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Sunday, November 27, 2022


Keep those little hands busy with these materials.  They'd be great for a center, take home activity, morning tubs, etc.

Note!  I picked up most of these supplies at the dollar store.

Cookie Cutters

Materials: cookie cutters, pencils, scrap paper, scissors

Children trace around the cookie cutters on scrap paper and then cut out with the scissors. 

Children can hole punch and then use the shapes to make ornaments or a necklace.

Paper Plate Sewing Cards
Materials: holiday plates, hole punch, yarn

Punch holes around the outside of the plates. Let children “sew” yarn through the holes.

*You can also make sewing cards out of old greeting cards.

Play Dough Writing

Let children make a pancake with the play dough and then write with a golf tee. This will strengthen those little fingers as they practice writing letters, numbers, shapes, words, etc.

String bells on pipe cleaners and string to make jewelry.

Gifts for the Birds
Materials: pipe cleaners, cereal with holes

Let children string cereal on pipe cleaners. Twist the ends to make a circle and hang outside for the birds.

Cut It Out
Materials: catalogs and advertisements

Put catalogs, coupons, advertisements, etc. in a center with scissors, glue, and paper.
Children can cut out objects they would like to “get or give” and glue them on a paper.

Saturday, November 26, 2022


Don't let standards be the Grinch and steal away your fun this month. Take a look at some of these ideas I’ve got for you!

Sight Words
Each day let children write a high frequency word on a strip of paper and glue the ends to make a link in a chain. They can practice reading over previous words each day as they add a new word and link.

Snowman Math 
Give children the outline of a snowman similar to the one shown. They can take buttons or other manipulatives and place sets in the top two sections. Join them together in the bottom circle to make the sum. Ask students to write the equation.

*Give children a certain number of buttons. How many different combinations can the make on the snowman to come up with the same sum?

Descriptive Writing 
Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book for each child. Children think of a title for their books and add their name as author and illustrator. Have them write and complete the following statements on each page:
(My holiday) smells like…
(My holiday) looks like…
(My holiday) sounds like…
(My holiday) feels like…
(My holiday) tastes like…

*For younger children run off the sentences and let them dictate sentences.

Preposition Elf 
Hide an elf or similar seasonal toy in a different place in the room every day. Encourage children to use complete sentences as they describe where the elf is.

*Let children take turns hiding the toy and calling on friends to describe its location.

Read, Read, Fast as You Can! You Can Do It! We Know You Can!
I saw this delightful bulletin board several years ago. What an engaging way to get children to read sight words and entertain them while waiting in the hall.

Friday, November 25, 2022


Someone once told me that ringing bells make you happy. Sounds good to me! I'm tying bells on my shoes and I'm ready to "jingle all the way" with holiday ideas for your lesson plans the next few days.

Note!  I cut pipe cleaners into 4" pieces and attached my bells to my shoes that way.

Bell Bracelets  

Let children thread several jingle bells on a pipe cleaner. Twist the ends together to make a bracelet children can shake as you sing.

Jingle Bell Painting
You will need an empty cheese ball container or similar cylinder shape with a lid. Cut a piece of paper so you can roll it and put it in the cylinder. Take two jingle bells. Drop one in red paint and the other in green paint. Use a spoon to transfer the bells to the can. Put on the lid, then shake up the can as you sing “Jingle Bells.” Take out the paper and you’ll have a jingle bell painting!

Paper Candy Canes
This is a craft idea that you can use to decorate your classroom. Take a square sheet of paper (8 1/2" x 8 1/2" works well) and color around the edges with a red marker or crayon. (Demonstrate how to cut a square by folding up the bottom edge to the side to make a triangle. Cut off the top and you'll always have a square.) Put a pencil at a bottom point and roll up as shown. Tape the end, remove the pencil, and use as a pointer or decoration.


*Use the candy cane as a prompt for descriptive writing. Children could also brainstorm creative ways to use candy canes or write original stories about how candy canes were invented.

Candy Cane Book
Fold 3 sheets of paper in half. Punch holes about 2" from the top as shown. Take a rubber band and insert it through one hole and slide one end of the candy cane through the loop. Insert the rubber band in the other hole and slide the other end of the candy cane through that loop.

*Make a similar book with a holiday pencil.

Thursday, November 24, 2022


Some of you are cooking, some of you are traveling, some of you are sleeping, but I hope you all take a moment today to pause and count your blessings. I'm not sure who wrote this, but I hope you are all BLESSED today and every day!

Today is a day of blessing.

I bless you.

I bless your heart.

I bless your life.

I bless your health.

I bless your home.

I bless your family.

I bless your work.

I bless your spiritual life.

I bless your finances and all your projects!

May your day overflow with blessings!

A Special Blessing!

We've all had parents who have caused us stress and frustration.  (Yes, even Dr. Jean had parents she couldn't please.)  However, this is such a beautiful story about what a positive impact one teacher had on a child's powerful that little girl's mother is donating a kidney to that teacher.  I'll let Jamie Sunderland tell  you more about it:

I wanted to share my story with you because you have inspired so many, and my hope is my story will inspire you. I am a teacher at a small private school in Chattanooga, TN. I am receiving a kidney transplant on January 3, 2023 from a former student’s parent. I taught that student in Pre-K 4. I also taught that student last year, virtually, because she had been diagnosed with cancer and was unable to attend school in person. She’s doing amazingly well now. She’s thriving and is back in person. She is on an oral maintenance chemo for the next two years, but overall is doing great! Her mom is selflessly donating her kidney to me. I’m attaching a news story that was done about our transplant, it was done prior to confirmation of transplant date. Now we have everything scheduled and in less than two months, I will have a second chance at life. I’m also attaching our gofundme, not to get a donation, instead my hope is you will read the entire story there. That sums up everything that fell into place and why we feel so strongly that this is God at work. Thank you for who you are and the joy you put into teaching. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


Several years ago when I visited Giles County, Virginia, they gave me a county 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!

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."

Find many of

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Make an alphabet book with me!
Take a look and you will see.
Alphabet books from A to Z!

Here are some alphabet books you might want to create with your class. They are a perfect vehicle for alphabet knowledge, reading for information, reading foundations, and many other language skills. And, you know when your children make a book there is a sense of “ownership” and they will want to read it.

I Can Read!
Take 26 large sheets of paper (12” x 16”) and write a different letter on each page. Put pages between construction paper to make a book called “I Can Read My ABC’s.” Hole punch and bind with book rings. Invite children to bring in words from food labels, stores, catalogs, etc. that they can read. As children bring in their words, help them match up the first letter with the same letter in the book and glue their word on that page.

See - Sign - SING!
Enlarge copies of the sign language alphabet. Put a different letter and sign on each page; then let different children illustrate a picture that begins with that sound. Bind together to make a book. Encourage the children to reproduce the signs on each page as they read the book.
*Take digital photos of children making the different signs.
*Cut hands out of felt and glue them to make manual signs.
*You can also make a Braille alphabet book by using drops of glue to represent the different Braille letters.

Alphabet Art
Write large letters of the alphabet on paper. Give each child a letter and challenge them to create a picture around their letter. “What does your letter look like? Does it remind you of something? Can you use your crayons to turn it into that object? Try to ‘camouflage’ it so no one knows what your letter is.” Put their drawings together to make a book. Can they find the letter hidden in each picture?
*Give each child the letter that their name begins with to make this book.
*Challenge older children to turn their letter into an object that begins with the sound their letter makes.

Touch and Tell ABC Book
Make letters out of different textures, such as sandpaper, felt, yarn, canvas, fake fur, etc.

AlphaBODY Book
Challenge children to make letters with their bodies. Or, divide children into small groups and ask them to make letters.

Themes and Holidays
Make alphabet books that coordinate with various themes, holidays, and
seasons. For example, if you are studying the ocean make a “Ocean ABC

Monday, November 21, 2022


I don't know about you, but I've got the Turkey wiggles this week. (That means I'm ready to get the Thanksgiving party started!!!) Here are some ideas that might help your children move, learn, and release their Turkey wiggles!
Jump as you read the words on the word wall, count to 100, and repeat other information.

*Children can also march or do other movements as they repeat skills.

Put your hands in the air and say the letter "A." Put your hands on your shoulders and make the /a/ sound. Touch your toes and say a word that starts with that sound. Continue going through the alphabet.

*Ask older children to say words that are nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech.

Stand Up
Simply asking the children to stand up gets blood going to the brain. They can stand up when they read, count, or review other information.

Air Writing
Ask children to make numerals, shapes, letters, or write words in the air with their "magic" finger.

Foot Writing
Use feet to write words, letters, answers to math facts, etc.

Have children stand and dramatize spelling words or vocabulary words.

Balancing Review
Have children stand. Can they balance on their right foot and count? Count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc.

*Can they balance on their left foot and read word wall words?

*Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg as they say the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and so forth?

*Can they balance on their left foot and extend their right leg and read big books and classroom print?

*Can they balance on their toes and read big books and other classroom print?

Sunday, November 20, 2022


I know an old lady, too, because I see her every day in the mirror! I also know the “Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," and a pie and a bat and a chick and numbers… She must be getting pretty full! The Old Lady is entertaining, but she also helps children with recall, sequence, phonological awareness, and oral language.

Here are a few visuals and craft activities that can be adapted to any version of the Old Lady. You can find free images online for the different stories or let children make their own illustrations.

Sandwich Bag Old Lady
Give children a circle to decorate for the head of the old lady. Staple the head to the back opening of a zip sandwich bag. Staple on strips of paper for arms and legs as shown. Run off copies of the different items for the book or song you are singing. Children line up items in sequential order and then insert them in the bag as you sing. 

You could always use a real old lady's head!

Paper Plate Old Lady
Cut the center out of a paper plate. Use the center for the Old Lady’s head and attach with a brad fastener. Attach strips of paper with brad fasteners for arms and legs. Tape a sandwich bag to the back of the plate so you can insert illustrations as you sing. 

Flannel Board File Folder

Staple the sides of a file folder together and glue a piece of felt to the front. Add Velcro to the back of pictures and place on the flannel board as you sing. 

Here's a video where I demonstrate the song in sign language.

Saturday, November 19, 2022


Do you need a few more activities to do this week? These books are a "timely" way to nurture nonfiction writing and gratitude!

Thankful Journal
Make a special journal for each child to use during the month of November. Several times a week ask them to draw, list, or write sentences about things they are grateful for. You can use napkins, paper plates, or a fork as shown.

Thankful Board

Designate a bulletin board or poster in the hall as your “thankful board.” Children can attach sticky notes or draw pictures of things they are thankful for throughout the month.

Thankful for Friends
Jane Lake shared this idea with me several years ago. Fold 3 sheets of paper in half and staple. Children use one of the prompts below on each page of their book.

1. A good friend is…
2. I’m a good friend when…
3. What friends like to do together…
4. Symbols of friendship…
5. Names of my friends… 

Thankful Song
(Tune: “Are You Sleeping?” Children repeat each line.)
I am thankful.
I am thankful.
Every day.
Every day.
For my friends and family.
For my friends and family.
Thanks I say!
Thanks I say!
Grateful Scavenger Hunt 
I saw this idea on FB a few weeks ago, and I thought it was one of the most "beautiful" activities I'd seen in a long time.  Check out for more ideas like this.

Friday, November 18, 2022


I think we’ve all had experiences similar to Vashti where we think, “I can’t draw.” “I can’t sing.” “I can’t dance.” “I can’t do statistics.” “I’ll never be able to cook.” Etcetera, etcetera. This book is a beautiful lesson for children about just getting started and TRYING!

Note! If you’ve never read THE DOT by Peter Reynolds you can find out more about it by visiting

THE DOT also reminded me of some simple art activities we can do with our students. These activities are open-ended and can be used with any age or integrated with a unit of study.

Sticky Dot
Materials: sticky dots, paper, crayons or markers
Directions: Give each child a sheet of paper and a sticky dot. Ask them to place the dot anywhere they’d like on the paper. Next, challenge them to create something out of the dot.

Dot to Dot
Materials: 2 dice, paper, crayons
Directions: Children roll the dice and add up the dots. They take a black crayon and make that number of dots randomly on a sheet of paper. Can they connect the dots and create something out of it?

*Have children make dots and then exchange papers with a friend.

Negative Space
Materials: paper, scissors, markers or crayons
Directions: Cut a hole out of the middle of each sheet of paper. Ask children to look at the hole and then create an object out of it.

*Extend the activity by having children write about their pictures.

Wiggles and Squiggles
Materials: crayons, paper
Directions: Have the children close their eyes and make a design on their paper with a black crayon. When they open their eyes, have them turn their paper all around and try to create something out of their design.

*Have children exchange papers of wiggles and squiggles with a friend.