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Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Let's get those kids moving and learning in 2020!  Wouldn't a SPORTS DAY be a FANTASTIC FRIDAY idea?


Sports Around the Year
January, let’s all skate – (Slide feet from side to side with big steps.)
Slipping, sliding, feeling great.
In February, grab your skis (Squat and swing arms from left to right.)
Down the mountain, fast and free.
In March we’ll do some hoops (Pretend to dribble a ball and then shoot.)
Basketball dribble, shoot, and loop.
In April let’s do track and field (Run in place and jump.)
Running, jumping down the field.

Biking, dancing, playing ball (Do jumping jacks, march, or
Winter, spring, summer, fall. a dance step.)
Staying fit and staying strong.
Playing sports all year long!

In May we’ll kick and punt the ball (Right foot kicks to the left
Playing soccer, one and all. and then left foot kicks to the right.)
In June baseball is so much fun (Pretend to swing a bat.)
Pitching, batting in the sun.
In July we’ll swim in the pool (Swim forwards, backwards, sidestroke.)
Backstroke, sidestroke, feeling cool.
In August we’ll all be gymnasts (Balance on right foot and lean forwards.)
Balancing, tumbling on the mats. (Balance on left foot and lean forwards.)


September, now it’s football time: (Feet out and run in place.)
Down, set, hut on the scrimmage line.
October’s great for cheer leading, (Hands in air and jump up and down.)
Cheering on our favorite team.
November: let’s karate chop! (Pretend to chop right and then left.)
Kick and block – now don’t you stop!
December, swing your hockey stick- (Pretend to skate and swing a stick.)
Hit that puck, we never miss!


Sports Day 
Liven up a boring winter day with “sports day.” Invite children to wear clothing from their favorite sport or team.

Let children take turns pantomiming different sports as their friends try to guess.

Discuss what it means to be a “good sport.” Role-play being a good loser and a good winner.

Encourage children to bring equipment from sports they like to play. Write down the names of the equipment on the board and use for a writing activity.

Make a graph of their favorite sport or sports team.

College Days
Talk about where you went to college and why it is important to go to college. Let each child make a pennant of the college they would like to attend. Use the pennants to decorate your classroom.

Monday, December 30, 2019


I don’t know about you, but when I was in the classroom January was always a LONG month. I started doing a little celebration every Friday for me as much as for the children. It gave us something positive to focus on and look forward to during the cold, dark days. 

Here are some ideas that will build memories, create a classroom community, and nurture social-emotional development because they are positive and playful. Take a look and I hope you’ll find one or two that are just right to chase those winter blahs away!

Sock Hop

Children get to wear silly socks to school and have a dance at the end of the day.
*Teach the children the “Twist,” “Swim,” “Pony,” or other dances from your past.

Talent Show 
One of my favorite memories is of a Talent Show we had one Friday. I just invited all the children to think of a “talent” (song, dance, story, joke, gymnastic stunt) they could do. We sat in a circle and they all got up and performed! We clapped and laughed and cheered!

Board Game Day
Let children bring board games from home. Set aside the last hour in the day to share games and play games with friends.
Note! It might be good to have parent volunteers or older students in your school help.


Pajama Party 
Have children wear pajamas and bring pillows and stuffed animals to class. Read books, watch a movie, and eat popcorn.

Career Day 
Children come dressed for the career they’d like when they grow up. After sharing with friends, have each child draw a picture (or take a photograph) and make a class book.

Beach Party
Bring beach towels and wear sunglasses, shorts, and T-shirts. Play beach ball games, beach music, and have a “cool” snack like popsicles.
Toy Day 
Children bring a favorite toy from home and share with their friends the last 30 minutes of the day.

Book Day
Invite children to bring their favorite book from home and share with classmates.

Sunday, December 29, 2019


This was one of the cutest ideas I ever heard about to make a winter day FUN! Peg Caines (Greensboro, NC) shared it with me several years ago. Peg did it with her children, but I think it'd also be fun for teens or adults. What a perfect way to encourage children to cooperate, collaborate, and problem solve!

Build a Snowman
Peg said she gave each group a snowman kit with a construction paper hat, nose, buttons, and mittens. There was also a crepe paper scarf, a roll of masking tape, and a roll of toilet paper. (It took them awhile to figure out what to do with the toilet paper.) 


Snowman’s Mystery Word
Draw a snowman on the board. Think of a word or phrase and put blanks for each letter. Children guess letters (similar to Hangman). The teacher writes the letters on the appropriate spaces. If a letter that is not in the word/phrase the teacher erases part of the snowman and puts the letter in the “trash pile.” Can they decode the word before the snowman is erased?

Disappearing Snowman
Draw a snowman on the board.  If children are noisy or are not following directions explain that you will erase part of the snowman.  Erase one part of the snowman throughout the day as a reminder.  It won't take long before all you have to do is pick up the eraser and they'll be quiet!!!

Melt a Snowman Science Experiment 
This is such an easy science experiment, but your kids will get a kick out of it.
Give each child a clear cup with an ice cube in it.  Ask them to draw a picture of what it looks like.  Have them predict how many minutes it will take their ice cube to melt.  Encourage them to draw what it looks like after five minute intervals.  Whose ice cube melted the fastest?  Whose lasted the longest?


Mittens can keep your hands warm, but they can also 
make some fun games for your classroom.

Mitten Weather
Thumbs in the thumb place      (Stick out thumbs.)
Fingers all together.                  (Put fingers together.)
This is the song
We sing in mitten weather.        (Wiggle palms left and right.)
When it is cold                           (Wrap arms around self and shiver.)
It does not matter whether         (Shake head.)
Mittens are wool                        (Hold out right hand.)
Or made of finest leather.          (Hold out left hand.)

Mitten Applause
This is a quiet way to teach the children to applaud.  Thumbs up and palms open facing each other.  Pretend to clap stopping about 2" from each palm as if wearing mittens.

The three little kittens may have lost their mittens, but here's a pattern so you can make your own mittens for these games.

Visual Matching
Cut mittens out of a wallpaper book or wrapping paper.  Cut two out of each pattern and then mix them up.  Give children clothespins to clip the matching ones together.  Introduce vocabulary to describe various patterns, such as “stripes,” “checked,” “plaid,” “solid,” “polka dots,” “animal print,” etc.
*Make mitten matching games with upper and lowercase letters or with pictures and beginning sounds.
*Make mitten matching games with antonyms or snynonyms.
*How about a matching game with math facts and answers?

Hint! Hang a piece of string between two chairs so the children can hang up their matching mittens.

Kitten Game
One person is “Mama” or “Papa” cat.  “Mama” or “Papa” go out in the hall while the teacher selects 3-5 students to be their kittens.  All students put their heads on their desks.  The students who are kittens begin make quiet “meowing” noises.  “Mama” or “Papa” cat must walk around the room and try to identify their kittens.  When a kitten is found that student puts her hand in the air.  The last kitten to be found becomes the new “Mama” or “Papa” cat.

Mitten Art
Let children trace around mitten patterns and cut out two.  Can they decorate the mittens with crayons or markers so they look exactly the same?   Hole punch around the sides of the mittens and sew with yarn.
Hint!  Wrap the end of the yarn with tape to make it easier to sew.

The Mitten
Select several different versions of “The Mitten” and read them to your class.  Compare and contrast stories and illustrations.  Let the children vote on their favorite.
*This is also a delightful tale to dramatize.  A blanket on the floor works just fine as a mitten.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


Whether you live in Alaska or Florida, everybody loves snowmen!  If you've ever told my "Scat the Cat" story or "Timmy Turkey" you'll be excited to make this one about a snowman.

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.

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.)

Friday, December 27, 2019


Didn't your winter break just start and here you are thinking about your January lesson plans?  
You'll find great ideas every day this week on my  blog.
Let It Snow!
You will need jumbo craft sticks and an empty plastic cup for this game. Write simple sentences, sight words, letters, math facts, etc. on the sticks with a permanent marker. Glue a snowflake to the end of 2 sticks. Place the sticks in the can with the snowflakes on the bottom. Children pass the cup around, choose a stick, and read the information. If they choose the snowflake they sing, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" and put all their sticks back.

Ice Skating
Give each child 2 paper plates. Demonstrate how to place these on the floor and put one foot on each plate. Slide your feet as if skating. Put on some waltz music and let the children skate, twist, and turn. Play “freeze.” When you stop the music children must “freeze” in their positions. When the music begins again they may continue to skate.

Add a little learning! Write letters, words, math facts, etc. on the plates. When the music stops the children have to exchange plates with a friend and identify the information on the new plates.

Give children scrap paper and have them write sight words, letters, math facts, or other skills on them. Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room. Wad up the paper to make snowballs. When the teacher says, "Let it snow!" the children begin throwing the snowballs at the opposite team. They must quickly find a snowball, open it, and identify the information before throwing it back at the other team.

Fill plastic containers with water. Add food coloring and freeze. Place these in your water table and tell the children they are icebergs. Add walruses, polar bears, and other plastic arctic animals.


Add a little learning! Have children predict how long it will take the "icebergs" to melt. Who guessed the closest time?


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Thursday, December 26, 2019


So, what do you want to do today?  Do you want to clean up all the holiday mess or do you want to work on lesson plans?  No and No?  Well, save these ideas for when you do want to work on January plans. These activities don't have "rigor," but they'll add a some fun to a cold day.

Snow Dough

You can use any play dough recipe for snow dough. Simply omit the food coloring and let the children knead in iridescent glitter to make it sparkle. (My favorite dough is: 2 cups flour, 2 cup salt, 2 TB. cream of tartar, 2 TB. vegetable oil, and 2 cups water. Mix ingredients together in a pan until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a ball and sticks to the spoon. Cool and knead. Store in airtight containers.)
Note! Make sure children wash hands before and after playing with dough.

Add a little learning! Have children make objects that reinforce language skills, such as things that rhyme or objects that start with the same sound.
*Have children use play dough to show different ways to make a number.
*Let them make two and three dimensional shapes with the dough. 

Snow Flakes 
Let children fold coffee filters in half, then fourths, and eighths. Cut little “bites” out of the folded edges. Open. You can make colorful snowflakes by coloring the coffee filters with water soluble markers before cutting them.

*You can also use tissue paper or newspaper to make snowflakes.


Add a little learning! Give children copy paper cut in circles and challenge them to fill the page with sight words, letters, vocabulary words, or any skill you want to reinforce. Now, let them fold the paper and make a snowflake out of it. Can they still identify the words and letters they wrote?

Snow Prints
Invite children to draw winter scenes on blue construction paper with crayons. Give them white paint and a sponge or Q-tip to “make it snow.”

Add a little learning! Write winter vocabulary words or stories and then make it snow.        


Wednesday, December 25, 2019


I am tired of people picking on Santa. I LOVE Santa and I BELIEVE! He represents love and hope and dreams and goodness. Santa doesn’t say bad words or do drugs or hurt anyone. He spreads happiness to children everywhere and wants to put a smile on their faces. (Kind of like a lot of teachers I know!)

Yes, that's me in front of our Christmas tree when I was five.

Some things never change, such as the big mouth!

If you have ever bought a lottery ticket or put a quarter in a slot machine or looked for a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks…it’s the same as believing in Santa. It’s all about wishful thinking. It’s a dream and a hope for something better. The anticipation of what will be under the tree or in your stocking is usually better than reality.

As teachers, we are the dream makers and believers! We give children dreams and believe in the power of making the world a better place one child at a time.

"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God...I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world." 

Never give up...keep believing...keep on dreaming...keep on teaching!

Thursday, December 19, 2019


There is actually a day called Look on the Bright Side Day. It's not until December 21st, but I'm ready to turn off my computer for a week so I'm adapting concept for today.  Between holiday parties, programs, and all your personal commitments, TRY to keep your sunny side up!


I'm going to look on the bright side and make this wish for Christmas!

All I want for Christmas is for teachers to be respected and given more latitude to do their jobs.

I want “rigor” and “instructional time” to be replaced with joyful learning.

I want the focus on the whole child (social, emotional, physical, and intellectual) instead of test scores and standards.

I want teachers to be able to sing a song, read a book, and play a game just because!

I want parents and administrators to be less critical. Education is not a snap shot, but a video. Step back and take a look at the whole journey.

I want anyone who makes decisions about what children should be expected to do at a particular grade level to have taught that grade. (It’s easy to make lists of what children should be able to do if you’ve never been there!)

I want less emphasis on technology and more on hands-on, interactive learning.

I want teachers and children to be happy.

I want peace on earth.

And I want all of you to find a little JOY this holiday season!


Now, I'm going to look on the bright side and turn this computer off until December 26!  Blessings of love and peace and JOY to all of you! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019





I bet most of y'all don't even remember that cheer.  It was a big one when I was a cheerleader back in the 60's.  Cheers may change, but some things never change, just like your excitement about your upcoming vacation.  

I looked through past blogs and found a few cheers for you to do today.  Let out some energy and keep on the sunny side!

Popcorn Cheer (Kristen Reed) 
The popcorn cheer is the perfect way to release wiggles before they explode. The teacher says, “Assume the position,” as all the children squat down on the floor. The teacher points quickly to each student and she/he jumps up and yells “POP” and then squats back down. After pointing to every child the teacher says, “EVERYBODY!” and they all jump up and say, “POP!”


Mitten Cheer
This is a quiet way to teach the children to cheer.  Thumbs up and palms open facing each other.  Pretend to clap stopping about 2" from each palm as if wearing mittens.

Cheer! (Debbi Smith)
Pat yourself on the back.
Shake your own hand.
Point to yourself and say, “Very good job!”

Three Cheers
Give me cheer number one! (Children yell and cheer in a regular voice.)
Give me cheer number two! (Children cheer a little softer.)
Give me cheer number three! (Children wave their arms and do the silent cheer with their mouth wide open but not making a sound.)

Super Star (Teresa Palmer)
Reach for the stars. (Reach up in the air.)
Catch it! Grab it! (Pretend to grab something.)
Stick it! (Pretend to lick and stick to forehead.)
Super star!


Animal Cheers
Seal of Approval – Extend arms in front of you and cross them over each other. Clap as you make a barking noise.

Elephant Cheer - Stick one arm out straight from under your chin. Put top lips over bottom lip as you blow and make a trumpeting sound.
Snake Cheer – Palms folded together next to your chest. Keeping them together wiggle them out as you make a “Ssssss” sound. Stick your tongue quickly in and out of your mouth.

Tiger Cheer – You’re GGGRRREEEAAATTT! (Stick fist in the air.)


Rocket Cheer (Aurora Sta Ana)
Clap up. (Clap up.)
Clap down. (Clap down.)
Clap left. (Clap to your left.)
Clap right. (Clap to your right.)
Up. (Thumb up make a hissing sound.)
Down. (Thumb down make a hissing sound.)
Left. (Thumb left make a hissing sound.)
Right. (Thumb right make a hissing sound.)
BOOM!!! (Both hands in the air as you shout boom!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


December 21st is known as the winter solstice or the first day of winter. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Help your students get ready for Old Man Winter with these ideas.


Ask your students what causes winter. (Accept their answers without judging.) Have one child pretend to be the sun and stand in the middle of the circle. Use a globe to demonstrate how the earth rotates around the sun. It takes 365 days or one year for the earth to go all around the sun. Demonstrate how the earth tilts on its axis away from the sun to cause winter. Why? What happens when the earth tilts toward the sun? 

Signs of Winter
Brainstorm signs of winter. What happens to the temperature in winter? What happens to the plants? What happens to animals?

Make an attribute web of winter words. Include winter clothing, sports, holidays, etc.

Animals Adapt 
How do animals adapt in the winter? What animals hibernate? 
What animals migrate?


Some habitats are very cold in the winter with ice and snow. Other habitats are warmer in the winter. Use a map of the United States and have children identify their state. Do they have ice and snow in the winter? Can they find a state where it’s warm and sunny in the winter? What do they think causes the difference?

Internet Search 
Visit a weather site, such as, to compare regional weather.

Nature Walk – Go on a nature walk and look for signs of winter. Let each child take a digital photograph of a sign of winter. Put these together to make a class collage.


Explain that evergreen trees stay green all winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter. Can they find evergreen and deciduous trees on the playground? Can they find them in their yard at home?

Make a Book 
Staple two sheets of paper and let children use descriptive writing to make a book called “Winter Is…”

Creative Writing
Invite children to write a story about “Old Man Winter.” I found this great writing paper free at


                                   Wishing you happy winter days!!!

Monday, December 16, 2019


Need a little tip for the day?

This is a simple idea that Elizabeth Hofmaster shared with me several years ago.  She sings this song each day as her children leave. It reminds me that for some child this might be the "sweetest" thing they hear all day!

If You Know Your Teacher Loves You (Tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")
If you know your teacher loves you blow her a kiss.
If you know your teacher loves you blow her a kiss.
If you know your teacher loves you and she really likes to hug you...
If you know your teacher loves you blow her a kiss.
Note!  I also think this would be a great way to start your day or focus your children's attention when you want to "scream" this week. 

I Am Slowly Going Crazy
When I would be about to explode, I would sit down in a chair and start singing this song.  At first my class really thought I was going crazy, but eventually they saw the humor and we would all end up laughing.  It became a great attention grabber and a fun way for all 

of us to relax and smile.                                 

I Am Slowly Going Crazy
(Tune: "Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking")
I am slowly going crazy, (Cross right ankle on left knee. Place right
elbow on right knee and place chin on palm.)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, switch. (Cross left ankle on right knee and place
chin on left palm.)
Crazy going slowly am I, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, switch.
Continue singing faster and faster.

*Brainstorm other things you can do when you feel like you’re going crazy!

*Make a class book of “Things That Drive Us Crazy!”

Sunday, December 15, 2019


Does it seem like the closer you get to the holidays, the more the noise escalates in your classroom?  Here are a few tips that might help this week.

Whisper Wednesday
Before the children leave on Tuesday afternoon explain that tomorrow will be “Whisper Wednesday” and that all day long you will use "whisper voices." Make a sign for your door that says “Welcome to Whisper Wednesday. Please put on your whisper voice before entering today!” Greet the children at the door by whispering, “Good morning! I’m so glad you’re here today!” Sing, talk, read, and whisper through the day. 

Breath through Your Nose
Challenge the children to practice breathing through their noses. Guess what? You can’t talk of your lips are sealed and you are breathing through your nose! (The teacher who shared this said she could run to the office and back and her kids wouldn’t make a peep!)
Peace and Quiet
Make the “peace” sign with one hand as you put the index finger from the other hand on your mouth.

Silent Signals
Make a poster with fingers for the things below. Children hold up the appropriate finger for what they need. The teacher can nod “yes” or shake her head “no.”

     1 finger – pencil

     2 fingers – tissue

     3 fingers – bathroom

     5 fingers – question