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Friday, June 30, 2023


When I would be about to explode, I would sit down in a chair and start singing this song. At first my class really thought I was going crazy, but eventually they saw the humor and we would all end up laughing. It became a great attention grabber and a fun way for all of us to relax and smile.

Note! It surprises me when I go to schools to do my free concerts that this is often one of the songs that the children request. Just a reminder how teachers and children can be silly together!

I Am Slowly Going Crazy

(Tune: "Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking")
I am slowly going crazy, (Cross right ankle on left knee. Place right
elbow on right knee and place chin on palm.)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, switch. (Cross left ankle on right knee and place
chin on left palm.)
Crazy going slowly am I, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, switch.
Continue singing faster and faster.

*Brainstorm other things you can do when you feel like you’re going crazy!

*Make a class book of “Things That Drive Us Crazy!”

Thursday, June 29, 2023


Here are some of my favorite songs in English and Spanish.  What a perfectly fun way to help children make language connections!


















Wednesday, June 28, 2023


First of all!!!

My Mother Is a Baker
My mother is a baker, a baker, a baker.
My mother is a baker.
She always goes like this,
“Yum! Yum!”

Father – Trashman -“Pee yew!”

Sister – Singer - “La ta de da…”

Brother –Cowboy - “Yahoo!”

Doggie – Licker – “Slurp! Slurp!”

Kitty – Scratcher – “Hssssss!”

Baby – Whiner - “WAH!”

Grandpa – Engineer – “Toot! Toot!”

Grandma – Tickler

Hint! This is a fun one for a school performance. 

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


It's never too early to have children start thinking about careers and what they might want to do one day. In early childhood play encourages children to explore and pretend different roles and occupations.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
What type of things would you like to do in a job?


Invite parents and members of your community to come and speak in your class about their careers.


Give each child a brown paper bag and ask them to interview their parents about their jobs. What do they like best about their job? How did they train for their job? Put a tool, picture, or other object that represents what they do in the bag and share it with classmates.


Have a special day where children dress for the job they'd like to have one day. Ask them why they chose that job, how they will prepare for it, and so forth.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023


Here's one of my silliest songs that your kids will LOVE! 
(Who wouldn't smile singing about peanut butter on their "underwear"?)

Peanut Butter (Tune: "Allouette")
Peanut butter, we like peanut butter. (Clap hands and march to the beat.)
Peanut butter, that’s what we like best.
Do you like it on your head? (Point to head.)
Yes, we like it on our head.
On your head?
On our head.
Ohhhhhh. (Hands on cheeks and move head from side to side.)

Do you like it on your shirt… (Point to shirt.)

Do you like it on your pants… (Point to pants.)

Do you like it on your socks… (Point to socks.)

Do you like it on your shoes… (Point to shoes.)

On your underwear? (Cover your eyes.)

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

*Is someone in your room allergic to peanuts? Let them explain what an allergy is and why they can't eat peanut butter. Let them choose another food to insert in the song, such as "macaroni" or "watermelon."

*Tie in with standards by focusing on the questions and statements.

*Cut a sheet of paper in half and then fold in half to make a book. Run off the attached worksheet and let the children put the pictures in the book in sequential order.

Monday, June 26, 2023


This is an old camp song that's good for helping children learn the days of the week. And, yes, going forwards and backwards is actually good for the brain.

Today Is Sunday
Today is Sunday. (Put hands in arm pits and flap
Sunday – chicken. like a chicken.)
All you lucky children,
Well, that’s O.K.

Monday – peanut butter (Extend left hand and spread peanut butter with right hand.)

Tuesday – snap beans (Snap fingers.)

Wednesday – soup (Pretend to slurp soup.)

Thursday – ice cream (Pretend to lick a cone.)

Friday – hotdogs (Slap hands together.)

Saturday - pizza (Extend palm in air as if carrying a pizza.)

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

Write the days of the week on seven paper plates as shown. Let children draw the foods in the song. Pass these out to seven children and let them stand in front of the room and hold up their plate at the appropriate time in the song.

Calendar Time
Every morning you can sing this song and insert specials for the day.

Today is day of the week.
Day of the week   music (P.E., art, etc.)
All you lucky children, well, that's O.K."

My Favorite Foods
Fold two sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book. The children can write a different day on each page and then draw their favorite foods. (The teacher who shared this idea years ago said one little boy who was a picky eater drew macaroni and cheese on every page!)

Sunday, June 25, 2023


I don't know why kids love this song, but they just do.  

Alligator (Echo Chant – Children repeat each line.)
Alligator. (Extend arms and open and close like a mouth.)
Can be your friend, can be your friend,
Can be your friend, too! (Point finger.)

The alligator is my friend, (Point to self.)
And he can be your friend, too. (Point to a friend.)
If only you could understand, (Hold up palms.)
Don’t wear him as a shoe!
The alligator is my friend. (Point to self.)
He likes to dance and flirt. (Shuffle feet and fluff hair.)
If only you could understand, (Hold up palms.)
Don’t wear him as a skirt.
The alligator is my friend. (Point to self.)
He likes to sing and dance. (Snap fingers and dance.)
If only you could understand, (Hold palms up.)
Don’t wear him as your pants. (Point to pants or legs.)

Alphagator Story

I love letters! How many of you boys and girls love letters? When you learn letters and their sounds you can put them together and make words, and then you can read! Well, once there was an Alphagator and he absolutely adored the letters of the alphabet! He’d eat letters and dream sweet dreams all night long.

On Monday he ate the letters A B C D E F,
But the pointy part of the “A” kept poking his tummy,
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Tuesday he ate the letters G H I J K,
But “H” and “I” made a word and said over and over, “Hi! Hi! Hi!”
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Wednesday he ate the letters L M N O P,
But “O” kept rolling back and forth in his tummy,
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Thursday he ate the letters Q R S T U V,
But “S” kept playing snake in his tummy and going, “Ssssssss!”
And he couldn’t sleep a wink all night long.

On Friday he ate the letters W X Y Z.
Then he closed his eyes and dreamed sweet “Zzzzzzz’s” all night long.
See you later Alphagator!

Directions: Use the link to download the alligator pattern. Cut it out of the front of a file folder. Insert 10 sheets of green paper and print the underlined letters in his stomach so they are displayed as the Alphagator eats them. Glue a copy of the story to the back of the file folder so you can read it as you remove one sheet at a time.

Saturday, June 24, 2023


All I can say is I LOVE GUACAMOLE! Who would have thought that a silly camp song would turn into a YouTube hit with teenagers? I realize that they are making fun of me, but if I make them smile and give them a happy memory of their own childhoods then it's all good!

Form the banana, form, form the banana. (Bring your right arm up)
Form the banana, form, form the banana. (Bring your left arm up.)
Peel the banana, peel, peel the banana. (Bring your right arm down.)
Peel the banana, peel, peel the banana. (Bring your left arm down.)
Go bananas, go, go bananas. (Jump around and act crazy!)
Go bananas, go, go bananas.

Form the corn, form, form the corn. (Bring your right arm up.)
Form the corn, form, form the corn. (Bring your left arm up.)
Shuck the corn, shuck, shuck the corn. (Bring your right arm down.)
Shuck the corn, shuck, shuck the corn. (Bring your left arm down.)
Pop the corn, pop, pop the corn. (Jump on the word “pop.”)
Pop the corn, pop, pop the corn.

Form the mango…
Do the tango! (Dance with a partner.)

Form the orange…
Squeeze the orange! (Hug a partner.)

Form the tomato…
“Th” the ketchup! (Thumb down and pretend to shake a ketchup bottle.)

Form the carrot…
Feed the bunny! (Fingers over head like ears.)

Form the avocado…
Guacamole! (Shake your head and arms so your cheeks wiggle.)
Marc Lewis created his own version called "Go Bananas"!

The "Banana Dance" was so popular that we made variations for Halloween and Christmas.

Friday, June 23, 2023


What's the point of doing the "Tooty Ta"?

oral language
auditory memory
phonological awareness
eye-hand coordination
following directions
crossing the midline

Teachers being REAL and connecting with their students in a FUN way!

A neighbor said, “I heard your songs are good for children with autism. Do you work with children with autism?” I kept my cool as I responded, “I sing with ALL children. Music is a universal language that helps us love each other.” (I borrowed that “music helps us love each other” from Pete Seeger, but it’s true.)

Where am I going with this? I have a friend with a little granddaughter who has some physical issues and has to wear a brace on her leg. I remind her grandmother to just love her and pretend like there is nothing wrong. In my years as an educator I have seen children with no arms and legs “Tooty Ta” with me. I have had children with no arms write and draw with their toes. I have seen children in wheelchairs picked first to be on a kick ball team. I have had all the boys want to marry my little bald Lauren who had gone through chemotherapy. Why? Because if you don’t tell children they are different they won’t act different. It’s as simple as that!

I've even had teachers on mission trips to countries where children don't speak English send me photos of children enjoying "Tooty Ta."

Tooty Ta 
Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta ta. (Children repeat.)
Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta ta.
Thumbs up.
Tooty ta….
Thumbs up…Elbows back.
Tooty ta…
Thumbs up…Elbows back…feet apart.
Song continues as you add knees together, eyes shut, tongue out, turn around.

*Substitute initial consonants or digraphs you want to reinforce in the song.  For example, if you substituted /b/ for /t/ it would be “Booty ba, booty ba, booty ba ba…”

Thursday, June 22, 2023


For children, GOING ON A BEAR HUNT is just plain fun. But, as educators, we know they are also developing oral language, physical skills, comprehension, sequence, social skills, and their imaginations. 

Cool Bear Hunt
Chorus: We’re going on a bear hunt. (Slap thighs.)
We’re going to catch a big one, (Spread hands far apart.)
With big green eyes, (Make circles by your eyes.)
And a fuzzy little tail. (Put hands on back and wiggle.)

Look over there. (Point index fingers.)
It’s a candy factory.
Can’t go over it. (Raise your arms up.)
Can’t go under it. (Put your hands down by the floor.)
Can’t go around it. (Make arms in a circle.)
Guess we’ll go through it. (Pretend to stuff candy in your mouth.)
Yum, yum, yum, yummmm. (Pat your tummy.)

Look over there.
It’s a peanut butter river… (Pretend to swim with arms.)

Look over there. (Wiggle all over.)
It’s a Jell-o swamp…

Look over there.
It’s a cave…
It’s cold in here. (Shiver.)
I see two big green eyes,
And a fuzzy little tail.
It’s a bear!
Go through the Jell-o swamp. (Wiggle.)
Swim across the peanut butter river. (Swim arms.)
Go through the candy factory. (Pretend to eat candy.)
Run home. (Run in place.)
Open the door. Shut the door. (Pretend to open and shut a door.)
We went on a bear hunt,
And we weren’t afraid! (Put thumbs in chest as if boasting.)

*Challenge children to make a story map to go with this song.

Here’s a backpack the children can make to go along with the COOL BEAR HUNT.

1st Fold a lunch bag in half lengthwise.
2nd Cut up in an arch shape toward the middle crease.
3rd Open and fold down the front and sides of the arch. Trim off. Fold down the remaining section.
4th Cut off a strip from the top scrap. Cut in half. Loop around ends to make straps for the back. Glue to the back.

5th Give children pictures of a flashlight, crackers, and thermos to go in their backpacks or let them draw their own items.
6th Let children write or tell follow up stories to the bear hunt. What happened after you got home and shut the door???

Wednesday, June 21, 2023


Let's sing and learn and get ready for the new school year! 

How? For the next ten days I will take one of my favorite songs and share learning activities. You can capture the children's interest with the song and then use it as a "rabbit trap" to reinforce skills.

I met "Katalina Matalina" over 60 years ago when I was a Brownie. It's a silly song that the kids love, but there is also a timeless lesson with her heart of gold.

Katalina Matalina
Chorus: Katalina Matalina Upsadina Walkadina
Hoca Poca Loca was her name.

Her head was shaped like a baseball bat. (Point to head.)
And right on top was a funny, old hat. (Chorus)

She had two hairs in her head. (Point to hair.)
One was alive and the other was dead. (Chorus)

She had two eyes in her head. (Point to eyes.)
One was purple and the other was red. (Chorus)

She had two teeth in her mouth. (Point to mouth.)
One pointed north and the other pointed south. (Chorus)

Her neck was as long as a ten foot pole. (Point to neck.)
And right in the middle was a big, black bow. (Chorus)

Her hips were like two ships in port. (Wiggle hips.)
One headed south and the other headed north. (Chorus)

Her feet were as flat as a bathroom mat. (Point to feet.)
How did they ever get like that? (Chorus)

But she had a heart, so I’m told. (Put hands over heart.)
That was made of purest gold. (Chorus)

Here's a link with patterns so you can make your own Katalina:

Clap out the syllables in Katalina’s name. Clap out the syllables in the children’s names in your classroom. Count how many claps in each person’s name. Compare and graph.

Can they identify the words that rhyme in the song?

Have children close their eyes as you sing the song and create a picture of Katalina in their heads. Give each child a sheet of paper to draw her interpretation of Katalina. Display on a bulletin board or make a class book.

Talk about what it means to have a heart of gold. Cut out 4 hearts and decorate with gold glitter. Punch holes in the hearts and tie on string to make necklaces. Each day when you see a child being a kind friend, let them wear Katalaina Matalina's heart of gold.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023


O.K. I've preached enough. I hope I've made you feel a little better about your role as an educator.

Yesterday I said that kids just wanted to be loved, to play and have fun with their friends, and to feel good about themselves.

Guess what? That's what teachers want as well!!!

Never Give up!


If you are actually reading my blog today I'd like to THANK YOU!!!  I can't let things like puppets and Ralph the Rag disappear.  Yes, they are silly, but when you do these with children and they respond with a smile you'll remember why you do what you do!!!

Cut the top and bottom off a food box, insert the puppet on your hand, and then let the puppet pop out the box and sing a song, talk about an event, or say a rhyme.

Ralph the Rag
Knot the top of a dishtowel to look like ears. Introduce it to the class as “Ralph the Rag.” Challenge them to do what Ralph does. Bend the towel and wait for the children to do it. Wiggle the head…shake all over…stand up…turn around…Everyone will want to do what Ralph does!

P.S.  I know this is "stupid," but it's so much fun and it really does work to focus children's attention.

Sunday, June 18, 2023



You have to be an actor or actress if you want to be a great teacher. Every day you have to put a smile on your face and say, "It's going to be a good day." Why? Because for some child being with you for six hours is as good as it's going to get.

My parents both had a very strong work ethic. At the time I thought they were "mean," but now I am so grateful. If I complained about not feeling too well, mother would say, "The world is run by people with headaches, stomaches, and backaches. Just get on the bus and do your job as a student."

I also remember whining to my father about one of my first jobs. He said, "Listen, there is no such thing as a perfect job or a perfect boss. There's always good and bad and you just have to figure out how to make the best of it."

Keep on dancing and never let them see you sweat!!!

Here's a "pledge" for you and your children:

I pledge to myself on this day
To try to be kind in every way.
To every person big or small
I will help them if they fall.
I will love myself and others, too.
That’s the best that I can do!


This is a sweet song that ends in a whisper. Sometimes we have to remember that the only place some children might hear "I love you" is at school!

Tony Chestnut
Toe (Point to toes.)
Knee (Point to knee.)
Chest (Point to chest.)
Nut (Point to head.)
Nose (Point to nose.)
Eye (Point to eyes.)
Love (Cross arms over chest.)
You (Point to a friend.)
Toe Knee Nose (Continue to point to body parts.)
Toe Knee Nose
Toe Knee Chest Nut
Nose Eye Love You
That’s what Toe Knee Nose.

Continue singing softer each time.

Saturday, June 17, 2023


Music is the "dessert" of life and the curriculum. If you're not singing every day, you're missing a little magic. Even if you think that you "can't sing," don't worry about it.  Your children have probably never heard the songs before and they won't know the difference.  You just have to be enthusiastic and have a good time.

I've heard people comment about my recorded music and complain, "That lady can't sing."  Well, I know that, but I sure know how to have a good time with kids.  Funny, but a child has never complained about my voice.

P.S. One teacher told me, "Dr. Jean, I do the motions different every time because I can't remember them."  I said, "That's just fine.  Tell your kids that 'muscle confusion' is good for the brain."  (And that's the truth!  I didn't make it up!)

P.S.S.  How many of you have ever had one of my silly songs stuck in your brain????


Silly songs are a great way to release wiggles and nurture a classroom community.

Directions: Children can sit in their chairs as they do this traditional dance.

Bounce out those wiggles as you stand and sit.

Friday, June 16, 2023



I love this quote from THE LITTLE PRINCE. Antoine de Saint-Eupery reminds us how fragile and fleeting childhood is. Remember your own childhood!  We must get down on children's level and think like them to create relationships and make learning fun.

I'm afraid that too many of our educational leaders and decision-makers have forgotten what it's like to be a child!!!


Everybody lives surprises - especially children!   Place a book, natural object, shape, or anything you want to talk about in a gift bag and sing this song:

Surprise Sack
(Tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”)
What’s in the surprise sack who can tell?
Maybe it’s a book or maybe it’s a shell?
What’s in the surprise sack who can see?
It’s something special for you and me!

Give them a few clues and invite children to guess what is in the bag. Slowly pull it out and you’ll have their undivided attention.

Hint! If you go to a conference or take a trip put a small souvenir in a gift bag (book, shell, pencil, toy, etc.) and cover with tissue paper. Children pass the bag around and use a complete sentence to guess what is in the bag. When all have had a turn remove the object and give it to the children like a “present.”

Thursday, June 15, 2023


Did you ever go to a dance with someone you didn't like very much?  You had to dance with that person anyway, didn't you?

Well, we've all had our ups and downs with administration.  We may not entirely agree with what we are asked to do, but you are an employee and you've "gotta dance" with them.

Goodness, gracious, the changes that I've seen 50 years as an educator would make your head spin!  Do the best you can because things will "shift" and change.  Hang in there!


Invite children to brainstorm words that describe good friends. Write these words on index cards and place them in a bag. (You will need a word for each child so you might have to make duplicates of words.) One at a time children come up and choose a word. Sing the word to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

We Really Like You
We like you because you’re wonderful.
We like you because you’re wonderful.
We like you because you’re wonderful.
We really like you!

Hint! Pin or tape words to children so they can strive for that adjective. If they are not behaving appropriately ask, "Are you doing what your word says? Do I need to take it away from you?" They will want to keep their word for sure!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023


How we treat children is what they will become! 

A friend who taught with me over 50 years ago visited recently and said, “I remember how you would take the most pitiful little child and write on their hand: YOU ARE AMAZING AND WONDERFUL! Or, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Or, YOU ARE SPECIAL!" She said, “Why did you do that?” My response was, for once in their lives, I wanted them to feel that way. I wanted them to know that someone believed in them. (Now they’d probably throw me in jail for writing on a child’s hand, but you get the point.)


Pats for Parents

Cut hands out of construction paper. Write positive comments for students and tape them on their backs.

P.S.  A teacher once told me that she had taught in low income schools and high income schools and she had discovered...

Kids are kids and parents are parents regardless of ability or socioeconomic status.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023


I always started my workshops by telling teachers that they would have to earn a BA and a BS from me. 

BABorrow and Adapt what I do!
BSBorrow and Steal what I do!

Where do you think I got 99% of the activities and tips on my blog? Yes, from teachers just like you!

Always remember that we have to hold hands and stick together like we tell our children!


Sitter Spot   (You've got to make these this year!)
Cut 8” circles out of fun foam or felt and write the children’s names on them. Arrange for circle time to give children a special place to sit. Arrange spots to disperse problems and encourage social interactions.

*Children can also use these for their “special spot” for doing quiet activities like independent reading.