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Sunday, October 31, 2021


It's almost November, and the perfect month to nurture a GRATITUDE ATTITUDE in our students - and ourselves! In studies of successful people, gratitude is frequently a characteristic that comes up. Gratitude is an emotion of expressing appreciation for what you have, rather than what you don’t have. Psychology Today reports that gratitude can be cultivated and it can increase levels of happiness when you do. Energy, optimism, and empathy are by-products of gratitude.  After last year, we all have so much to be GRATEFUL for!!!

Model Gratitude
Make it a habit to include things you appreciate into daily conversations.

What does it mean to be thankful? Write children’s responses on the board. What are some synonyms for thankful?

Gratitude Journal
Make a special journal for each child to use during the month of November. Several times a week ask them to draw, list, or write sentences about things they are grateful for.
*I used copy paper and wallpaper cut in 9” x 12” rectangles to make my journal. Take five sheets of paper and fold in half. Center on the wallpaper and sew down the middle. (You can do this by hand, or maybe there is a parent or grandparent with a machine who would do this for you.) It makes a lovely book.

Thankful Board
Designate a bulletin board or poster in the hall as your “thankful board.” Children can attach sticky notes or draw pictures of things they are thankful for throughout the month.

Gratitude Box
Cut a hole in the top of a shoebox and decorate. Place on a shelf along with paper and pencils. Children write things they are thankful for and place them in the box. When you have a few extra minutes, select notes and read them to the class.

Children love to make lists, so let them make a list (draw pictures or write) of all the things they are grateful for.

Can they think of something for each letter of the alphabet that they are grateful for?


Count Your Blessings
Start the day by going around the room and asking each child to say something they are thankful for.

End with Something GOOD
Clap and slap thighs as you say this chant to end your day:
Hey, hey, what do you say?
What happened good at school today?

Hot Potato Pass
Children sit or stand in a circle and begin passing the hot potato (ball or other small object) around. When the music stops or when the teacher blows a whistle the child holding the potato must say one thing they are thankful for.

Find a project in your community that your class can do to help others.  There are lots of good sites where you're sure to find something just right for your class this season,

Saturday, October 30, 2021


Let's Talk Turkey today because I bet you'll be working on your lesson plans for November this weekend!

Albuquerque Turkey(Tune: “My Darlin’ Clementine”)
Albuquerque is a turkey (Put hands on hips like wings.)
And he’s feathered and he’s fine.
And he wobbles and he gobbles (Strut and wiggle.)
And he’s absolutely mine.

He’s the best pet you can get, (Pretend to stroke a turkey’s head.)
Better than a dog or cat.
He’s my Albuquerque turkey,
And I’m awfully proud of that.

Albuquerque is a turkey,
And he’s happy in his bed. (Lay head on palms as you smile.)
Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner,
We’ll have pizza pie instead! (Palm up in the air like a pizza.)

Here's the link so you can download the book. Make four copies of the song and put it in the listening center so children can follow along.

One child makes a fist and sticks out her thumb to make the head and body of a turkey. The other child opens his palm, spreads the fingers apart, and puts it next to their partner’s fist to make tail feathers.

Handprint Turkey

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!)

Friday, October 29, 2021


Get lots of rest this weekend because Monday will seem like your whole class has ADHD because of staying up late, trick or treating, and eating all that candy! What ya' gonna do? Turn those candy wrappers into a learning activity. Ask your children to save their wrappers and then do some of these "yummy" activities.

Count the wrappers. Tally how many in the whole class.

Make sets with the wrappers.


Sort the wrappers. What’s the sorting rule? Can they regroup them?


Use the wrappers to graph their favorite candy bar.

Look at the food value on each wrapper. How many calories? How much sugar? Rank the candies by calories.

Vocabulary - Find descriptive words on the wrappers. Make a list of the words and use them in sentences.

Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book. Children write “I like…” at the top of each page and glue a candy wrapper underneath. This is a book every child in your room can read! Older children could write descriptive sentences about each candy.

Alphabet Letters 
Use the wrappers to make a class book called “The Sweet ABC’s.” Write alphabet letters on 26 sheets of paper. Children glue their wrappers to the appropriate letter. Bind pages together to make a book.
Hint! If you don’t have a wrapper for each letter, let children suggest “sweet” words for the page.


tyg6h- Glue candy wrappers to a file folder. Write a coin value by each wrapper. Children count out the appropriate amount and place it on the wrapper.

Hint! For young children, price the candies from 1 cent to 10 cents and give them pennies. Make the amounts higher for older students.

Let children use wrappers to make a collage.

Finally, take advantage of this “teachable moment” by discussing why sugar is not good for their bodies. What happens if you eat too much sugar? Make a list of healthy snacks that would be better food choices.

Thursday, October 28, 2021


It's difficult to find games that work for younger children. I remember when I taught first grade that my kids loved competitive games where we kept score. Surprise! Surprise! When I moved to kindergarten they were much more egocentric and circle games worked better. Besides being fun, games are a great way to help children develop the executive function and social skills.

Build the Castle
Materials: long jump rope
Choose two people to hold the rope. The other players form a straight line and take turns jumping over the rope. The rope begins on the ground, but after everyone has had a turn, it is raised a few inches. If a child’s foot touches the rope, he or she is out of the game. Continue raising the rope until there is just one child left who can jump the height.
*A similar game called “school” can be played. When the rope is on the ground it is called “kindergarten.” Each time the rope is raised, it is called “first grade,” “second grade,” and so on. 


Jump the Creek
Materials: 2 jump ropes
Place the two ropes on the ground a few inches apart to make a “creek.”
Have the children line up single file and try to jump over the creek one at a time without stepping on a rope. After every child has jumped, move the ropes a little farther apart to make the creek wider. Continue moving the ropes farther apart and letting the children jump over them. When a player can no longer jump over the rope, they must stand to the side of the game and be cheerleaders. The object of the game is to see how far the children can jump.
*You can play a similar game by drawing lines in the sand or dirt.

Circle Soccer
Materials: playground ball
Stand in a circle and hold hands. Place the ball inside the circle. Children try to kick the ball and keep it inside the circle. If the ball goes out of the circle between two people, then both people are out of the game. If a player kicks the ball too high and it goes over someone’s head, then the player who kicked the ball is out of the game. The game continues until there are just one or two players left.

Call Ball
Materials: playground ball
Divide the class into two teams and have them form two lines about 30 feet apart. Give each child a number by having them count off. (Two players on opposing teams will have the same number.) The teacher/adult stands between the two teams, calls out a number, and throws the ball in the air. The first child with that number to catch the ball wins a point for their team.

Sneaky Snake
Materials: none
Have the children hold hands and stand in a long line. Hold the child’s hand at the front of the line and move them in zigzags, spirals, and all around as the others follow behind.
*See if the “head” of the snake can catch the “tail.”

Wolf and Chickens
Materials: none
Two lines are draw approximately 40 feet apart. The children are the “chickens” and line up behind one of the lines. One child is the wolf and stands between the two lines. The wolf pretends to be a chicken and says, “Cluck, cluck” and flaps his or her arms. But when the wolf shouts, “Wolf,” all the chickens must run to the other line. If the wolf tags them, they must become wolves, too, and help the wolf catch the other chickens. The game continues until all the chickens are caught. The last one caught becomes the wolf for the next game.


*A similar game called “sharks and minnows” can be played. Have the minnows get behind a line as the shark tries to catch them when “shark” is called. 

Ask children to interview their parents to find out what games they played in school.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


Compound words reinforce the concept of "word" and encourage "blending" (putting together)  and "segmenting" (taking apart).

Write words on opposite sides of a paper plate. Cut a puzzle shape between the words. Mix them up and ask children to put the puzzles together and read the words.
Hint! For younger children use picture cues.

*Cut the plate into thirds. Write words on two sections as shown and the compound on the third section.


Open and See
Cut paper into rectangles 4” x 10.” Fold in half. Open. Fold each edge to the center as shown. Write individual words on the two side sections. Open and write and illustrate the compound word.


Compound Boogie
(Tune: "Ball in the Jack" IS EVERYBODY HAPPY? CD)
Take the word "rain" and the word "coat." (Extend a hand on each word.)
Put them together and get “raincoat.” (Bring hands together.)
Dog – house…foot – ball…cup – cake…
Sun – shine…lunch – box…
The compound boogie is easy to do.
You make one word out of two!
And now you can join in the fun.
I’ll say two words and you make them one.
Play – ground…side – walk…bath – tub…
Tree – house… some – thing… sail – boat…
Bed – room… snow – man…cow – girl…
Door – bell…

Separating Syllables
Separate words by bringing hands together and saying a compound, such as “sunshine.” “What happens if we take away ‘sun.’ What happens if we take away ‘shine’?” 

Building Compounds
Put words or pictures on unit blocks. Have children put these together and read the words.


Monday, October 25, 2021


Children can only manipulate two "chunks" at a time, so focusing on word families is a powerful strategy for beginning readers.“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.


It would be meaningful to take one word family and sing it every day for a week in this song. If you made a “house” similar to the one shown the children could contribute additional words throughout the week.

Word Family Song (Tune: “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.


Unifix Cubes

Put stickers on unifix cubes and write letters on them. (I’ve tried writing directly on the cubes with permanent markers, but they always rub off.) Children make a rime and then use additional letters to make new words.

*Let children play this game with a partner. One person makes a
word and then the other friend must read it.

Letter Tins
Put magnetic letters in an empty tin of mints. How many words can the children make with the letters? Ask them to write a list of all the words.

Sunday, October 24, 2021


Here's a song that introduces the long and short sounds for the vowels. Making manual signs for the letters or holding up copies of letters will help add the visual connection as you sing.

The Vowel Song (Tune: “Are You Sleeping?” Is Everybody Happy CD)
A makes two sounds. (Echo each line.)
/A/ and /a/.
/A/ for apron, /a/ for apple.
/A/ and /a/.
/E/ and /e/ - eagle and elephant…
/I/ and /i/ - ice cream and inchworm…
/O/ and /o/ - open and octopus…
/U/ and /u/ - ukulele and uncle…

The long vowel sounds are easier for children to remember because "they just say their name." Here's a song that will help put those short vowel sounds in the brain. Of course, the letter U will be their favorite!

The Vowel Family (Tune: "BINGO" - Just for Fun CD)
Aunt Aggie had an allergy
and she would always sneeze-o (Pretend to sneeze.)
/a/a/a/a/a/ /a/a/a/a/a/ /a/a/a/a/a/
And she would always sneeze-o.

Grandpa Eddie stayed in shape
and he would exercise-o (Pretend to lift weights.)
/e/e/e/e/e/ /e/e/e/e/e/ /e/e/e/e/e/
He liked to exercise-o.

Baby Izzi had chicken pox
and she would always itch-o. (Scratch body.)
/i/i/i/i/i/ /i/i/i/i/i/ /i/i/i/i/i/
And she would always itch-o.

Cousin Otto’s throat was sore
And this is what he’d say-o. (Put hand on throat.)
/o/o/o/o/o/ /o/o/o/o/o/ /o/o/o/o/o/
And this is what he’d say-o.

Uncle Unk wore underwear
and it did stink-o. (Hold nose.)
/u/u/u/u/u/ /u/u/u/u/u/ /u/u/u/u/u/
And it did stink-o.

Let the children use the attached sheet to make vowel puppets. Tape the letters to craft sticks or glue to an envelope that's been cut in half.

Five Little Vowels (Adapted from "Monkeys and the Alligator")
Five little vowels swinging from a tree (Hold up 5 fingers.)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me! (Point finger.)
You can’t catch me!”
Along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be (Open and close arms.)
And snatched that A right out of the tree.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ (Make sign language A with hand.)


*Draw a tree on a magnetic board and remove magnetic letters as you say the chant.

Saturday, October 23, 2021


 You’ll find some of the most popular books in your classroom will be those that students collaborate to make. What a perfect way to motivate your students to write and read as you reinforce standards.  

Consider these components when making collaborative books with your class:

– Encourage children to “dedicate” books. 

Copyright Date – The date you make your book.

Publisher – Your school, city, and state.

Authors and Illustrators – Have children sign a group page as authors and illustrators of the book.

ISBN – Include an ISBN number and bar code on the back.

The End – Everybody can read this page!

Comments and Compliments – Let children have turns taking the book home for one night. Their parents can then write their “comments or compliments” about the book on that page. (You could also pass the book around to different classes in your school and they could write remarks on this page.)

*Older students could do a “Table of Contents,” “Index,” or “Glossary.”

*Place class books in your school library, public library, a hospital, etc.

*Have a “drawing” at the end of the year so each child gets to keep one of the books.

Concept Books

Reinforce concepts you are working on, such as letters, shapes, science themes, friendship, etc. to make class books.

Song Books
I also love to take songs and use them to make books with children. You can ask the children to close their eyes as they listen to the song and then make pictures in their brain. Invite them to draw their picture and then cut out words to the song and match them up with the pictures. Don't worry! It always turns out beautifully!

*You can also type words to songs ahead of time and let each child choose the sentence they would like to illustrate. 

Here are some other interesting topics for making books with your students:















I AM…  


I CAN….  
















Friday, October 22, 2021


Several years ago while visiting a school I saw two shiny new bikes on display in the library. Every time a child read a book they got to put their name on a ticket to win the bike. What a great way to motivate children to read! These ideas aren’t quite as big as a bike, but I bet you might spark a little interest with them.

Book Drawing
You will need a roll of tickets (purchase at an office supply store) or make your own. Each time a child reads a book she gets to write her name on a ticket. Collect these in a sack during the week. On Friday, draw a name out of the sack and that child WINS a book! 


Note!  It could be a book that you purchased or a book that the class has made.

Stay Up Late and Read
To reward children make copies of “Extra 15 Minutes” coupons similar to the one shown. Children who earn the ticket get to stay up an extra 15 minutes at bedtime and read to their parents.


Book Bucks
Run off "reading-bucks." (Free if you do a google search.) When children read a book they earn a "buck." They can save these to buy a book or other prize.

Popcorn Party
Get a large jar and write “Popcorn Party” on it. Every time any student reads a book she gets to add a cotton ball to the jar. When the jar is full the whole class gets a popcorn party.

Reading Incentives
I asked Mr. Google about "reading incentives" and he gave me lots of great links.

Note! There are some who think "bribing" children to read will backfire. That's why I have offered several choices here that do not reward children for the number of books they read. I agree that "reading" itself is the reward, but many children LOVE a challenge.

I found this BINGO card on I like something like this because children could choose their own reward for whatever they wanted to read.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


Did you know that today is Babble Day? What will they think of next? It might be a good day to talk about what the word "babble" means. How many synonyms can you think of for the word "babble"?

Oral language is definitely an important skill for all children - especially after a year of masks and screens! Children need to be able to organize their thoughts and express themselves clearly, but, like anything else, we need to provide them with opportunities to talk, talk, talk!

Babble Breaks
Plan several three minute "babble breaks" where children can talk to their friends today. You could give them a topic to discuss that relates to a unit of study, let them tell jokes, or just chit chat.

Hint! Set a timer so children can learn to regulate when to begin and when to end.

*You might want to use the "buddy sticks" I described on October 4th for children to find a "babble buddy."


Traffic Light

Traffic light colors are a visual way to help children regulate the volume in the classroom. Hold up a green circle when they are free to talk. Yellow means they are a little loud and to turn it down. Red means "stop" talking and focus on the teacher.


Tell Me More 
Place several interesting objects in a gift bag. One at a time, pull an object out and sing to the tune of “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”

     Do you know what this is, what this is, what this is?
     Do you know what this is? Please tell me more!

Encourage the children to identify the item and tell you as many descriptive words as they can about it.

Conversation Starters 
Run off conversation starters similar to the ones below and place them in a paper sack. Children choose one before they go home at the end of the day and use it to tell their parents about their day.

     Ask me about our story.
     Ask me what song we sang.
     Ask me who I played with.
     Ask me what I learned.
     Ask me what we had to eat.

Story Bits 
Select small objects that relate to a story or unit of study. For example, you could use a button for Corduroy, a fake jewel for Fancy Nancy, a shell for an ocean unit, etc. Children take home the object and explain how the item relates to the book they heard or what they learned at school.

American Idol 
Let children take turns playing “American Idol” as they lead classmates in familiar songs.

Role Play 
Have children act out life situations. For example, what would you do if someone bullied you? What would you do if a stranger tried to get you to ride in their car? What would you do if you saw a fire? What would you do if you found $20 on the bus?

Provide children with puppets and stuffed animals to act out stories and problems.

Audio Recordings 
Let children practice reading simple books, saying rhymes, or singing songs with audio devices.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


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

Look up in the sky tonight and you'll see a full moon.  


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.

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.

A full moon is when it looks like a circle.

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:


*Let one child pretend to be the earth and stand in the middle of the room. Let another child pretend to be the moon and circle the earth.

*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.


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