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Tuesday, October 31, 2023


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!

Monday, October 30, 2023


Any day this week would great for "Whisper Day." Tell the children that you are going to whisper all day! Ahhhhhh!

Make a sign for your door that says “Whisper (Day of the Week).” 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 relaxation ideas to try today or any other crazy day!

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.

“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.

How about two new ideas to help children sit down and line up?

Sit Down Song (Alissa DeKemper)
Howdy Neighbor,
What’d ya say
It’s gonna be a beautiful day!
So clap your hands
And stomp your feet,
Turn around and take a seat!

Line Up Chant (Alissa DeKemper)
My hands upon my head I place,
On my shoulders near my face,
On my knees,
And at my side,
Then behind me they will hide.
(Lower your voice as you say it!)

Sunday, October 29, 2023






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.

Saturday, October 28, 2023


You can do this, yes you can! As the excitement increases for Halloween, 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.

Friday, October 27, 2023



Take advantage of those extra minutes you have before lunch, while waiting to for an activity, or at the end of the day with one of these brain breaks. They are the perfect solution for when your students look bored or restless during the day.

Hint! Before doing these activities ask children to show you their “body space” by extending their arms slightly and twisting around. Remind them to stay in their body space as you do these activities.

Shake It Up
Hold up your right hand and shake five times as you count.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Hold up your left hand and shake five times as you count.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Hold up your right foot and shake five times as you count.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Hold up your left foot and shake five times as you count.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Count to four with each arm and leg…then three…two…one.
End by saying, “Oh yeah!” as you extend your arms and make the letter “Y.”

Adaptations: If children are wound-up do this with a whisper voice.

*Count to five in different languages.

*Do the vowel shake down where you say, “A, E, I, O, U,” and the “E, I, O, U,” and then “I, O, U,” and so forth.

Balancing Brains
Have children stand. How long can they balance on their right foot? How long can they balance on their left foot?
Can they balance on their toes?
Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg in the air?
Can they balance on their left foot and extend their right leg in the air.
Can they balance on one foot with their eyes closed?

Jumping Brains
Ask children to stand and challenge them to jump in their space as long as they can. When they get tired they can sit back in their seats.

Here’s a video where you can jump with Dr. Jean.

Brains Go Marching
Children can get an amazing amount of exercise simply by standing and marching in place. March with Dr. Jean on this video:

Push the Wall
While children are waiting in the hall have them put their hands up against the wall and push it as hard as they can. Ask them to do push ups against the wall?

Babble Break
How about a three-minute "babble break" where children can talk to their friends? You could give them a topic to discuss that relates to a unit of study, let them tell jokes, or just chit chat.

Thursday, October 26, 2023


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

I think we’ve all had experiences similar to the child in the book 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. The book is a beautiful lesson for children about just getting started and TRYING!

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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023


This giant cell phone will be a BIG hit with your students when it comes to practicing math facts. You’ll need a shower curtain liner, permanent marker, and fly swatter. Cut the shower curtain in half and draw a cell phone similar to the one shown with a permanent marker.

Number Recognition
Children can use the fly swatter to identify numbers. They can also practice typing their phone numbers, zip code, etc.

*Let children throw a bean bag on a number and then do that many jumping jacks, toe touches, or other exercises.

Math Facts
Write math facts on 5”x8” index cards. Let children use the fly swatter to type out numbers and the answers.

*Children can throw two beanbags on the phone and add, subtract, etc.

Sight Words
*Use the fly swatter to spell words. Can they add up how much a word is worth?

Personal Cell Phones
Let children make individual cell phones to use for numeral recognition, adding, subtracting, spelling words, and so forth.

*Download the pattern and then ask children to design their own covers. Punch a hole for a view finder so you can "take pictures."

Sidewalk Math
Draw a cell phone on a paved playground surface and use for activities similar to those above.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


FUNCTIONAL PRINT books provide another opportunity for nonfiction reading and writing.

The Tooth Book

Have children draw a picture of what they look like after they lose a tooth.

*Remind them to be sure and draw a “window” in their mouth where their tooth used to be!

*You could also take a photo of their new smile and let them write about how they lost their tooth.

Weather Report
Choose a different child each day to be the meteorologist. Invite the weather person to record the weather with a drawing or sentence.

The Birthday Book

Have children write a story and draw a picture on a special page in this book when it’s their birthday. (You could also take a photo of them.)

School Rule Book
After discussing school rules, ask each child to come up with a rule that they think is important. Have them illustrate their rule and write or dictate a sentence to go with it. Put their rules together to make a class book. Hang the book in an important spot in your classroom and refer to it when children are behaving inappropriately. You might add, “You need to do (such and such). The rule is right here in our book!”

Things the Teacher Needs to Know
When a child comes to you to complain or tattle, hand them the book and say, “Write it all down and don’t leave out a thing. I’ll read it later on when I have more time.”

The Boo Boo Book
If a child gets a little scrape or scratch, have them draw a picture of it in this book. Give them a band aid to put on their “boo boo” so it will feel better.

Acts of Kindness
Create a book where children can record kind deeds their fellow classmates have done.

Hint! The teacher can model this by “catching children” in the act of doing something thoughtful and loving for others.

Excuse Book
This idea is especially good for older children.  If they forget their homework or have other excuses, let them “write it down” in this book.

Peace Talks
If two children have an argument, have them sit down next to each other at a table. Open a spiral notebook and ask each of them to draw a picture and write about what happened. Explain that when they resolve their problem they can let you know. It won’t take long for them to realize it’s easier to be friends!

*You can download covers for some of these at (Back to School 2005).

Monday, October 23, 2023


Here’s an inexpensive tool that can be used for counting as well as other math activities. These cups are not only quiet to play with, but they develop small motor skills and eye-hand coordination.  They're perfect for center work or fun with a friend.

Materials:  bathroom cups and permanent marker
Directions: Turn the cups upside down and write numerals 1-20 on the tops (actually bottoms of the cups) and sides of the cups.

Mix up the cups. Ask the children to put the cups in order.

Trace around the bottom of one cup 20 times on a file folder as shown. Write the numerals in sequential order from top to bottom and left to right in the circles. Children take the cups and match them up to the appropriate circle on the file folder. Next, sweep the cups off and try to stack them up vertically from 1-20.

Math Facts
Write addition and subtraction facts on the sides of the cups. Write the answer inside on a dot sticker. Children can solve the problem and then check by looking inside the cup. 

*Let them use the cup to build a pyramid if they answer correctly.

Counting by Multiples
Make math cups with multiples so children can practice counting by 2's, 5’s, 10’s, and so forth.

Hint! Store bathroom cups in an empty Pringle’s can.

Sunday, October 22, 2023


Here's a special day you'll want to include in your lesson plans for Tuesday.  Many 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 when he got home 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.

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:

Sandwich Book
How about a sandwich book to go with your bologna?  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 21, 2023


It’s time for a little geometry today, but these ideas will also reinforce small motor skills, letters, and creativity.

What’s a line? What’s a curve? 
Start by finding out what children know about lines and curves. Let them take turns drawing lines and curves on the board. Can they walk around the room and touch a line? Can they touch a curve? As you walk down the hall have them silently point to lines and curves. Can they find lines and curves in nature on the playground?
Horizontal, Vertical (Carrie O’Bara and Terri Miller)
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
Horizontal, horizontal,
(Forearms held up horizontally in front of chest.)
Vertical, vertical.
(Forearms bent at elbows to form right angles.)
Horizontal, horizontal,
Vertical, vertical.

Then diagonal, then diagonal.
(Right arm slants in front and then left.)
Add a curve. Add a curve.
(Make a “c” with right hand and then left.)
Then diagonal, then diagonal.
Add a curve. Add a curve.

Skinny Books
This is a super idea to help children learn to track from left to right and practice pre-writing strokes. Lay 4 sheets of paper on top of each other and staple four times along the left side. Cut horizontal lines to make four skinny books. Children practice drawing horizontal lines, vertical lines, curves, and diagonal lines on each page.

Play Dough
Draw lines and curves with a permanent marker on placemats or plastic plates. Let children roll the dough and place it on top of the lines and curves.

Letter Sort

What letters are made from lines? Curves? Lines and curves? Let children sort magnetic letters on the board or for a center activity.

Number Sort
Using a Venn diagram, have children sort numerals that are made with lines, curves, or both.

Prepare sheets of paper ahead of time with random curves and lines made with a black marker. Children choose a sheet of paper and try and create a design or object from the lines and curves on their page. *Encourage them to fill in the whole page.

Friday, October 20, 2023


Many finger plays tell simple stories. They engage children's hands, eyes, mouths and minds. They are a natural way to develop comprehension, sequence, and children's imaginations.

You can download a free book that Carolyn Kisloski and I wrote on my website this month:

This little girl is
Ready for bed. (Hold up index finger and wiggle.)
On the pillow
She lays her head. (Open palm and lay finger down.)
Wrap the covers
Around her tight. (Wrap fist around finger.)
That’s the way
She spends the night. (Rock hand.)
Morning comes,
She opens her eyes.
Off with a toss
The covers fly. (Open fist.)
She jumps out of bed, (Hold up finger.)
Eats her breakfast, (Pretend to feed finger some food.)
And brushes her teeth. (Pretend to brush teeth on finger.)
She gets dressed and (Pretend to dress finger.)
Brushes her hair. (Pretend to brush hair.)
Now she’s ready
And on her way, (Dance finger around.)
To work and play
At school all day. (Insert the name of your school.)

This little boy… (Do similar motions with the
opposite index finger.)

Miss Molly had a dolly (Cradle arms and rock.)
Who was sick, sick, sick.
So she called for the doctor (Pretend to hold a phone next to your ear.)
To come quick, quick, quick.
The doctor came (Pretend to hold up bag.)
With his bag and his hat. (Touch head.)
And he knocked on the door
With a rat-a-tat-tat. (Pretend to knock.)
He looked at the dolly
And he shook his head. (Shake head.)
He said, “Miss Molly
Put her straight to bed.” (Point finger.)
He wrote on some paper
For some pills, pills, pills. (Pretend to write.)
“I’ll be back in the morning
With the bills, bills, bills.” (Wave good-bye.)

A caterpillar crawled (Hold up right arm like a tree branch.)
To the top of a tree. (Crawl left pointer up right arm.
I think I’ll take a nap said he. (Wiggle left pointer.)
So under the leaf (Pretend to crawl left pointer
He began to creep. under right palm.)
He spun a cocoon, (Wrap right hand around left pointer.)
And he fell asleep. (Hold hands very still.)
For six long months
He slept in that cocoon bed.
Til spring came along and said,
Wake up, wake up,
You sleep head. (Shake pointer.)
Out of the leaf he did cry, (Clasp thumbs and open palms.)
Lo, I am a butterfly! (Fly hands around like a butterfly.)

Now it’s time to go to sleep (Hold up right index finger.)
Put the baby to bed. (Place index finger on left palm)
Cover the baby in the bed. (Wrap left fingers around right index.)
Kiss the baby good-night. (Pretend to kiss finger.)
Waaa! Waaa! (Hold up right index finger and cry.)
The baby’s awake!
What can we do?
(Insert children’s suggestions and continue the rhyme. For example, give it a bottle, change its diapers, give it a toy, read a book, etc.)

Every time Heidi High speaks use a high, soft voice. Every time Louie Low
talks use a deep, loud voice. Begin by sticking up your thumbs. Wiggle
your right thumb and say, “This is Heidi High.” Wiggle your left thumb and
say, “This is Louie Low.” Tuck your thumbs in your hands and extend them
to either side of you as you begin telling the story below.
One day Heidi Highopened her door (open fingers), went outside (stick out right thumb), and closed her door (close fingers). She said (wiggle right thumb), “What a beautiful day! I’m going to visit my friend Louie Low.” So Heidiwent up the hill and down the hill and up the hill and down the hill (move right thumb up and down in front of body until it reaches your left fist). She knocked on the front door and said (pretend to knock on left fist with right hand), “Oh, Louie Low. Oh, Louie Low. Let me try the back door. (Knock on opposite side of left fist.) Oh, Louie Low. Oh, Louie Low. I guess he’s not home.” So Heidiwent up the hill and down the hill and up the hill and down the hill (move right thumb up and down back in front of your body). When she got home, she opened her door, went inside, and shut her door (open fingers, tuck in thumb, then close fingers to make a fist

The next day Louie Low opened his door (open fingers), went outside (stick out left thumb), and closed his door (close fingers). He said (wiggle left thumb), “What abeautiful day! I’m going to go visit my friend Heidi High.” Continue same as Heidi did on the previous day…

The next day both Heidi Highand Louie Low opened their doors (open fingers), went outside (stick out thumbs), and closed their doors (close fingers). Heidisaid (wiggle right thumb), “What a beautiful day! I’m going to go visit my friend Louie Low.” And Louie said (wiggle left thumb), “What a beautiful day! I’m going to visit my friend HeidiHigh.” So they both went up the hill and down the hill (move thumbs toward each other until they meet in front of your body) until they ran into each other. They danced and played and had the best time (wiggle thumbs). After a while Heidisaid, “Well, Louie, I better go home.” And Louie said, “Well, Heidi, I better go home.” So they gave each other a hug (hug thumbs), and they both went up the hill and down the hill (wiggle thumbs apart to opposite sides of the body). When they got home they opened their doors (open fingers), went inside (tuck in thumbs), closed their doors (close fingers), and went to sleep (quietly put hands together and lay your head on them).

Here are some videos where you can watch me demonstrate the finger plays and finger stories.

Thursday, October 19, 2023


How about some silly songs today?  These songs can release wiggles and put a smile on your face.

Mother Goony Bird
Mother Goony Bird had 7 chicks. (Hold up 7 fingers.)
And 7 chicks had Mother Goony Bird.
And they couldn’t swim – NO! (Extend left hand and shake head.)
And they couldn’t fly – NO! (Extend right hand and shake head.)
All they did was go like this – right arm. (Flap right arm.)

Add left arm…right foot…left foot… (Add other movements.)
Nod your head…turn around, sit down!

Activities: Choose children to be the chicks and Mother Goony bird and act out the song.

Wiggle Willy
I know a little boy. (Dance from side to side to the beat.)
His name is Wiggle Willy.
He is so very nice, but oh, he is so wiggly!
And so go his fingers and his fingers go like so
And his fingers are always soooooo… (Wiggle fingers.)
And so go his arms…(Wiggle arms and fingers.)
Legs…(Wiggle legs, arms, and fingers.)
Head…(Wiggle head, legs, arms, and fingers.)
Tongue…(Move tongue back and forth along with the other body parts.)
Wiggle Willy!

Activities: Why is Willy so wiggly? What makes you wiggly? What can you do about it?

Have the children brainstorm how they can get rid of wiggles on the bus, in the car, sitting in their seat at school, etc.

Let children draw their interpretations of Wiggle Willy.

Laura Pearson 

Image via Pexels


11 Resources for Raising Safe, Healthy, and Happy Kids 


Raising children is a remarkable journey filled with excitement, growth, and endless learning opportunities for parents and kids alike. Navigating through the twists and turns of each age and stage can be daunting. But fear not. Courtesy of Dr. Jean and Friends, the resources below will equip you with the knowledge, strategies, and confidence you need to embrace every milestone — from those adorable baby coos to the ups and downs of adolescence.



No one needs to tell you about the importance of keeping your child safe throughout the years. Here are some resources to help you along the way:


      Child Safety and Injury Prevention from Better Health Channel

      Tips and Reviews from Safe Smart Family

      The CDC shares Info on Safety in the Home & Community for Parents With Teens



We all want healthy children. Here are some of the best health-related resources on the web:


      Child Health Issues and Tips: 1-5 Years

      10 Tips To Keep Kids Healthy This School Year

      Fitness and Your 13- to 18-Year-Old (for Parents)

      Pathways 4 Youth



These resources will go a long way in helping you create an environment for your child to enjoy a happy life — now and in the future!


      Boost Your Career with These Steps for a Bachelor's Degree in Business

      5 Secrets to Raising a Happy Child

      How To Let Go of Hyperparenting and Learn To Relax With Your Kids

      Create a Positive Home: How to Raise Happy Kids in a Positive Atmosphere


Thrilling, rewarding, enlightening — that’s what it’s like to raise children through every age and stage. You can navigate the complexities of parenthood with poise and assurance by staying informed, adaptable, and maintaining an open line of communication with your child. 


Each phase presents unique challenges and joys. The key is to cherish every moment and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. Here’s to creating a nurturing environment where your child can flourish and laying a foundation for a lifetime of success and happiness!


Dr. Jean and Friends has the children’s songs, music, and activities you’ve been looking for. Questions? Call (404) 386-9057.