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Monday, October 31, 2022


Kindergarten certainly has changed since I was a little girl - and so has Halloween!  Back in the fifties there were no costume shops or Halloween stores. When we got home from school on October 31st we put on our imagination caps and came up with a costume. Yes, there were lots of ghosts in sheets and tramps (which most of you don't even know about) and scarecrows and cowboys and cowgirls and gypsies. We also dressed up in our parents' clothes. Did we have fancy pumpkins or bags? NO! We used brown grocery sacks or pillowcases. And, we never had to worry about somebody tampering with apples, popcorn balls, or homemade cookies. Can you imagine the germs in bobbing for apples? How did we ever live? A few houses had pumpkins, but that was the extent of the decorations.

So what did we have in common on Halloween with your children today? We had FUN!!! We had sweets!  We were excited - and maybe a little scared! It was a memory that still makes me smile.

Be well, happy, and share their JOY today!

P.S. Don't forget to remind the children to save their candy wrappers and bring them to school for some yummy fun!

Sunday, October 30, 2022


Heigh-de-ho, heigh-de-hay,
How about some new ideas today?

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Just looking through old files of ideas and finding gems like these makes my day. And, I hope you'll find something here to make your day!

3 –H Good-bye
Heigh-de-ho, heigh-de-hay,
Sure am glad you came today.
Before you go, what do you say?
Hug, handshake, or high-5 today?

*Children choose if they want to give the teacher a hug, handshake, or high-5 before they leave the classroom.

Brain Nap (Elsa Jasso, El Paso) 

When you need a few minutes to talk to the principal or deal with something tell the children, “Close your eyes and take a brain nap.”

Zip It, Hip It, Lip It!
(Erin Mensing) 

To get the children ready for the hallway say: 

Zip it. (Pretend to zip lips.) 

Hip it. (One hand on hip.) 

Lip it.(finger on

Kindness Sprinkles (Christin Cannan)
“Sprinkle” kindness (hands up and wiggle fingers) on the Star of the Week, Birthday Child, or for other occasions. 

Good Job Rally (Veda Hamrick) 

Have children form two lines facing each other. One at a time children walk between the two lines as friends give them "high five" and say, "Good job!" 

Hallway Hug (Jodi Spakes)
When children see friends in the hall teach them to do the hallway hug.
You (Hold up index finger.)
Me (Hold up middle finger.)
Hello (Cross middle and index finger and wiggle.)


Air Hug (Mary Katherine Ellis)
Open your arms as if giving a huge hug in the air.
*This is good for when students see a friend in the hall.
*This is also good when someone comes in or leaves the classroom and the kids want to jump up and give them a hug.

Problem Resolution (Carrie Thouvenot)
After students resolve a problem they can follow this routine:
1st - Fist bump
2nd - Hand shake
3rd - High five
4th - Hug
5th - Walk away happy!

Mirror Talk
If children talk ugly to a friend, then tell them to go talk like that in the mirror and see how it feels.

Saturday, October 29, 2022


I found this idea for notecards from a "Mrs. Young" when I was cleaning out some old files. It might just be my age, but I do appreciate an old fashion paper "thank you" note, and I'm sure your parents and volunteers would as well. I also like this idea because it's very "child centered" and you don't need permission from parents to use their child's photo.

Directions: "Mrs. Young" asked each child to draw their picture with a black pen. She reduced the size and did a little cut and paste magic to get them on half a sheet of paper. On the other half it says, “Created especially for YOU by Mrs. Young’s Kindergarten Class of 20--.” Here's the open version as well as what it looks like folded into a card.

Hint! These could be run off on card stock, seasonal colors, or plain white paper.

Writing Center Stationery
Here's another idea that will encourage your students to write. Draw off 1 1/2" squares similar to the ones shown around the edge of a sheet of paper. Let the children draw their picture and write their name in one of the squares. Run off many, many copies so the children can use them to write notes to their friends.

Thank You for Helping Us Bloom and Grow
I loved this thank you note I received from some children. Their thumbprints are flowers and it says "Thank you for helping us bloom and grow." Something similar to this could also be used to make class stationery and notes.

You know, everybody wants to be appreciated, and these notes would be treasured by the recipients. "Thumb" body thanks you for reading my blog today!!!

Friday, October 28, 2022





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

Make sets with the wrappers.

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

Use the wrappers to graph their favorite candy bar.

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

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

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

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


Glue candy wrappers to a file folder. Write a coin value by each wrapper. Children count out the appropriate amount and place it on the wrapper.
Hint! For young children, price the candies from 1 cent to 10 cents and give them pennies. Make the amounts higher for older students.

Let children use wrappers to make a collage.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2022


Here are some activities you can do with seasonal or holiday words. You can also use these ideas throughout the year with sight words or spelling words for independent practice or as a center activity.

Mixed Up Words
Take vocabulary words, Halloween words, or spelling words and mix up the letters. Challenge children to figure out the words and try to write them correctly on their paper.

Hint! Colored pencils or smelly markers make this so much more fun.

Word Makers
Give children a seasonal word or vocabulary word. How many other words can they make using the letters in that word? (This might be a good activity for children to do with a partner or in a small group.)

Picture Words
Challenge children to write words in a way that reflects their meaning. For example, write “spooky” in shaky letters, “fall” in letters that go down, “colorful” with many colors, “candy” decorated with sprinkles, etc.

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

Word Search
There are several free websites where you can create your own puzzles with specific holiday or seasonal words.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Several years ago when I visited Giles County, VA, they gave me this alphabet book. 
For each letter there was artwork by the children, as well as a photograph. What an amazing way to nurture a sense of community pride in children, teach letters, and make them more knowledgeable about the place they live!

Note!  Wouldn't this be a great project for any town, city, county, or state? I bet you could get a grant for publishing this book, or perhaps the chamber of commerce or visitor's center in your area would be interested.

I thought the last page was the best. 
"May the music of Giles play all your life long."


You can do this, yes you can! As the excitement increases for Neewollah (Halloween spelled backwards) go with the flow with one of these activities. 

Pumpkin Face
Play "Pumpkin Face" which is similar to Wheel of Fortune. Think of a vocabulary word or sight word. Put a blank on the board for each letter in the word. Children take turns calling out letters. If they guess correctly put the letter on the line. If their letter is not in the word begin drawing a pumpkin and then adding features. If letters are not in the word make a "bone pile" at the bottom of the board.

Real and Pretend
Do a T-chart of things that are real and pretend.

Halloween Safety
Let them work in small groups and make posters about Halloween safety.

Making Words
How many words can you make out of HALLOWEEN?

Partner Writing
Divide the children into partners and challenge them to write a ghost story together or draw a spooky picture together.

Play a game of pantomime where children act out Halloween symbols and events as their friends try and guess.

Pass the Pumpkin
Play "pass the pumpkin." (You can use a real little pumpkin for this or just pretend with a ball.) Children stand or sit in a circle and pass the pumpkin around as the music plays. When the music stops the one holding the pumpkin has to read a flash card, answer a math problem, recall information from a book, and so forth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022


Here’s an “Emergency Kit” for when you are about to loose your cool!

Take a Vacation 
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.

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.

Tony Chestnut
Have children sing "Tony Chestnut" (one of my free youTube videos). As you sing each verse lower your voice until you are whispering.

*Sing other songs using a whisper voice. 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.

The Quiet Game
One child is selected to be “it.” “It” stands in front of the room and says, “Mousie, mousie, how quiet can you be? When I clap my hands 1, 2, 3 (slowly clap 3 times), we shall see!” “It” chooses the classmate who is being the quietest and then that child comes to the front of the room and is the new “it.” (My class LOVED this game. It was a great way to develop self-regulation and calm them down. We played this game in the classroom and in the hall while waiting)

Use Your Imagination
Ask the children to close their eyes as you read a story. Challenge them to make “pictures in their brains.” Give them a sheet of paper to illustrate the story.

Chit Chat Break
Set the timer for three to five minutes.  Children can "chit chat" with their friends as long as they use a whisper voice!

Monday, October 24, 2022


October 31st is approaching and you know what that means!!! (The person who created the cartoon above was certainly in the classroom.) Here's a great idea for this Wednesday or any day! You'll find some other tips for "noise management" on this blog.

Make a sign for your door that says “Whisper Wednesday.” Greet the children at the door as you whisper, “Welcome to whisper Wednesday. All day long we are going to use our whisper voices. Take yours out of your pocket and put it on.”

Do the morning routine, songs, reading group, and all other activities with a quiet voice.

Hint! Ask children to help you by putting their index finger on their lips to remind friends to remember to whisper.

Here are a few other calming tips for other crazy days!

“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.

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.

Criss Cross Applesauce
*Do this on each other’s backs:
Cross cross, (Make an “x” on back.)
Applesauce, (Wiggle fingers down back.)
Spiders crawling up your back. (Crawl fingers up back.)
Warm breeze. (Gently blow on neck.)
Gentle squeeze. (Hug from behind.)
Now you’ve got the shiveries! (Tickle fingers down back.)

Hint! Have children stand in a circle and face right. That way they will each have a back to write on.

Lip Sinc
Lip sinc familiar songs and finger plays. The children will look at you strangely and then join in.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


Several years ago on Balogna Day, K.J.’s third grade teacher (Mr. D) taught them this song from the 70’s. K.J. sang it to his mother and she got a kick out of remembering the song as they sang it together. Those are the kind of experiences and bridges that are not in your curriculum that children will remember.  Start tomorrow with a smile with this song.

October 24th National Bologna Day
My bologna has a first name,
It’s O – S – C – A – R.
My bologna has a second name,
It’s M - A – Y – E – R.
Oh, I love to eat it every day,
And if you’ll ask me why I’ll say,
Cause Oscar Mayer has a way
With B – A – L – O – G – N – A.

*Here’s the original 1973 video some of you might remember:

Sometimes you just have to shut your door and do something silly like National Bologna Day. And, although I don’t have a bologna song, I do have a sandwich book that’s perfect for descriptive writing.You'll need two cheap paper plates to make this book. Fold both plates in half. Cut in 1 ½” from the rim on both sides as shown. Cut off the folded edge between the rim on the second plate. Roll up the first plate and insert it in the hole in the second plate. Unroll and you’ll have a book.

*Let children write about their favorite sandwich.
*Have children write a “how to” make a sandwich.
*Invite children to be chefs and create a new sandwich.

Saturday, October 22, 2022


IT'S ABOUT TIME that I did a blog on time. This version of "Hickory Dickory Dock" is good for younger children because of the counting and rhymes. It can also be adapted for older students who are learning to tell time because they can use their arms like the hands on a clock as they sing.

Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory dickory dock. (Palms together and tick tock back and forth.)
The mouse ran up the clock. (Wiggle fingers up in the air.)
The clock struck one, (Clap one time.)
The mouse ran down. (Wiggle fingers down.)
Hickory dickory dock.

Two – “Yahoo!” (Continue clapping the appropriate number of times.)
Three – “Whopee!”
Four – “Do more!”
Five – “Let’s jive!”
Six – “Fiddlesticks!”
Seven – “Oh, heavens!”
Eight – “Life’s great!”
Nine – “So fine!”
Ten – “We’re near the end.”
Eleven – “We’re sizzlin’.”
Twelve – “I’m proud of myself.”

Here's where you can get a free download this song.

We also have some YouTubes of this song:

*Make paper plate clocks and use to as you sing the song.

*Use your arms like the hands on a clock. Extend both arms over your head. On “one,” bring right arm down to the position of “one” on a clock. On “two,” bring right arm down to position of “two,” and so forth as you sing.

Digital Time
Place a digital clock by the wall clock in your classroom so children can associate both ways of telling time.

Friday, October 21, 2022


I admit it!  I'm old as dirt and Facebook is beyond me.
However, some of the materials that teachers post are over the top.
You don't need to buy all that STUFF!!!  Remember the KISS principle.
These whiteboards are a perfect example of something that every
child should have.  They encourage each child to be "present," "active,"
 to "participate" and to perform at their own level.
They are reusable and can be adapted to any age level or concept.

As Dr. Jean says, "Children are happy with plain vanilla.
They don't need all the sprinkles and whipped cream."

Individual whiteboards (or wipe off boards) and markers can purchased many different places. (I got my whiteboard and a pack of colored dry erase markers at Walmart for less than the cost of a latte.) Add a butterfly clip at the top and it will double as a clipboard.

Many lumber companies will cut shower board into 9” x 12” pieces that you can use like whiteboards.

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

Several years ago I asked teachers on Facebook to suggest ways they used whiteboards. Their responses were so creative that I wanted all of you to be able to use them.

My Kinders LOVED the “Show Me” game. They would write the response to my question (keeping it a secret by not showing anyone). When I said “show me” everyone held up their board. We celebrate trying our best- they then check my screen to see if they have it- if not we fix it. Of course, we read/review together. It all happens fairly quickly. I began by randomly calling out letters for them to write. We then moved on to letters to go with a sound, sight words, numbers, etc. Total engagement and a crowd pleaser. Everyone feels successful.

Draw one detail of a picture at a time and see if the kids can guess what it is. Keep adding details until they figure it out. You can also give them their own white board and they could draw along with you. They could also draw their own picture and have others guess. We liked to do this activity while waiting on lunch to arrive.

I used a white board with the musical chairs game. Every time the music stopped we would sit and complete one part of a directed drawing. Great fun, movement, and working those fine motor skills.

I use white boards for guided drawings (something about them being non-permanent builds their confidence), interactive read-aloud responses, and for fine motor/writing center. My kids LOVE them and anytime I say we are going to get them to begin our work they all get excited!

Kindergarteners totally buy into anything if you say “we are going to play a game." Play a game of secret letter. Give clues about the secret letter. The clues could be naming objects that start with this letter or end with this letter. You could give clues such as “it is the letter before m”. As you give clues the students are guessing on their whiteboards. Finally the students show their guesses.

Show them a math problem and they have to complete the calculation correctly on their whiteboards.

For white boards, I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of shower board. Home Depot cut it for me into squares and I came out with over 40 dry erase boards for $24!! And if you tell them you're a teacher, you might get lucky and they'll cut it for you for free. I'm sure Lowe's could do this too


Use whiteboards to help children practice skills and settle down in the morning. They can practice drawing shapes, letters, or numerals.

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Engineer Planning Book

Write “Engineer Planning Book” on the cover of a notebook. Explain that engineers draw a plan and then try to build their design. Place the book in the block center along with a pencil and encourage children to draw their idea and then try to build it.

City Planners

Learning to read store logos and other environmental print is a natural way to help children 

make print connections. What fun to be architects and engineers and design their own cities! 

Materials: store and restaurant logos, photos of your school and other places in your community, tape 

Directions: Cut out store logos and tape to blocks with clear packaging tape. Tape pictures of your school, post office, and other places in your community to blocks and challenge children to design a city. 

More! Walk around your school and community and take pictures of your students’ favorite places. Make copies of the pictures and tape to blocks. 

*Take a full length picture of each student. Print a 5” X 7” copy on card stock and cut out each photo to make a paper doll of each student. Use binder clips to make the paper dolls stand up.

 Here are some fantastic downloads that Carolyn Kisloski created for you to add to your block center.

I CAN BUILD pictures for the block center.

Environmental print to put on rectangular blocks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022


I could almost weep when a teacher says, "My administrator made me get rid of my blocks." Take a look at all of these "hands-on" math activities with blocks.  (Looks more interesting than a worksheet to me.)

Sorting – Can they sort like blocks together? Can they regroup the blocks by another attribute?

Numerical Order – Write numerals 0-10 on 2 ½” x 5” pieces of paper and attach to blocks. Can they put the blocks in order? 

Sets and Numerals – Write numerals, number words, and sets on blocks for children to match.

Roll and Stack – Children take one or two dice and roll. They select that number of blocks and stack them as tall as they can.

Counting – How many blocks can you stack?

Math Signs – Write inequality signs, =, +, and – on pieces of paper and attach to blocks. Children can build equations and practice addition and subtraction with the numeral blocks and signs.

Liquid Measurement – Write “cup” on two square blocks. Write “pint” on a rectangular block. How many cups in a pint?

Fractions – What would happen if you cut the square block in half? What would happen if you cut the rectangular block in half? How many ways can you make the square block? Rectangular block?

Measure Up – Children lay on the floor as friends take unit blocks and measure how many blocks long they are. Use different size blocks and compare.

Graphing – Have children draw their faces on 2 ½”” squares. Tape to blocks. Use for comparing and graphing.
For example: You could have a picture of a bus, feet, and a car. Children place their block under the way they travel to school. Which one is more? Less? How can we tell for sure?

Block Book – Cut small shapes out of construction paper to represent the different unit blocks. Glue these to a file folder to make structures similar to the ones shown. Hole punch to create a book. Children look at the drawings and then try to duplicate them with blocks.