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

Sunday, February 28, 2021


Did You Ever See a Lassie? 
(Traditional Tune - I remember doing this as a kindergartener in 1952, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I bet your kids might enjoy it just as much - and it's something that you could do virtually or in person.)

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...

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.

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!

Saturday, February 27, 2021


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.)

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.

Wear a Mask ASL
Last spring I did a song about "Wear a Mask" and now Mariela Anderson has provided the ASL version.  She is so talented and adding sign language is just a beautiful thing!

Friday, February 26, 2021


Tell a Fairy Tale Day is February 26th, but any day is perfect for a fairy tale!
Some people think fairy tales are too violent for young children. And I would agree that some of them are a little twisted and dark. However, most of them aren’t any more violent than Saturday morning cartoons. The bottom line is children have enjoyed these stories for hundreds of years. Proof that a good story is a good story! There is usually a protagonist (good character) that struggles with an evil character. The best part of fairy tales is that they always end happily and good prevails. Many psychologists support fairy tales because they believe children will face “dragons” throughout their lives, and fairy tales give them hope, determination, and strength to defeat their problems.

Let’s see how we can use “Tell a Fairy Tale Day” as a springboard for teaching different types of texts.

What is a fairy tale?
What do children know about fairy tales?
Are they fiction or non-fiction? Why?

How many fairy tales can they name?
Make a list on the board as they call them out.
Go to the library and search for fairy tale books.

Get a storybook (without pictures) and have the children close their eyes as you read to them. Challenge them to make pictures in their brain.
*Stop before the end of the book and ask them to draw pictures of what they think will happen. Compare their predictions with what actually happened by reading the end of the book.
*Read several different versions of the same fairy tale and compare and contrast.
*Compare different illustrations of the same fairy tale.

Creative Activities
Let children dress up like their favorite character from a fairy tale. Encourage them to retell the story and explain why they chose that character.
*Have children make puppets of favorite fairy tale characters from lunch bags, paper plates, or sticks.
*Divide children into small groups and let them act out their favorite scene from a fairy tale.

I was a lucky little girl because I grew up before videos and iPads. I do remember my mother reading to us from this storybook every night. Look at the forward I found when I opened the book!

This book is my house.
The door is open and I shall enter.
I shall be happy here because my house has so many windows and
my companions are men and women who love me.
Here I will find laughter, love, romance, beauty, and happiness.

If you are reading my blog today I know you are the type of teacher that instills the “love and happiness” from books. Thank you for keeping the joy alive!

Thursday, February 25, 2021


Looking for something cheap, simple, and easy to do in your traditional classroom or to share with your families?  A bag of large, dry lima beans, a permanent marker, an Altoids tin, and you are all set to reinforce phonics, sight words, and math concepts.  

First, use permanent markers to write the consonants in blue and the vowels in red on the beans.

*Use for making CVC words.
*Use for word families.
*Use for writing word wall words.
*Use for practicing spelling words.
*Use with a friend. One person makes a word and the other person must read it.
*Put the letter beans in alphabetical order.
*Draw ten beans from the tin. How many words can you make with the ten beans? Write them down. 


Write numerals in black and math signs in green.

*Put beans in numerical order.
*Sort odd and even numbers.
*Use for greater than and less than.
*Use for addition and subtraction problems.
*Use for place value.
*Make sets.
*Represent number bonds.

Math Bags

Here's another simple activity with lima beans. Draw a line down the middle of a plastic bag with a permanent marker. Insert beans in the bag. Ask the children to count the beans in the bag. Slide the beans from one side to the other to make different combinations. Can they write down the different combinations?

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Here are some "tips and tricks" to use this week to help your children focus on line or in person.

Check Mate
Before starting a lesson, post a checklist of what students will need. As you read down the list, students respond, “Check!” if they are all set.

Pencils? – Check!
Paper? – Check!
Crayons? – Check!
Eyes Watching? – Check!
Ears Listening? – Check!
Hands and Feet Quiet? – Check! 


Self Control Cue (Becky Gilsdorf)
Use this visual cue to help children who are out of control.
     Cross hands over your chest. (Self)
     Slide both hands down the sides of your body. (Control)
     As the child repeats the movements silently it will calm them down.

Class Callbacks (Sara Quinn)
Try these callbacks to help children focus:
Teacher says: Hands on top. (Students put their hands on their heads.)
Students say: That means stop!
Teacher says: Holy Moly!
Students say: Guacamole!
Teacher says: All set?
Students say: You bet!

*You can go on all day with callbacks. Marco - Polo; Peanut Butter - jelly; Criss cross – sit like a boss, etc.

Finger Friends  (Focus those fidgety hands with this rhyme.)
Two little houses closed up so tight. (Make fists)
Open the windows and let in some light. (Open hands)
Ten little finger friends so tall and straight  (Fingers up and wiggle)
Hurry to school so they won’t be late. (Bounce hands)

Self Control Lotion
I recall a teacher who kept a bottle of lotion on her desk and called it “self control lotion.” When her students were having trouble paying attention she would give them a squirt of lotion and tell t                                           
Hint!  This would be a great idea for sanitizer lotion.

Secret Hands (Melinda Ainslie)
Several years ago at a workshop Melinda shared this idea.  She said that when her daughter started kindergarten she came home from school and asked, “Mama, can you keep a secret? When you put your hands together like this (cross your fingers), it’s MAGIC because you can see better and hear better!”

Brain Toys
Fill a shoebox or basket with stress balls or knotted socks. Suggest children get a "brain toy" when they can’t keep their hands to themselves.  You'll be surprised how a knotted sock can keep little hands still and help them focus.

Hint!  Suggest parents provide their children who are learning at home with similar props.

Wrap a 20” piece of string around a jumbo craft sticks. Children keep these in their desk and get them out when their hands need to fiddle.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021


February 23rd is a big day if you are a dog because it's INTERNATIONAL DOG BISCUIT APPRECIATION DAY. Buzzie (the love of our lives) is going to get some special treats today!

Hint!  Some of these activities would be perfect to share with your families who are dog lovers.

Woof!  Woof! Game
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!)
*You could even do this virtually, but you'd have to pull out the bones for the children as you rotate around the screen.

Math Manipulatives
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.


Who Let the Letters Out?
Place letters in a dog dish or empty box of dog biscuits. Pull out one letter at a time as you chant:
Who let the D out?
/d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/

Our Pets
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 kids sure would 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.

Monday, February 22, 2021


You can spend a lot of money on science equipment for your classroom, or just go outside and look up in the sky and you’ve got a lesson no matter what your teaching situation might be.

Clouds, glorious clouds! They change daily and are great way for you students to be scientists as they observe, predict, and record.

Let’s Get Started

Ask your students what they know about clouds.

Are all the clouds the same?

Why are there different kinds of clouds?

Why are most clouds white?

What makes clouds move?

This is a perfect springboard for demonstrating how to find new information by searching on the internet, going to the library, asking their parents, and so forth.

My Cloud Book
Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a cloud book for each child. Ask them to write the name of a different cloud on each page and illustrate it. (Older children could write descriptive sentences.) On the last page ask them to name their favorite cloud and tell why they like it.

Class Graph
Each day look at the sky and graph the type of clouds in the sky.

Flip Book
Make a flip book with the four basic clouds. (Put “flip book” in my search engine to see how to make this book.)

Cotton Clouds
Challenge children to make the different types of clouds out of cotton.

Types of Clouds

Cirrus Clouds
Cirrus clouds look like wispy streaks high up in the sky. If the sky is blue with a few cirrus clouds it’s going to be a nice day.

Cumulus Clouds
Cumulus clouds look like puffy white cotton balls in the sky. When they turn dark it means it’s going to rain.

Stratus Clouds

Stratus clouds look like a dark blanket in the sky. Look for rain or snow when it is cold.
Nimbus Clouds (Also known as cumulonimbus)

Nimbus Clouds (Also known as cumulonimbus.)
Nimbus clouds are dark and have rain or snow falling from them.

Can you walk through a cloud? Yes, you can! Fog is a cloud on the ground so when you walk in the walk you are walking through a cloud!

Look at the sky with your parents. Name the cloud formations that you see.

Sunday, February 21, 2021


It's about time for a science experiment. This is one of the coolest, easiest, most amazing science experiments that you can do in your classroom or virtually.
You will need:

1 bar of Ivory soap

1 plate (paper or glass)


Put the bar of soap on a plate. Place in the microwave for 90 seconds. (I actually only did it for 70 seconds.) Observe. Talk about magic! The soap will turn into a mass that looks like a fluffy cloud. Remove, cool, and then explore the texture.



Hint! Invite the children to record what the soap looks like before and after microwaving.
*What caused the change? 

Cloud Watch
Give children clipboards, blue paper, and a white piece of chalk. Go out on the playground and challenge them to draw the clouds in the sky. Can they predict what the weather will be from observing the clouds?  

There are many informative books about clouds, as well as whimsical tales like CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, IT LOOKED LIKE SPILT MILK, and THE LITTLE CLOUD. 

I also found some free videos and resources if you want to learn more about clouds:

Come back tomorrow for more science activities to do with clouds.

Saturday, February 20, 2021


Aesthetic appreciation is probably not one of your standards, but I enjoyed introducing famous artists to my students. And the parents always got a kick out of their children talking about Picasso or Van Gogh.  These strategies could easily be adapted to any teaching situation.

Art Appreciation 101


Each week choose a famous artist – anyone from Vermeer to Rockwell to Picasso. You can go online and download prints or check out books from the library. On Monday, give a little background about the artist and show one painting and give the title. Explain that artists always give a “name” or title to their work. “What title would you give this painting?” “What do you see?” “Why do you think the artist painted this?” “What do you think happened before?” “After?” “What do you think the people are saying?” “How does this painting make you feel?” “What materials did the artist use to create this picture?”


On Tuesday show another picture. “Do you remember the title of yesterday’s painting? What do you think is the title of today’s painting?” Compare and contrast. “How are they alike?” “How are they different?” 

Continue introducing a different painting every day. 


*Use paintings to introduce new vocabulary words.
*Use paintings as springboards for writing stories or poems.
*Paintings can also be used for informative writing where children describe details.
*On Friday let children graph which painting they liked best. Why did you like that one? Is there one you did not like?

So, a funny thing happened because I was going to end this blog with an idea about Michelangelo. I was going to suggest you tell the children how he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on his back. Wouldn’t it be fun to tape paper under the table and let the children draw like Michelangelo? Well, guess what? That’s a myth. He actually stood up as he painted and then they attached the panels to the ceiling. You learn something new every day, don’t you? 

I still think it would be fun to tape paper to the bottom of a table and draw!

Friday, February 19, 2021


Here are some simple art projects with crayons that can be adapted to any age or teaching situation. Sometimes adults think that kids should only do an art project one time. The interesting thing is that children will enjoy doing these activities several times.

Dancing Crayons
Materials: crayons, paper, music
Directions: Hold a crayon in each hand. Put on some music, and let the crayons “dance” on the paper.
*This would work well at the listening center using a variety of music, such as classical, country, march, lullaby, etc.

Materials: crayons, rubber bands, paper
Directions: Wrap a rubber band around 3 or 4 crayons. Children can hold the “bundle” and draw a design or picture on their paper.

Dot to Dot
Materials: crayons, paper
Directions: Make a specified number of dots (six, ten, whatever) on a piece of paper. Exchange papers with a friend. Connect the dots. What does it look like? Add details to create an object or design.

Wiggles and Squiggles
Materials: crayons, paper
Directions: Have the children close their eyes and make a design on their paper with a black crayon. When they open their eyes, ask them to create something out of their design.
Adaptations: Have children exchange papers with wiggles and squiggles with a friend.

Folded Designs
Materials: paper, crayons
Directions: Have children take a sheet of paper and fold it several times. Next, open it and trace over the creases on the paper with a black crayon. Finally, fill in each section with a different color, design, or pattern.

Thursday, February 18, 2021


Don't we all need a little more beauty in our lives these days? Art is active, open-ended, and encourages children to think creatively and use their imagination.

Most of the time when we ask children to draw something they pick up a crayon and get going. Here are some tips that might help them plan their illustrations before they begin.

1st Explain that they should think about what they want to draw and plan how they are going to do it. Suggest they close their eyes and get a picture in their brain.

2nd Remind them to add details. Just like we add words to sentences to make them more meaningful, the more details you add to your drawings the more interesting they will be.

3rd An easy rule for children to follow is to ask them to use as many colors as they are in age. If you are five, you should use at least five colors in your picture. If you are six use at least six colors, and so forth. And, of course, “fill in the page” is always a challenge.

Hint! One teacher said she discovered that when she gave her students colored paper they were more likely to fill in the page. (Give it a try and let me know what you think.)

4th Compare and contrast illustrations. Show children several books with different illustrations. What media did the different illustrators use to make their pictures? Which illustrations do they like best? Why?

*Remind your students that they are illustrators, too!

How many different ways can you think of to use common materials like crayons or colored pencils in your classroom?

Skills - Instead of giving children worksheets, give them blank paper and challenge them to illustrate sight words, phonics, shapes, numbers, vocabulary, etc.

Comprehension - Draw what you learned from a science or social studies lesson.

SEL - Let children draw how they feel or express themselves on paper when upset.

Songs - Encourage children to illustrate favorite classroom songs and chants and then put them together to make a book.

Cards and Letters - Write and illustrate cards and letters to friends and family members.

Bulletin Boards - Use children's original work to decorate your bulletin boards, door, hallway, and so forth.
Note!  What a clever way to display children's artwork

Wednesday, February 17, 2021


There are so many fun holidays in February and I can't resist doing blogs about them.  
Besides, I think we all need something to smile about these days!  

February 9th was Pizza Day, but I could eat pizza every day! (Seriously!) Here’s a silly song that I used to sing just because the children got a laugh out of it. Now, I tie it into standards because it demonstrates sound substitution and reinforces vowel sounds. Whatever!!!

Pepperoni Pizza
I like to eat, eat, eat, (Extend arms to make a circle like a pizza.)
Pepperoni pizza.
I like to eat, eat, eat,
Pepperoni pizza.

Sing substituting the long “A” sound for each vowel.
A lake tae ate, ate, ate,
Papparaynay pazzay…

Continue substituting with “E,” “I,” “O,” and “U.”

Hint! Make sign language letters for the vowels as you sing.

Word Family Pizza

Chris Baker created this video to demonstrate consonant substitution as children sing the song.

There are dozens of math skills you can tie in with this easy peasy math manipulative.

Why? sorting; sets; numerals; addition; subtraction, patterns; following directions; writing how to

What? fun foam (red, yellow, green, brown, black, white), pie pan, red felt, index cards, book ring

How? Cut toppings for your pizza from fun foam using this pattern.

Sausage – brown
Peppers – green
Cheese – yellow
Pepperoni – red
Olives – black
Mushrooms – white
(Store the patterns in a zip bag.)

Cover the bottom of the pie pan with red felt.

*Let children sort the toppings.
*Give them numeral cards and ask them to make sets.
*Can they make a pattern with the toppings?
*Give them addition and subtraction facts and ask them to work out the problems with the toppings.
*Make recipe cards similar to the ones shown for the children to follow.
*Can they count how many ingredients in all on their pizza?

How To
Have children write their own recipe cards and directions for making a pizza.

Paper Pizza Collage
Give children a paper plate and some scrap paper, scissors, and crayons and let them create their own paper pizza. When they've finished they can add a few drops of glue and sprinkle with oregano or Italian seasonings to make it SMELL like a real pizza.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


These THINK PADS are easy to make and can be used in multiple ways.

Stack 6 sheets of paper on top of each other. Staple each of the corners as shown. Cut vertically and horizontally in half to make four “think pads.” Make several dozen of these. To begin give one to each child. Keep the others in the writing center. Explain that if they do a lot of thinking and writing they are welcome to get another pad.


Children can use these to take notes as they listen to a book or watch a video. They can draw, write words, or simply scribble. Encourage them by commenting, “You’re taking notes just like the big kids do in high school and college! Isn’t it fun to know how to take notes to help you remember?”

What can you find out?
Collect non-fiction books about a topic that you will be studying in your class. Place the books on a table along with think pads, paper, and pencils. Let two children work together and take notes to look in the books and see what they can find out (learn) about the topic. 

Written Response
Older students can use think pads to write the answer to math problems or other questions.


If children finish their work early they can brainstorm or doodle on their think pads.

Sticky Notes
Children also love sticky notes to write reminders to themselves, notes to friends, etc.
Note! Sometimes physicians or dentists will donate these to your class.