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

Monday, November 30, 2020


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

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

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

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

Fit Like a Puzzle
Materials: puzzle and frame, marker

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

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

Foam Letters

Materials: gift bag, foam letters, paper, pencils

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

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

Silly Glasses

Materials: silly glasses, paper, pencil, clipboard

Children walk around the room and write words they can read.

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

*For a partner project let one child wear the glasses. The friend takes a pointer and points to words for their friend to read.Book Presents (Danielle Underwood)

Book Presents
Wrap holiday books up like presents. Randomly choose a name out of a popsicle tin and let that child unwrap the present. After reading the book, display it for the children to look at during free time.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


You can keep those little hands busy with these simple materials.

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

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

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

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

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

Materials:  jingle bells, pipe cleaners, yarn
Directions:  String bells on pipe cleaners and string to make jewelry.

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

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

Here's a win/win from ESGI!

The season of giving is here, and we have a special cause we want to support! It's super simple:

Start a free 90-day trial of ESGI, and we will take it from there! (No credit card required)
With every ESGI trial, we will make a donation to support their Read in Color program. Read in Color aims to help distribute books that share different perspectives on race and social justice, as well as literature by BIPOC and LGBTQ authors.
  1. You will receive ESGI FREE for 90 days
  2. You will save $50 off your first year when you purchase
  3. ESGI will donate $8 towards Little Free Library Read in Color Program
  4. Use the following link to get started:
ESGI is your PreK - 2nd grade At-home and At-school progress monitoring solution!
  • Inform instruction with real-time data
  • Access thousands of 1-on-1 assessments
  • Personalize parent communications 

Saturday, November 28, 2020


A package of pompoms, bows, erasers and other small items and you are set for MERRY MATH and hands-on learning.

Check out this Facebook Live video where I demonstrate these projects:

                                                      Watch the video

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

Use the pompoms for making patterns.

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

Math Mat
Children place the correct amount on the trees.

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2020


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Yes, it is!  We all need some JOY and HAPPINESS!  Over the next few days I'll show you some fun learning activities you can create from inexpensive materials.  They can easily be adapted for home or classroom use.  I know that some schools don't allow "holidays," so I tried to focus on a WINTER theme as much as possible.  I mean, who can object to winter?  

This is a Facebook Live video I did several years ago where I demonstrate these projects:



Napkin Books

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

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

Sticker Story

Materials: holiday stickers, paper, pencils, pens
Let children choose a sticker and put it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Challenge them to write a poem or story or draw a picture around the sticker.

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

Holiday Card Center

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

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

Letters to Santa

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2020







Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Just stop and think for one minute. Do you realize that for some child you are the BEST thing that happens to them every day? Thanks for all you do!


by Jean Feldman

Whether you are large or small, rich or poor –
Come to me.

Whether your skin is brown or beige, gold or tan –
Come to me.

I’ll embrace you and love you and cherish you –
Come to me.

I’ll play with you and make you laugh –
Come to me.

I’ll kiss your hurts and keep you safe –
Come to me.

I’ll give you happy memories and dreams for tomorrow -
Come to me.

I’ll share the wonder of learning and the joy of each day –
Come to me.

I’ll take time to listen to you and try to understand you –
Come to me.

I’ll cheer you, encourage you, and believe in you –
Come to me.

I’ll never give up. I’ll try and try. I’m an early childhood teacher.
Come to me!




Tuesday, November 24, 2020


 I know you've been doing a lot of that so far this year!  

Thanks for not giving up and for loving those children!

We say “I CAN” in our country because we are AmeriCANS, not AmeriCAN’Ts.

Don’t let anybody take your JOY today!

Never, ever, ever give up!  Miracles happen every day!

P.S.  Here's a link to a video Hannah Severson shared.  Her nephews love construction and tools so she captured their interest with this project:

Monday, November 23, 2020


As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you!

Some of my favorite thoughts for you today!

All children are gifted – some just open their presents a little later than others.


Dance like no one is watching!  Teach like no one is watching!


We can’t all be stars, but we can all twinkle!


Teachers plant shade trees under which they’ll never sit.


Teachers who love teaching make children who love learning.

All children are wonderful.  You don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.  

(Fortunately, you don’t have to be perfect to be a wonderful teacher either.)



Sunday, November 22, 2020


Do you need a few more ideas to get through this holiday week?

This idea is old as the hills, but it will be new to the children in your classroom. Have children place their hand on a sheet of paper extending all the fingers. Trace. Children turn the thumb into the head of the turkey and color the other fingers to look like feathers. Add legs, and there’s your turkey! You can also do this with paint. Paint brown paint on the child’s palm, red on the thumb, and a different color on each finger. Press firmly on a sheet of paper. Add legs and other details.

Turkey Glyph
What a fun math project for a small group of a center. Each child will need a cut out of a turkey's body. Provide them with paper feathers in the following colors. Children can add feathers to their turkey according to the foods they plan to eat for their Thanksgiving Dinner:

green – beans or peas
yellow – corn
white - mashed potatoes
orange – pumpkin pie
red – cranberries
purple – gravy
blue – dressing
brown – turkey
black – roll

*Challenge children to identify what their friends will eat from their turkeys.

Mr. Turkey and Mr. Duck
Mr. Turkey went for (Start with hands behind your back.)
A walk one day (Bring right thumb out in front of you.)
In the very best
Of weather.
He met Mr. Duck (Bring left thumb out in front.)
Along the way
And they talked (Have thumbs look at each other.)
“Gobble, gobble, gobble.” (Wiggle right thumb.)
“Quack, quack, quack.” (Wiggle left thumb.)
“Good-bye.” (Bow right thumb.)
“Good-bye.” (Bow left thumb.)
And they both walked back! (Wiggle thumbs behind your back.)

Gobble, Gobble
Gobble, gobble. (Teacher says.)
Who is that? (Children respond.)
Mr. Turkey (Children and teacher say together.)
Big and fat!

He is big and fat and he (Spread arms wide.)
Gobble, gobble, gobbles. (Wiggle from side to side with hands on hips.)
He spreads his tail and he (Fan arms behind you.)
Gobble, gobble, gobbles. (Wiggle from side to side with hands on hips.)
But when Thanksgiving Day is here, (Point finger.)
Then it’s our turn to
GOBBLE! GOBBLE! GOBBLE! (Pretend to spoon food in your mouth!)

Saturday, November 21, 2020


Oh, my goodness! Thanksgiving is just a few days away! How could I not remind you of a song I learned as a little girl? And, I bet you learned it, too! Time to keep the tradition alive and pass it on to your students.

Over the River
(Traditional Tune: Happy Everything CD)
Over the river and through the woods (Pretend to hold reins of a sleigh
To grandmother’s house we go. and drive as you bounce up and down.)
The horse knows the way (Put hands behind back and nod
To carry the sleigh like a horse.)
Through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river and through the woods, (Pretend to drive sleigh.)
Oh, how the wind does blow. (Wrap arms around self and shiver.)
It stings your toes and bites your nose (Touch nose and point to toes.)
As over the ground we go.

Through the country and cities far (Pretend to drive a car.)
In sun or wind or rain.
We might go by train (Pull down on train whistle.)
We might take a plane. (Fly hand like a plane in the air.)
Or maybe a bus or car. (Hold out right hand, then left.)
Through low valleys and mountains high (Look down low and then up.)
Now, grandmother’s house I spy. (Hand over eyes.)
Hurrah, for the fun! (One fist in the air.)
Is the turkey done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie! (Cheer with other fist.)

Comparisons – Use a Venn diagram to compare what it would be like to visit grandmother a long time ago and how we visit now. How are things the same? How are they different?

Graphs – Make a graph of how they will travel to their Thanksgiving dinner. Car? Plane? Train? Bus? Boat? Stay at home!

Olden Days
Bring in a rotary phone, typewriter, record player, and camera (or a picture of these items).  Talk about how they were used when their grandparents were kids. What do we use now instead?

*Hint! I think it's important for children to know what these items are because most of the books copyrighted before 2000 have pictures or reference them.

Family Celebrations – Holidays are a good time to talk about diversity. Not all families celebrate Thanksgiving, but most families do celebrate something. Ask children to bring in photos of celebrations they have in their home. Put their pictures together to make a class book.

Friday, November 20, 2020


My webmaster (The Amazing Alex May) created a video with one of my silly songs where I sing "The Alphabet" backwards. Those of you who have taught your class this song know how the kids get a kick out of singing it. (I've even been known to surprise my adult friends by singing the alphabet backwards!) Those of you who have never done this song might think, “That’s stupid!”

The idea for singing the alphabet backwards originally came from a teacher who said she used it during transitions to focus the children’s attention. For example, while waiting in the hall she would challenge the students to say the ABC’s backwards. Or, she’d make a game of getting the room cleaned up while they said the alphabet backwards. It’s interesting that brain research suggests saying the alphabet backwards or counting backwards is a good brain exercise.

The bottom line is it’s free and I hope it’s fun for your students!

Alphabet Forwards and Backwards
W X Y and Z
Now, I’ve said my ABC’s.
Next time sing them backwards with me.
F E D C B A.
Now, I’ve said my ZYX’s,
Bet that’s not what you expected!

Country Countdown 1-20
You can also practice counting forwards and backwards.  Why?  This will help them understand one more, one less, etc.

Tell the kids to put on their cowboy and cowgirl boots and hats before you begin.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 (Heel tap left and right as you count.)

Turn around and count back down. (Turn around.)
20 19 18 …..

Thursday, November 19, 2020


I've got two silly songs today that can be sung or chanted.  It's a natural way to nurture oral language and phonological awareness when you start and end your day. 

Hello Friends! (Better Bodies and Brains CD)
Hello, jell-o!
Hi there, grizzly bear!
How are you, caribou?
I’m fine, porcupine!
What’s up, buttercup?
Not much, coconut!
This is how our day begins.
Nice to see ya, tortilla!
Hi, hi, pumpkin pie!
How’ve you been, dolphin?
Just great, rattle snake.
What’s shakin’, little bacon?
Not a lot, tater tot!
This is how our day begins.
Bonjour, dinosaur!
Good day, blue jay!
Howdy, brownie!
Welcome, bubble gum!
Hola, cola!
Yoo hoo, tennis shoe.
This is how our day begins.
Give me five, dragon fly.
Shake a hand, rubber band.
Here’s a hug, doodlebug.
Wave to me, bumblebee.
Come on in, my friends
With a smile and song
This is how the day begins! 

Here's the newest video that my webmaster Alex May has created to go with the song:

Picture Cards

Alex has also created two sets of cards (3" x 4" and 4" x 6") to be used for follow-up activities.  They can be printed on card stock or regular paper.

For a limited time, these cards are free for readers of my blog.

Print each set on regular paper, or for 3x5 cards, use Avery 5388 or equivalent.
For 4x6 cards, use Avery Post Card stock, 4.25 x 5.5 or equivalent.

Turn these into books so the children can practice reading with their families.

Cut pictures into puzzles for the children to put together.  (Adapt the number of pieces to the ability of your students.)

Make two copies of each card.  Place facedown on the floor and let children turn over two at a time as they try and match pictures.

Good-Bye Friends!

Good-bye Friends! 
(Totally Reading CD)
See you later, alligator!
After while, crocodile!
In an hour, sunflower!
Maybe two, kangaroo!
Gotta go, buffalo!
Adios, hippos!
Chow, chow, brown cow!
See you soon, baboon!
Adieu, cockatoo!
Better swish, jellyfish.
Chop chop, lollipop.
Gotta run, skeleton!
Bye-bye, butterfly!
Better shake, rattlesnake.
Good-bye, my good friends!

*This song also makes a great class book.  Let the children dedicate the book and then add the school's name as the publisher and the copyright date. The children can sign their names as “Illustrators,”  and be sure and add “The End."

Here’s a book you can download to go with the song: