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Wednesday, September 28, 2022


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.

The Full Moon for October will occur on Sunday, October 9th. The New Moon will happen later in October on Tuesday, October 25th. According to the Farmer's Almanac, historically, the Native Americans who lived in the area that is now the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving a distinctive name to each recurring full Moon. October's full Moon was called the Hunter’s Moon because this was the time to hunt in preparation for winter.

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.

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 and other learning activities:

*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.

Here’s a book from Scholastic with the phases of the moon:

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


Tuesday, September 27, 2022


The more senses you activate, the more likely the message will get to the brain and stay in the brain. This song can be used with younger children to introduce them to letters and sounds, but it's just as much fun as a review for older students.

Alphardy  (Tune from "Jeopardy")
A for apple /a/ /a/ /a/ (Pretend fist is an apple.)
B for bounce /b/ /b/ /b/ (Bounce a ball.)
C for cut /c/ /c/ /c/ (Open and close index and middle fingers as if cutting.)
D for dig /d/ /d/ /d/ (Pretend to dig.)
E – elbow (Point to elbow.)
F – fan (Fan self with hand.)
G – gallop (Gallop in place.)
H – hop (Hop on one foot.)
I – itch (Scratch self.)
J – jump (Jump up and down.)
K – kick (Little kicks with foot.)
L – love (Hug self.)
M – munch (Move mouth as if eating.)
N – nod (Nod head.)
O – opera (Extend arms and sing dramatically.)
Q – quiet (Index finger on lips.)
R. – run (Run in place.)
S – sew (Pretend to hold a needle and sew.)
T – talk (Open and close fingers like a mouth.)
U – upside (Lean over.)
V – volley (Hands in air and pretend to volley a ball.)
W – wiggle (Wiggle all over.)
X – x-ray (Make “x” with arms.)
Y – yawn (Extend arms and pretend to yawn.)
Z – zigzag (Make an imaginary “z” in the air.)
Letter sounds are all you need.
Put them together and you can read! (Hold palms together and open like a book.)

Thanks to Mariela Anderson for this sign language version of Alphardy.

How about a book to go with the song?

Alphardy Poster
Run off this chart for each student and glue to a file folder. Children can use this for choral singing or for independent work at the listening center. If you give them a pretzel stick or Bugle for a pointer they’ll get a little snack at the end of the song!

Monday, September 26, 2022


Someone recently asked if I had any “tricks” for helping children discriminate b and d. Most experts suggest that it is developmental and you shouldn’t be too concerned before the age of 7. However, I looked through my files and here are some tips.

B and D (Mary Ann Rosier)
Make a fist with each hand and put up the thumbs with fists facing each other. “B” comes first in the alphabet so the stick is first. “D” comes after “B” so the stick is on the right.

Using a copy of the alphabet underline “b c d.” Explain that “b” /c sees/ “d.” 

B and D Discrimination (Mary Marsionis)
Children use left hand to make a sign language “b” and right hand to make a “d.” Say “big dog” to remember “b” and “d.”

B vs. D (Mary Myers)
Here’s another idea for helping children distinguish these letters. “B” has the bat (stick) and then the ball (circle). “D” has the doorknob (circle) and then the door (stick).

Draw a bed. Use a lowercase “b” for the headboard and a “d” for the foot of the bed.

Write "b" on 10 index cards and "d" on 10 index cards. Shuffle the cards and then ask the children to sort them.

Sensory Activities
Practice writing “b” and “d” in the air as you say:
Make a line and then a circle for “b.” Make the circle and then the line for “d.”

Have children roll play dough and place it on top of the letters.

Trace over letters in a sand tray.

Sunday, September 25, 2022


Did you know that today is National Comic Book Day? What a treat when I was a kid to get a new comic book! No, we didn’t have videos or computers, but friends would come over and we’d read comic books together. I know! I know! Sounds corny now, but it was a favorite indoor pastime when the weather was bad. Let me tell you, if the weather was good our mothers would say, “GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!”

I also remember sitting on my grandpa’s lap as he’d read the Sunday comics to me. I think the cartoons were much more “child friendly” in the 50’s than they are now. However, it might be interesting to save some of the comics from the newspaper this weekend and share them with your class. Explain how cartoonists use “bubbles” to let you know what the characters are saying.

Invite children to draw a picture of you and make a bubble with something you frequently say coming out of your mouth. You might be surprised!!!!

You could also let the children draw pictures of themselves or their friends and then use bubbles to make them talk.

Comics can also be used to reinforce standards. Start off by giving children copies of a cartoon frame with 2 sections. Tell them to think of a story that has a beginning and an end and draw it.

Next, let them think of a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Finally, challenge them to create a story with 4 sections.

*Have children recall the sequence of a story with comic frames.

*Use comic frames to illustrate the life cycle of a butterfly, the water cycle, plant growth, and so forth.

Here’s a link to download blank cartoon frames:

Cartoons That Move
Would you like to learn how to make cartoons that move? It’s easy peasy, but you’ll surely impress your students when you teach them how to do this.

Hint! I would only do this with primary grade children.

Materials: white copy paper, stapler, black pen or pencil

1. Fold the paper into fourths and cut on the creased lines. 

2. Take two sheets and staple them at the top.

3. Lift the top layer and draw a simple shape on the bottom. Keep your drawing on the bottom half of the page.
4. Now, place the top sheet over the bottom and trace over the lines. Vary one or two features, such as arms, ears, mouth, etc.

5. Take a pencil and roll the top sheet up around the pencil.

6. Quickly move the pencil up and down to bring life to your cartoon. Waalaa!

*Connect this activity to literature, science themes, or social studies.

Saturday, September 24, 2022


Here's a simple craft activity that you can tie into science (seasons), reading (letters and word families), and writing. It's good for small motor skills as well as cutting.

Directions: Tear or cut 3 or 4 strips half way down from the top of the bag as shown. (You might want to draw these lines for younger children.) Open the bag and twist in the middle to make a tree.

Seasonal Trees
*Tear red, yellow, and orange scrap paper and glue them on the strips to make an autumn tree.
*Pink and white tissue paper can be waded up to make blossoms on a spring tree.*What fruits and nuts grow on trees? Let children make their favorite fruit tree.

Letter Tree
*Write letters (or use letter stickers) to make a "chicka chicka boom boom boom" tree.
*Make a word family tree by writing all the words they can make from a specific rime.

Family Tree
*Let children make a family tree by writing names of family members on their tree.

Spooky Old Tree

Twist the strips of paper as shown to make a spooky tree. Let children cut bats, cats, and other spooky things to go on their tree.

*Use these trees to prompt descriptive writing or poems.

Fall Centerpiece

If you're entertaining this fall here's a centerpiece will get rave reviews. All you need is a large paper grocery sack. Wad and crush the sack until it is soft and pliable. Next, make a large tree using the same process you did with the lunch bag. Use silk leaves, small pumpkins, and other seasonal objects to decorate your tree. Taaa daaa!!

Friday, September 23, 2022


Take advantage of the science lab on your playground with these leaf activities.

Leaf Hunt
Give each child a lunch sack and let them collect 2 or 3 leaves from the ground. Bring these back in the classroom and sort by shape, color, etc. You could also graph the leaves by shape. (Whenever you collect items outside emphasize the importance of taking things from the ground. Return the objects to where you found them after exploring with them in the classroom.)

Science Center
Let children investigate leaves in the science center with a magnifying glass or microscope. Ask children to draw the enlarged leaf.
Hint! You can also take a photo of a leaf with your phone and enlarge it to show the veins and details.

Check out a leaf identification book from the library or look online. Can children match up their leaves to identify which tree they came from?

Leaf Rubbings

Lay a sheet of paper on top of a leaf. Remove the paper from an old crayon and rub the side over the leaf to make a print.Hint! Use rubber cement to glue the leaf to the table. It will be easier for the children to make a rubbing, and you can just rub off the rubber cement after the activity.

Leaf Book
Let each child find a "favorite" leaf. To preserve, place the leaf in a sheet of newspaper and put a book on top overnight. Place the leaf in a zip baggie. Encourage children to dictate or write a sentence about their leaf. 

*Put several baggies together to make a book.

I Wonder Why?

Brainstorm why leaves turn colors and fall off trees in the fall. Have children go home and do a little research with their parents and report results in class the following day.

Deciduous Trees (Sandra Kelley)
Tune: "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"
Do your leaves fall down?
Do they tumble to the ground?
Do you lose your leaves in the fall?
Then you are deciduous that we know
because in the fall your leaves all go!

*What's the difference between deciduous trees and evergreen trees? Take a nature walk and ask children to identify both types of trees.

Thursday, September 22, 2022


It's the first day of fall! Football, pumpkins, colorful leaves, and FUN are in the air!

Leaves Are Falling
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
Leaves are falling (Echo song. Children repeat each line.)
Leaves are falling (Flutter fingers down.)
To the ground. (Touch the ground.)
To the ground.
Red, orange, and yellow (Flutter fingers.)
Red, orange, and yellow
Falling down. (Touch the ground.)
Falling down.

*Let children dramatize being leaves and dancing in the wind. As the song ends they fall quietly to the ground.

*What happens to leaves after they fall from the trees? Later in the fall when there are lots of leaves on the ground demonstrate how to pick up a handful of leaves and crumple them in your hands. Explain how those leaves will decay and turn into soil.

Why do you think they call this season “fall”? What’s another name for fall?
What season comes before fall? What season comes after fall? Fall is a cool off time between hot summer and cold winter.

Signs of Fall
Brainstorm signs of fall and write them on the board. What kind of clothes do we wear in fall? What’s the weather like in the fall? Are there any special seasonal foods we eat? What kind of sports are popular in fall? What holidays do we celebrate in the fall? What do animals do to get ready for winter? What do plants do in the fall?

*Let children make an attribute web and label it with pictures or words of things that remind them of fall. Older children can do this as a writing assignment, but for younger children this can be an opportunity for the teacher to model writing and develop vocabulary.

Nature Walk
Go on a nature walk and look for signs of fall. Provide children with tablets, paper, and pencils so they can record their “observations” on the walk.

I Like Autumn Language Experience Chart

Let children dictate sentences about why they like autumn. Older children could write their own original stories about, “Fall, Fall, Best of All!”

Acrostic Poem

Write the words “fall” or “autumn” vertically down the side of a sheet of paper. Children think of a word that starts with each letter that relates to fall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Do you ever feel like the scarecrow - if I only had a brain! There's always been something charming to me about those little fellows made of hay.

Class Scarecrow
Some old clothes, newspaper, and paper grocery sack will work just fine for a classroom scarecrow. Stuff newspaper in the sack and gather the bottom with a rubber band to make a head. Add a face. Let the children wad up newspaper and stuff the clothes. Sit it up in a chair and prop up the head with a dowel rod. Have the children bring in gloves, a hat, boots, etc. from home to complete the scarecrow. Write stories about the scarecrow. What would you do if you were a scarecrow?

Scarecrow Picture Talk
Download a picture of a scarecrow from the internet. Discuss what a scarecrow does. How many details can children notice about the scarecrow? Draw lines to label their descriptions.

Scarecrow Collage
Give children fabric scraps, construction paper, straw, etc. and invite them to create a scarecrow. What is their scarecrow’s name?

If I Were a Scarecrow...
Make a language experience chart where children complete the sentence. Older children could write creative stories about what they would do if they were a scarecrow.

You can say this chant or sing it to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”
Children stand up and stretch out their arms like a scarecrow.
They repeat each line as they make the appropriate movements.
Can you turn around? I can turn around.
Can you touch the ground? I can touch the ground.
Can you wiggle your nose?
Can you touch your toes?
Can you wave up high?
Can you let your arms fly?
Can you give a clap?
Can you give a snap?
Can you jump, jump, jump?
Can you thump, thump, thump?
Can you wiggle your knees?
Can you sit down, please? Yes, yes, indeed! (Children sit down.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


It's almost fall and that means the squirrels are busy gathering nuts and the scarecrows are dancing in the fields. (Squirrels and scarecrows are also good alternatives to Halloween symbols in the fall.)

Squirrel Handshake
Children hold out their right hand and the teacher pretends to be a squirrel and wiggles the index and tall finger up the arm like a squirrel. Then the children get to be the squirrel and gently run up the teacher's arm.

Gray Squirrel
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close to chest like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Wrinkle up your little nose, (Wrinkle nose.)
Hide a nut between your toes. (Pretend to hold a nut in your paws.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close to chest like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Climb up in the tallest tree. (Arms climb up above head.)
Let your tail blow in the breeze. (Wiggle bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, (Hold hands close like paws.)
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail. (Wiggle your bottom.)
If you’ll be a friend of mine, (Point to self and then a friend.)
I will be a friend of yours.
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel,
Swish your bushy tail.

Click to view video

Here's a link so you can download a book to go with the song.


Gray Squirrel 
Have children draw the body of a squirrel on a gray sheet of paper and cut out it out. Staple the squirrel to a straw to make a puppet. Staple a piece of felt or fake fur to the squirrel for a bushy tail.

*Trace around children's feet and attach with a brad to make a squirrel.

Monday, September 19, 2022


September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day in honor of his birthday. However, here's a finger play and story you can tell any day. Johnny (John Chapman) is remembered for planting apple trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He was well known and liked for his kindness and generosity. Say “cheers” to him every time you eat an apple.

Apple Tree (You can say it or sing it to the tune of “This Old Man.”)
Way up high in the tree, (Point up.)
One red apple smiled down at me. (Hold up 1 finger and then smile.)
I shook that tree as hard as I could. (Pretend to shake a tree.)
Down came an apple, (Bring down one hand.)
Mmm! Mmm! Good! (Pat tummy.)

Adapt the number of apples, or use other fruits:
Two yellow pears… (Hold up 2 fingers.)
Three purple plums… (Hold up 3 fingers.)
4 orange peaches… (Hold up 4 fingers.)
5 green limes… (Hold up 5 fingers.)

Make a flannel board from a file folder to use as a follow up for this rhyme.    

And, here’s a story that I bet Johnny would have loved.

The Star
Materials: shopping bag or grocery sack
Apple (red delicious works best), knife

Directions: Put the apple and knife in the bag and have it on your lap as you begin to tell the story below. Insert children’s names in your classroom to capture their interest.

One day first child’s name went to visit grandmother. Grandmother said, “How would you like to go on a secret mission?” “Oh, I’d love that,” replied first child. So grandmother said, “I want you to find a little red house with no doors and no windows. There should be a chimney on top and a star in the middle.”

First child was so excited as he set off on his mission. As first child was thinking about what it could be, he ran into second child. “Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows. There should be a chimney on top and a star in the middle.” Second child said, “I’ve never heard of anything like that, but would you like me to help you?” “Sure,” replied first child and off they went.

They walked on a little further until they saw third child. “Have you seen a little red house with no doors and no windows? There’s a chimney on top and a star in the middle.” “Gosh. I don’t know what that could be, but would you like me to help you?” replied third child. So off they went on their mission.

The story continues as more children join in the search.

Finally, the children had about given up when they ran into grandpa. He was on his way home from the store with something he had bought. “Grandpa,” the children said. “Grandma sent us on a mission. She told us to find a little red house with no doors and no windows. There’s a chimney on top and a star in the middle. What could it be?”

Grandpa laughed, “Well, I have the answer to your riddle right here in my sack.” And he pulled out an apple. (Pull the apple from your sack.) The children said, “How does that solve our riddle?” Grandpa said, “This apple is like a little red house. See, it’s round and the stem is like a chimney.” “But where’s the star?” wondered the children. Grandpa took a knife and sliced the apple in half. (Take the knife and slice the apple in half diagonally.) “And here’s the star!” The children were amazed to see that sure enough, there was a star in the middle.

Grandpa said, “You know people are like this star. We’re different sizes, colors, and shapes on the outside. But if you look inside, you’ll find a special star inside each person you meet!”

*Encourage each child to tell what makes him or her special.

*Bring apples for snack. Cut them in half so the children can all see their stars.

*Pick out seeds from the apples. How many seeds do they have? What would happen if you planted the seeds? Plant some and see what happens.

*Talk about where apples come from. How many parts of an apple can the children name.

*Make a list of words that describe apples.

*Purchase several different varieties of apples. Cut them into bite size pieces so everyone gets a taste. Make a graph of which apple the children liked best.

*Make apple prints. After cutting the apple in half let the halves dry on a paper towel. Dip into paint and press on newsprint or newspaper. Can you find the star?


Sunday, September 18, 2022


Last summer Meghan sent me a photo of the children in El Salvador singing the "Tooty Ta."  It's a beautiful story and I asked them to share it with you.  We can't do everything, but we can all do something.  I'll bet you'll get goosebumps just like me when you read about their mission trip. You'll find more information about this mission and how to contact Meghan and Madison at the end of the blog.  

Note!!  Wouldn't helping the children at La Magdalena be a great project for your class this year?  Instead of thinking about "stuff" they want they could think about someone else.  

There is a very small Christian school named Escuela Cristiana Canton La Magdalena located in La Magdalena, El Salvador. Madison's husband is the chair of a non-profit organization called One Child El Salvador that supports this school. After both Meghan and Madison's husbands had traveled there and saw how special the community is, they knew they must go! Unlike previous mission trips, they felt a different calling. In the past, most mission trips were construction related. That didn't seem to fit how they were being called to serve...

Meghan is in her 15th year teaching early childhood and Madison is in her 11th. Both ladies teach at Blackburn Elementary School in Dawsonville, GA. Dr. Jean has always played a vital role in both our teaching careers. We sing and dance with our students daily. We utilize the songs to approach different academic areas. After beginning to plan for this trip we knew we wanted to incorporate some of Dr. Jean's magic as a means to connect with the students in a different country and language!


The mission laid on our hearts was not only United in Christ but specifically TEACHERS United in Christ. Our goal was to partner with the ladies and men teaching in remote El Salvador and give them tools and materials they might not otherwise have access to. Thankfully Dr. Jean's Ole! Ole! would lead the way and bridge the gap between us and the students. The teachers let us do a classroom takeover, even though we spoke very little spanish. We got the opportunity to introduce some of our favorite songs to these children in spanish. As the kids were enjoying the songs, the teachers got a glimpse of the ideology of Singing to Learn. We drew the animals of the Color Farm, wrote color words in English and Spanish, and constructed silly sentences about the animals on the farm. Every lesson was wrapped up with everyone's favorite........TOOTY TA! Another wonderful concept we got to share was KISS YOUR BRAIN. The first time we told them to kiss their brain when they did something wonderful it blew them away! The idea was so well loved. The school principal/pastor thought the idea of thanking your brain was remarkable. Kiss Your Brain will forever be remembered in La Magdalena we are sure!


As Dr. Jean said the sweetest part of this trip was seeing that children are the same all over the world. They wanted to sing, dance and learn! The students in La Magdalena are receiving a high quality education with minimal resources. That can only be attributed to God and the dedication of the teachers working there. This mission trip was not so much of a manual labor trip, but a labor of love. Sharing a calling to teach is a special bond that reaches across all borders and oceans. We are all truly united in Christ. 

Here's a video of our trip:

There are many opportunities to get involved with this extraordinary non-profit, as well as the students and teachers in La Magdalena. Monthly sponsorships for the students are available. You may also be feeling the same call to serve. The website below can provide you with more information on how to get involved.

OR email at:

Saturday, September 17, 2022



Materials: lunch bags (2 for each child), scissors, markers, tape

Directions: Draw lines 1” apart halfway down from the top of the bag to the bottom flap as shown. Have the children use scissors to cut down on these strips. Turn the flap over and then roll it up tightly to make a handle. Secure the handle with tape. (For a good small motor activity let the children wrap rubber bands around the handle.) Wrinkle and fluff up the strips to make pompoms.

Note! Let children color their bags favorite team colors before cutting them.

Letter Aerobics
Put pompoms in the air for letters that start at the top dotted line, out in front of you for letters that start at the middle dotted line, and down low for letters with a tail that go below the line.

*Spell sight words using Letter Aerobics.

Cheer Words
Move and shake pompoms as you spell out names or high frequency words. “Give me a G. ‘G’ I’ve got a G, you’ve got a Give me an O. ‘O’ I’ve got an O, you’ve got an O. Give me a T. ‘T’ I’ve got a T, you’ve got a T. What’s it spell? GOT!”

Use for “Who Let the Letters Out?”, “Phonercise,” “The Vowel Cheer” and other letter chants and songs.

Invisible Writing
Write letters, numbers, and words in the air with pompoms. (Children call this “air brush” writing!)

Clap out syllables in words using pompoms.

Compound Words
Extend pompoms and say each word; then bring together and say the compound word.

Sing this song to the tune of "Skip to My Lou" as you shake pompoms.

Sun (shake right)
Fun (shake left)
Those words rhyme. Sun (shake right)
Fun (shake left)
Those words rhyme.
Sun (shake right)
Fun (shake left)
Those words rhyme.
They all end with "un."

*Continue using other words that rhyme.

Use pompoms for choral reading as children make these motions for punctuation marks.
Period – Pompom held up like “stop.”
Question Mark – Touch head with pompom and shrug shoulders.
Exclamation Point – Pompom up high and shake.

Clap out math patterns and have children repeat or extend.

Karate Counting
Pretend to chop from left to right as you count.

Math Facts
Hands in the air and say a number. Touch heads and say "plus" or "minus." Touch waist and say another number. Touch knees and say "equals." Touch floor and say the answer.

Positional Words
Have children follow directions with their pompoms. Can you put them on your head? Can you put them behind you? Can you put them between your knees?

Partner Patty Cake
Have children choose a partner. Let them say rhymes, the alphabet, or count as they patty cake.

Simon Says
Can children play this game and follow directions with their pompoms?

Hint! Take up pompoms and save them in a tub or bag in between activities.