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Tuesday, April 30, 2024


I was looking through old blogs and I found this idea that a teacher in Indiana shared several years ago. What a fun way to end the school year!

Camp Kindergarten (Michelle Page)
We do camp kindergarten the last two weeks in the school year. Every morning we meet at the flagpole for the pledge and camp songs.
*“Baby Shark,” “The Ants Go Marching,” “Banana Dance,” “Chicka Boom,” and “Calamine Lotion” are a few songs we sing.

Note!  This could easily be adapted to any grade level.

The parents write letters for “mail call” and the children write back.

We take an ABC nature walk and try to find objects for each letter in the alphabet.

We make s’mores and trail mix for snack.

The children bring blankets, towels, and sleeping bags. They get to take off their shoes to read, do work, listen to a story.

We go fishing for words (plastic pool and words with magnets).

We go on a bear hunt and then draw pictures of our adventure.

To tie in science we study about bugs and worms.

What an amazing way to celebrate and end the school year!

Look at our camp t-shirts with the kids’ names on the back.

Monday, April 29, 2024


Several years ago Brad McKinney (Kindergarten Teacher at Severn Elementary) emailed this idea to me. I was searching through old blogs and I found it!!   What a WINNER!  Makes me wish I were still in the classroom!

Parents and Guardians,
Believe it or not, the school year is quickly coming to an end. During the last 26 days of school, our class will be participating in an ABC Countdown. Each school day will have a different activity related to the letter for that day. Your child may need to wear or bring something special on some days – those days are underlined. This sheet will help you and your child remember what day of the countdown we are on.

Monday, May 19
Animal Day
Bring your favorite stuffed animal to school

Tuesday, May 20
Bubble Day
We will be making and blowing bubbles

Wednesday, May 21
Card Game Day
Bring your favorite card game to play at school

Thursday, May 22
Dinosaur Day
We will be dinosaur detectives with Mr. D

Friday, May 23
Everybody dress like Mr. McKinney and celebrate his birthday!!!

Wednesday, May 28
Fruit Day
Bring your favorite fruit for snack today 

Thursday, May 29
Going to Tanglewood and Harris Hill
Bring a packed lunch!

Friday, May 30
Hat Day
Wear your favorite hat to school

Monday, June 2
I’m going to the library and on an ABC Hunt
Meet your family member at Centennial Park at 11:15 for ABC Hunt on Market St.

Tuesday, June 3
Joke Day
Write down your favorite joke to share with class

Wednesday, June 4
Kick Off Your Shoes Day
You will be able to take your shoes off in class all day

Thursday, June 5
Leisure Day
We will relax outside with a book (weather permitting)

Friday, June 6
Memory Day
We will be writing about our favorite memories from kindergarten this year

Monday, June 9
Nature Day at the Binghamton Zoo – PAPR Trip
Bring packed lunch

Tuesday, June 10
Orange Day
Wear the color orange and bring an orange for snack

Wednesday, June 11
Pinkalicious Day
Wear as much pink as you can and participate in activities based on the book Pinkalicious!

Thursday, June 12
Quiz Your Teacher Day
Bring your hardest question for Mr. McKinney to answer. See if you can stump him

Friday, June 13
Roadrunner Field Day
Field day games and activities outside with entire grade level

Monday, June 16
Sidewalk Art Day
We will be decorating a section of the sidewalk

Tuesday, June 17
Talent Show Day
Share your talent with the class

Wednesday, June 18
Used Book Day
Bring a used book you would like to donate to the class or library

Thursday, June 19
Veggie Day
Bring your favorite vegetable to share with class

Friday, June 20
Wishy Washy Day
Be prepared to get wet!

Monday, June 23
X-change Autographs Day
Make an autograph book and collect as many autographs as you can

Tuesday, June 24
Year End Clearance
Bring a bag to gather all your items from the year

Wednesday, June 25
Zoom Out of School Day
Last day of kindergarten

Sunday, April 28, 2024


Someone once told me that if you end the meal with a good dessert they will forget if the rest of the meal wasn’t very tasty. Isn’t that kind of like the school year? SHUT YOUR DOOR and have some fun! “Doctor’s orders.” (Dr. Jean - the doctor of funness!)

End of Year Cadence

(The children repeat each line.)
School is coming to an end. (Stand, march, and slap thighs
School is coming to an end. to the beat.)
Say so long to all our friends.
Say so long to all our friends.
We’ve learned to read and write and spell.
We’ve learned to read and write and spell.
We know our shapes and numbers well.
We know our shapes and numbers well.
We’ve learned to follow classroom rules.
We’ve learned to follow classroom rules.
Getting along is really cool.
Getting along is really cool.
Science, music, art, PE.
Science, music, art, PE.
School’s been great for you and me.
School’s been great for you and me.
And when school begins again.
And when school begins again.
We’ll be happy to see our friends.
We’ll be happy to see our friends.

Now I Can!
Brainstorm all the things your students have learned during the school year. Give each child a sheet of paper and have them draw something they couldn’t do at the beginning of the year that they can do now. Complete this sentence: “I couldn’t _______, but now I can _______.” Make a cover that says “Now We Can!” and bind to make a book.

Time Capsule
Create a memento of the year with a time capsule. Ask each child to bring in Pringle’s can. Have them draw a picture of themselves and put it in the can. Let them write or dictate what they want to be when they grow up and illustrate it. Challenge them to collect a wrapper from their favorite food, something their favorite color, friends’ signatures, and other small, meaningful objects to add to their bottles. After gluing on the lid and decorating the outside, send the time capsules home with a note to the parents asking them to save them until their child graduates from high school.

Count Down Chain
Let each child make a paper chain with the number of days left in the school year. Each day they can remove one strip.

*Make a bulletin board with balloons for the number of school days left. Pop one balloon each day. (These could be real balloons or paper balloons.)

The Year from A to Z
The amount of time you have left in the school year will dictate how you approach this project. If you have a few weeks, then you could assign several letters each day and have children recall activities that begin with that sound. If you have more time then you could just do one letter each day.

Make blank alphabet books for each child and add this poem on the cover:
We’ve learned and played in many ways,
But now the year must end.
Here’s a book to remember special days,
And all your kindergarten (first grade) friends!

At morning meeting encourage the children to brainstorm activities, friends’ names, books read, songs, etc. that begin with the letters and write them on the board. As an independent activity invite children to draw pictures and write about the different events in the ABC books.

How about some ideas to get you started?
A- apple tasting, art, alphabet, “Alligator”
B- “Bear Hunt,” blocks, birthdays, books, bus
C- computers, caterpillars, counting, cooking, CLIFFORD
D- dinosaurs, dancing, drawing, “Days of the Week”
E- easel, exercise, eating, exploring
F- friends, fall, first day of school, “Five Little Monkeys”
G- GINGERBREAD MAN, games, graphs, gym
H- Hundred Day, Halloween, holidays, handprint
I- ice and snow, insects, “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “I can___”
J- jack o’ lanterns, journals, jump rope
K- KISSING HAND, kites, kindness, “Katalina”
L- letters, library, “Lettercise,” lunch, LEO
M-“Macarena Months,” music, math, magnets
N- nests, nursery rhymes, names, numbers
O- oceans, outside, “Over in the Meadow”
P- pizza parlor, P.E., puzzles, painting, “Peanut Butter”
Q- quiet time, quilts
R- reading, rainy days, running, rabbits, “Rime Time”
S- singing, spring, shapes, senses, science
T- “Tooty Ta,” turkeys, teeth, tests, TACKY THE PENGUIN
U- upside down, under, umbrellas (April showers)
V- Valentine’s Day, VERY BUSY SPIDER
W- word wall, writing, winter, “Wally Acha,” weather
X- “X” marks the spot (treasure hunt), X with body
Z- zoo field trip, zigzag art, “Z” end of the year
*Use the name of the school, teacher’s name, etc.

Saturday, April 27, 2024


Think of my blog as a “buffet.” I put a lot of “food” (ideas) out there and you pick and choose which ones you like the best. This week I'll be sharing activities to end your school year with a smile and a song.

School Is Over (Tune: Frere Jacques)
School is over.
School is over. (Children repeat each line.)
Time to go.
Time to go.
We’ve had fun learning.
We’ve had fun learning.
Love you so.
Love you so.

Autograph Book
As simple as this project is, the children will be thrilled to have their very own autograph book. (Oh, yeah! And it will keep them busy!) Cut paper in fourths. (I like to use colored paper.) Have children count out 10 pieces. Hole punch and tie with a ribbon. Children walk around the room and get their friends’ autographs.

Friendship Necklace
You will need construction paper, yarn, markers, and hole punches for this project. Cut the construction paper into 2 ½” squares, circles or other simple shapes. Each child will need as many pieces as there are students in your room. Have them write their name and draw pictures on their shapes. Punch holes. Now comes the fun part! Children get to go around the room and give a shape to each of their friends. Encourage them to say something kind they remember about their friend as they pass them out. Finally, children string the shapes on yarn and knot the ends to make a necklace.

Memory Shirt
Have children bring in an old t-shirt from home. (White works best.) Provide them with fabric pens and let them have friends write their names and draw pictures on their shirts.
Hint! Plan several days for this project. It’s “no fun” if you have to do it all at once.

Memory Book
Run off copies of a memory book for each child to color and fill in the missing information. Here are some suggestions:
1st page – “My Memory Book” with teacher’s name, school, year.
2nd page – “This is me.” (Child draws self –portrait.)
3rd page – “This is my teacher.” (Child draws teacher’s picture.)
4th page – “Here are my friends.” (Child draws friends.)
5th page – “My favorite thing at school is...” (Draws favorite activities.)
6th page – “Something I’ve learned this year…” (Draws accomplishment.)
7th page – “When I grow up I want to be…” (Draws future self.)
8th page – “This is my handprint.” (Trace around child’s hand.)
You could also have children draw their favorite sport, color, book, song, food, etc.

Friday, April 26, 2024


This time of year many of you are stressing out over your “end of the year” program. Listen, no matter what their kids do, the parents will be thrilled and think they are wonderful. So keep it fun this year with these simple ideas.

Who Let the Letters Out? 
Staple ovals to a strip of paper to make doggie headbands. Let children decorate large cardboard letters with glitter and bling bling. Punch a hole in the top and tie on a string to make rapper necklaces. Make a large doghouse to pin on the stage curtains. (Square with an arch cut out. Triangle roof.) As you sing the song children come out of the doghouse dancing and wearing their letters.

Who let the A out?
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
Who let the B out…

Happy Birthday Letters 
Have children bring in baseball caps and sunglasses. Make microphones out of toilet paper rolls wrapped with aluminum foil. Turn the caps backwards as you sing:

Yo A, it’s your birthday.
Let’s all read like your birthday.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
You B, it’s your birthday…

Alphabet Remix

Sing the regular ABC song. (Fold hands and sing sweetly.)
I say, A B C D E F G! (clap twice) (Dance from side to side.)
H I J K L M N O P (clap twice)
Q R S, (clap)
T U V, (clap)
W X Y and Z.
Now I know my ABC’s.
Next time, won’t you rap with me? (Make rapper hands and dance.)
A (blow out of the side of your mouth)
B (blow) C (blow)….Z
Now I know my ABC’s (blow).
Now you’re ready to read with me! (blow)

The Very Hungry Class
This is a take off on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." Choose a song, finger play, or poem that you’ve used for every month in the school year. It will bring back fond memories for your students and will be an easy program to put together for the parents. It might go something like this:

When school started we were a very hungry class eager to learn.
In September we learned our rules -THE RULES RAP.
In October we learned the days of the week – DAYS OF THE WEEK.
November was when we said our letters and sounds – ALPHARDY.
In December we learned the months in the year – MACARENA MONTHS.
January was our Hundreds Day Celebration – ZERO THE HERO STOMP.
In February we learned about money – THE MONEY SONG.
March was time to learn to spell – COLOR FARM.
In April we learned to recycle – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.
May was a time to study (plants, dinosaurs, caterpillars, or another song that reflects your standards).
Now, before we say good-bye,
We’ll sing our favorite song for you.
Please stand up and join along
And you can learn to “Tooty Ta”, too! (The audience stands up and does the “Tooty Ta” with you.)

Author's Tea
After writing and editing original stories, invite parents to a party where each child gets to share her book and read a few pages.

Check out activities for the end of the school year on my video:

Thursday, April 25, 2024


If you're going to the beach save some shells and sand. If you're not going to the beach you can still do these science activities.

Sink and Float
You’ll need a file folder, tub of water, and a collection of small objects (pencil, crayon, paper clip, ball, block, pebble, leaf, etc.) On one side of the file folder write “float” and on the other side write “sink.” Children place the items according to whether they think they will float or sink. They can then test each object by putting it in the water and readjusting where it should go.

Beach Bottle
Put ½ cup sand in a bottle. Add some shells and fill half way with water. Add a drop of blue food coloring. Make a small fish from Styrofoam or a water balloon.

Wave Bottle
Fill 2/3 full with water. Add a drop of food coloring. Fill to the top with vegetable oil or Baby oil. Slowly rotate the bottle on its side to make waves.
*Add glitter if you like.

Sand Collections
Collect sand from various beaches in jars or bottles and label. Children can use a magnifying glass to observe the contents. How are they alike? How are they different?

*They could do descriptive writing about what they see in the bottle.

*A good way to get sand samples is to have children write friends and relatives who live near a lake or ocean and ask them to sand a small bag of sand to their class. (Be aware that there are some restrictions as to sending natural objects into the continental 48 states.)


Purchase a bag of shells from a dollar store and put it out with a book about seashells. Children can look through the book and identify the shells.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


In keeping with the bug theme, how about some ANTics today!

Insect’s Body
(Tune: “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”)
Head (Point to head.)
Thorax (Point to chest.)
Abdomen – abdomen! (Point to stomach.)
Head, thorax, abdomen – abdomen!
And eyes (Point to eyes.)
And mouth (Point to mouth.)
And antennae, two (Stick 2 fingers up.)
Six legs (Wiggle 3 fingers on each hand.)
And there’s an insect for you!
(Leave off a verse each time you sing and hum.)

Anatomy of an Ant
Brainstorm how to find out more about ants. For example, you could look for a book in the library, search the internet, ask a scientist, observe an ant on the playground, etc.
Have children draw an insect and label the body parts.

The Ants Go Marching

(Tune: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)
The ants go marching one by one, (Hold up one finger.)
Hurrah! Hurrah! (Fist in the air.)
The ants go marching one by one,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb, (Pretend to suck thumb.)
And they all go marching down, (Hands go down.)
To the ground,
To get out of the rain
Boom! Boom! Boom! (Pat thighs.)

Two by two…tie his shoe (Pretend to tie shoes.)
Three by three…climb a tree (Climb a tree.)
Four by four…shut the door (Shut the door.)
Five by five…boogie jive (Dance in place.)
Six by six…pick up sticks (Pick up sticks.)
Seven by seven…point to heaven (Point upwards.)
Eight by eight…learn to skate (Pretend to skate.)
Nine by nine…scratch his spine (Scratch spine.)
Ten by ten…That’s the end! (Snap fingers.)

Let children dramatize this song. Make headbands or let them wear number vests to indicate different verses in the song.

Ants on a Log

You will need:
Celery cut into 3-4” pieces
Peanut butter (substitute cream cheese if there are peanut allergies)
Let children spread the peanut butter or cream cheese in the log.
Place raisins/ants on the log.
Eat and enjoy!

*You know, I’ve been making this snack for years, but it will be a new treat for many children. Mmmm! I just ate the one I made for the picture and it still tastes pretty good after all these years!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024


If your kids are "antsy" then I've got a new video that will get rid of their wiggles!

The Bug Dance
By Dr. Holly

Bugs, bugs everywhere!
Bugs, bugs everywhere!
On my shoulders, in my hair!
On my shoulders, in my hair!
Fat and lean ones, in-between ones
Fat and lean ones, in-between ones
Orange ones, red ones, pink and green ones!
Orange ones, red ones, pink and green ones!
Crickets, beetles, ladybugs too—
Crickets, beetles, ladybugs too—
One just landed on my shoe!
One just landed on my shoe!
Caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, ants
Caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, ants
One is crawling up my pants!
One is crawling up my pants!
I like bugs both big and small.
I like bugs both big and small.
I like them marching up the wall.
I like them marching up the wall.
I like them on flowers and in trees,
I like them on flowers and in trees,
But please, oh please, get them off of me!
But please, oh please, get them off of me!

Choral Reading – Teacher reads the first line and then children repeat it.

Visual Imagery – Children close their eyes as they repeat the rhyme and “make pictures” in their brain.

Drawings – Have children illustrate the poem.

Bug Books – Check out books from the library and ask children, “What can you find out about bugs?” Encourage them to take notes and share what they learned.

Thumbprint Bugs – Children make thumbprints on a page and then add details with markers to create bugs.

Bug Paintings – Cut paper to fit in a shoebox or similar box with a lid. Put plastic bugs in paint and then use a spoon to transfer them to the box. Put the lid on and shake the box. The bugs will “paint” a picture for you!

Play Dough – Let children create bugs out of play dough and sections of pipe cleaners. Encourage them to name their bugs.

Swat the Fly 
Cut flies out of construction paper and write numerals on them. Tape to the wall or staple to a bulletin board. Give one child a fly swatter and have them turn their back to the wall as you say this rhyme:
Turn around and swat the fly.
Tell me the number that you spy.
The child turns around, swats a fly, and identifies the number.

*Write letters, words, etc. on the flies.

*Make a game with two teams. One child from each team holds a fly swatter. The teacher calls out a number, word, math fact, etc. and the first child to swat it correctly wins a point for their team.

Bug Me
Cut bugs out of construction paper and write letters, numerals, words, etc. on them. Place on the floor or tape to a wall.

Download the fly and bug pattern here:

Monday, April 22, 2024


National Arbor Day is April, 26, so you'll want to be sure and check out this website and plan some special activities for your class this coming week.

Plant a Tree
Contact your local cooperative extension service, Forestry Services, or National Arbor Day Foundation for free seedlings. Discuss what your tree will need to thrive. Prepare the soil, water your tree, and record its growth.

Divide children into small groups and let them brainstorm all the products we get from trees.

*THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein is a wonderful book to share, but my little kids always wanted to know, "Why did he have to get old?" (I wonder the same thing sometimes!!!)

TREEmendous Writing
Let children look out the window or sit under a tree and write descriptions. Think about the colors in the tree. Are there animals in the tree? What are the parts of a tree?

*For creative writing, ask children to complete this sentence: If I were a tree I would...

Tree Identification
Get a book on trees from your school library. Take a nature walk and challenge the children to identify the trees on the school grounds. How does the bark on trees vary? Do all trees have blossoms in the spring? How are the leaves different?
*Hint! Give children a clipboard and let them draw their favorite tree.
*Let them do rubbings of leaves from different trees and compare.
*You can find many different free printables for leaf identification online.


What's a deciduous tree? What's an evergreen tree?
Sing this song to the tune of "London Bridge" to help your students learn how about deciduous and evergreen trees.

If your leaves fall to the ground,
to the ground,
to the ground.
If your leaves fall to the ground
You're deciduous.
If your leaves stay green all year,
green all year,
green all year.
If your leaves stay green all year,
You're an evergreen.

Sunday, April 21, 2024


April 21st is "Kindergarten Day" in honor of Friedrich Froebel who started the first kindergarten in Germany in 1837. Kindergarten originated to help children adapt to learning and social interactions in a fun way. Froebel believed in self-directed play, singing, dancing, blocks…a “garden” where children could grow! He’d probably roll over in his grave now if he saw what was going on!!

As I write this I am remembering my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Myers. I LOVED her! I mean, I worshipped her! She was a fairy godmother and the center of my world. She seemed ancient to me at the time, but I’m probably way older now than she was when she taught me. Thank goodness for hair dye and make up!!!

Do you see me? I'm in the center front with the dress my mother
made me for my first day of kindergarten.

I remember playing “The Farmer in the Dell” and other circle games. I also remember the finger play “Here are grandma’s glasses…” We had sugar cookies with a hole in the middle that we would put on our finger as we ate and we also had orange kool-aid. (Oh, my goodness! The sugar police would get Mrs. Myers for sure!!!) My favorite activity was painting. I especially liked to paint princesses. Back in those days the only princess I knew about was Cinderella, but I longed to be like her. One day as I was at the easel I painted a stripe down my leg. It looked so good I painted another…and another…and another…until my legs had beautiful stripes all over them. Mrs. Myers could have squelched my creativity right then and there, but she just laughed and said, “Don’t do it again.”

Another memory I have is learning to tie my shoes. I wore corrective saddle oxfords I feared would come untied at school and then what would I do? Everyone would know that I couldn’t tie shoes!!! Well, one day they came untied and Mrs. Myers said, “You’re a smart girl. Now, you just sit down and figure it out.” And you know what? I did!!!! She knew when to coddle and when to push.

And incredible as it may seem, although all I did was PLAY in kindergarten I can actually read and write now!! I imagine most of the adults running our country, writing curriculum, and running schools actually PLAYED when they were in kindergarten and look at them now. It would be interesting to ask those who preach "rigor" and "instructional time" and "high test scores" what they remember about being in kindergarten.


If you cover every objective in the curriculum, but don’t have time to play outside or take field trips—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you do every page in the workbook, but don’t have time to laugh, do show and tell, or sing a song—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you know all your letters and sounds and numbers and sight words, but don’t know how to be a friend or share—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you score high on the standardized test, but don’t like school—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you master every skill and have 2 hours of screen time, but don’t have time to play in the block center or housekeeping or do puzzles—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If teachers are so overwhelmed by the demands, expectations, and assessments they are given that they don’t have time to hug, smile, read, cheer, cherish, and look in the eyes of those wonderful little children in their classroom---
Then what’s the point of being a kindergarten teacher?

But we know that five is a magical time, and children only have one chance in a lifetime to be five. SHUT YOUR DOOR and hold hands, sing, dance, paint, tell stories, make believe, play outside, and continue to give children happy memories! And only you can do that because YOU are a kindergarten teacher and YOU are SPECIAL and AMAZING just like the children you teach!

Here's what I think should be the KINDERGARTEN BILL OF RIGHTS!!

My "kinderoos" in the 1980's. 
I'd love to know where they are now.

Michelle Lewis wrote this beautiful memoir that is perfect to share with you today! I know many of you feel the same way.

When I reflect on the 17 years I have been a teacher, I have definitely seen the pendulum swing back and forth in the field of public education.

Ever since I was in kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. Every morning when I walk into my classroom, I still feel like I’m living my dream.

Even with all the challenges and changes in education, I still love being a teacher. I truly do not think there is much greater in life than looking into the eyes of a child and watching them grow, learn and discover the world around them.

Of course, like so many teachers out there, I find myself wishing so many things could be different in the world of early childhood education but I try to make the best of it and hope the pendulum swings back to a time when the focus becomes more about “what is truly best for kids.”

I hope somewhere down the road changes are made in education, especially in the realm of early childhood education to ensure ALL curriculum is developmentally appropriate. We are causing these young kiddos to feel anxious, defeated and as if “they can’t measure up.” Some of these kids truly feel stressed when they take assessments. Some already show signs of test anxiety.

In my classroom, I do my very best to meet all of the state standards and teach the provided curriculum but my main focus is always my students. I look to how they are doing, how they are feeling and what they need at any given moment.

I find ways to incorporate time for that “social- emotional learning” piece of the puzzle that is often missing in many curriculums. I practice/ teach Conscious Discipline by Dr Becky Bailey in my classroom and use “teachable moments” as opportunities for learning.

I want my students to understand the importance of showing empathy, kindness, compassion, etc. I want them to know they are loved. I want them to feel a sense of belonging at school and know they are a part of our school family. I want them to live with integrity and do the right thing, even when nobody is watching. I want them to know that they can aim for the stars, live their dreams and become whoever they want to be. I want them to know they can make a difference in this world .

As a teacher, I truly believe that teaching my kiddos the importance of being helpful, safe and kind is more important than teaching them their ABC’s and 123’s. Every day my 4K students recite our classroom mission statement in sign language.

“Today in 4K we will play together, learn together and work together. We are a school family. We will be helpful, safe and kind.”

In my classroom, I want my students to see “learning as fun” and I want them to truly want to come to school. Of course I want them to learn the academics they need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond but I also want to provide time for them to play, laugh, giggle, sing and dance.

I try to provide my students with the best possible learning experience every single day and I strive to take care of their social and emotional well-being.

One way I do this is by reserving the last 10 minutes on Thursdays (4K is only 4 days per week) for a DANCE PARTY, complete with colorful lights and songs the kids love to dance too. Obviously as teachers, we purchase items for our classroom “out of pocket” but I will say the disco ball laser light was without a doubt one of my best purchases for my classroom.

We dance to songs like “Gummy Bear,” “It’s Raining Tacos,” “The Hamster Dance,” “Happy” and the list goes on. It’s funny because I have taught my kids “The Locomotion” and we have made a train and danced around our classroom and even gone down the hallways and they absolutely LOVE IT! I often hear during our dance parties “Ms. Lewis, can we please do the train song?”

For 10 whole minutes, it is pure joy in my classroom. There is dancing and jumping and hand holding and laughing and I can guarantee, every child in my class walks out of my classroom with a smile! And guess what happens on Monday— they want a DANCE PARTY!

This blog I wrote wouldn’t be complete without personally thanking Greg Smedley-Warren. He is an absolutely AMAZING kindergarten teacher in Tennessee who prompted me to start having dance parties in my classroom after observing videos of his class having them.

“We end everyday with a dance party to celebrate all we accomplished that day. Even on the hard days, we end on a positive note so we all leave happy! “ Greg Smedley Warren

(If you do not follow him, you should :)

The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

He is a BRIGHT LIGHT in the world of early childhood education. His heart is filled with love for kids. His classroom is filled with joy and smiles. He has made me a better teacher!

Saturday, April 20, 2024


*Think of all the possibilities with this game using letters, sight words, colors, shapes, etc.!

Number Show Me
Make a set of “show me” cards for each child by writing the numerals 0-10 on 3” squares of heavy cardstock. Have children store these cards in a zip bag in their desk. When you have a few extra minutes, ask the children to get their cards and arrange them on the floor or table in numerical order from 0-10. Use the cards for some of the games below.
*Adapt the number of cards to the ability of your students.

How Many?
The teacher claps, snaps, or stomps a set. Children listen and then hold up the correct number.

*Show me how many toes you have? How many thumbs at your table? Show me how many days in the week?

*Make a set with felt pieces on the flannel board. Show me how many.

Mystery Number
I’m thinking of a number between 4 and 6. Show me. I’m thinking of a number two more than seven. Show me.

Math Facts
4 plus 2. Show me.
9 minus 3. Show me.

Number Stories
I had four pennies. I found three more. Show me how many I have in all.
*Let children make up math stories for their friends.

Fact Families
Call out numbers in a fact family. Can children write the equations in that fact family?

Number Bonds
How many ways can you make seven?

Base Ten
Put 3 in the tens spot and two in the ones spot. What’s the number?

Odd and Even
Sort the odd and even numbers.

Letter Show Me
Here are activities with letter cards. It would be best to use 5-10 letter cards at a time.

Note! Use the cards with upper and lowercase for letter recognition games.
Use the single letters for making words.

*Scavenger Hunt – The teacher calls out a letter and the children match that letter with something in their room or in a book.

*Phonics - Show me the sound you hear at the beginning of ___?
What sound do you hear at the end of ___?

*Spelling - Call out CVC word, a sight word, or spelling word for children to make with their letters.

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

Yes – No Show Me Cards
You will need two index cards. Write “yes” on one and “no” on the other. Children place them on the surface in front of them. As the teacher asks questions, the children hold up the appropriate word.

Friday, April 19, 2024


These games are perfect for children to play with a partner or with a small group. Peer teaching is one of the best ways for children to learn, so children who have mastered skills will be able to help their classmates succeed.

Pony Round-Up
Why? upper and lowercase letters, numbers, beginning sounds, etc.
What? spring clothespins, heavy paper
How? Cut ponies and saddles out of cardstock paper using the pattern on the following page. Print an uppercase letter on each pony, and a lowercase letter on each saddle. Children take the ponies and stand them up using the clothespins as legs. Next, children match the correct saddle for each pony.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Why? matching upper and lowercase letters, pictures and sounds, sets and numerals, math facts and answers, etc.
What? heavy paper, clothespins
How? Cut bears and shirts out of paper. Write uppercase letters on the bears and lowercase letters on the shirts. Children match bears and shirts with clothespins.

My Messy House
Materials: cardstock or heavy paper, spring clothes pins, string
Directions: Cut clothes out of paper using the attached pattern. Write skills on the clothes and place them on the floor. Tie a string between two chairs to make your clothesline. Children choose a piece of clothing, identify the information, and then hang it up on the clothesline.

This game can be used with the whole class, a small group, or in a learning center. Here are a few skills you could reinforce:

Letters – Write letters on clothes and children can hang them up as they say the letter and make the sound.
*Write uppercase letters and lowercase letters on clothes and children can match them and hang them up.
*Hang letters in alphabetical order.

Numbers – Write numerals on clothes for children to hang up in order.Z
*Write math facts on some clothes and numerals on others for children to match and hang up.

Words – Children can hang up words they can read. Can they make a sentence with their word?
*Hang up words in order to make a sentence.
*Write antonyms or synonyms on words for children to match.

You’ll have a CLEAN HOUSE for sure with these games!

Thursday, April 18, 2024


ZAP, BOOM, WIGGLE WORMS, AND STARS are all adaptions of a classroom game that your students will love (and learn from) when you've got a few extra minutes.

SKILLS: letters; words; phrase cards; math facts; shapes, etc.

MATERIALS: small can with a smooth edge (such as one from chips,
frosting, etc.), large craft sticks, markers, wrapping paper

DIRECTIONS: Cover the can with paper and write ZAP! on it as shown.

On the bottom of sticks print words or other skills. On several sticks write “ZAP!” Place all the sticks in the can with the words towards the bottom of the can. Have the children sit in a circle. One at a time, children hold the can and pull out a stick and identify the word on it. When a child chooses a stick with “Zap!” on it, they return all their sticks to the can. Continue passing the can until there is one person left.

Hint! If children can’t identify the information on their stick, let them “phone a friend” for the answer.

More! For older students, add sticks that say, “You get two turns.” “Take a peek.” “Loose a turn.” “Skip.”

Write "Boom!" on several sticks and when children choose that stick they jump up and shout, "BOOM!

Write "Wiggle Worms!" on several sticks. Children stand and wiggle like a worm if they pull this stick.

Glue stars to several sticks. If children choose this stick they get to keep it.

*You can also adapt this game for different holidays or units of study. For example, in October you could use skeleton stickers and the children could “shake their bones.” In January glue a snowman and they have to shiver.

Stinky Cheese
Why? sight words, fluency phrases, letters, math facts, shapes, etc.
What? lunch bag, yellow construction paper, marker
How? Cut cheese slices out of poster board or fun foam. Write letters, words, numbers, etc. on most of the cheese slices. On two slices write “Stinky Cheese!” Place the cheese slices in a lunch sack. Children pass around the sack drawing out one slice at a time. If they can identify the information on the slice they get to keep it. If they get “Stinky Cheese!” everyone holds their noses and says, “Stinky Cheese!” That person must then put all her slices back in the bag.

*How about a game of “stinky feet” or “stinky socks”?
*An empty cheese cracker box makes a more durable container for the game.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Paper plates are cheap, durable, and make perfect flashcards for these games.

Skills: words, letters, math facts, colors, shapes, etc.
Materials: paper plate flashcards with information you want to practice
Directions: Do you remember the old game where you placed chairs in a circle and walked around until the music stopped? If you didn’t find a chair you were OUT! This is a similar game that can reinforce letters, words, colors, math facts, etc. Scatter the paper plates on the floor. Play some catchy music for the children to dance to. When the music stops each child finds a paper plate and picks it up. The teacher randomly points to various children to identify the information on their plates. Have the children place the plates back on the floor and continue dancing.

*If the child is unsure about what is on their plate invite them to “ask the audience.”

*You can play a game similar to musical chairs where you remove one word at a time so children have to scramble to find a word.

Word Worm
Draw the face of a worm on a paper plate. Write sight words on other plates. Pass out a word card to each child. One at a time children come up and place their word next to the worm’s head. Each child reads all of the previous words before placing her word down. How long can the worm grow!

Hint! Children can “ask the audience” to read with them if they are unsure of the words.

Skills: words, letters, shapes, colors, etc.
Materials: flashcards
Directions: Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room facing each other. Give each player a flashcard to hold in front of them. The teacher goes to one team and asks, “Who do you want to call over?” The children select someone from the opposite side and say, “Red rover, red rover, send (word) right over.” The child holding that word walks, hops, tiptoes, or jumps to the opposite side. The game continues as sides take turns calling words over.

Skills: words, letters, math facts, etc.
Materials: flashcards
Directions: Have the children close their eyes as you hide the flashcards around the room. Children open their eyes and hunt for the words. When they find one they bring it to the teacher and read it. Then they hide it again and look for another word. The game continues as long as the children are interested.

I found this game called “SCOOTS” that Jessica Quisenberry taught me several years ago. This game can be adapted for all content areas and age levels and it beats a worksheet or computer game any day!

Write math facts, sight words, pictures, etc. on index cards. Write a letter or number in the corner of each card. Tape the cards around the room.

Prepare an answer grid similar to the one shown. Children “scoot” or walk around the room until they find a card. They can then put their answer on the grid.

Hint! Cardboard clipboards work great for this activity.

*Adapt the number of sections to the age and ability of your students.

Example: math facts (write the answer)

Phonics (picture for children to identify the beginning sound, blend, vowel, etc.)

Parts of speech (word and they write if it is a noun or verb)