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

Thursday, January 27, 2022


Take a look at all these LOVELY ideas you can integrate in your lesson plans next month.

Chocolate Play Dough (Not edible)
Make play dough using your favorite recipe. Omit the food coloring and let the children knead the dough in cocoa. It will look and smell like chocolate. Purchase a box of valentine candies and remove/eat the candies. Children can roll up the dough and put them in the paper containers.

Valentine Sandwich (Edible)
You will need a heart shaped cookie cutter, bread, cream cheese, and red food coloring to make this sandwich. Mix the cream cheese with red food coloring until it is pink. Cut a heart out of the bread with the cookie cutter. Spread on the cream cheese.

Special Delivery
This is an activity I did over 50 years ago in my classroom. I guess that's why we sang "The postman's on his way" instead of the more politically correct "The mail carrier is on her way." You just go ahead and sing it anyway you like because I bet your kids won't care a bit.
You will need a gift bag or cloth bag for this game. Write "Special Delivery" on the bag. Each child writes his or her name on an envelope and places it in the mailbag. One child is “it” (aka mail carrier) and skips around the room as you sing the song below. At the end of the song, “it” reaches in the bag and chooses an envelope. “It” delivers the envelope to that child and they exchange places. The game continues until each child has had a turn and received an envelope.

The Mailman's on His Way (Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The mailman's on his way.
The mailman's on his way.
He's bringing lots of Valentines,
I hope he comes my way.

*Change to "maillady" and "her way" when a girl has the bag.
*You could use photos and first names for younger children.

Five Little Cookies
(Hold up 5 fingers to begin.)
Down around the corner at the bakery shop
Five little cookies with sprinkles on top.
Along came (child’s name) with a penny one day.
He/she bought one cookie and ate it right away!

*Make cookies out of felt or fun foam. Pass out pennies to five children have them exchange their penny for a cookie when their name is called.
(I used puff fabric paint to make my sprinkles.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


Thank goodness, some things never go out of style!

According to a little research on the web, “Sweetheart” candies have been around since 1901. In the past decade the sayings have been updated with phrases such as “TEXT Me” and “LOL.” Although over 100 years old, it’s good to see these little candies alive and well. Here are some adaptations for using them as a springboard for learning.

Learn a Lot with Candy Hearts 
Conversation hearts are good to sort, count, read, pattern, add, subtract, and eat!
*Estimate how many will be in a bag. Count. Graph the ones that are the same.

Matching Game
Make a game by cutting paper hearts out of construction paper. Write like phrases found on candy hearts (such as “Kiss Me, “Cool One,” “WOW!” “Cutie Pie”) on two of the hearts. Glue one to a file folder and then have children match and read the ones that go together.

Heart Necklace  
Let children make their own paper hearts, hole punch them, and then string them to make a necklace. Encourage them to think of their own phrases they would put on candies. (WOW! Trace, write, hole punch, and string - lots of small motor skills!)

Here's a video I did several years ago with Valentine activities:

Tuesday, January 25, 2022


I know it's still January, but I wanted to give you some LOVELY ideas to include in your lesson plans for the coming weeks. Besides Valentine's Day there's Groundhog Day, Winter Olympics, Abe Lincoln's birthday, and the Super Bowl. It's going to be a busy month!!!!

Groundhog Day

Will spring be early or late this year? I guess we'll have to wait until February 2nd to find out!

Groundhog's Song  
February 2nd, (Hold up 2 fingers.)
Is Groundhog Day.
Gather round his hole (Make circular motion.)
To hear what he’ll say. (Place hand by ear.)
Will spring be early
Or late this year?
Watch and listen
To what you’ll hear.

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with one hand.)
On a sunny day (Stick the index finger from the other hand
His shadow will frighten him (up through the hole and wiggle.)
And he will say,
“I’ll go back in my hole (Tuck finger in your fist.)
And go back to sleep.
You’ll have winter
For six more weeks.”

If he sticks his head out (Make a hole with fist and stick up finger.)
On a cloudy day
He’s not frightened
So he will say, (Wiggle finger.)
“I think I’ll stay out
And the weather should clear.
Spring will be here
Early this year.”

Cup Puppet

Let children draw a groundhog or download one off the internet. Staple to a straw. Punch a hole in the bottom of a paper cup and insert the straw in the cup. Raise and lower the groundhog as appropriate in the song.

Sidewalk Shadows

Go outside on a sunny day and have children stand with their backs to the sun. Let them make silly motions and play “Guess what I am?” Give them chalk and let them trace around each other’s shadows.
*Draw shadows at 10, 12, and 2 and compare.

*Play shadow tag where they try to touch each other's shadows.

Where’s the Groundhog? 

Cut twenty 4” squares out of heavy paper. Write high frequency words, math facts, letters, numerals, etc. on the cards. Glue a picture of a groundhog on a 3" circle. Have the children sit on the floor in a circle. Mix up the cards and place them face up on the floor. Identify the numeral (etc.) on each card as you place it down on the floor. Tell the children to turn around. Hide the groundhog under one of the squares. Children turn back around and try and guess where the groundhog is hiding. One at a time children call out a number and then “peek” to see if the groundhog is under it. The first child to find the groundhog gets to have a turn hiding it. The game continues as children hide the groundhog and then try to discover his whereabouts.


Invite children to dramatize the groundhog peeping out of his hole. What if it's sunny? What if it's cloudy?

Note! Visit for more great ideas!

Monday, January 24, 2022


Opposite Day is tomorrow, January 25, but these ideas could add a smile to any cold, dreary day.

Good-Bye and Hello
Reverse the daily schedule by starting the day with your good-bye song and ending with a good morning song and the morning message. Say your Z Y X’s (alphabet backwards) and count backwards. Turn around in your chairs and face the back of the room. Read a book backwards. Oh, and don’t forget to eat your dessert first at lunch!!!

Opposite Song (Tune: “Shortnin’ Bread”)
We can do opposites, opposites, opposites.
We can do opposites follow me.
Top and bottom… (Touch top of head and bottom of foot.)
Front and back… (Touch tummy and then back.)
Happy and sad… (Smile and then frown.)
Left and right… (Hold up left hand and then right.)
Up and down… (Point up and then down.)
Loud and soft… (Say, “Loud,” loud and “soft,” soft.)
Open and shut… (Open and shut hands.)
Stand and sit…and put them in your lap! (Stand and then sit and put hands in lap.)

Let children suggest other opposites you could sing in the song.

Opposite Game
Whatever the teacher says, the students do the opposite. For example if the teacher says “cry” the children laugh. If the teacher says “up” the children point down.

Have children fold a sheet of paper in half and illustrate opposites. Use a T-chart to identify antonyms.

Take photos of children acting out antonyms and use them to make a class book.

Hint! Introduce the word “antonym” and explain that it means the same thing as “opposite.”

*You can also celebrate Backwards Day by reading a book backwards, walking backwards, wearing your shirt backwards, saying a poem backwards, etc.

Sunday, January 23, 2022


Want something new (and easy) to spark a little creativity and critical thinking in your classroom this week? How about one of these open-ended activities?

Mystery Object
Materials: box with a lid
Interesting objects from nature, souvenirs from other countries, etc.
Paper, pencils

Directions: Place an object in the box and tape the lid on. Write clues about what is in the box. Challenge children to draw a picture or write a sentence about what they think it is. At the end of the day open the box and compare responses.

Alike and Different
Materials: common objects such as paper clips, rubber bands, toothpicks, crayons, etc.
Paper, pencils

Directions: Put out two or three objects. Have the children fold a piece of paper in half. On one side of the paper ask them to write how the objects are alike. On the other side have them write how they are different.

Picture This
Materials: interesting magazine pictures or newspaper photographs
Paper, pencils

Directions: Display one of the pictures and ask the children to imagine that they are there and to write a story about what is happening.

Materials: items that relate to a season or unit of study, such as a pumpkin, magnet, pine cone, plastic egg, etc.
Paper pencils


Directions: Place the unique object in the thinking station and ask the children to make a list of all the different ways it could be used.

Saturday, January 22, 2022


It's fun to talk about birds in the spring, but it's also interesting for children to think about how they can help take care of the birds in the winter. 

First, make binoculars from cardboard rollers and go on a winter walk to look for birds and to spark the children's interest in them. 

Brainstorm what they would do if they were birds in the winter. Where would they get their food? Do they think the birds get hungry in the winter? Why? Who wants to help the birds by making them a bird feeder? 

Note! It was definitely the "process" and not the "product" when I made bird feeders with my students.  (In other words, it was messy!) We usually put their feeders in baggies and sent them home, but it'd also be interesting to hang them on your school playground or near a classroom window.

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Materials: peanut butter, sand, craft sticks, birdseed, yarn

Directions:  Tie a piece of yarn to the pine cone to use as a hanger.
Mix peanut butter with sand to keep the birds from choking and aid in digestion.
Spread the peanut butter mixture on the pine cone with a craft stick and then sprinkle with birdseed.

Adaptations: Spread peanut butter mixture on large pretzels or paper towel rolls.

Milk Carton Feeder

Materials:  milk cartons, scissors, hole punch, string, birdseed

Directions:  Rinse milk cartons and cut a hole as shown. Punch a hole at the top and tie on a piece of yarn or string for hanging. Fill with birdseed.

Bird bread

Materials:  stale bread, egg white, birdseed, cookie cutters, straw, string, paint brush
Directions: Cut out shapes from the bread with cookie cutters.
Poke a hole with the straw and tie on a piece of string or yarn as a hanger.
Brush the egg white on the bread and then sprinkle on bird seed.

Cereal Feeder

Materials:  pipe cleaners, cereal with holes

Directions:  Let the children string cereal on the pipe cleaners and then twist the ends to make a ring that you can hang on tree branches.

Want to learn more about FEED THE BIRDS DAY on February 3rd?

Friday, January 21, 2022


I was "visiting" some of my old blogs and found these ideas for your classroom that might rival HGTV.

How about addition facts on the stairs? The science vocabulary leads to the upper grades. Letters, numbers, shapes and so many skills could “step up” learning.

What a clever idea to use a real picture frame to display children’s artwork!

And you know how much kids love to look at themselves in a mirror. You could put a full-length mirror in each hall with a positive word or character trait.

Showtime on the Smart Board! (KIRPC Head Start, Indiana)
Take some sheets, tie the ends with ribbons, and then hang it on hooks around the smart board.

Out the Door (Nacine Barrow)
Encourage the children to bring in environmental print and post them along with sight words on your door. Students have to read two of the words before exiting the classroom.

Chalk Board Table
Is this cool? Ms. Smalls found an old table they were going to throw away. She painted the top with chalkboard paint and let the children write special messages, draw pictures, write sight words, etc. on it. The kids LOVED it!

Thursday, January 20, 2022


The weather outside is frightful,
But inside our game is delightful.
And since we can’t go out to play
Here are some indoor games for today.

Silent Touch
This is a great game to quiet children and build memory skills. The first child gets up and touches an object and then sits down. The second child gets up, touches the first object, then touches an additional object. The third child touches the first object, second object, and adds a third object. The game continues as classmates touch what the previous children have touched in sequential order and then add a new item. When a child forgets, simply begin the game all over again.

Four Corners (This is the BEST indoor game ever!)
Number each of the corners in the room ~ 1, 2, 3, 4. (You can write the numerals on paper and hang them up if you want.) Choose one person to be “it.” “It” hides their eyes and slowly counts from one to ten as the rest of the class tiptoes to a corner in the room. When “it” says “freeze,” everyone must be in a corner. “It” then calls out a number (1, 2, 3, or 4) and the children in that corner are out of the game. They sit down in the “stew pot” in the middle of the room. “It” counts to ten again as everyone moves to a new corner. The game continues until there is one person left. That person becomes the new “it.”
Hint! Shorten the game by having “it” call out two corners at a time.

*If there is no one in the corner, ask “it” to call out another number.

*Label the corners with letters, numbers, sight words, vocabulary words, etc.

One child is the “detective.” The detective describes a “missing child” (classmate), giving their eye color, hair color, description of clothing, likes, etc. The first person to identify the missing child gets to be the new detective.

Hint! Here is another variation of this game. Send the detective out in the hall. Select one child and hide him or her under your desk or behind a shelf. The detective returns to the classroom and tries to identify the missing child. (You can also let two children exchange seats and see if the detective can spot the switch.)

Hot Potato
You can use a small ball, bean bag, or stuffed animal for this game. Children sit or stand in a circle. Children begin passing the “hot potato” (ball or bean bag) around the room when the music starts. Explain that it is a “hot potato” and they need to pass it quickly to the next friend. When the music stops, the one holding the “hot potato” is out of the game and must leave the circle. If two children are holding it they are both out. The last child remaining is the winner. Begin the game again.


Silent Ball
You will need a small, soft ball for this game. Explain that the object of the game is to see how many times you can toss the ball without talking. Look at the person you are throwing the ball to so they will be ready. Silently count how many times we can throw the ball without talking or dropping it. If someone talks or drops the ball, then the game begins all over again.

Tower Topple
This game is similar to Jenga. Have children get a block and then sit in a circle. The first child begins building the tower by placing her block in the middle of the circle. The second child places his block on top of hers...The game continues as children try to build the tower higher and higher. When it falls over every shouts "tower topple" and the game begins again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


If you want a joke today, I’ve got some winter riddles and knock knocks for you. If you don’t want to hear a joke, just delete this and I’ll be back tomorrow.

Note! Telling jokes to your class is a fun way to develop language skills (double meanings and phonological awareness) and help your students "think outside the box." A good idea is to ask students who "get" the jokes to "think out loud" and explain their thought process to classmates. It's a natural way to help slower students scaffold to a higher level.


What did the snowman have for breakfast?
Frosted Snowflakes

What is a snowman’s favorite snack?
Ice Krispy treats.

What’s it called when a snowman has a temper tantrum?
A meltdown.

What do snowmen wear on their heads?
Ice caps.

Where do snowmen go to dance?
The snowball.


Where do snowmen keep their money?
In a snow bank.

What do snowmen like to do on the weekend?
Chill out.

How do you scare a snowman?
Pull out a hairdryer.

How do you know that a snowman crawled into your bed with you?
You wake up wet and there’s a carrot on your pillow.

What do you call a snowman in the summer?
A puddle!

What does Jack Frost like best about school?
Snow and tell.
How did Jack Frost get to work?
By icicle.

Why did the boy keep his trumpet out in the snow?
Because he liked cool music.


Knock!  Knock!
Who's there?
Snow who?
Snow one at home at my house.


Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Emma who?
Emma bit cold out here - let me in!

Knock, knock!
Who's There?
Accordian who?
Accordian to the weather channel, its going to snow tomorrow!

Knock, Knock!
Who’s there?
Ken who?
Ken I come in? It’s cold out here.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Atch who?
Bless you!

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Icy who?
Icy you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


It's never too early to have children start thinking about careers and what they might want to do one day.  In early childhood play encourages children to explore and pretend different roles and occupations.

Jonie Watanabe Tsuji (a National Certified Counselor) defines career readiness simply:
     It’s about being able to have conversations, well-spoken ones, on jobs and your place in a      world filled with them.

Questions she suggests you ask at all ages:


Encourage children to think about different occupations in their family, your school, community, city, and around the world.

*block play - build a farm, restaurant, airport, hospital, and so forth

*dramatic play - set up a grocery store, veterinarian's office, bank, art studio, and so forth






*field trips - when you take field trips talk about the people that work in different locations

*books - as you read point out occupations of characters in the book


Take turns in identifying an occupation that begins with each letter of the alphabet. 

*Discuss skills or tools that someone who chose this occupation would need. 

Bounce Patrol - "Alphabet Occupations"

Rapper Sam - "You Can Be ABC's" 


Invite parents and members of your community to come and speak in your class about their careers.


Give each child a brown paper bag and ask them to interview their parents about their jobs.  What do they like best about their job?  How did they train for their job?  
Put a tool, picture, or other object that represents what they do in the bag and share it with classmates.


Have a special day where children dress for the job they'd like to have one day.  Ask them why they chose that job, how they will prepare for it, and so forth.


Monday, January 17, 2022


Television. Water skis. Earmuffs. The Popsicle.

What do they have in common?

All were invented by kids!

500,000 children and teens invent gadgets and games each year.
These innovations help make our lives easier – and more fun!

Celebrate the ingenuity and value of young brainstormers on

Planning an Inventor's Day would be great fun, but encouraging children to be creative and think outside the box is important every day!

Junk Box – Recycle cardboard rollers, bubble wrap, catalogs, junk mail, bottle caps, etc. for children to create into artwork, games, inventions, and toys.

Brainstorm – Provide children with opportunities to brainstorm in groups and independently. Use attribute webs, time lines, shapes, and other graphic organizers.

Literature – Creative writing enhances literacy skills as well as original thoughts. Children can write stories, poems, songs, plays, and so forth.

Learning Centers – Blocks, construction toys, play dough, puppets, art media, and musical instruments all provide children with the opportunity to explore their talents and interests.

Outdoor Explorations – Nature is the perfect prescription to clear the mind and open creative thought. Children need to spend as much time as possible on the playground, at the park, or in their own backyard.

Assessment Show and Tell – Instead of filling in bubbles, challenge children to demonstrate what they have learned in a creative way. They can sing a song, dress up, cook something, make a mural, etc.