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Saturday, April 30, 2022


A Mother's Day tea, a song, a handmade gift, or a card will all be appreciated in two weeks on May 8th by someone special in a child's life.

A Box for Mommy (Tune: "Polly Wolly Doodle")
I wish I had a little box (Pretend to hold a box in your hands.)
To put my mommy in. (Pretend to put something in the box.)
I’d take her out and go (Take something out of the box
(kiss, kiss, kiss) and kiss in the air.)
And put her back again.

If my mommy were in my box
Were in my box, then she would always know.
School or play, night or day,
How I love her so! (Cross arms over chest.)

I made this box for mother’s day, (Pretend to hold a box.)
It’s full of love for you.
When we’re apart, hold it to your heart, (Put hands over heart.)
And know I’m thinking of you.

Box of Love Necklace

You can collect small boxes that jewelry come in or use matchboxes for this project. Spray paint the boxes and then let the children decorate them with stickers, glitter pens, etc. Glue a small picture of the child inside the box. Punch a hole and attach a ribbon so it can be worn around the neck. Teach children the song and let them present their necklaces at a Mother’s Day tea, or send the boxes home with the words to the song.

My Mom Can


Let each child make a predictable book about all the things their mom can do.

Hats for Moms

These are adorable hats from paper plates that children can make for their mothers. Cut the inner section out of the plate. Decorate the outer rim with markers. Cut 4” squares out of tissue paper and wad up and glue on the rim to look like flowers. Punch a hole in each side and tie on a 16” piece of string or ribbon. Place the hat on your head and tie under the chin.


Trace around children's hands on construction paper and cut out. Glue to a stem and fold down the middle and ring finger to make sign language for "I love you!"

A Gift from the Heart
Make a flip book and write the following on the flips:
Some gifts are round.
Some gifts are tall.
Some gifts are large.
Some gifts are small.


Friday, April 29, 2022


April 29th is Arbor Day, but every day we should look outside and appreciate trees. These websites have some great information and activities for kids at school or at home.

Divide children into small groups and let them brainstorm all the products we get from trees.

*THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein is a wonderful book to share, but my little kids always wanted to know, "Why did he have to get old?" (I wonder the same thing sometimes!!!)

TREEmendous Writing
Let children look out the window or sit under a tree and write descriptions. Think about the colors in the tree. Are there animals in the tree? What are the parts of a tree?
*For creative writing, ask children to complete this sentence: If I were a tree I would...

Tree Identification

Download information about leaves similar to the one below.

Take a nature walk and challenge the children to identify the trees on the school grounds. 

How are leaves different?

How does the bark on trees vary? 

*Hint! Give children a clipboard and let them draw their favorite tree.

*Let them do rubbings of leaves from different trees and compare.

Plant a Tree
Contact your local cooperative extension service, Forestry Services, or National Arbor Day Foundation for free seedlings. Discuss what your tree will need to thrive. Prepare the soil, water your tree, and record its growth.

What's a deciduous tree? What's an evergreen tree?
Sing this song to the tune of "London Bridge" to help your students learn how about deciduous and evergreen trees.

If your leaves fall to the ground,
to the ground,
to the ground.
If your leaves fall to the ground
You're deciduous.
If your leaves stay green all year,
green all year,
green all year.
If your leaves stay green all year,
You're an evergreen.


A Louisiana teacher shared this sweet story about what happened when she let her class "adopt" a special tree on the playground. They named their tree Maggie and hugged her, drew pictures of her in different seasons, read stories and sang songs under her, wrote get the idea. One day as a group of children were playing, one child snapped a branch off another tree. A little boy started to cry because he said, "You're hurting Maggie's friend." I'm not sure "adopting a tree" was in their state standards, but it's a beautiful story about instilling a love of nature in children. And, it's so easy just to take a moment every now and then to focus on trees and all the living things this time of year. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022


I titled this blog “The Spot” because a teacher told me she called her art center “The Spot.” I thought that was rather clever and perfect for these simple, open-ended projects. These creative activities are another way for children to SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW and can be tied into many different skills and standards.

*Remember, it’s the process and not the product. Children will be using problem-solving and small motor skills as they do these projects.

Pop Up Scene
Skills: comprehension, setting
Materials: construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, scrap box
Directions: Prepare pop-ups ahead of time by folding the construction paper in half. Cut two slits from the fold 3 ½” from each side and 2 ½” down as shown. Bend the tab in so when you open there will be a 3-dimensional tab. Have children close their eyes and make a picture from a book you have read in their brain. Have them draw the setting of the scene on the inside of the pop-up. Finally, have them draw the main character and glue it to the pop-up.
*Pop ups are perfect for habitat studies or scenes from history. 

Skills: comprehension, setting, habitats
Materials: paper, scissors, crayons, markers, stapler
Directions: Cut the paper into a square by making a diagonal fold and cutting off the bottom. Children draw a scene on the top half of the square as shown. Cut in half-way on the diagonal crease, fold under, and staple to make a stand up scene. 


Pipe Cleaner People
Skills: book characters, famous people, retelling a story
Materials: pipe cleaners, scrap box, cloth, scissors, glue
Directions: Demonstrate how to make a stick person from two pipe cleaners. Children can then add a face, clothing, and other details. Let them retell a story with their pipe cleaner people.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


National Tell A Story Day (April 27th) is celebrated by encouraging people of all age groups to tell a story. A story can be read from a book, an imaginary story, or an actual memory.

In person or online, stories will capture children’s attention and nurture their literacy skills. Oral language, phonological awareness, comprehension, sequencing, and multiple skills are reinforced with stories. The secret ingredient to a good story is YOU! You add the magic with your enthusiasm and unique personality.

Before telling your story you need to focus children’s attention with a chant or rhyme similar to the one below:

Two little hands go clap, clap, clap. (Clap hands 3 times.)
Two little fingers go snap, snap, snap. (Snap fingers 3 times.)
Two little eyes go blink, blink, blink. (Blink eyes.)
If you want to hear a story go wink, wink, wink. (Wink eyes.)
(Lower your voice as you say each line.)

Hands up high. (Hands in the air.)
Hands down low. (Hands down.)
Hide those hands, now. (Hands behind your back.)
Where did they go? (Shrug shoulders.)
One hand up. (Right hand up.)
The other hand, too. (Left hand up.)
Clap them, (Clap.)
Fold them, (Fold in lap.)
Here’s a story for you!

Here's a participation story where children can listen and follow directions.

The Wiggle Family

Directions: Assign children to be the different characters below. (Two or three children can be each character.) Instruct them to stand up, wiggle, and then sit back down whenever their name is mentioned in the story.

Hint! When telling the story, pause slightly after saying each character's name.

Mama Sister Baby Cat Grandma

Papa Brother Dog Grandpa

One day Mama Wiggle said, "It’s such a beautiful day. Why don't we all get in the van and go to Grandma and Grandpa Wiggle's house. We’ll take a picnic lunch and have a great time!" Papa got the van ready while Sister packed a picnic lunch. Mother got the baby, and Brother got the cat and dog. Soon Mother, Father, and Baby were in the front of the van, and Sister and Brother, the cat and the dog were in the back of the van and they were on their way to Grandma and Grandpa Wiggle’s house..

"Oh, no," said Sister, "I forgot the picnic lunch!"

So Mama told Papa to stop the van. They turned around and drove back to their house to get the picnic lunch. Sister ran back to the house while the others sat in the van. Just then the dog started barking and scared the cat who jumped out of the van. Brother had to chase the cat and bring her back to the van. The Baby got so upset, he just cried and cried. Finally, Mama, Papa, Sister, Brother, Baby, the dog, and cat were all back in the van and were on their way to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

When they arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s house everyone was so happy! The cat and dog jumped out of the van first, followed by Brother and Sister. Mother, Father, and Baby got out of the van last.

They spread a blanket under a large tree and put out the picnic lunch. And, oh, what a feast it was! They had sandwiches, and fried chicken, and cupcakes and fruit. After lunch Grandpa, Grandma, Mother, Father, and the Baby fell asleep and took a nap. Brother and Sister chased the cat and dog around and played hide and go seek.

It started to get dark, so Grandpa and Grandma gave Mother, Father, Baby, Sister and Brother a big hug good-bye. They all hopped in the van with the cat and the dog and set off towards their home.

What a special day it had been!

Here are videos where I tell some of my favorite stories.
Scat the Cat
Kittens’ Mittens

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


Comprehension is the reason for reading…Good readers are 

both purposeful and active. (National Institute for Literacy.)

Good readers are always looking for information and trying to make connections. Check out these tips for improving comprehension skills.

Those Snoopy WH Brothers

Do you know those snoopy WH brothers? They always ask questions.
WHO wants to know the person or thing.
WHERE wants to know the place.
WHEN wants to know the time.
WHAT wants to know what’s happening.
WHY wants to know the reason.

Here's a song to “Ten Little Indians.”
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Those are five snoopy guys!

"WH" Sticks
Write "Who?" "What?" "Where?" "When?" "Why?" on jumbo craft sticks and put them in a sock. To prompt your students to listen throw the sock over your shoulder before reading the book. After reading pass the sock around and let children pull out a stick and tell that part of a story.

WH Glove
Write "Who?" "What?" "Where?" "When?" "Why?" on the fingers of a cloth glove. After reading a story children insert the glove on their hand and recall the story elements.

Demonstrate how to make the sign for “connection” by linking thumb and index fingers on both hands. Explain that when you connect what is in a book to what is in your brain you make a schema. Tell children as you read a book to them they can let you know when they create a schema by making that sign.

Monday, April 25, 2022


If I were in charge of the world you wouldn't be allowed to test little children! Unfortunately, I'm not in charge of the world, and even young children are experiencing "test anxiety" this time of year. How ridiculous for a four or five year old to be worried about a test! Bless their hearts...and bless your hearts.

Nevertheless, here are some activities that might help children relax and focus before a test. They might also be a good break between tests.

Deep Breathing
Inhale slowly as you count to 8. Exhale slowly as you count backwards from 8 to 1. Breath in hot chocolate. Breath out and blow the candles out on a birthday cake. 

Tighten up your body as tight as you can and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Then relax and let it all go. Repeat several times.

*Starting with the toes, call out one body part at a time for children to squeeze and then relax. For example, toes, feet, knees, legs, hips, back, fingers, arms, shoulders, necks, faces, and then a whole body SQUEEZE!

Rag Dolls and Soldiers
When the teacher calls out “rag dolls” everyone flops over like a rag doll. When the teacher says, “soldiers,” everyone stands up tall and stiff. Continue calling out “rag dolls” and “soldiers” faster and faster.

“Eye” Exercise
Demonstrate how to hold your two index fingers a few inches from your eyes on either side of your head. Look at the right index finger with both eyes and then look at the left index finger.

Balancing Act 
Ask children to stand. How long can they balance on their right foot? How long can they balance on their left foot? Can they balance on their right toes? Left toes? Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg in the air? Can they balance on one foot with their eyes closed?

Hint! Classical music is lovely for balancing activities.

Tell your class to give their mouth and their eyes a “vacation” by closing their eyes and mouths. Next, ask them to practice breathing through their noses. You’ll be amazed at how this brings down their energy level and helps them focus.

Silly Dance 
Play some catch music for the children to do the silly dance. When you stop the music they have to "freeze." Continue playing and stopping the music as the children dance and freeze.

Hint! The "finger neurobics" that K.J. demonstrated several years ago would also be an excellent way to calm children.

Here are some fun songs where the kids can KISS THEIR BRAINS no matter if they got the answer right or wrong on the test!!

Sunday, April 24, 2022


This is a super idea for a center, independent practice, or partner project. It can easily be adapted to different skill levels and age groups. Today's blog will focus on sight words, but think how meaningful it could be for letters, numbers, shapes, vocabulary words, and other skills that the children are expected to master.

Note!  This would also be a perfect tool to send home for parents to help their children.

Word Bag
Put flash cards with vocabulary words, sight words, spelling words, etc. in a zip bag. Add different multi-sensory materials similar to those below. Children can take the bag and choose any material they like to reproduce the words.

*Wikki sticks
*magnetic letters
*colored pencils for rainbow words
*alphabet stickers
*alphabet blocks
*dry erase board
*play dough

Mini Portfolio (Sherry Hull and Karen Guynes)
Cut the bottom of a lunch bag as shown. Fold the bag in half to fit under the flap. Add a Velcro dot and children can store words, math flash cards, and other things they are working on in the pocket.

Mystery Word
Choose a word each day as a “mystery word." Write it on the board and then tape a sheet of paper over it so the children have to “take a peek” as they enter the classroom. At morning meeting discuss the meaning of the word. Can they dramatize the word? Can they use it in sentences?

Hint!  Play a game where you give clues about sight words. For example: “I start with “L” and rhyme with “book.”

Saturday, April 23, 2022


You're on your way to the finish line, but there are still a few skills that need to be reinforced. Here are some activities where all children will be engaged and the teacher can quickly see who has mastered a skill and who needs additional work.

Each child has two index cards. One says “yes” and the other says “no.” As you ask questions, children respond by holding up the card with their response. For example: “Our state is Arizona.” “Fish has the short a sound.” “Blue and glue rhyme.” "7 minus 3 is 5."

*Cut an envelope in half. Write “yes” on one side and “no” on the other.

*Older children can play "teacher" and take turns asking classmates questions.

Wipe Off Boards 
As the teacher asks questions, the children write the answer (letters, words, numerals, etc.) on wipe off boards and hold them up. Erase with a sock and you’re ready to go again.

Hint! Plastic plates or laminated white card stock are great substitutes for white boards.

Cell Phone
Run off a phone pattern on heavy paper. Children can “design” their own cover on the back. As you call out numbers or letters they tap them on their phone.

*Use phones to practice learning phone numbers.

*Have children spell out sight words on their phones.

*Let children make up their own games they can play with a partner.

*Hole punch the corner so they can take “photos.”

Zip It
Write letters, words, numbers, etc. on the left side of a sheet of paper as shown and insert the paper in a zip bag. Call out a question, and children “zip” to the correct answer and then hold up their bag.


*If you write numerals horizontally you can use it like a number line.

Friday, April 22, 2022


A great way to celebrate Earth Week and to be on the "green team" is to keep the earth beautiful by picking up trash. There's nothing more frustrating to me than to see trash along the road, but maybe we can improve things in the future by getting our students to join the LITTER PATROL!

Litter Patrol
Here I go. (Stand up as you begin clapping and snapping.)
I'm on the litter patrol.
I'm going to work all day to put the trash away.
The planet earth, you see, is my habitat.
I'm going to clean it up.
Well how about that?

Join me now.
Here we go.
We're on the litter patrol.
We're going to work all day to put the trash away.
The planet earth, you see, is our habitat.
We're going to clean it up.
Well, how about that?

All by yourself.
Here we go.
We're on the...

Litter Bags
All you'll need is an empty cereal box or cardboard food box and string to make a litter bag.
1. Cut the tops off the boxes.
2. Punch a hole in each short side.
3. Tie on a piece of string. Use these to collect trash or place these in your car.

*You can also make a litter bag by rolling down the top of a lunch bag and attaching a string for a handle.

Pick Up Your Trash Game
Children will love playing “Pick Up Your Trash!” Each child will need a scrap piece of paper that they can wad up into a ball. Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room. When the teacher calls, “Pick up your trash,” the teams start throwing their paper balls at each other. The object is to pick up trash (paper balls) and throw it back at the opposite side as quickly as possible. When the teacher says, “Freeze!” everyone must stop and gather the balls on their side into a pile. Count and see how many each side has. The side with the least amount wins. The great part about this game is that you can keep on playing as long as you want.
*You can also play it out on the playground.

Trash Snack
How about a “trash snack”? You will need ice cream cones, Gold Fish crackers, Cheerios, pretzel sticks, and peanuts. Take 4 lunch sacks and put a different item in each sack. Write “old tires” on the sack with Cheerios, write "dead fish" on the sack with the crackers, “sticks” on the sack with pretzel sticks, and “stones” on the sack with peanuts. Take a large bowl and make up a story about collecting trash. As you name the different items, invite different children to dump the contents in the bowl. Stir with a large spoon and then serve the “trash” in trashcans (ice cream cones). The cool thing about this snack is that there is NO trash when the children have finished eating!


Hint! Substitute raisins for peanuts if you have students with food allergies. You can also use sunflower seeds or other snack foods.

Thursday, April 21, 2022



How many times have you heard me say that? Today is National Kindergarten Day and a perfect time to reflect on our own childhoods and kindergarten experiences. Do you remember wearing a mask and sitting in front of a computer? It just breaks my heart when I see pictures and hear your stories about what it's been like to teach during the pandemic. I wrote the poem below several years ago out of frustration for the "rigor" and "academic push" that had eroded our precious "kinder gardens." We need to make it our theme song in the future because we are going to have to give children OVERDOSES of PLAY and HANDS-ON and SONGS and FINGER PLAYS and HUGS.

My kindergarten class in 1953. Can you tell which one is me?

They’ve Taken Away Our Song
By Jean Feldman

We used to sing and play outside.
We’d hold hands and we’d dance.
Now we have to sit still and take tests.
They’ve taken away our song.

We used to build with blocks.
We’d finger paint and do puzzles.
Now we do worksheets.
They’ve taken away our song.

We used to dig in the sand,
Play circle games and play pretend.
Now we sit in front of a big screen.
They’ve taken away our song.

We used to cook and go on field trips.
We had show and tell and rest time.
Now we have to stay on task.
They’ve taken away our song.

Our teacher used to have time
To sing us rhymes and tell us stories.
Now our teacher has to collect data.
They’ve taken away our song.

Give children back their song,
Laugh, and love, and play,
So when they’re all grown up
They’ll remember kindergarten in a special way.

Kindergarten Bill of Rights by Jean Feldman

• Kindergarten children have the right to the pursuit of happiness.

• Kindergarten children have the right to wooden blocks and a housekeeping center.

• Kindergarten children have the right to play dough and puzzles.

• Kindergarten children have the right to hold hands with their friends and play games.

• Kindergarten children have the right to free play outside.

• Kindergarten children have the right to sing and dance and be silly.

• Kindergarten children have the right to explore with paint, crayons, markers, glue, scissors and to make a mess!!!

• Kindergarten children have the right to have books read to them … many, many books.

• Kindergarten children have the right to go on field trips.

• Kindergarten children have a right to a quiet time every day so their brains can process information.

• Kindergarten children have the right to think school is the most wonderful place in their world.

• Kindergarten children have the right to think that they are capable and worthy.

• Kindergarten children have the right to hopes and dreams.

*Kindergarten children have the right to smiles and hugs and love, love, love!

My kinderoos back in the 1980's.
Every day was like giving a birthday party!
We had songs, games, snacks, stories, recess, and FUN!
We didn't know what check lists and standards were!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022


How about a free song download and flip book about recycling?

Have children brainstorm all the ways they can reduce, reuse, and recycle materials.

Recycled Products
Have children to look around their homes and make a list of recycled materials. Have them practice identifying the “recycle logo” so they can help conserve materials.

You know all those cardboard food boxes you throw away? Well, here's a great opportunity to give them a second life, teach your children to recycle, and make some cool materials for your classroom. Send a note asking families to save their cardboard food boxes for a week and then let the fun begin!

Cardboard Castle – Let children use masking tape to create a castle or other play sculpture.


What's for Breakfast? Book - Each child chooses the front of their favorite cereal box. They can write original sentences or fill in the blank "(Child's name) likes (cereal)."


Puzzles – Cut box fronts into puzzle shapes. Store in zip bags. For younger children use two like boxes. Cut one up and let them place the pieces on the second box.


Fronts and Backs – Cut front and back panels off of boxes. Mix them up and then ask the children to match up the ones that go together.


*Play a memory game where you place the fronts and backs face down on the floor. Children try to match up pairs.

Stencils and Templates – Cut geometric shapes out of box fronts. Children can trace these with colored pencils, crayons, or markers.

*Cut seasonal shapes or objects that relate to a unit of study for the children to trace.

Sewing Cards – Punch holes around the sides of boxes. Children can sew these with yarn, string, or old shoelaces.


Weaving – Cut notches around the sides of boxes and let children weave through these with yarn.

Fractions – Give each child the front panel off a box. Can you cut it in half? Fourths? Eights?


Math – Have children sort the boxes by product, size, etc. Graph favorite cereals, cookies, crackers, etc.