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

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


If you've never done yoga before, it might me an interesting strategy to explore online or in person.  It's a physical challenge, but it's also good for the brain and the spirit!

Yoga Letters
There are several videos where yoga poses are related to the alphabet Here's a poster that you can download free.

Number Yoga (Michelle Drees, Danbury, IA)
Have children hold yoga positions as you practice counting.

Note!  Scholastic has a cool alphabet book of yoga poses for each letter!

Monument Yoga
Linda Smith shared this idea for Monument Yoga:
Washington Monument – Feet together and arms up and with pointed fingers.
Statue of Liberty – One arm up holding the torch and the other arm holding a book with feet apart.
Honest Abe – Sitting position with arms out as if on a chair.
Mount Rushmore – Legs apart with chin under fist and switch sides.
The Arch – Arms in an arc twice overhead.
Liberty Bell – Arms down swinging side to side as you say, “Bong, bong, bong, crack!”

Super Hero Yoga
Your students will love doing this Superhero Yoga that Charley Schillinger does with her students.
Superman – Do a plank.
Wonder Woman – Sit in an invisible chair.
Spiderman – Feet together and squat.
Batman – Arms out and one leg up.
Captain America - Squat with legs apart and stretch arms over head and behind as if extending a shield.
Flash Lunges - One foot in front and lean forward and touch the floor.
Black Widow - Take turns stretching out your arms.
Iron Man Pose - Stand straight and look up towards the sky.

Here's here blog so you can learn more about it:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Yes, the world is topsy turvy right now, but one thing that all children need to know is their full name, address, and phone number.  You might be surprised that some of your children don't know this information, so here are some tips to make it a game.

Note!  You could also share these tunes with your parents.

Full Name
Help children learn their full name “The Wheels on the Bus."

My full name is (first) (middle) (last),
____, ____, ____,
____, ____, ____,
My full name is (first) (middle) (last),
That’s my full name.

Birthdays can be sung to “Happy Birthday to You.”
September 24th,
September 24th,
My special birthday
Is September 24th.

Phone Number
Phone numbers can be learned by singing them to “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore.”

Addresses can be sung to “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”
874 Pine Oak Circle,
874 Pine Oak Circle,
874 Pine Oak Circle,
Cincinnati, Ohio

Zip Code
Learn zip codes by singing them to the tune of “BINGO.”

There is a zip code where I live
And I will sing it to you.
Now I know my zip code.

Transition Rhymes
These are good rhymes to transition children, as well as to reinforce birthdays, phone numbers, and addresses.

Hint! Have a “cheat sheet” with the information so you can prompt the children that don’t know.

Apples, pears, peaches, plums,
Tell me when your birthday comes.

Candy, candy, ice cream cone.
Tell me the number of your telephone.

Rabbit, dog, cat, mouse,
Tell me the number on your house.

Hint!  Having children make a driver's license might just be the perfect incentive to encourage them to learn this information. Use a small photo of each child and attach it to card stock with information similar to the one pictured. Older children can write in the information and younger children can dictate it to an adult.

Monday, September 28, 2020


I see the moon
And the moon sees me...


From the time children are toddlers, most of them are fascinated with the moon. The moon is FREE and it belongs to EVERYONE! Wouldn’t it be interesting to have children look at the moon every night for a month with their parents and draw a picture of what the moon looks like? What a meaningful way for families to do a little science together.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac:

October 1, 2020 brings the Full Harvest Moon, the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox (September 22 this year).

October 31, 2020 brings the Full Hunter’s Moon.

Being full Moons, both of these October Moons rise around sunset. But for several days around the time of the Full Harvest Moon, the Moon rises only about 30 minutes later each night. This extra light early in the evening is what makes this time of year special, and traditionally is what gave farmers extra days for harvesting beyond sunset.

As the Moon rises from the horizon around sunset, it may appear bigger and more orange—how perfect for the fall season! October 2020 brings two full Moons: The Full Harvest Moon falls on the 1st of October and then the full Hunter’s Moon falls on the 31st—Halloween!

Facts for kids about the moon:

The moon goes around the earth.

The moon has no light, but it reflects the sun’s light.

The light of sun on the moon creates the different phases of the moon.
That’s why it looks different to us throughout the month.

It’s called a new moon when you can’t see it.

When the moon gets a little larger at night it’s called waxing.

As the moon gets smaller it’s called waning.

The moon is always up in the sky, but during the day when the sun is bright you can’t see it.

Here’s a neat website where you can get a calendar of the moon’s phases and other learning activities:

*What other things can you see in the sky? Take children outside and let them draw pictures of the things they see.

*Is there really a man in the moon? The moon has craters that make it look like a face.
Give children uncolored play dough and let them make a moon/pancake. Have them make craters in their moon with a pencil eraser or the end of a marker.

Here’s a book from Scholastic with the phases of the moon:

Don’t forget to read two of my favorite books GOOD NIGHT, MOON, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOON.


Sunday, September 27, 2020


Here's a simple craft activity that you can tie into science (seasons), reading (letters and word families), and writing. It's good for small motor skills as well as cutting.

Directions: Tear or cut 3 or 4 strips half way down from the top of the bag as shown. (You might want to draw these lines for younger children.) Open the bag and twist in the middle to make a tree.

Seasonal Trees
*Tear red, yellow, and orange scrap paper and glue them on the strips to make an autumn tree.
*Pink and white tissue paper can be waded up to make blossoms on a spring tree.*What fruits and nuts grow on trees? Let children make their favorite fruit tree.

Letter Tree
*Write letters (or use letter stickers) to make a "chicka chicka boom boom boom" tree.
*Make a word family tree by writing all the words they can make from a specific rime.

Family Tree
*Let children make a family tree by writing names of family members on their tree.

Spooky Old Tree

Twist the strips of paper as shown to make a spooky tree. Let children cut bats, cats, and other spooky things to go on their tree.

*Use these trees to prompt descriptive writing or poems.

Fall Centerpiece
I'm not sure I'll be "entertaining" this fall, but here's a decoration that I will enjoy just the same.  All you need is a large paper grocery sack. Wad and crush the sack until it is soft and pliable. Next, make a large tree using the same process you did with the lunch bag. Use silk leaves, small pumpkins, and other seasonal objects to decorate your tree. Taaa daaa!!

Saturday, September 26, 2020


Focusing on word families is a powerful strategy for beginning readers, and with the songs and hands-on activities below children will be successful.

Note!  “Onset” refers to the initial letter or blend. “Rime” is the vowel and letters following it.

Rime Time (Tune: "The Addams Family")
Rime time, (Snap! Snap!)
Rime time, (Snap! Snap!)
Rime time, rime time, rime time. (Snap! Snap!)

There’s can and there’s pan. (Touch hands to alternate knees to the beat.)
There’s fan and there’s ran.
There’s man and there’s tan.
The “an” family.


Word Family Song
Here's another song to the tune of “BINGO.”
There is word family you should know
And at is it’s name-o.
M-a-t, mat
H-a-t, hat
C-a-t, cat
They end in at you know.

*Write the words on a chart and point to them as you sing.

Block Rimes
Cut paper the size of square and rectangular unit blocks. Write onsets on the squares and rimes on the rectangles. Children put blocks together and read words.


Rime Eggs
Using plastic eggs, write onsets with a permanent marker on one half of the egg. Write a rime on the other. Children twist the egg and read the words. 


Flower Rimes Cut 4” circles out of construction paper. Cut paper petals similar to the ones shown. Children write the “rime” on the circle and then write words on the petals.


Friday, September 25, 2020


Children will be actively engaged as they practice blending sounds with some of the activities below. 

Body Touch
Blend words touching parts of the body. Touch the head as you say the beginning sound in the word. Touch the stomach as you say the middle sound. Touch the feet as you say the final sound. Quickly move from head to feet and blend the sounds.

*You can also use the body to isolate sounds. 
For example:  Where do you hear the /s/ in bus? (Children touch feet.)

Sound Sack
Take a small sack and fill it with common objects or small toys. Engage children’s attention with this song to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”
What’s in the sound sack, who can tell?
Maybe it’s a book or maybe it’s a shell?
What’s in the sound sack, who can say?
Blend the sounds, you’ll know right away!

Choose an object and stretch out the sounds. When children can blend the sounds and say the word, remove it from the sack and place it on the floor. Before putting each item back in the bag, segment the sounds again.
*Start with compound words. When children are successful with that, use objects with two syllables. Finally, children will be able to blend individual phonemes.

Finger Tap
Bend in your fingers and extend your thumb. Going from the left tap a finger for each sound with your thumb.
For example: /j/ /e/ /t/. Run your thumb over your fingers as you blend the sounds and say the word.

*You can do a similar activity by extending your left arm in front of you. Make the first sound as you touch your shoulder, the second sound as you touch the elbow, and the third sound as you touch the hand. Then quickly sweep the right hand down your left arm as you blend the sounds and say the word.

Thursday, September 24, 2020


Mouth It!
Have children gently place their palm under their chin and ask them repeat to words. Surprise! The mouth opens on each syllable (all syllables have vowels and the mouth opens).

Move It!
Clap, hop, walk, or nod the syllables in classroom objects.
*Disco, hula, swim, or march to syllables in rhymes and songs.
“Beep” like aliens or “Wa wa” like Charlie Brown’s teacher as you say words or read.

Have children beat out syllables with instruments.

*You could also use cardboard rollers, straws, pencils, etc. like drum sticks to tap out rhythms and syllables.

Syllable Show
Slowly say a word. Children hold up the number of syllables they hear on their fingers.

*You could also let them show the number of syllables by placing the appropriate number of poker chips or other objects on their desk.

Clap a Name

Cut out small hands from construction paper. Glue them under children's pictures to indicate how many syllables in their names. Make a book with their pictures and clap your hands!


Hickety Pickety
Slowly clap hands to the beat as you say the chant below.
Hickety, pickety bumblebee
Who can say their name for me? Child’s name.
Clap it. (Clap out syllables as you say the name.)
Snap it. (Snap syllables in name.)
Whisper it. (Whisper name.)
No sound. (Lip sinc name.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Alliteration is the repetition of initial phonemes.  Young children will enjoy playing with sounds in the activities below.

Which One Doesn't Belong?
Say a series of words that begin with the same sound. Say one word that does not begin like the others. Children listen and identify the word that does not belong.
For example: sun, sand, top, see (top); boy, house, big, ball (house)

Hand Phone
Have children cup one hand around their ear and the other hand in front of their mouth. The teacher says a series of words that begin with the same sound as the children repeat.

Marvelous Monday
Think of adjectives for the days of the week and months of the year.  
     For example: Thrilling Thursday or Marvelous May

Bappy Birthday
Sing the birthday song by inserting the first sound in the child’s name for each word. For example, Mary’s birthday song would be:
     Mappy mirthday mo mou…


*You can also insert the sound that the child’s name begins with in “Tooty Ta."
     Mooty ma, mooty ma, mooty ma ma...

Hint! If their first name begins with a vowel, use the first sound of their last name or middle name.

Sounds Like…
Think of adjectives and other words that begin like children's names.

*Sing children's names in the "Alphardy Song" to practice alliteration.
     W for Will /w/ /w/ /w/
     B for Bella /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/
     H for Henry /h/ /h/ /h/
     C for Carolos /c/ /c/ /c/

I put a penny in the gum slot.
I watched the gum roll down.
I get the gum and you get the wrapper,
Cause I put the penny in the gum slot.

Sing substituting the initial consonant sound of each word with “B,” “N,” “P,” “G,” “L,” and “F.”

Activities: Cut out paper gumball machines and write different letters from the song on
them. Substitute other consonants, blends, and diagraphs in this song.

Nursery Rhymes
Practice saying traditional rhymes with alliteration such as "Peter Piper picked a peck" and "She sells seashells..."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize sounds in oral language (rhyme, alliteration, syllables, etc.) and is a key to reading success. Children must first hear the sounds before they can relate them to letters (phonics). Let's start today with rhyming. Learning to rhyme doesn't happen it one takes a lot of oral language (nursery rhymes, finger plays), songs, books, and games to help children develop this skill.

Note!  Over the next few days my blogs will focus on alliteration, syllabication, blending, and onset and rime.  Most of these can be adapted to the different learning situations where you might be teaching this fall.

Rhyme Detectives
Tell the children that they will get to be detectives andlisten for words that rhyme. You say a word, and they put their pinkies up if they hear a word that rhymes with it. Pinkies down if it doesn’t rhyme.
For example: Cat - hat (pinkies up), run - dog (pinkies down).


Rhythm Rhyme
Start a beat by slapping legs two times, clapping hands two times, and snapping fingers two times. On the first snapping beat the teacher says a word. On the second snapping beat the children say a word that rhymes.
For example:
Slap, slap, clap, clap, snap, snap.
Slap, slap, clap, clap, mitten.
Slap, slap, clap, clap, kitten.
Slap, slap, clap, clap, star.
Slap, slap, clap, clap, car.

Rhyming Song
Do this activity to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”
Cat (hold out right hand)
Hat (hold out left hand)
Those words rhyme.
Cat (hold out right hand)
Hat (hold out left hand)
Those words rhyme.
Cat (hold out right hand)
Hat (hold out left hand)
Those words rhyme.
They all end with “at.” (Roll hands around as you say this.)

Rhyme Dance
The children stand and begin dancing to some catchy music. When the music stops the children must "freeze." The teacher says a word and tells the children think of a word that rhymes. The teacher then calls on several children to say words that rhyme. The teacher can "unfreeze" the class after a few rhyming words have been said.  The game continues as children dance, freeze, and say rhyming words.

Riddle Rhyme Game
Let children make up their own rhymes in this game. First, they choose an object. Next, they say a word that it rhymes, along with another clue. For example: “This rhymes with hair and it is something you sit on.” “This rhymes with look and it is something you read.”

Rhyme Bag Homework
Give each child a lunch bag and for homework ask them to bring two objects that rhyme. As they take turns sharing their items encourage classmates to think of other words that rhyme with their objects.
Note! You don't need to use the bag.   Just ask them to find two objects that rhyme for homework.

Monday, September 21, 2020


Take advantage of the upcoming season with these science activities using leaves.

Leaf Hunt
Ask each child to get a lunch sack and collect 2 or 3 leaves from their yard for homework. Use this for sharing time by encouraging the children to describe their leaves.  Talk about the shapes, colors, likenesses, differences, etc. 

Do a little research on the internet. Can children match up their leaves with those online to identify which tree they came from.

Leaf Rubbings
Lay a sheet of paper on top of a leaf. Remove the paper from an old crayon and rub the side over the leaf to make a print.

Leaf Book 
This is a book that children might want to make with their parents.  Let each child find "favorite" leaves and preserve them by placing the leaves between newspaper and putting a book on top overnight. Place each leaf in a zip baggie. Encourage children to dictate or write a sentence about their leaves.
*Put several baggies together to make a book.

I Wonder Why?
Brainstorm why leaves turn colors and fall off trees in the fall. Have children do a little research with their parents and report results in class the following day.

Deciduous Trees (Sandra Kelley)
Tune: "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"
Do your leaves fall down?
Do they tumble to the ground?
Do you lose your leaves in the fall?
Then you are deciduous that we know
because in the fall your leaves all go!

*What's the difference between deciduous trees and evergreen trees? Invite children to take a nature walk with their families and identify both types of trees.

Sunday, September 20, 2020


Who doesn't love scarecrows?  They have entertained crows and children for years!

Scarecrow's Chant
You can say this chant or sing it to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.” Have the children stand up and stretch out their arms like a scarecrow. Ask them to echo each line as they make the appropriate movements.

Can you turn around? I can turn around.
Can you touch the ground? I can touch the ground.
Can you wiggle your nose? 
Can you touch your toes?
Can you wave up high?
Can you let your arms fly?
Can you give a clap?
Can you give a snap?
Can you jump, jump, jump?
Can you thump, thump, thump?
Can you wiggle your knees?
Can you sit down, please? Yes, yes, indeed! (Children sit down.)

Scarecrow Picture Talk
Download a picture of a scarecrow from the internet. Discuss what a scarecrow does. How many details can children notice about the scarecrow? Ask them to draw lines to label their descriptions.

Scarecrow Collage 
Invite children to create their own scarecrow with paper, crayons, construction paper scraps, etc. What is their scarecrow’s name?  Write or dictate a story about their scarecrow.

If I Were a Scarecrow... Make a language experience chart where children complete the sentence. Older children could write creative stories about what they would do if they were a scarecrow.


Squirrels are another seasonal character. This is a sweet old song about Gray Squirrel that my students always loved. They probably loved it because I had such fun acting like a little squirrel when I sang it. Who can resist wrinkling your nose and swishing your tail?

Gray Squirrel
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close to chest like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Wrinkle up your little nose, (Wrinkle nose.)
Hide a nut between your toes. (Pretend to hold a nut in your paws.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close to chest like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Climb up in the tallest tree. (Arms climb up above head.)
Let your tail blow in the breeze. (Wiggle bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
If you’ll be a friend of mine, (Point to self and then a friend.)
I will be a friend of yours.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.

Note! Visit and you can download this free book.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pandemic or not, seasons change and there's "fall" in the air because Tuesday, September 22nd, is the official first day of fall.  Here are some activities to celebrate the week.

Leaves Are Falling
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
Leaves are falling (Echo song. Children repeat each line.)
Leaves are falling (Flutter fingers down.)
To the ground. (Touch the ground.)
To the ground.
Red, orange, and yellow (Flutter fingers.)
Red, orange, and yellow
Falling down. (Touch the ground.)
Falling down.

*Let children dramatize being leaves and dancing in the wind. As the song ends they fall quietly to the ground.

*What happens to leaves after they fall from the trees? Later in the fall when there are lots of leaves on the ground demonstrate how to pick up a handful of leaves and crumple them in your hands. Explain how those leaves will decay and turn into soil.

Why do you think they call this season “fall”? What’s another name for fall?
What season comes before fall? What season comes after fall? Fall is a cool off time between hot summer and cold winter.

Signs of Fall
Brainstorm signs of fall and write them on the board. What kind of clothes do we wear in fall? What’s the weather like in the fall? Are there any special seasonal foods we eat? What kind of sports are popular in fall? What holidays do we celebrate in the fall? What do animals do to get ready for winter? What do plants do in the fall?

*Let children make an attribute web and label it with pictures or words of things that remind them of fall. Older children can do this as a writing assignment, but for younger children this can be an opportunity for the teacher to model writing and develop vocabulary.


Nature Walk
Ask children to go on a nature walk with their families and look for signs of fall. Remind them to take tablets, paper, and pencils so they can record their “observations” on the walk.

I Like Autumn Language Experience Chart
Let children dictate sentences about why they like autumn. Older children could write their own original stories about, “Fall, Fall, Best of All!”

Acrostic Poem
Write the words “fall” or “autumn” vertically down the side of a sheet of paper. Children think of a word that starts with each letter that relates to fall. 

Friday, September 18, 2020


Here are some tried and true activities that you can adapt online, in class, or in one of the thousand other ways school districts are operating!!

Environmental print is one way young children “read pictures” and develop visual literacy. Using environmental print at the beginning of the school year is a great way to help children make print connections, develop visual memory skills, and motivate them to read. 

Note!  Some of these activities would be great to share with your parents so they could encourage their children to "read" around the house.

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

Glue wrappers from snack foods, cereals, etc. that children would be familiar with to sheets of paper and write this rhyme at the top of each page:
 "Old Mother Hubbard
  went to her cupboard
 to get her poor dog a bone.
 But when she got there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had...(Children read food logo.)"

What’s for Breakfast?
Ask children to bring their favorite cereal box to class.  Let them take turns holding up their box and challenge their friends to "read" what they like to eat.


Read sayings on T-shirts, sports jerseys, shoes, and other clothing the children wear.

Read at Home Book

This is a project that children can do at home with their parents.  
Directions:  Cut five 9” x 12” sheets of construction paper in half. Write “I Can Read” on the front and let the children decorate with their name and picture. Encourage parents to help their child cut out words they can read from boxes, magazines, and advertisements. 

I Like

Invite children to save labels from foods.  Write the words “I” and “like” on index cards. Model how to place the cards "I" and "like" on their desk or table.  Choose a label to put after the index cards.  Encourage the children to read, "I like (logo)."  Comment, “Look at you reading!!!!”

Block Engineers
Cut store logos from Sunday advertisements. Tape to wooden blocks and make your own mall in the block center.

Out the Door
Last January when I was in Pleasanton, TX, Nadine Barrow shared this idea. She posts words and environmental print on the inside of her door. Students have to read two of the words before exiting the classroom.