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Friday, December 31, 2021

FANTASTIC FRIDAY CELEBRATIONS 2022

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

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


Hot Chocolate Friday
I LOVE this idea! Ask each parent to send in a box of instant hot chocolate and an old coffee mug. End your week by letting each child stir up some hot chocolate. Read poems, say rhymes, read books, and fall in love with language as you sip your hot chocolate together!

 

Sock Hop
Children get to wear silly socks to school and have a dance at the end of the day.

*Teach the children the “Twist,” “Swim,” “Pony,” or other dances from your past.




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


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

                         


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

                                               


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


Beach Party
Bring beach towels and wear sunglasses, shorts, and T-shirts. Play beach ball games, beach music, and have a “cool” snack like popsicles.
                         

Toy Day
Children bring a favorite toy from home and share with their friends the last 30 minutes of the day.


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



FANTASTIC FUN FRIDAY
Tell your children that they can EARN “fun” time on Friday. First, discuss what “fun” time might mean to them. Basically, it’s a time when they get to do whatever they want. When you catch the class on good behavior during the week they can earn a letter in the words “FANTASTIC FUN FRIDAY.” Write the letters as they earn them on the board. If they earn all the letters by Friday then their reward is to have fun the last 30 minutes. (You’ll be surprised that some of your students won’t know what to do at first. They’ll just walk around and walk around. Funny! Sooner or later they will figure it out!)

Thursday, December 30, 2021

BUILD A SNOWMAN

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


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





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

                  


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


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

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

MITTEN WEATHER

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

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


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

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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljeFdMMzBGdTc0Qjg/view?usp=sharing


Visual Matching
Cut mittens out of a wallpaper book or wrapping paper. Cut two out of each pattern and then mix them up. Give children clothespins to clip the matching ones together. Introduce vocabulary to describe various patterns, such as “stripes,” “checked,” “plaid,” “solid,” “polka dots,” “animal print,” etc.


*Make mitten matching games with upper and lowercase letters or with pictures and beginning sounds.

*Make mitten matching games with antonyms or snynonyms.

*How about a matching game with math facts and answers?

                         

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


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


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

                   


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

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

SNOWING SNOWMEN

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

Snowman’s Story
Once there was a beautiful snowman made of white snow. Along came a red bird one day and the bird said,
Ha, ha, ha,
He, he, he,
You’re the funniest snowman I ever did see.
The snowman said,
Oh, dear, oh, dear,
Oh, me, oh, me!
Why am I the funniest snowman you ever did see?
Well, said the bird, you should be red like me. Red is such a bright, happy color.
So that night the snowman got some red dye and turned himself red. 


The next day along came a yellow duck.
Ha, ha, ha….(The story continues as the snowman dyes himself yellow.)
The next day along came a green frog…
The next day along came blue bug…



The next day the snowman was feeling rather sad. Just then along came a little girl. She said, “Why are you so sad?” The snowman said, “I’ve dyed myself red and yellow and green and blue and I just don’t feel like myself.” The little girl said, “You are wonderful just the way you are! Always be yourself!”
So the snowman blinked his eyes and he was once again the color of snow. From then on he was happy just being himself. And that’s why you always see snowmen with happy smiles on their faces.

*Cut a snowman shape out of the front of a file folder. Insert white, red, yellow, green, blue, and white paper. Glue the words to the story on the back. As you tell the story remove the paper to correspond with the story.
Hint! I painted snow on the file folder with White Out.

Five Little Snowmen Finger Play
Five little snowmen fat. (Hold up five fingers.)
Each wore a different hat.
Along came the sun and melted one. (Bend down one finger.)
Now, what do you think about that?

Four little snowmen fat… (Hold up four fingers.)
Three…Two…One

                           

Cut snowmen out of felt as shown. Place a different colored hat on each one. Remove one snowman as each verse is said.
*Place the flannel board and snowmen in a center so children can practice saying the rhyme and make sets.
*Make a simple flannel board by gluing a piece of felt to the front of a file folder. Staple the sides. Store pieces inside and glue a copy of the poem to the back.


Snowman Puppet
Cut a snowman out of heavy paper and decorate with markers. Cut a circle for the nose the width of your index finger. Cut another circle the size of your index finger out of a cup. Match up holes and tape the snowman in place. Put your hand in the cup and stick your index finger through the hole as you repeat the rhyme below.
A chubby little snowman
Had a carrot for a nose.
Along came a bunny
And what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny
Looking for some lunch
Ate that little snowman’s nose
Nibble, nibble, crunch! (Slowly pull your finger back into the cup.)

                                                              

Monday, December 27, 2021

SNOWING JANUARY LESSON PLANS!

Didn't your winter break just start and here you are thinking about your January lesson plans?

Let It Snow!
You will need jumbo craft sticks and an empty plastic cup for this game. Write simple sentences, sight words, letters, math facts, etc. on the sticks with a permanent marker. Glue a snowflake to the end of 2 sticks. Place the sticks in the can with the snowflakes on the bottom. Children pass the cup around, choose a stick, and read the information. If they choose the snowflake they sing, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" and put all their sticks back.



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

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


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


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

Sunday, December 26, 2021

LET IT SNOW!

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

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

Add a little learning! Have children make objects that reinforce language skills, such as things that rhyme or objects that start with the same sound.

*Have children use play dough to show different ways to make a number.

*Let them make two and three dimensional shapes with the dough.


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

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




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



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

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



Sock Snowman 
You will need a white tube sock and some fiber fill for this project. Children stuff 3 large handfuls of fiber fill into the toe of the sock to make the snowman’s body. Tie off with yarn or string. Stuff 2 large handfuls to make the middle section. Tie off. Stuff 1 large handful for the head and tie off at the top. Invert the top of the sock and pull over the head for a hat. Children can decorate with markers, felt scraps, etc. Encourage them to name their snowman and tell a story about what they would do if it were real.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

KEEP ON BELIEVING!


If you have ever bought a lottery ticket or put a quarter in a slot machine or looked for a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks…it’s the same as believing in Santa. It’s all about wishful thinking. It’s a dream and a hope for something better. 

I LOVE AND BELIEVE WHAT ELVIS PRESLEY SAID TO A REPORTER:


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


Yes, Virginia, there are lots of Santas and they are TEACHERS!!!! They help children feel that they belong and give them hope and dreams.

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

Friday, December 24, 2021

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

When I was a little girl I got ONE thing for Christmas. Seriously! One thing! And I was happy. I usually got a baby doll and I named her and I LOVED her. We put out popcorn and a beer for Santa. (My dad had a sense of humor and we didn’t know any better. I was probably in third grade before I realized that Santa liked milk and cookies.) We would hang up one of my dad’s socks and in the morning we’d find a few nuts, an orange, and a candy cane in it. 


Those were the days before television and advertisements. Our family had one bathroom and one car for six people and somehow it worked. We never went out to eat because there were no fast food restaurants. There were no books or cartoons about Santa, so my vision of him was created from my imagination and hearing my mother read “The Night before Christmas.”

Was I na├»ve? I didn’t know I was suppose to get tons of presents and leave out milk instead of beer. Ignorance really was bliss because I have such sweet memories. It’s also called selective nostalgia because I only remember the good things. I try to forget the family feuds and some of my disappointments. It does no good to recall the negative things.

That might be the secret to true happiness this holiday season. Forgive and forget the unkind words and hopes unfulfilled. Forget the Covid Grinch. Focus on the positive and things that you have in your control. Surround yourself with people you love, and ignore the ones you are not too crazy about.

Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and that's the best give I could ever have!

I send you peace, love, joy, and hope!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want teachers and children to be happy.

I want peace on earth.

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



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

Friday, December 17, 2021

MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE!

Santa’s not the only one making lists this time of year. I’ve been making lists of things to do (gifts to buy, cards to send, goodies to make) all night long! There’s something about making a list that makes me feel better – maybe a little more “in control.” Not that I’m going to check everything off the list; it just feels good to write things down.


Making a list is something children will enjoy doing, and it is a perfect way to motivate children to write. Younger children could make lists of 3-5 things, while older children could do lists of 10 or more. In addition to writing a list, children could draw pictures or dictate items.

So, what can they make a list of other than who’s been naughty and nice or what they want for Christmas? Check out my "list" of ways you can use lists all year long.

                  

List of people they love and what they would like to give them.

List of favorite songs.

List of signs of winter.

List of their favorite books.

List of their favorite subjects at school.

List of their favorite animals/pets.

List of their favorite sports or games.

List of what they can do if they finish their work early.

List of the things that make them happy.

List of how to be a buddy/friend.

List of nouns, verbs, things that start with a sound, shapes…children could make a list of almost any skill you are working on.

Lists could also be included in units of study by having children keep a list of things they learned, facts, etc.

Can you a make a “list” of things to add to this list?

I’ll be checking my list twice,
So better not be naughty –
Just be NICE!

By the way, I found two adorable websites with lots of activities and ideas:

northpoletimes.com

northpole.com

Thursday, December 16, 2021

BAKE COOKIES DAY

 December 18th is Bake Cookies Day, but its fun to bake cookies any day of the year. Here’s what holidayinsights.com says Bake Cookies Day:


'Ya gotta just love Bake Cookies Day......... 

..... Christmas is for Christians 

..... Hanukkah is just for Jews 
.
.... Ramadan is for those of Islamic descent 

..... Kwanzaa is for those of African origin 

..... Native American Day is for American Indians

But, Bake Cookies Day is for EVERYONE! 




Play Dough 
Put cookie cutters and play dough on a cookie sheet. Add a rolling pin (cylinder block), scissors, and plastic utensils.

Paper Ornaments 
Put some cookie cutters, scissors, glue, and the scrap box out on a table. Let children trace around the cookie cutters, cut out their paper cookies, and then decorate with stickers or glitter pens. Punch a hole, tie on a string, and decorate the tree. 



Graph 
What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Do a bar graph and tally the results. 



Recipes 

Let children write their own “how to make cookies” recipes. 






Descriptions 
Give each child a cookie and ask them to draw what it looks like. Next, ask them to write 2-5 sentences describing their cookie. Finally, they get to eat the cookie! 



What else? Read books or sing songs about cookies…or, just wait until a boring January day to do these things!! 


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

PARTY GAMES

Need an idea for your holiday party?  These are easy to adapt for any event. For example, instead of playing pin the red nose on Rudolph you could play pin the carrot on Frosty's nose. Rather than using sweet treats you could use pencils, stickers, or another prize.

Hint!  Parents who are in charge of your party might appreciate these suggestions.

Pass the Parcel
This is actually a game a student from England taught me. Thus, “parcel” instead of “present.” My students LOVED this! Fill a box with sugarless bubblegum, pencils, small toys, or stickers. There should be enough for everyone in the group. Next, wrap the present over and over again with wrapping paper, tissue paper, or funny pages from the newspaper. Children sit in a circle and begin passing the “parcel” around as music is played. When the music stops that child gets to open one layer on the package. (If the package lands on someone who has already had a turn they pass it on to the person sitting next to them.) Continue the game until the gift is reached. That child then passes out the goodies to the rest of the group.

                            


Hide and Hunt
Children love to hunt for things, so if the weather is nice you can hide jingle bells, snowballs (cotton balls), chocolate gold coins, small toys, etc. on the playground for the children to find.

                                                   

*Divide the class in half. Let one group hide the objects for the others to find and then reverse roles.


Crackers
These won’t really crack, but they are lots of fun to make or give to friends. They can also add a special touch to a special holiday table.

You will need: cardboard rollers, wrapping paper, candy, small toys, curling ribbon
Cut the cardboard rollers into 5” sections. Fill with candy and little toys. Roll in wrapping paper, twist the ends, and tie with curling ribbon.

*This would be a nice gift to make for a nursing home or shelter.



Magic Number
Fill a clear jar or container with candy, cotton balls, or jingle bells. The person who guesses the closest amount is the winner.


Pin the Nose on Rudolph
Draw a reindeer on a poster or chalk board. Cut out red circles and have each child write her name on a circle. Put tape on the back of each circle. One at a time, blindfold each child and spin them around gently three times. Face them towards the reindeer and challenge them to put the nose on Rudolph. Who can get the closest?


Puzzle Pairs
Take old greeting cards and cut them in half like a puzzle. Give each child one half. Have them close their eyes while the other half is hidden in the room. Children tiptoe around the room until they find their matching puzzle piece and sit down.

                                                                          

Word Games
Write a seasonal word on the board. How many words can they create using the letters in the seasonal word?
Hint! Pair children for this activity to enable all children to feel successful.


Holiday Four Corners
You will need four seasonal pictures to tape in each corner of the classroom. For example, a snowman, bell, candy cane, and candle. One child is “it.” “It” hides her eyes and counts to ten as the rest of the class tiptoes to a corner. “It” then calls out one of the objects. The students in that corner are out and must sit in the “stew pot” (center of the room). “It” counts to ten again as the students tiptoe to a new corner. The game continues until one child is left. That child becomes the new “it.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS BOARD GAMES

All I want for Christmas is for parents to give their children board games! I wonder if parents realize all the benefits of playing games WITH their children.

Hint! Put this information in a newsletter, blog, tweet, etc.

You might also suggest that instead of giving a teacher gift that parents give a board game to the class!!!



Why?
The most important reason to play games with children is because it’s enjoyable and fun for everyone in the family. Research studies also suggest that when children play games they develop academic as well as social and emotional skills, such as:

*number concepts, counting, shapes
*colors, letters, words
*eye-hand coordination and small motor skills
*visual memory
*following rules
*taking turns
*self-regulation - controlling impulses
*improved attention span
*planning ahead and problem solving
*persistence – never give up

Winners and Losers
One additional reason I like games is because it teaches the children how to lose gracefully. Yes, learning to lose is something all children need to learn how to do. Model appropriate behavior and how to lose. Demonstrate how to open your palms and say, “Oh, well!” when something doesn’t go your way.

Helpful Hints!
Follow the child’s lead. Never force children to complete a game or play a game. Remember, it’s suppose to be FUN! It’s perfectly fine to adapt games and rules for younger children to keep their interest. As they get older they will be ready to “play fair” and follow the rules.

Choosing Games
How do you choose games just right for a child's age and stage? Games that are too difficult will frustrate children, and games that are too easy will lose their interest. Most games have a suggested age range on the box. The internet is full of suggestions, but talking to other parents with children your child's age might be the best resource.

Game Day Is Coming
January and February can always be challenging times for teachers. Why not plan a “game day” every Friday afternoon? Invite children to bring games from home. Divide children into groups of 4 and rotate them through 10-15 minutes of each game. Have parent volunteers or upper grade students help monitor the games.

It’s only a game, but it’s a WIN-WIN at home or at school!

Monday, December 13, 2021

CAN YOU HEAR ME?

What? What did you say? Do you feel like some of your students are “teacher deaf” because they never seem to listen to you? Learning to listen is a key to being a good student. These listening activities might be just what your students need this week to focus and self-regulate.


*Run off a copy of a giant ear and tape it to a stick. When you hold up the ear children know they need to listen with big ears!

*Focus children’s attention, and then practice giving directions ONE time. If children need a prompt, invite another student to repeat what you have said.

*Occasionally, have children close their eyes when you read a story. Can they make pictures in their brain? Can they identify story elements? Can they retell the sequence?
*Sing songs or say nursery rhymes with your eyes closed.

Mystery Sounds 
Ask children to close their eyes. Walk around the room making different noises (open the door, ring a bell, sharpen a pencil) while children identify what you are doing.


Sound Walk 
Take the children on a “silent” nature walk. Challenge them to remember all the sounds that they can hear. Make a list of all the sounds when you return to the classroom.


Story Sounds 
Invite the children to add sounds as you read a story. Prompt them before you read by telling them to roar for the dinosaur, squeak for the mouse, or snap for rain.


Gossip 
Have children sit in a circle. Whisper a simple message in the first child’s ear. That child passes the message to the person sitting next to them and so on around the circle. The last child repeats what she heard, which is usually far from the original whisper.


Perfect Pitch 
Hum a note and ask children to join in. Vary the pitch from high to low. You can also use a xylophone or other class instrument to play this game.


Name That Tune 
Demonstrate how to play this game by humming the tune to familiar songs. Let children take turns humming tunes as their classmates guess the name of the song.


To Grandmother’s House We Go 
Place 5-10 objects on a table or shelf in a far corner of the room. Have your class sit with you in the opposite corner of the room. Take a basket or grocery sack and that they are going to get to take turns going to grandmother’s house. “We’re going to pretend that grandmother lives over there in the other side of the room.” One at a time select a child to go to grandmother’s. Give her the bag and name one things that you want her to get for you at grandmother’s. Explain that you’ll only tell her one time, so she’ll have to listen very carefully. Instruct the rest of the class to sit quietly so they can remember to see if she gets the right thing. The child skips across the room, selects the named object, puts it in the bag, and returns to the teacher. Cheer if she remembers the correct object.

Hint! Start with one object and make it increasingly difficult by adding more objects or descriptive words. For example, “Bring me something that is red and grows on a tree.” “Bring me the book, the block, and the blue crayon.”


Sunday, December 12, 2021

TAKE A DEEP BREATH!

Here’s an “Emergency Kit” for this week (or any day when things get crazy)!


Calm Down Lotion 
You know that drawer full of body lotion you've received as gifts. Take the label off one and print a new one that says "Calm Down Lotion." Give each child a little squirt to rub on their hands and arms to help them relax.


Hint! Lavender and vanilla are suppose to be particularly good for reducing stress.


Silent Singing

Sing the "Alphabet Song" or any song lowering your voice each time until you are lip singing. You'll be amazed at how it calms down the class.


Turn off the Lights
Something as simple as turning off the lights can reduce stress and energy. You could also play some quiet music as children enter the classroom.


Take a Deep Breath
Have children pretend to breath in hot chocolate as you slowly count to 8. Blow out the birthday candles as you slowly count to 8. Continue counting slowly as children breath in and out.


Give Your Mouth a Vacation 
Challenge children to “give their mouths a vacation” and practice breathing through their noses.


Whisper Wednesday
Before the children leave Tuesday explain that tomorrow will be “Whisper Wednesday” and that you will only use whisper voices in your classroom all day. (I might make up a little story about an elf telling me to do that because he has such big ears and loud noises really bother him!) Make a sign for your door that says “Welcome to Whisper Wednesday. Please put on your whisper voice before entering today!” Greet the children at the door by whispering, “Good morning! I’m so glad you’re here today!” Sing, talk, read, and whisper through the day.

                             
You might enjoy Whisper Wednesday so much you will want to continue doing it every Wednesday in the New Year.


Make Rain
Hold up your palm as you say, “Let’s make rain. Do what I do.”
Tap pointer finger on palm for several seconds.
Tap pointer finger and middle finger.
Tap pointer, middle, and ring finger.
Tap pointer, middle, ring, and pinky on palm.
Clap hands together loudly.
Clap hands and stomp feet and then reverse the movements.
Clap hands.
Tap pointer, middle, ring, and pinky on palm.
Tap pointer, middle, and ring finger.
Tap pointer and middle finger.
Tap pointer finger on palm.
Slowly bring palms together and put in your lap.

*This will really sound like a rainstorm is coming and going. Children will want to do it again and again. Woe be unto the child who does not cooperate with the group!


Saturday, December 11, 2021

HOW MANY DAYS?

It’s getting close to winter break! I wonder if the children know that you are even more excited than they are! Here are some math activities to keep them engaged over the next few days.


Magic Number

Children stand in a circle and begin counting off. When you get to 25 (Christmas Day) that child must sit down. Continue counting until one child is left.


Mingle Jingle
Children tiptoe quietly around the room as they whisper, "Jingle, jingle." When the teacher calls out a number, they must form groups with that amount. Those students who are leftover can do a jumping jack or other silly movement. Continue having the children mingle and jingle and form different sets.

                                 

Shopping

Materials: advertisements from toy stores, grocery stores, or discount stores, paper, pencils, scissors, glue

Write questions similar to those below on a chart. Children fold a sheet of paper into fourths and then write a number in each section. Then they look through the advertisements and cut out an object that answers each question.

1. What costs less than $10.00?
2. What costs more than $100.00?

3. If you had $20 what would you buy for your family?

4. What would you like to buy for yourself? How much does it cost?


5. Draw a T-chart on the back. On one side write "wants" and on the other side write "needs." Children cut out pictures (or write words) for things they actually need and things they'd like to have.
                                   

Seasonal Shapes
Take a walk around the school and look for different shapes in seasonal objects. Can they find a circle? Triangle? Rectangle? Square? Cube? Cone? Sphere?
*Let them make a shape collage by cutting objects out of advertisements and catalogs.


Estimation Jar
Before children enter the classroom fill a jar with seasonal candy or small toys. Invite them to look at the jar and write their “estimate” on a sheet of paper. At the end of the day empty the jar and count the contents. Who guessed more? Who guessed less? Who guessed the closest amount?