Saturday, December 16, 2017


Carolyn Kisloski is the chef of these "delicious" play dough recipes.

Here are some of my favorite holiday playdough flavors. Our room smells delicious!


My new favorite recipe for playdough is this one using Bisquick:

Bisquick Playdough

2 cups Bisquick

1 cup salt

2 cups water

1 Tbsp cream of tartar

1 Tbsp oil

Mix all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes. Scrape and stir the bowl. Microwave for another 3 minutes. If it is not quite ready, microwave for another minute.

(I made a double batch and put it back in my microwave for one more minute, which worked perfectly.)

I like this playdough because it really lasts well. A double batch actually made 6 of these sized balls- but I was experimenting with Christmas ideas and ruined one... I had these big, shiny confetti shapes like these that I thought would be fun:


They didn't mix in and were too much. Lesson learned and only five playdough balls left.

So I decided to go with Snowball (white with colored glitter), Christmas Tree (green coloring with cut up red and green tinsel pieces and some little gold stars), Cocoa (all I did was add LOTS of cocoa powder, and it smells awesome!), Gingerbread (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg ), and Candy Cane (red coloring and mint extract).

I was thinking I could make Peppermint Patty playdough and have the brown cocoa playdough and some white with mint extract. Yum.

I also looked for some pine scented essential oil in the store this morning, but they didn't have any. I was thinking that may work well in the Christmas Tree playdough. I COULD tell you that I put it in there, couldn't I? I forgot that you can't smell through the computer. Well, I am honest- and I didn't put it in. The ones that smell don't have any "extras." The ones that don't smell, have some bling in them. It's a special time of year!

We have so many ideas like this in our monthly Happies packets. Feel free to check out the previews for our packets each month. Our packets are FULL of ideas to bring happiness to your classroom. You can find these at Dr. Jean’s website or at my TpT Store!


Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 15, 2017


Here's more "magic" from Carolyn to engage children in writing letters, numbers, sight words, etc.

This activity is everyone's favorite this time of year! It's included in our December Happies Packet. Before I give each student their paper, I write secret (aka white crayon) words on each bulb on each paper. Then, out come the watercolors and the ooohs and aaahs! I do this activity in a small group. I also printed the bulbs on 11"X 17" paper so the words were bigger.


I made some papers with numbers to work with my group who needs some extra number recognition work.


We followed this activity up by closing the shades and reading this sweet book that lights up.


We have so many ideas like this in our monthly Happies packets. Feel free to check out the previews for our packets each month. Our packets are FULL of ideas to bring happiness to your classroom. You can find these at Dr. Jean’s website or at my TpT Store!
Thanks for stopping by!
                                                         Image result for christmas lights gif

Thursday, December 14, 2017


This post from Carolyn Kisloski is a reminder that there's nothing that can beat a GOOD book!  Talk about engaging children!!!

I wanted to share this wonderful book with you. I love discovering a book that I can use so many different ways for teaching.

Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight?, by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by David Biedrzycki, is one of those books. We used it for predicting, inferring, using important details that add to the story, and, of course, for having fun!


The illustrations in the book lend itself to so many great teaching points. We have been working on adding specific details to the books we write during Writer's Workshop.

Sometimes students spend as much time as they can get away with coloring a sky or grass- or other random parts of their picture. Many times this illustrating is to avoid the writing part, and these random additions to their illustrations don't add to or help with their story.

Our goal is to have the children think about their illustrations and add important, purposeful details that add to the story.

This illustration from the book was a perfect example of an important detail. We talked about how we could tell by using the picture that Santa's job was too big for just him. If the illustrator had drawn only one or two houses, it wouldn't have looked like such a big job- but LOOK at all those houses he has to visit!

We also had fun predicting who Santa may try to use next to guide his sleigh. I let a different child try to predict each time.

Once we saw who Santa tried, I had a student explain if she thought the idea was a good or bad choice and why. The child also could point out to the class other things she noticed in the illustration- for example in this one: How could we tell Santa was running away? How can we see the tiger is close up and Santa is farther away? Why do you think the mouse's hat flew off his head? ...

The children loved this illustration. The child who described this one did a great job explaining how the hoppy kangaroos made Santa's toys go all over the place. The children loved how the words were hopping on the page, too.

This page had so many great details to point out, including the ellipsis (which I teach the kids means SOME. THING'S. COMING.) and the cheetahs, who were so fast they were blurry!

We used lots of the pictures to infer what the illustrator wanted us to know:

(The mice are sweating and struggling so we can tell the sleigh is too heavy for them.)

(The giraffes' necks got them in trouble because they are too long!)

(The clothespin on Santa's nose tells us that those skunks are smelly!)

The monkeys... well, this is self-explanatory. You can probably tell this was the favorite page. The book is also just plain fun!

We all quickly predicted who we thought Santa may try next year.

I'm excited to see the children use some of these ideas in their writing and illustrations. And even when I don't see it in their writing and illustrations YET, I do know they are taking all of this in, as I keep reinforcing important details in illustrations. When they are ready, I'll see it!

Meanwhile, they absolutely loved this story. You know it's a good one when you hear, "AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN!!!"

Here is a Youtube video of the book if you want to take a look at it.


We have so many ideas like this in our monthly Happies packets. Feel free to check out the previews for our packets each month. Our packets are FULL of ideas to bring happiness to your classroom. You can find these at Dr. Jean’s website or at my TpT Store!

Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Carolyn Kisloski is going to be my guest blogger the next few days.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but she is a breath of fresh air.  You're going to LOVE her ideas!

I love this idea that I found last year, shared by The Bubbly Blonde Teacher . We have lots of deliveries, several times a day sometimes, thanks to Amazon Prime. And boy, do we appreciate our delivery drivers!

My lettering isn't as fancy as hers, but the idea is all hers.


I bought several different kinds of treats in bags, and added some water bottles and Gatorade bottles. It's a simple, fun family activity to help your children learn that giving is just as much fun as receiving. All of my children are grown, and I still had just as much fun doing this! I got several sweet notes last year thanking me for the treats, too. It's a nice way to let people know they're appreciated.

We have so many ideas like this in our monthly Happies packets. Feel free to check out the previews for our packets each month. Our packets are FULL of ideas to bring happiness to your classroom. You can find these at Dr. Jean’s website or at my TpT Store!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I just had to share!!!

Last week Katy Gill from the Carter News Agency in England contacted me about doing a story on my "Guacamole Christmas." Fortunately, the article told my message of making the world a happier place with a silly song and a dance. Most of the people who live around me don't have a clue about what I do and don't care. I wanted to share this with YOU because even if I don't know you personally, I consider you as my friends and I thought you'd be interested in this link. So, thank you!!!



I'm sure you're in holiday mode just like me. Bah humbug to standards! Let's get this party started by celebrating "Bake Cookies Day."  (It's actually December 18th, but who will know the difference?)  No matter where you live or how you celebrate, cookies are an international treat. Even if you can't have food at your school, you'll find a few activities to add a little "sweetness" for your children.

Play Dough 

Put cookie cutters and play dough on a cookie sheet. Add a rolling pin (cylinder block), scissors, and plastic utensils.
(Thank you, blog for reminding me about my mother's cookie cutters. They were in the back of a cupboard and I never would have found them if it weren't for you. Now, Kalina and K.J. can make some new memories with them!!)


Paper Ornaments
Put some cookie cutters, scissors, glue, and the scrap box out on a table. Let children trace around the cookie cutters, cut out their paper cookies, and then decorate with stickers or glitter pens. Punch a hole, tie on a string, and decorate the tree.


What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Do a bar graph and tally the results.


Let children write their own “how to make cookies” recipes.

Give each child a cookie and ask them to draw what it looks like. Next, ask them to write 2-5 sentences describing their cookie. Finally, they get to eat the cookie!

What else? Read books or sing songs about cookies…or, just wait until a boring January day to do these things!!

Monday, December 11, 2017


Are you going crazy right now? At school you have presents to make, a music program, decorations - don't forget all those standards and assessments!  And then you go home and there's shopping to do, cards to send, gifts to wrap, goodies to make, etcetera, etcetera! 

Well, here's a video that might help you destress and laugh with your students. When I was about to lose it I would sit down in a chair and slowly start singing this song. The first time I did it my students looked shocked and were speechless! They quickly realized Mrs. Feldman was just being silly and we ended up laughing together. After that when things got a little tense in the classroom I would sing this song and they would join in, relax, and smile!


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!”

Sunday, December 10, 2017


How can you tell if children are engaged? All you have to do is watch them as they cut and glue and string beads. Their little tongue will be moving and they will be totally engrossed in the activity. Look around your house today and grab some of these materials to recycle in your classroom this week. You'll be developing small motor skills, and you'll also keep those little hands busy!

Wrapping Paper Tear - Take in scraps of wrapping paper and put them in a tub. Invite children to tear them and then glue them to a paper plate to make a collage.

Cardboard Tubes - Cut cardboard tubes from wrapping paper into 6" sections. Children can decorate them and then use them to hum along to favorite holiday tunes.

Greeting Cards - Cut the front off cards and give children a hole punch. After punching holes they can sew yarn or ribbon through the holes.

Stringing - Put out beads and pipe cleaners and let children design "jewelry."

Scrap Box - Want to keep children focused in a positive direction. Put out a scrap box with construction paper and other art media and challenge them to create gifts for family members.

Stencils - Do you have some old cookie cutters in a cupboard?  Bring them to school and let children trace around them with colored pencils.

Play Dough Mats - Place copies of Christmas trees, gingerbread boys/girls, and other seasonal objects in a clear sheet protector.  Children can decorate the trees and gingerbread boys/girls with play dough.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Need an idea for your holiday party.  They are easy to adapt for any event. For example, instead of playing pin the red nose on Rudolph you could play pin the carrot on Frosty's nose. Rather than using sweet treats you could use pencils, stickers, or another prize.

Hint!  Parents who are in charge of your party might appreciate these suggestions.

Pass the Parcel
This is actually a game a student from England taught me. Thus, “parcel” instead of “present.” My students LOVED this! Fill a box with sugarless bubblegum, pencils, small toys, or stickers. There should be enough for everyone in the group. Next, wrap the present over and over again with wrapping paper, tissue paper, or funny pages from the newspaper. Children sit in a circle and begin passing the “parcel” around as music is played. When the music stops that child gets to open one layer on the package. (If the package lands on someone who has already had a turn they pass it on to the person sitting next to them.) Continue the game until the gift is reached. That child then passes out the goodies to the rest of the group.
Hide and Hunt
Children love to hunt for things, so if the weather is nice you can hide jingle bells, snowballs (cotton balls), chocolate gold coins, small toys, etc. on the playground for the children to find.
*Divide the class in half. Let one group hide the objects for the others to find and then reverse roles.

These won’t really crack, but they are lots of fun to make or give to friends. They can also add a special touch to a special holiday table.

You will need: cardboard rollers, wrapping paper, candy, small toys, curling ribbon
Cut the cardboard rollers into 5” sections. Fill with candy and little toys. Roll in wrapping paper, twist the ends, and tie with curling ribbon.
*This would be a nice gift to make for a nursing home or shelter. 

Magic Number
Fill a clear jar or container with candy, cotton balls, or jingle bells. The person who guesses the closest amount is the winner.

Pin the Nose on Rudolph
Draw a reindeer on a poster or chalk board. Cut out red circles and have each child write her name on a circle. Put tape on the back of each circle. One at a time, blindfold each child and spin them around gently three times. Face them towards the reindeer and challenge them to put the nose on Rudolph. Who can get the closest?

Puzzle Pairs
Take old greeting cards and cut them in half like a puzzle. Give each child one half. Have them close their eyes while the other half is hidden in the room. Children tiptoe around the room until they find their matching puzzle piece and sit down.

Pantomime and Name That Tune
Children love to perform, so they always enjoy playing “Guess who I am?” with seasonal objects or toys. They can also take turns humming seasonal songs for their friends to identify.

Word Games
Write a seasonal word on the board. How many words can they create using the letters in the seasonal word?
Hint! Pair children for this activity to enable all children to feel successful.

Holiday Four Corners
You will need four seasonal pictures to tape in each corner of the classroom. For example, a snowman, bell, candy cane, and candle. One child is “it.” “It” hides her eyes and counts to ten as the rest of the class tiptoes to a corner. “It” then calls out one of the objects. The students in that corner are out and must sit in the “stew pot” (center of the room). “It” counts to ten again as the students tiptoe to a new corner. The game continues until one child is left. That child becomes the new “it.”

Friday, December 8, 2017


I don’t know why, but many teenagers are obsessed with my “Banana Dance” video. I think they are making fun of an old lady singing about fruits and vegetables, but I also think I might make them a little happy. If you read the article yesterday about depression and anxiety in high school and college students it seems they might need something to relieve their stress.


My hope is that “Guacamole Christmas” will make you sing, dance, and be happie!

Form the avocado ...
Peel the avocado ...
Guacamole Christmas 

Form the tree 
Trim the tree
Lights to see pretty lights to see

Form the cookies 
Bake the cookies
Eat the cookies

Form the snowball
Roll the snowball 
Build the snowman

Form the house
Decorate the house
Rock the house

Form the stocking 
Hang the stocking 
See the goodies – candy and toy goodies 

Have a happy Christmas, happy happy Christmas
Feel the love
Share the love

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Since December 7th is LETTER WRITING DAY, I thought it might be a good day to write a blog about it. With texts, emails, etcetera, letter writing is almost a lost art. However, it’s something children should be exposed to and it is a meaningful way to practice informative writing.

Children will easily remember the parts of a letter with this song to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes:”

     Head, greeting, body, closing, signature.
     Head, greeting, body, closing, signature.
     These are the parts of a letter.
     Head, greeting, body, closing, signature.

*Point to your head as you say “head.”
Point to your mouth as you say “greeting.”
Point to your body as you say “body.”
Point to your knee as you say “closing.”
Point to your feet as you say “signature.”

*Let children write letters to their friends in other classes and deliver them at the end of the day.

*Write letters to your governor, the President, children’s favorite authors, movie stars, famous athletes, etc.

*And, yes, you might even be at a school where they can write letters to Santa!  (You can download these free from several sites.)


Here’s a simple way to make a letter/envelope.
     1. Write your letter.
     2. Fold in the top two corners as shown.
     3. Fold up the bottom.
     4. Fold down the top triangle and secure with a sticker.
     5. Turn over and write the name of the recipient.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017


My daughter recently shared an article with me that is a MUST READ!

Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?
Across the country, children are experiencing depression, anxiety and even physical strain because of the pressures of school.

This is a wake up call for educators, parents, and administrators. Holly commented:

As usual, we've got it all wrong--I love the last few sentences about what really matters: "cultivate deep learning, integrity, purpose and personal connection." I think you've been saying that for several decades now!

I have been saying that and I’ll keep on saying that!!! Let children be children! Quit forcing academics down their throats and holding data over their heads and let them enjoy learning, playing, and being with their friends.

I can’t solve the world’s problems, but I can give you a little something to add joy to your day. Several years ago Sara Lensing shared an adaptation of “Going on a Bear Hunt.” My webmaster helped me create this video called “Going on a Santa Hunt.” 


Yes, I know this isn't very professional. It's homemade for sure, but I hope your children will enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


If you want children to write, then you have to give them a book that they will be excited about writing in. Here are some simple books to capture children’s interest any day of the year.

Winter Book
Purchase seasonal pencils at the dollar store. Fold 3 sheets of paper in half. Punch holes about 2” from the top and bottom on the creased edge. Insert the rubber band through one hole and slide the pencil through that loop. Insert the other end of the rubber band and slide the other end of the pencil through that loop. Use for descriptive writing about weather. Winter feels like…. Winter smells like…. Winter sounds like… Winter tastes like… Winter looks like….

*You could also use these for children to write signs of winter or to record daily weather.
Napkin Book
Purchase napkins from the dollar store. Cut paper the size of the napkin and staple inside to make a book. Use the picture on the napkin as a writing topic or just place these in the writing center for an open-ended activity.
Candy Cane Book
Take two sheets of paper and cut them in half. Fold in half. Punch holes about 1 ½” from the top and bottom on the creased side. Insert a rubber band in one hole and insert one of the candy cane in the loop. Insert the other end of the rubber band in the other hole and insert the other end of the candy cane.
*If your school does not allow outside food then let the children make their own candy cane out of a popsicle stick.

Peppermint Stick Writing
After reading a holiday story give each child a candy cane. Have them close their eyes and savor the candy cane. Next, ask them to write descriptions about their candy cane.

*You could also have them write stories about visiting candy land.

Sticker Story
Let each child choose one or two stickers.  Have them put their stickers on their paper and draw a picture incorporating them. Then ask them to write a story about their drawing.