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Tuesday, March 21, 2023


It's almost spring and you can't help but smile and have a spring in your step. And speaking of steps and springs reminds me of how much fun I had jumping rope as a child…and then teaching my students to jump rope. For some of the children it was easy, but other children really had to work at it. Being persistent and not giving up is a good thing to learn. Jumping rope also encourages social skills, motor skills, counting, and oral language. It’s good for the body and the brain!

Here are some chants we used to say, but you can adapt them if you don’t like the words. You could also use these on a rainy day. Just have the children get a pretend jump rope and jump along as you say the rhymes. What a perfect brain break for kids from pre-k through the primary grades.

*You can jump on two feet or alternate hopping on one foot at a time.

Bubble Gum
Bubble gum,
Bubble gum in a dish.
How many pieces
Do you wish?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…(How high can you count?)

Bathing Beauty
Bathing Beauty
Thinks she’s a cutie
All she wears is bathing suities.
If you jump to 24, you will get an extra turn.
1, 2, 3…24

Cinderella dressed in yella.
Went upstairs to kiss her fella.
Made a mistake and kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
1, 2, 3…8

Engine No. 9
Engine, engine number nine
Going down the railroad line.
If the train jumps off the track
You will get your money back.
How much money will you get?
1, 2, 3, …10

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, read the news.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, tie your shoes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down in your chair!

Blue Bells
Blue bells, cockle shells, eevie, ivy, over.
I like coffee. I like tea. I like you to jump with me.

Here's my "Jump Rope Rally" video so we can jump together!

Jump Rope Rhyme Book
It might be fun to give children copies of the rhymes and let them make a book of jump rope rhymes. They could illustrate these and use them for independent reading.

*Do you remember any jump rope rhymes from your childhood that you could teach your students?

*Have students ask their parents to teach them a jump rope rhyme they did as a child. 

Monday, March 20, 2023


Here's a "Spring Pencil Walk" that I hope your children will enjoy this week. Story symbols can help children develop top to bottom and left-to-right orientation. They’re also an engaging way to develop small motor skills. These stories should be told multiple times so children can practice the pre-writing strokes and feel more competent. You might want to do the same story every day for a week as you invite the children to recall what will come next.

*Make a tape of the story to put in a listening center.

Hint! Demonstrate these stories on the board or a large chart so children will be able to copy what you do on white boards or clip boards.

Let’s put a green dot at the top of the page to show us where to start. And let’s put a red dot down here at the bottom to show where our story will stop. Pick up your pencil and let’s use it to tell a story.

It’s a beautiful spring day, so let’s go for a walk.
The grass is growing nice and tall.
The sun is shining in the sky.
The clouds are rolling around.
The insects buzz up and down.
The little rabbits hop around.
The kites are flying in the air.
All of a sudden, the wind starts to blow.
The wind is blowing in every direction.
Better run home as fast as we can!
Home at last!

Here's another story about a walk in the zoo. Can you guess what the different symbols represent?

Sunday, March 19, 2023


The sun is shining so let's go outside and learn!

I Want to Go Out and Play Book
(Writing an opinion)
Give each child a sheet of paper and ask them to draw a picture of why they like to go outside. Ask them to write (or dictate) a sentence about their drawing. Make a cover that says, “I Want to Go Out and Play.” Put their pages together, hole punch, and insert book rings.

Sit and Write

(Descriptive writing)
Each child will need paper, a clipboard or cardboard to write on, and a pencil or crayon. Have children spread out in a comfortable area and write stories, poems, or descriptions of what they see.

Alphabet Walk
Divide children into groups of four and give each group a sheet of paper with the letters of the alphabet. (They will also need a pencil and a clipboard to write on.) Challenge groups to find as many objects as they can for the letters in the alphabet. For example: A-acorn, B-bird, C-cloud, D-dirt, etc.

Shape Hunt
Cut circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles out of construction paper and put them in a bag. Children choose a shape and then try to match it up with a similar shape on the playground.
*Have children lie on the ground and make shapes with their bodies. Take photos to make a class book.

Bounce and Count
How many times can they bounce a ball and catch it? How many times can they toss a ball with a friend and not drop it?
*Have each child silently count the steps from the classroom to the playground. Compare their answers.

Worm Measurement
Cut yarn or string into different sections (3”-12”) and place them in a bag. Explain that you have “worms” in your bag and they will all get to choose one. Have them walk around the playground and find objects that are longer, shorter, or equal to their worm. (Exchange worms after a few minutes.)

Saturday, March 18, 2023


I hear spring calling, don’t you? 
Come out and play! 
Go outside and learn!
Spring Hunt
Make a worksheet with signs of spring that children could find on your playground. Divide children into groups of 2 and attach a copy of the spring things to a clipboard. Partners can color in the objects that they find as they walk around the playground. 

Scavenger Hunt
Here’s a spring hunt for older students. Divide them into groups of 4 and give each group a clipboard with the items below. Have them record their answers. When you return to the classroom groups can share their results and compare answers.

Spring Scavenger Hunt 

Can you find a sign of spring? 

Can you find something older than you? 

Can you find something younger than you? 

Can you find something rough? 

Can you find something that feels soft? 

Can you find something living? 

Can you find something dead? 

Can you find something smaller than your fingernail? 

Can you find something bigger than you? 

Can you find something green? 

Can you find something yellow? 

Can you find something that smells good? 

Can you find some trash? Pick it up and throw it away! 

Spring Acrostic

After a spring walk, have children write the word spring vertically down the left side of their paper. Can they write a word (or sentence) for each letter that is a sign or symbol of spring? 
 Hint! With younger children do this as an interactive writing activity.

Have children make a web of spring using words or drawings.

Spring Words

How many words can they write from the letters in “spring”?

Friday, March 17, 2023


The world is turning GREEN this time of year. Here are some ways to celebrate the color with a poem, reading, math, science, and art.

Green by Dr. Holly
Green grass,
Green trees,
Green pickles,
Green peas.

Green grows
And green makes
Green lizards,
Green snakes.

Green leaves
Pop out in the spring;
Green is such
A lovely thing!

Color Recognition (Visual Skills)
Sing this song to the tune of “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”
Do you see the color green, the color green, the color green?
Do you see the color green somewhere in the room?
Each child gets up and touches an object that is green. (Adapt the song for other colors, beginning sounds, etc.)

Hint! Cover a cardboard roller from a pants hanger with green paper to make a green pointer!

Remember (Listening Skills and Model Writing)
Read the poem to the children one time. Ask them to recall the different objects in the poem that are green. Write their responses on the board. Read the poem a second time and see how many more objects they can remember. Read over the list together.

If I Were Green (Oral Language)
Have children close their eyes and pretend they are green. What are they? Write this sentence at the top of a sheet of paper and run off a copy for each child. “If I were green I would be ________.” (Younger children can dictate their responses, while older children complete their own sentences.) Put their papers together to make a class book.

“Eye” Can Graph (Math Comparisons)
Pass a small mirror around the classroom. Encourage each child to look at their eyes and describe what color they are. Make a bar graph by cutting out eyes from construction paper. Let each child color in a section by the color of their eyes. What color do the most people have? What color do the least number have? Have children go home and look at their parents’ eyes. Are they the same color as their eyes?

Natural Green (Science Investigation)
Ask the children to think about all of the things in nature that are green. Write their list on the board as they call out objects. “Are all of these the same shade of green?” Take the class on a nature walk and have each child collect one “specimen” that is green. Bring their objects back in the classroom and compare. Are they all the same? Have children describe their differences. Can they sort the objects? Did they collect plants or animals? What animals are green? What time of year do you see the most green?

Green Collage (Creativity)
Provide children with green paint, green crayons, green markers, and green paper. Invite children to create a “green collage” on a piece of cardboard or a paper plate.

Scratch and Sniff Green (Word Recognition)
Give each child a heavy piece of paper. Write the word “green” on their paper with school glue. (An adult will need to do this for younger children.) Let each child take a spoonful of lime jello and sprinkle it over the glue. (Model how to shake it around and then dump off the excess.) After it dries, children can “scratch and sniff” the word green.

Thursday, March 16, 2023


Grrrr! Let's do the dinosaur boogie so the kids can growl, wiggle, and release all that energy. Jumping up and down is a great way to get oxygen going to the brain and as the children dance they will be developing motor skills and self-regulation.

Dinosaur Boogie
Pterosaurs had wings and could fly. (Stretch out arms.)
He’d swoop in the swamp then up in the sky.
The ancestor of birds they say,
I wish it were here today.
Tyrannosaurus Rex, king of the swamp.
He growl and snarl, and then he’d go chomp. (Clap hands.)
He ate meat, he was a carnivore.
They’d all hide when he would roar.

Do the dinosaur boogie start - bounce around. (Bounce.)
Hands like claws, make a growling sound –Grrr! (Make hands like claws.)
Stomp, stomp, stomp the ground. (Stomp feet.)
Then wiggle and turn around. (Dance and turn around.)
Let’s do the dinosaur boogie…

Brontosaurus was the largest of all. (Point up high.)
He moved slowly so he would not fall.
He ate plants, he was an herbivore. (Pretend to pick a leaf and eat.)
He ate and ate and then ate some more.
Triceratops had three horns on his head. (Put 3 fingers up on head.)
I’d like to see one, but now they’re all dead.
Where, oh, where, did the dinosaurs go? (Hold up palms and shake head.)
I guess we’ll never know!

What does carnivore mean? Herbivore? Are you an omnivore?
Apatosaurus is another name for brontosaurus.

Give children paper, paint, markers, and other art media to create original dinosaurs.

What can you find out about dinosaurs on the internet? What happened to dinosaurs?

Students could do informative writing about dinosaurs or creative writing about what they would do if they were a dinosaur.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


“Ownership” is important to children. They like their own space and materials. Yes, you can buy clipboards, but don’t you think that children will find it more meaningful if they get to decorate their very own clipboard. 

What? 9” x 12” piece of corrugated cardboard, 1” butterfly clip

Why? writing, science observations, sight words, surveys

When? Learning center, independent, partner work

How? Attach a butterfly clip, insert paper, and let the writing begin!

Use the clip boards for:

Observations (weather, nature walk, clouds, etc.)

Surveys (favorite food, ice cream, animal, sports team, etc.)

Write the room (2 syllable words, seasonal words, nouns, shapes, letters, etc.)

Read the room (check off words they find, shapes, letters)

Note taking (write or draw pictures as they listen to a book or watch a video)

Interviews (parents, grandparents, friends)

What I learned (record what they learn as you do a unit of study)

And here's a LIST of lists children can make on clipboards.

List of what they are thankful for.

List of their favorite books, songs.

List of their favorite foods.

List of their favorite subjects at school.

List of their favorite animals/pets.

List of their favorite sports or games.

List of what they can do if they finish their work early.

List of things that make them happy.

List of how to be a buddy/friend.

List of “cheers” and “goals.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


I bet you didn't know that March 14 was LEARN ABOUT BUTTERFLIES DAY. Find out more at:

No matter how old you get, the life cycle of a butterfly will always be nature's magic! There are so many learning opportunities from caterpillars and butterflies: comparing and contrasting fiction and non-fiction books, saying finger plays, writing books about the life cycle, art projects, dramatizations... Let's get started with a song.

(Tune: Up on the Housetop)
First comes the butterfly (Hook thumbs and flutter fingers.)
Who lays an egg.
Out comes a caterpillar (Wiggle index finger.)
With many legs.
Then the caterpillar
Spins and spins (Roll hands around.)
A little chrysalis
To sleep in. (Place head on hands.)
Oh, oh, oh! (Fingers around eyes.)
Look and see.
Oh, oh, oh!
Look and see.
Out of the chrysalis, (Hook thumbs and flutter fingers.)
My, oh, my!
Out comes a (Move butterfly fingers all around.)
Beautiful butterfly!

Here's a video my webmaster made with photographs of the life cycle:

Here's a video with illustrations:

Let children act out the life cycle of a butterfly. First, they lay on the floor in a ball. Next, they crawl around like caterpillars. Can they spin around and make a chrysalis? Finally, they can spread their wings and FLY!

Baggie Butterfly
Make a butterfly by tearing up little pieces of colored tissue paper and putting them in a zip lunch bag. Gather up in the middle and twist on a pipe cleaner to make the body and antennae. Attach a string for flying.
Smoosh Painting
Cut butterfly shapes out of newsprint. Fold in half. Let children drop paint with a spoon or eye dropper on one half. Fold and rub. Open to view your butterfly.

Life Cycle Flip Book
Make a flip book for the children to illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly.

Tell the lifecycle of the butterfly with a stick, a bean, and pasta. First, take children on a nature walk and ask them to find a stick that is as long as their arm from their wrist to their elbow. Glue the bean to the left of the stick for the egg. Next comes a spiral pasta for the caterpillar. Then a shell pasta for the chrysalis. Finally, a bow shaped pasta for the butterfly.

Butterfly Bites

Children will enjoy assembling and eating this butterfly. You will need celery cut in 4" pieces, cream cheese, and pretzel twists. First, spread cream cheese in the hollow part of the celery. Insert two pretzels on either side for wings.

Monday, March 13, 2023


Just in case you get bored today, here's a cheap, simple prop that you can make for your classroom and use in a multitude of ways.

All you’ll need are cheap, white paper plates. Put two plates together and staple about ¾ of the way around. Leave an opening large enough so you can stick your hand in and use like a puppet. Write letters, numerals, shapes, math signs, etc. on the plates and use to really involve your students.

*Write the letters “B-I-N-G-O” on the front of the plates as shown. Cut out hands and write numerals on the back. Choose five children to wear the letters as you sing “Bingo.” Explain that “Bingo” is a word that has five letters. After each verse you will turn over one letter and they should clap instead of saying the letter. Children will learn to go from left to right; they’ll learn that letters make words; they’ll learn number concepts.

*Give each child a letter to put on their hand. Have them come to the front of the room as you call out their sound. Put the letters together to make words. This can reinforce CVC words, word families, silent “e,” etc.

*Give children letters to hold up as you sing alphabet songs like “Happy Birthday Letters” or “Who Let the Letters Out?”

*Write numerals on plates and use for ordinals, number sentences, “Ten in the Bed,” and other numeral songs and finger plays.

*Play "I have___" "Who has___?"

*Divide children into small groups and let them make puppets of characters from a story. Let them act out the story for classmates using their puppets.

Sunday, March 12, 2023


Piggyback tunes have been used forever because once the melodies are in the brain you can easily change the words. Here are a few new learning opportunities for this familiar tune.

There are some letters you should know and they are the vowels.
A – E – I – O – U
A – E – I – O - U
A – E – I – O - U
And now you know the vowels.

There are five senses that we use to help us learn each day.
See (Point to eyes.)
Hear (Point to ears.)
Smell (Point to nose.)
Taste (Point to mouth.)
Touch (Hold up hands.)
See, hear, smell, taste, touch,
See, hear, smell, taste, touch,
We use them every day.

Zip Code
There is a zip code where we live and we know our zip code.
3 - 2 – 1 – 5 - 5
3 - 2 – 1 – 5 - 5
3 - 2 – 1 – 5 – 5
Now we know our zip code.

Word Families
There is a word family you should know and ILL is it’s name-o.
They end in ILL you know.

Number Bonds

There are some facts that you should know and they all equal seven.
2 + 5
3 + 4
6 + 1
7 + 0

Name Bingo
Play BINGO using children’s names and googly eyes. Write children’s names on sentence strips and give them googly eyes. “I spy the letter R. “ If children have an “R” in their name they cover it up with a googly eye.

P.S.  Here's the link to the "BINGO" tell and draw story I shared yesterday.

Saturday, March 11, 2023


Your kids are going to love this song and story!

There was a farmer had a dog
And Bingo was his name-O.
B - I – N – G – O,
B – I – N – G – O.
B – I – N – G – O.
And Bingo was his name-O.

Each verse omit a letter and clap.

Hint! Insert children's names and spell in the song.

Where Is BINGO?

I’ve been telling this story for over five decades, and it never fails to capture children’s attention. You can draw it on a white board, poster, or a sheet of paper. Of course, the children will say, “Do it again!”

One day my dog Bingo disappeared. I went to the park to see if I could find him.

When I got there I accidentally stepped on a pile of bumblebees. They came out and swarmed all around me.

I wanted to get away from them so I jumped in a pond of water. But they were still there.

I ran to the top of a hill.

When I got to the top of the hill I saw two doors with two doorknobs. I knocked on the doors, but nobody was there.

I ran down one side of the hill.

And then I ran down the other side of the hill.

Has anybody seen my dog?

Here Kitty, Kitty
This isn’t quite as cute as “Bingo,” but it’s worth a “tell.” (Yeah, I know it's a weird looking cat, but the children don't seem to mind.)

Here is Timmy’s house. It’s made with the letter T.

It has two rooms.

Each room has a chimney and a window.

Growing outside the door is tall grass.

Here’s his friend Suzie’s house. It’s made with the letter S.

One day Timmy went to Suzie’s house to borrow some milk.

Suzie took Timmy down in the basement to get the milk.

They slipped and spilled the milk, so they went back down in the basement and got more.

Timmy took a shortcut home. He went down one valley and up a hill.

Then he went down another valley and up another hill.

He gave the milk to his special pet when he got home.

Can you guess what it was?

Friday, March 10, 2023


I'd love to come to each of your classrooms in person, but that's not possible. However, I have started doing some short videos of songs, rhymes, and stories "Just for Kids." Here's my latest one about Humpty Dumpty.

Here's the new verse for the end of the rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
So the good children got out some tape and some glue
And they fiddled and faddled until he looked like new.
Then they carefully placed him back on the wall
And said, "Humpty Dumpty, please don't fall!"

*Let children make their own Humpty Dumpty puzzle from an oval that they have decorated. Can they glue him back together?

Rhyme On
Challenge children to fill in the word that rhymes in these additional verses.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a peg.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his leg.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a bed.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his head.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a rose.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his nose.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a pin.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his chin.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a boulder.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his shoulder.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a pie.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his eye.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a deer.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his ear.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the land.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his hand.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the sea.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his knee.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a drum.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his thumb.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a tack.
Humpty Dumpty fell on his back.

Humpty Dumpty said to his friend,
“I’m very tired so this is THE END.”

*Give children an oval shape and scrap paper. After they tear the paper and glue it to the oval add a craft stick to make a puppet them can use as the say the rhyme.

Thursday, March 9, 2023


I'm on a roll with envelopes, but I bet you'll still find a tip or two today.

This is great for a quick review. Have children write “yes” on one side with a green crayon and “no” on the other side with a red crayon. When you’ve got a few extra minutes have the class use these to answer simple questions. You can quickly gaze around the room and see who has the correct answer.

Question – Statement
Put a period on one side and a question mark on the other side. Children hold up the period if the teacher makes a statement. The question mark is held up for a question.

Fact – Opinion
Write “fact” on one side and “opinion” on the other side. As the teacher says facts and opinions, the children respond by holding up their envelope.

Write riddles or questions on the front of envelopes. Put the answers on index cards and insert in the envelopes. Hole punch and bind several to make a book.

*At the beginning of the school year have children write descriptions about themselves on the outside of the envelope and then put their photo inside.

Pull and Read
Cut the left end off the envelope. Write children’s names on 9 ½” sentence strips. Glue their picture on the right side. Pull out one letter at a time for children to predict whose name it could be.

*Write sight words, vocabulary words, or sentences for children to pull and read.
*Write math equations with the answer at the end.

Word Puzzles

Write words (or children’s names) on the front of an envelope. Write the same word on a sentence strip and cut between the letters to make a puzzle. Place the letters in the envelope for the children to put together.

Skill Cards
Cut envelopes in half. Cut a ½ slit down each side and fold the top section down as shown. Use these to store flash cards of skills children need to work on such as letters, numbers, sight words, math facts, and so forth.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


Dance, sing, play and learn at the same time with these "hands-on" projects.

Write the uppercase letter on one side and the lowercase letter on the other side.
Sing the “Hokey Pokey” with the letter puppet.
You put your (letter) in,
You take your (letter) out,
You put your (letter) in
And you shake it all about.
You make the (letter sound)
And then you put it down.

Listen Up
Children listen as you say words. If the word starts with that sound they hold their puppet up. If it doesn’t start with that sound they keep their puppet down.

Glue shapes to envelopes and pass out to students. Children listen and then respond as you sing this song to the tune of “If You’re Happy.”
If you have a circle stand up.
If you have a square stand up.
If you have a rectangle stand up.
If you have a triangle stand up.
*Adapt for other shapes, as well as three-dimensional shapes.

*Use shapes to reinforce positional words. Can you put your shape ON your head? Can you put your shape BEHIND you? Can you put your shape UNDER your chin?

I Have - Who Has Numbers?
Seal envelopes, cut them in half, and then write numbers on the envelopes. (You will need one for each child in your class). Pass out envelopes and have the child with 1 say: I have 1. Who has 2?
The child with 2 says: I have 2. Who has 3? And so forth.
*Count backwards: I have 20. Who has 19?
*You can also play this game with alphabet letters.

High Five Words
Write sight words on envelopes. Children walk around the room giving a high five and reading each other’s words.

Missing Fingers
Hide several fingers in the envelope. Can the children tell how many you have in the envelope? How did you know that?