chooses an envelope. “It” delivers the envelope to that child and they exchange places. The game continues until each child has had a turn and received an envelope. 

The Mailman's on His Way (Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”) 
The mailman's on his way.
The mailman's on his way.
He's bringing lots of Valentines,
I hope he comes my way.

*Change to "maillady" and "her way" when a girl has the bag.

Hint!  Just use first names for younger children.  Write first and last names for older students.

Five Little Cookies 
(Hold up 5 fingers to begin.)
Down around the corner at the bakery shop
Five little cookies with sprinkles on top.
Along came (child’s name) with a penny one day.
He/she bought one cookie and ate it right away!

*Make cookies out of felt or fun foam. Pass out pennies to five children have them exchange their penny for a cookie when their name is called.
(I used puff fabric paint to make my sprinkles.)

Heart Puzzle
Cut 4" circles out of red paper. Cut 4" squares out of red paper. Give each child a circle and a square. Demonstrate how to fold the circle in half and cut on the crease to make two half circles (aka semi-circles). Can the children make a heart from the two halves and the square? 

Valentine Concentration
Cut 4” squares out of red poster board.  Take duplicates of valentine stickers and place them on the squares. Mix up the squares and place them face down on the carpeting. Play a memory game where children turn over two squares at a time and try to match up like stickers.

Here's the youtube link where you can watch me demonstrate these projects:

Monday, January 28, 2019


You gotta LOVE February and Valentine's Day if you are a teacher!  And I'll help you with your February lesson plans over the next few days with ideas that you will LOVE!

Text Talk
Conversation hearts were the beginning of text talk. According to a little research on the web, “Sweetheart” candies have been around since 1901. In the past decade the sayings have been updated with phrases such as “TEXT Me” and “LOL.” Although over 100 years old, it’s good to see these little candies alive and well. Here are some adaptations for using them as a springboard for learning.
Sweetheart Math 
Conversation hearts are good to sort, count, read, pattern, add, subtract, and eat!
*Estimate how many will be in a bag. Count. Graph the ones that are the same.                                           

Matching Game
Make a game by cutting paper hearts out of construction paper. Write like phrases found on candy hearts (such as “Kiss Me, “Cool One,” “WOW!” “Cutie Pie”) on two of the 
hearts. Glue one to a file folder and then have children match and read the ones that go together.

Heart Necklace
Let children make their own paper hearts, hole punch them, and then string them to make a necklace.  Encourage them to think of their own phrases they would put on candies.  (WOW! Trace, write, hole punch, and string - lots of small motor skills!)

Bringing Home a Valentine
(Tune: “Baby Bumblebee”)
I’m bringing home a valentine for you, (Cup hands and move them to
One that says, “I love you.” the beat in front of your body.)
I’m bringing home a valentine for you
With a great big hug, and a (kiss) (kiss), too! (Hug self and then kiss
              in the air.)
*Download this book to go with the song at

Mouse Bookmark – Cut a heart about the size of a child’s hand from red construction paper.  Fold in half. Open. Tape a 6” piece of string in the middle. Glue closed. Draw a nose, whiskers, and ears on the heart as shown to make it look like a mouse. Use for a bookmark.

Here's a video where you can watch me demonstrate these activities:

Sunday, January 27, 2019


Who will you be cheering for this year in the Super Bowl?  I'm going to be cheering for all the yummy snacks!  I read that people consume more calories Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year.  Bring on the chips!

You can also integrate math, vocabulary, art, and physical skills this week with a Super Bowl theme.

Survey Says 
Let children do surveys (classroom, at home, etc.) to find out which team others think will win the Super Bowl. 

“Offensive,” “Defensive,” “Penalty,” “Referee,” “Substitution,” “Huddle” …How many football terms can you think of that might be meaningful to learn?

Jersey Math
Let children choose their favorite player’s number and write it on a paper jersey. How many facts can they think of that equal that number?


Starting Line Up 
At the beginning of the day let children make two lines facing each other. Introduce one child at a time and let them run through the two lines as their friends give them high five and cheer.

Good Job
At the end of the day make a huddle and say, “Good job, team!”

How many players on each team? How many players in all?
How long is a football field?
How many points for a touchdown? Field goal? Safety?
How long is a quarter? How long is the entire game?
How many yards in a first down?

Let children estimate what they think the total score will be. After the game determine who guessed more – less - the closest?

Team Colors and Mascots
What are Denver’s team colors? What are Carolina's’s team colors?
Let children draw pictures and write stories about the different mascots.

Put out the scrap box and let children make pennants, hats, pompoms, and other paraphernalia.

Football Practice Game
Cut footballs out on the fold similar to the one shown. Write math facts on the front and the answer inside.
*These can be used for phonics, numerical order, question and answers, etc.

Brainstorm what players have to do to get ready for the game. Emphasize the importance of good nutrition, exercise, and studying the playbook. These are all things that are important to good students as well!!!

Circuit Training 

Here’s a super way to get some exercise when the weather is bad. Write exercises similar to the ones below on construction paper and tape them around the room. Divide children into groups of 2 or 3 and have them start at a station. Put on some music with a good beat. Time the children for one minute at each station and then say, “Switch!” Groups rotate in a circle around the room until they have completed each station.
*tire run (feet apart and arms out as you run in place)
*throw and catch (pretend to throw overhead and then catch a football)
*scissor jump (jump crossing legs right and then left)
*balance (stand on one leg)
*passing run (run in place as fast as you can)
*jump and catch (jump up in the air as you pretend to catch the ball)
*toe touch (touch toes and then hands in the air)
*squats (arms out front as you bend legs up and down)
*jumping jacks (jump out with arms up and then jump in with arms down)
*jump rope (pretend to jump rope in place)
*silent cheer leaders (jump and cheer without making any noise)

What does "NFL" stand for? Download a copy of the team logos (Mr. Google will help you) and make a visual matching game or memory game.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


Well, you won't be at school this Saturday, February 2nd, for Groundhog Day, but don't forget to mention this little furry friend this week.

Here's a video where you can watch me demonstrate these activities:

Groundhog Day – February 2nd
(Tune: “Say, Say, My Playmate” Happy Everything CD)
February 2nd, (Hold up 2 fingers.)
Is Groundhog Day.
Gather round his hole (Make circular motion.)
To hear what he’ll say. (Place hand by ear.)
Will spring be early
Or late this year?
Watch and listen
To what you’ll hear.

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with one hand.)
On a sunny day (Stick the index finger from the other hand
His shadow will frighten him (up through the hole and wiggle.)
And he will say,
“I’ll go back in my hole (Tuck finger in your fist.)
And go back to sleep.
You’ll have winter
For six more weeks.”

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with fist and stick up finger.)
On a cloudy day
He’s not frightened
So he will say, (Wiggle finger.)
“I think I’ll stay out
And the weather should clear.
Spring will be here
Early this year.”
*You can download the book at

Cup Puppet 

Let children draw a groundhog or download one off the internet. Staple to a straw. Punch a hole in the bottom of a paper cup and insert the straw in the cup. Raise and lower the groundhog as appropriate in the song.

Sidewalk Shadows 
Go outside on a sunny day and have children stand with their backs to the sun. Let them make silly motions and play “Guess what I am?” Give them chalk and let them trace around each other’s shadows.
*Draw shadows at 10, 12, and 2 and compare.

*Play shadow tag where they try to touch each other's shadows.

Where’s the Groundhog?
Cut twenty 4” squares out of heavy paper. Write high frequency words, math facts, letters, numerals, etc. on the cards. Glue a picture of a groundhog on a 3" circle. Have the children sit on the floor in a circle. Mix up the cards and place them face up on the floor. Identify the numeral (etc.) on each card as you place it down on the floor. Tell the children to turn around. Hide the groundhog under one of the squares. Children turn back around and try and guess where the groundhog is hiding. One at a time children call out a number and then “peek” to see if the groundhog is under it. The first child to find the groundhog gets to have a turn hiding it. The game continues as children hide the groundhog and then try to discover his whereabouts.
Invite children to dramatize the groundhog peeping out of his hole. What if it's sunny? What if it's cloudy?

Note! Visit for more great ideas!

Friday, January 25, 2019


I'm giving you a heads up on this special day because it might 
take a week or two for you to organize it.  Even if your school 
won't do a full day, wouldn't it be AWESOME for the kids to 
have one hour just to be kids and PLAY?  

Hint!  This might be a great opportunity to get some of your parents who are frustrated with academics involved.

February 6, 2019

Let’s give children a break from “rigor” and “instructional time” and give them the opportunity to do what is becoming a lost art – PLAY!  

In his TEDx lecture, Peter Gray clearly argues the case that today's kids do not grow up playing and this has negatively impacted them in many ways. It's time we return the gift of play to this generation.

February 4, 2015, was the first annual Global School Play Day and it has grown rapidly. They are hoping to reach 500,000 students this year and you can join in on the fun!

How do you make this happen? Personally, I would get my families and parent organizations involved. (Administrators might listen to them more than to you or me.)

Here are some other tips I learned from the website:

1. EDUCATE Remind parents and administrators about the benefits of play. (There are some good videos on the GSPD website.)

2. GET SOCIAL Use social media to encourage other schools to get involved. #GSPD2017.

3. CALL FOR TOYS Tell your students they can bring anything they want to school to play with on February 1st. (No electronic devices or toys with batteries!)

Don't organize
Don't tell them how to play
Don't interfere

5. SHARE AND REFLECT Share pictures, ideas, and reflections after the event. Encourage students to talk to their parents about the day and continue to PLAY at home.


Come on everybody! Let's all PLAY on February 6th!

Thursday, January 24, 2019


If you want a joke today, I’ve got some winter riddles and knock knocks for you. If you don’t want to hear a joke, just delete this and I’ll be back tomorrow.

Note!  Telling jokes to your class is a fun way to develop language skills (double meanings and phonological awareness) and help your students "think outside the box."  A good idea is to ask students who "get" the jokes to "think out loud" and explain their thought process to classmates.  It's a natural way to help slower students scaffold to a higher level.
What did the snowman have for breakfast?
Frosted Snowflakes

What is a snowman’s favorite snack?
Ice Krispy treats.

What’s it called when a snowman has a temper tantrum?
A meltdown.
What do snowmen wear on their heads?
Ice caps.

Where do snowmen go to dance?
The snowball.
Where do snowmen keep their money?
In a snow bank.

What do snowmen like to do on the weekend?
Chill out.

How do you scare a snowman?
Pull out a hairdryer.
How do you know that a snowman crawled into your bed with you?
You wake up wet and there’s a carrot on your pillow.

What do you call a snowman in the summer?
A puddle!

What does Jack Frost like best about school?
Snow and tell.
How did Jack Frost get to work?
By icicle.

Why did the boy keep his trumpet out in the snow?
Because he liked cool music.
Who's there?
Snow who?
Snow one at home at my house.

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Emma who?
Emma bit cold out here - let me in!
Knock, knock! 
Who's There?
Accordian who?
Accordian to the weather channel, its going to snow tomorrow!

Knock, Knock! 
Who’s there? 
Ken who? 
Ken I come in?  It’s cold out here.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Atch who?
Bless you! 
Knock, knock
Who's there?
Icy who?
Icy you! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Someone recently remarked at a conference that TEACHERS ARE GOOD PIRATES.  YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHO TO PIRATE FROM!

I hope you visit my blog and "steal," "borrow," and "adapt" when you need a new idea!
Sight Word Hunt (Amanda Sterner)
Write sight words on jumbo craft sticks and store them in a cup in the classroom library.  Invite children to choose a stick and then find that word in books they are reading.

Letter Hunt
Do a similar activity with younger children by having them look for letters in a book. Write letters on jumbo craft sticks or use letter pops (magnetic letters glued to craft sticks).


Superhero Yoga (Charley Schillinger)
Superman – Do a plank.
Wonder Woman – Sit in an invisible chair.
Spiderman – Feet together and squat.
Batman – Arms out and one leg up.

You’re on a Roll Cheer(Shelby Steele)
Say, “You’re on a roll!” as you roll your arms back and forth.

Air Writing(Lisa Callis)
Go from large to small as you practice air writing letters, numerals, shapes, etc.
Stick out one arm and write with your finger.
Hold your shoulder with the opposite hand as you write with one finger.
Hold your elbow and write.
Hold your wrist and write.
Hold finger and write. 


Ten Little Everything (Karen Foley)
Adapt "Ten Little Indians" for every topic or holiday in the year.
"1 little, 2 little” for penguins, snowmen, hearts, butterflies, etc.
     1 little, 2 little, 3 little penguins,
     4 little, 5 little, 6 little penguins,
     7 little, 8 little, 9 little penguins at the South Pole (or at the store, or on the farm, etc.)
Itsy Bitsy Spider (Sharon Howard)
After singing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” let children change what kind of spider it is. It could be happy, mad, mean, angry, silly, pretty princess, etc. Then children decide how that spider would go up the waterspout.

Preschool Clubs (Laney Brightbill)
Make posters that describe self-help skills. Once children can do they skill they get to add their picture and name to the club. For example:
-Button club
-Zipper club
-Glove club
-Shoe tying club
-Jacket club

Doubles Don’t Give Me Trouble (Sarah Jackson)
(Tune: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”)
1 + 1= 2, 2 + 2 = 4, 3 + 3 = 6, 4 + 4 = 8, 5 + 5 = 10, 6 + 6 = 12
Now I know my doubles,
They don’t give me any trouble.
7 + 7 =14, 8 + 8 = 16, 9 + 9 = 18, 10 + 10 = 20, 11 + 11 = 22, 12 + 12 = 24

ARITHMETIC (Bridget Weaver)
This mnemonic device will help you remember how to spell arithmetic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Opposite Day is January 25, but it could add a smile to any cold, dreary day.

Good-Bye and Hello
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!!!

Opposite Song (Tune: “Shortnin’ Bread”)
We can do opposites, opposites, opposites.
We can do opposites follow me.
Top and bottom… (Touch top of head and bottom of foot.)
Front and back… (Touch tummy and then back.)
Happy and sad… (Smile and then frown.)
Left and right… (Hold up left hand and then right.)
Up and down… (Point up and then down.)
Loud and soft… (Say, “Loud,” loud and “soft,” soft.)
Open and shut… (Open and shut hands.)
Stand and sit…and put them in your lap! (Stand and then sit and put hands in lap.)

Let children suggest other opposites you could sing in the song.

Opposite Game
Whatever the teacher says, the students do the opposite. For example if the teacher says “cry” the children laugh. If the teacher says “up” the children point down.

Have children fold a sheet of paper in half and illustrate opposites. Use a T-chart to identify antonyms.

Take photos of children acting out antonyms and use them to make a class book.

Hint! Introduce the word “antonym” and explain that it means the same thing as “opposite.”

Backwards Day January 31st
You can also celebrate Backwards Day on January 31st by reading a book backwards, walking backwards, wearing your shirt backwards, saying a poem backwards, etc. 

Monday, January 21, 2019


January 21st is National Hugging Day, but I think it should be changed to National Hugging MONTH! Could anything be better than a hug on a cold winter day?

If your school is cautious about hugging, demonstrate how to give a hug in sign language by making fists with your hands and wrapping your arms around your chest.

How about a “hall hug”? Cross index and middle fingers and wiggle.

An “eye hug” is a good way to greet visitors to your classroom. Children squeeze their eyes as they wrap their arms around themselves and then open them up and share the hug.


A “hand hug” can be done by placing your palm next to a partner’s palm. Wrap your thumbs around, squeeze, look in your partner’s eyes, and smile!


Someone told me that a “rainbow hug” is when you hug yourself, make a wish, and send love to someone far away.

Can your students think of other ways to give a hug?

Discuss why we hug people. How does it make you feel when someone hugs you?

For a writing activity ask your students to make a list of all the people they’d like to give a hug.

Give children a paper plate and ask them to draw their face on it. Let them trace around their hands and cut them out. Give them two strips of paper (12” x 2 ½”) for arms. They can glue the arms to the paper plate and then attach the hands. Use the “hugs” for a bulletin board or let children give them to someone special.

Here’s a great big hug from me to you today!!!