photo 3am_dj_home_zps919fb85e.png photo 3am_dj_about_zps7cce4c75.png photo 3am_dj_website_zps73051235.png photo 3am_dj_ss_zps6759ec2a.png photo 3am_dj_bs_zps43e27832.png

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Is it St. Patty's Day or St. Paddy's Day? Well, Mr. Google says:

Paddy is derived from the Irish, Pádraig: the source of those mysterious, emerald double-Ds. Patty is the diminutive of Patricia, or a burger. There isn't an Irish person that would refer to a Patrick as “Patty”. It's as simple as that.

St Patrick’s Day!
(Tune: “Sweet Molly Malone”- Happy Everything CD) 
On the 17th of March (Point heels on opposite feet as if doing a jig.) 
About when spring starts 
The lassies and leprechauns 
Come out to play. 
We’ll find four-leafed clovers (Hold up 4 fingers.) 
And wear green all over, (Move hands over clothing.) 
And that’s how we’ll celebrate (Put hand in the air as if cheering.) 
St. Patrick’s Day! 

The legends of old 
Say there’re pots of gold (Extend arms in a circle.) 
A’ sparkling and shining (Open and close fingers to make sparkles.) 
At each rainbow’s end. 
The leprechauns know (Point to brain.) 
Right where to go, 
So if you see a leprechaun (Hand over eyes as if searching.)
Make him your friend! 

On the 17th of March 
About when spring starts 
The lassies and leprechauns 
Come out to play. 
We’ll find four-leafed clovers 
And wear green all over, 
And that’s how we’ll celebrate 
St. Patrick’s Day! 

                                        *You can download the book at

Rainbow Wand
Cut the rim off a paper plate and cut in half as shown. Let children color it like a rainbow and then attach tissue paper streamers. They can use their rainbows as they dance and sing.

Did You Ever See a Lassie?
(Traditional Tune)
Children form a circle as you explain that a "lassie" is a girl and a "laddie" is a boy. A girl is chosen to be the "lassie." She gets in the middle of the circle and makes a funny motion that the others must mimic as you sing. The girl then chooses a "laddie" to stand in the middle and make a motion. The game continues as girls and boys take turns leading in the game.

     Did you ever see a lassie, a lassie, a lassie?
     Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that?
     Go this way and that way,
     Go this way and that way.
     Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that?

     Did you ever see a laddie...

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


March winds will be blowing soon.  Here's some ideas to put in your lesson plans for next month.

Five Little Kites 
One, two, three, four, five little kites (Hold up fingers as you count.) 
Flying up in the sky (Fly fingers in the air.)
Said “hi” to the clouds as they passed by, (Pretend to wave to clouds.)
Said “hi” to the birds, said “hi” to the sun, (Wave.)
Said “hi” to the airplanes, oh what fun. (Wave.)
Then “swish” went the wind, (Move hand down in a
And they all took a dive: swooping motion.)
One, two, three, four, five. (Hold up fingers one at a time and count.)
*Download this book on my website.

Paper Plate Kite
Cut the inner section out of a paper plate. Decorate the rim with markers. Glue tissue paper streamers to one side. Punch a hole and tie a piece of string on the other side. Go outside and run to make your kite fly. 

Kite Experiments 
Let children make kites out of lunch sacks, plastic bags, and other materials. Have them predict which one will fly best. Experiment to see which one is best. Why did some work better than others?
*This might be a good family project.

Kite Tales

Ask each child to write a story about what it would be like to be a kite. What could you see? What could you hear? How would you feel? What would you do? 

Lion or Lamb? 
Explain the quote, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Every day ask children what kind of day it is, and then let them color a “lion” or a “lamb” on the calendar. Graph "lion" and "lamb" days and compare at the end of the month.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


How about a brain break today?  You probably all know the song "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."  You'll be surprised how much exercise you get as you stand up or sit down every time you say a word that starts with the /b/ sound.  Join me on this video.

Warning! One teacher said her kids loved it so much they kept begging to do it over and over. She said she could hardly walk up the stairs when she got home!

My Bonnie Bounce (Tune: “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean”)
My Bonnie (Stand up.)
Lies over the ocean.
My Bonnie (Sit down.)
Lies over the sea.
My Bonnie (Stand up.)
Lies over the ocean.
Oh, bring (Sit down.)
Back (Stand up.)
My Bonnie (Sit down.)
To me.
Bring (Stand up.)
Back (Sit down.)
Bring (Stand up.)
Back (Sit down.)
Oh, bring (Stand up.)
Back (Sit down.)
My Bonnie (Stand up.)
To me, to me.
Bring (Sit down.)
Back (Stand up.)
Bring (Sit down.)
Back (Stand up.)
Oh, bring (Sit down.)
Back (Stand up.)
My Bonnie to me. (Sit down.)

A little faster…
Super fast…

Play other alliteration games where children jump up, hop, squat or do other movements when you say a word that starts with a particular sound.
*Have children listen for similar sounds in “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” “If Peter Piper Pecked a Peck,” and other rhymes.

Name Games
Think of an adjective for the beginning sound in each child’s name. For example: Sunny Sarah, Laughing Leon, or Helpful Hannah.

Days of the Week
Think of an adjective each day of the week. For example: Marvelous Monday, Terrific Tuesday, etc.

Sound Substitution
Substitute the beginning sound in children’s names when you sing the “Happy Birthday” song. On Tasha’s birthday it would be:
Tappy tirthday to tu…

Monday, February 25, 2019


I’m speaking at the New Jersey Kindergarten Conference this morning and I’ll be making pompoms that they can SHAKE AND TAKE back to their classrooms to help kids learn. “If you want to catch a rabbit, you have to have a rabbit trap.”  These pompoms are a great example of a “rabbit trap” that will capture children’s interest as the move and learn.

Directions: Draw lines from the top of the lunch sack to the bottom flap about ½” apart. Let children decorate their bags, and then cut down on the lines. Place the flap face down on the table and roll. Wrap a rubber band around the bottom section to make a handle. (You can also use tape to secure the handle.) “Squinch” the strips and shake like pompoms.

Letter Aerobics Put pompoms in the air for letters that start at the top dotted line, out in front of you for letters that start at the middle dotted line, and down low for letters with a tail that go below the line. 
*Spell sight words using Letter Aerobics.

Cheer Words 
Move and shake pompoms as you spell out names or high frequency words. “Give me a G. ‘G’ I’ve got a G, you’ve got a Give me an O. ‘O’ I’ve got an O, you’ve got an O. Give me a T. ‘T’ I’ve got a T, you’ve got a T. What’s it spell? GOT!” 

Use for “Who Let the Letters Out?”, “Phonercise,” “The Vowel Cheer” and other letter chants and songs.

Invisible Writing 
Write letters, numbers, and words in the air with pompoms. (Children call this “air brush” writing!)

Clap out syllables in words using pompoms.

Compound Words 

Extend pompoms and say each word; then bring together and say the compound word. 

Sing this song to the tune of "Skip to My Lou" as you shake pompoms. 
        Sun (shake right)
        Fun (shake left)
        Those words rhyme.        Sun (shake right)
        Fun (shake left)
        Those words rhyme.
        Sun (shake right)
        Fun (shake left)
        Those words rhyme.
        They all end with "un."
*Continue using other words that rhyme.

Use pompoms for choral reading as children make these motions for punctuation marks.       
        Period – Pompom held up like “stop.”
        Question Mark – Touch head with pompom and shrug shoulders.
        Exclamation Point – Pompom up high and shake.


Clap out math patterns and have children repeat or extend.

Karate Counting 

Pretend to chop from left to right as you count.

Skip Counting 

March and shake pompoms as you skip count. 

Math Facts

Hands in the air and say a number.  Touch heads and say "plus" or "minus."  Touch waist and say another number.  Touch knees and say "equals."  Touch floor and say the answer.

Positional Words  

Have children follow directions with their pompoms. Can you put them on your head? Can you put them behind you? Can you put them between your knees? 

Partner Patty Cake 
Have children choose a partner. Let them say rhymes, the alphabet, or count as they patty cake.

Simon Says 

Can children play this game and follow directions with their pompoms? 

Hint!  Take up pompoms and save them in a tub or bag in between activities.

Sunday, February 24, 2019


I was in Georgetown, Texas, last week with some AWESOME teachers. Several of them had these prompt cards on their name lanyards. 


I thought it was very clever and a great classroom management tool. They told me that they got the cards on Well, I went there and I was impressed!

The Texas Autism Circuit might have created tools and techniques for students on the autism spectrum, but I guarantee you that these would be useful in any classroom. They explain how and when to use the tools and give you printable templates and resources.

Here’s a sample of what they have - FREE of course!

Behavior cue cards to reinforce verbal directions or quietly redirect a student.

First/then cards to use as a visual support for transitions.


Take a break card for when students might need a break or if they seem frustrated.


But wait, there’s more!!!

You’ll find ideas for collecting data, 

                           helping children with time management,


                                                                                  and other social skills!


Special thanks to Frost Elementary Pre-K and PPCD teachers!  

Saturday, February 23, 2019


February 23rd is a big day if you are a dog because it's INTERNATIONAL DOG BISCUIT APPRECIATION DAY.  I don’t have a pup anymore, but I bought a box of dog biscuits to celebrate the day. (I gave the treats to my neighbor’s dog.)

Make a “Woof! Woof” game. Cut out dog bones and write sight words, math facts, letters, etc. on them. On a few write “Woof! Woof!” Pass the box around and let each child pull out a bone and identify the information. If they select “Woof! Woof!” they have to get down on the floor on all fours and bark like a dog. (They love it!)

Use the dog biscuits for math activities. Add, subtract, make sets, sort… This dog dish with two sections is perfect for tens and ones or onsets and rimes.


Make a book about pets. Cut the front and back off the box and cut paper the size of the box. Give each child a sheet of paper so they can draw a picture of their pet and write or dictate a sentence about it. (If they don’t have a pet they can draw a picture of a pet they would like to have.) Put their pictures between the covers of the box, hole punch, and you’re ready to read. 


Puppy Chow Snack
This may not be the healthiest snack, but the kids sure will get a kick out of it.

9 cups Rice Chex™, Corn Chex™ or Chocolate Chex™ cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Measure cereal and set aside.
In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Friday, February 22, 2019


Sometimes I just can't think of new topics for my blogs.  I mean, after eight years I feel like I've shared everything I know.  That's when I search for "leftovers" from previous blogs.  I posted this one in 2012, but it's just as pertinent today - maybe even more so!  It fits right in with SEL - social emotional learning.  It's great that this is a take home activity, but the ideas would work equally well as a group activity at school.

There was a time when puppets were as important in our classrooms as smart boards. Something magical happened when the little scrap of cloth or fur went on your hand – it became REAL! Puppets were a vehicle for language, problem solving, creativity, and FUN! Last Saturday at the NJAKE Conference (New Jersey Association for Kindergarten Educators) I met many wonderful teachers including Jo-Ann Stamile. She reminded me about the value of puppets with a social skills take home activity she created from old fabric her grandmother left her. I was intrigued and asked if I could share her idea on my blog.

You’ll quickly see from her description how meaningful this would be for ALL children – especially those with special needs. Through the puppets standards would be nurtured (speaking, answering questions), as well as skills from the 21st Century (cooperation, problem solving, etc.). The scenes could easily be adapted for different age levels and situations.

Thank you for sharing, Jo-Ann! Kiss your heart, and kiss your brain Jo-Ann!

Social Skills Puppet Play Activity  
Jo-Ann Stamile (Preschool Teacher, Picataway, NJ)
“Puppets are multi-sensory allowing visual, auditory, and kinetic learning. Puppets are a wonderful tool that I use in the classroom. Puppets also foster social interaction, communication, role-playing, imagination, story telling, listening, and so much more.

This Puppet Play Activity Kit goes home with every child in my classroom. Inside the kit, there will be several puppets, along with cards for the children to act out. Each card will have a different scenario on it to reflect the different situations that arise in our classroom.”

Note to Parents: 

Start by picking a card. Read the card to your child. Pick out the puppets to go along with the card. Act out the scenario with the puppets. 

You may keep the activity home for a few days. Please put this page, along with the puppets and the 9 activity cards back into the container.

Thank you for participating in my Social Skills Puppet Play Activity.

Ms. Jo-Ann

Circle Time
“Meteorologist of The Day”
The Teacher picks a popsicle stick out of the container to be the Meteorologist of the Day, but it’s not your name. How do you react?

Center Time
“Going to a Center that is full”
You want to go to another Center, but there are too many friends already there. How do you react?

During Center time, you are playing with a toy. Your friend has a toy that you really wanted. What do you do?

You enter into school. You are greeted by a Teacher.  The Teacher says “Good morning” to you.  What do you say?

Making Friends
A new friend has started in our classroom. What can you do to help this new friend feel welcome?

Someone Is Sad
During outside playtime, a friend falls down right in front of you and gets hurt. What do you do?

Turn Taking/Sharing
Both of your puppets want to play with the same ball. What do you do?

Clean Up Time
It’s clean up time. You have a lot of toys out.  What do you do?

Table Manners
You are sitting down having lunch. You noticed that the milk is at the other end of the table. What do you do?

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Let's "seal" the envelope deal with a few more ideas today.

Yes – No 
Write “yes” on one side of the envelope and “no” on the other side. Ask simple review questions and the children hold up “yes” or “no” to answer. 
*Let the children ask the questions for their classmates to respond. 

I Have – Who Has? 
Write letters of the alphabet on envelope puppets and pass them out to the class. The child who has “A” stands and says, “I have A. Who has B?” The child with the “B” stands as says, “I have B. Who has C? and so forth. 

*Write numerals on envelopes and play a similar game for counting. You can start with “1” or a random number. 

Cut the envelope in half and cut a 1" slit down on the sides. Fold the front down to make a pocket. Punch holes, attach a string, and there's your pocket!  Children can save flash cards in here, notes, brain tickets, etc.

                                                                                Book Mark 
Cut a corner off the envelope and use it as a bookmark. 
*Children can mark their favorite page that they’d like to read to the class. 
*Mark a page with a selected vocabulary word. 
*Mark the solution in the story or another part. 

Cut a strip off the envelope to make a cuff bracelet. 
*Write bus numbers or lunchroom numbers at the beginning of the year. 
*Write the school name and phone number for field trips. 
*Send a “remember” note to parents. 
*Write vocabulary words or high frequency words. 
*Make seasonal or holiday bracelets. 
*Let children save stickers on their bracelets. 
*Use for letters, numerals, shapes, patterns, etc.


Write riddles or questions on the front of envelopes. Put the answers on index cards and insert in the envelopes. Hole punch and bind several to make a book.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Before reading today's blog I wanted to give you a smile. I know that some of you have already had 10+ snow days.  Will you even get a summer vacation this year?  If you've had enough ice and snow this winter, just insert your state in this song. 

Minnesota Spider (Barb Larkin) 
(Tune: "Itsy Bitsy Spider") 
The Minnesota spider when up the water spout. 
Down came the snow and froze the spider out. 
Out came the sun, but it didn't do a thing 
and the Minnesota spider was frozen until spring!

There’s more to an envelope than just a place to put a letter! I recently did some of these activities at a workshop.  A teacher said, "Please put them on your blog."  Here you go!


Cut the envelope in half and insert your hand.
*Let children make a puppet of their favorite character and use it to retell the story.
*Let children make puppets of nursery rhyme characters and use them to say rhymes.
*Let children make animals for science themes.
*Make puppets with different facial expressions and use to talk about feelings. 


Write letters on envelopes. Say a variety of words. Children hold up their letter if the word starts with that sound.
Sing this song to the tune of “Hokey Pokey”:
         You put your (letter) in,
         You take your (letter out.
         You put your letter in
         And you shake it all about.
         You make the (letter sound) /_/ /_ / /_/
         And then you put it down.


Have children draw shapes on envelopes and then match them up with shapes in the classroom.
Play “Simon Says” with the shapes.
         Simon says put the circle over your head.
         Simon says put the square between your knees.

High Five Words 
Write high frequency words on the envelopes. Children walk around the room reading words as they give a “high five” to their friends.

Question – Statement

Put a period on one side and a question mark on the other side. Children hold up the period if the teacher makes a statement. The question mark is held up for a question.

Fact – Opinion
Write “fact” on one side and “opinion” on the other side. As the teacher says facts and opinions, the children respond by holding up their envelope.

Pull and Read
Cut the left end off the envelope. Write children’s names on 9 ½” sentence strips. Glue their picture on the right side. Pull out one letter at a time for children to predict whose name it could be.
*Write sight words, vocabulary words, or sentences for children to pull and read.
*Write math equations with the answer at the end.

Word Puzzles
Write words (or children’s names) on the front of an envelope. Write the same word on a sentence strip and cut between the letters to make a puzzle. Place the letters in the envelope for the children to put together.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


I'm telling you about this a few days early because it's going to take some planning to get "unplugged" for the day.


From sundown to sundown, beginning Friday (March 1), some are putting down their cellphones, shutting off computers, and ignoring the Internet in celebration of the annual National Day of Unplugging.

Check out this free booklet that you can download on the website:

I loved this little cell phone sleeping bag.
There are many things we do in schools that don’t have an impact on children, but I bet if you “unplugged” for one day it would leave a lasting impression. It could also lead to some great learning opportunities. Students could write opinions, do a T-Chart of things to do with a screen and without a screen, graph preferences, make a book about what to do without technology, do a Venn diagram...

Have you read BLACKOUT by John Rocco. It’s a delightful tale about what happens when a family in a big city loses power. I won’t tell you what happens, but I bet you can guess. I was talking to some children recently about the “olden days” before televisions, video games, cell phones, and computers. They were stunned and said, “What did you do?” I smiled and replied, “You know what? We played outside and had lots of fun!”


Several years ago a teacher told me that they asked the families at her school to record the amount of screen time their child had for a week. The next week they asked the parents to turn off all devices and spend the same amount of time interacting with their child by reading, playing games, doing chores around the house, going for walks, etc. Do you think most families could survive this? It certainly would be a meaningful challenge!

Monday, February 18, 2019


Do you want to perk up your classroom, but you don't have a lot of time and money? Take a look at these simple ideas I found on some old blog posts.

Showtime on the Smart Board! (KIRPC Head Start, Indiana)
Take some sheets, tie the ends with ribbons, and then hang it on hooks around the smart board.

Out the Door (Nacine Barrow)
Encourage the children to bring in environmental print and post them along with sight words on your door. Students have to read two of the words before exiting the classroom.

Flower Power (Jeannie Modest)
Let the children create word family flowers. They write the rime on the inside of the flower and then attach petals with words that have that rime.


Sunday, February 17, 2019


February 17th is officially Random Acts of Kindness Day, but these activities are perfect any day!  Start the day tomorrow by asking what "random acts of kindness" means.  Brainstorm examples and then challenge each of your students to do at least 3 acts of kindness during the week.

Kindness Club

Write "The Kindness Club" on the board or a poster and have students write the names of classmates who do something kind for them.

Give each child "kindness tickets" to distribute to friends who do something nice for them. 

*Thanks to Carolyn Kisloski for creating these tickets and poster for you.

Kindness Bracelet
Make bracelets from pipe cleaners. When they do a good deed they can get a bead and add it to their bracelet.

Kindness Book
Make a "Kindness Book" where students can record something positive a classmate has done for them.

Here are some other suggestions from

1. Smile at one extra person.

2. Each lunch (or play) with someone new.

3. Make sure to say "I love you" or give someone special a hug.

4. Send a positive message or help someone.


Saturday, February 16, 2019


This is a perfect way to integrate vocabulary and give your students something to look forward to this week. On Monday explain that you will have a “vocabulary parade” on Friday. They will each need to think of a special word that describes them. (You can call these “Fancy Nancy” words or ask them to get their parents to help them think of a big, new word!)

Encourage them to come up with their word by Thursday, and then use their word as a writing activity. Have them write their word, the definition, use it in a sentence, and then illustrate it.

On Friday give them a long strip of paper or a sentence strip. After writing their word they get to decorate it with markers, glitter, etc. Pin the words on them and let them parade around the room to music. One at a time children pretend they are on the “runway” and model their words. As they model they tell their classmates their word, the definition, and why they chose it.

Hint!  One teacher said her whole school participated in the vocabulary parade.  Each grade level took a different category, such as nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc.

We’re Great! (Just for Fun CD)
We’re great, but no one knows it.
No one knows it so far.
Some day they’ll realize how wonderful we are!
They’ll look at us, and point at us, and then they’ll shout, “Hurray!”
Let’s cheer how we’re wonderful beginning with A.
A- We’re awesome.
B- We’re brave.
C- We’re creative.
D- We’re dynamic
E- We’re enthusiastic
F- We’re fantastic.
G- We’re gifted
H- We’re honest
I- We’re imaginative
J- We’re joyful.
K- We’re kind.
L- We’re lovable
M- We’re magnificent.
N- We’re nice.
O- We’re outgoing
P- We’re polite.
Q- We’re quick.
R- We’re responsible
S- We’re special.
T- We’re terrific.
U- We’re unique.
V- We’re valuable.
W- We’re wonderful.
X- We’re excellent.
Y- We’re youthful
Z- We’re zany!
*Give each child a letter to illustrate.  Put their pictures together to make a class book.

Hint!  One teacher said her class sang this song for their end of the year program.  Each child held up a letter and said the word.