Saturday, June 24, 2017

CAN WE PLAY A GAME? PLEASE!

When my children came to reading group they would beg, “Can we play a game? Can we play a game?” I always told them if they worked hard that we might have time to play a game at the end. What they didn’t realize was that the games I made probably taught them as much as my reading lesson!

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 using the pattern on the following page. 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.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljMXZseHZFTjNxQ3c/view?usp=sharing

Fiddlesticks

Why? letters, words, sentences, math facts, etc.
What? jumbo craft sticks, permanent marker, plastic cup
How? Color the end of five sticks purple, five red, five blue, five green, five orange, and five yellow. On the other part of the stick write skills you are working on. Place the sticks in the cup with the colored end on the bottom. Choose a random color. Pass the cup around. Children choose a stick and identify the information. If the choose a stick with the designated color they yell, “Fiddlesticks!” and they have to place their other sticks back in the cup.
          

My Messy House
Why? sight words, letters, numerals, shapes, etc.
What? different colors of construction paper, clothes pins, piece of string
How? Cut clothes out of construction paper and write skills on them. Tie a string (clothesline) between two chairs. Spread the clothes on the floor as you say, “My house is so messy. Who can help me clean it up?” Children take turns choosing an item, reading it, and then hanging it on the clothesline.
                                                
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljSDk1Z2ZjUldqSlU/view?usp=sharing

Go Fishing
Why? letters, sight words, math facts, etc.
What? stick, string, magnet, brad fastener
How? Cut out fish using the pattern on the following page. Write skills on the fish and attach a brad fastener for eyes. Tie one end of a piece of string to the stick and attach the magnet to the other end of the string. Spread the fish out on the floor. Children try to catch a fish by dangling the magnet over the eye. They can keep the fish if they can identify the information on it.

                          

Friday, June 23, 2017

GIVE ME FIVE!

Got a minute or two, try one of these quick games.

Johnny Jump Up

You will need a photo album and index cards to make this game. Write words on the index cards and insert them in the plastic sleeves. On several cards draw a stick figure jumping and write, “Johnny jump up!” Randomly insert the Johnny cards in the album. As you shuffle through the book children read the words. When Johnny appears they all jump up and shout, “Johnny jump up!”
                            
*Adapt this game to popular cartoon figures or seasonal characters.

Where’s Kitty?
Place flash cards in a pocket chart. Take a small picture of a cat and explain you will hide kitty behind one of the cards. Have children close their eyes as you hide kitty. “Who knows where kitty is?” Children take turns calling out a word and then looking behind it for kitty. The first child to find kitty gets to hide it for the next round.
              
*Adapt kitty for holidays or seasons. It could be a skeleton, turkey, cupid, etc.

Catch and Tell
You will need a beanbag, sponge ball, or tiny stuffed animal to play this game. The teacher says a letter and then tosses the ball to a child. That child must name something that begins with that sound before tossing the ball back to the teacher.
*This game can be adapted for rhyming words, colors, math, social studies, and other skills. It’s perfect for waiting in the hall or during transitions.
                                                   
Snowballs

Each child takes a sheet of scrap paper and writes a word wall word, spelling word, math fact, etc. on it. Children wad up their sheet of paper to make it a “snowball.” Divide the class into two teams and have them stand about 20 feet from each other. When the teacher says, “Let it snow!” children begin throwing their snowballs at the opposite side. Children pick up a snowball and identify the information on it before throwing it back at the other side. The game continues until the teacher says, “Freeze!” Count the number of snowballs on each side. Who has more? Who has less? In this game, the team with the smaller amount is actually the winner! Everyone gets another snowball and the game continues.

*At the beginning of the school year, have children write their names on snowballs and play the game. It’s a great way to get acquainted with classmates.

*As a study review, have children write questions on the snowballs. When children open them they must answer the question before throwing it again. Remind the children that if they don’t know the answer, it’s O.K. to ask a friend for help.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

IN A FLASH!

You can take advantage of all the little “teachable times” in your school day with these ideas. Keep flashcards handy for when you have a few extra minutes before lunch, as children wash hands, or while waiting for the bell to ring. Make a different set of flashcards every few weeks that focus on specific skills your students need to master. You can use these games for letters, shapes, numbers, sight words, math facts, etc.
                                    
*Store games in a sand bucket on your desk for easy access.

*Keeping Score – Try this idea to avoid students being too aggressive. Cut out two circles from poster board and glue them together. Write “high” on one side and “low” on the other. After playing a game toss the circle. If “high” appears the team with the highest score wins. If “low” comes up the team with the lowest score is the winner.
      
Hint! If children don’t know the answer when playing games allow them to “phone a friend” (ask a friend) or “ask the audience” (ask the class).

BOOM!
Write “BOOM!” with a bright marker or glitter pen on several of the flashcards. As you “flash” through the cards, children identify the information. When “BOOM!” appears, children jump up and shout out “Boom!”
                                                 
*Change the surprise word for different holidays and seasons. In January use a snowman sticker and write “Brrrr!” The children stand up and pretend to shiver when it appears.

*Another fun version is “cowboys” and “chickens.” Insert pictures of a few cowboys and a few chickens. When the cowboy appears the children stand up and pretend to twirl a lasso. When the chicken appears they stand up and flap their arms and cluck.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljemwyVl9INlMtNTA/view?usp=sharing

Kids vs. Teacher
Draw a T chart on the board with “Kids” on one side and “Teacher” on the other side. Hold up a flash card. If a child raises her hand and correctly reads the word, she gets a point for the “kids.” If any child shouts out the answer, then the teacher gets a point.

(If children keep talking out of turn, just continue to give points to the teacher. They’ll figure it out!)

Pick Up
Place the flash cards randomly on the floor in the middle of the room.  Divide the class into two teams. Choose one child from each team to come up and play. Call out a word. The first child to pick it up wins a point for their team.

*At the beginning of the school year write the children’s names on plates. Have children stand in a circle and place 5 plates on the floor. Sing, “If your name is on a plate pick it up” to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Musical Plates
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 be used to reinforce letters, words, math facts. etc. Write information you want to reinforce on paper plates. Scatter them 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 plate.
                          
Word Worm
Draw the face of a worm on a 9” circle. 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?
Note! Children can “ask the audience” to read with them if they are unsure of the words.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

IT'S JUST A GAME!

We’re off on our family vacation today and I won’t be home until July 3rd. Of course, I’ve done my lesson plans like a “good” teacher so you’ll have something to keep you busy while I’m gone.
                                
One of the sessions that I’m doing at the I Teach Kindergarten Conference in Las Vegas in a few weeks is called “Game On!” If you’re not going to the conference, I’ll be sharing the content from that session so you’ll have ideas, patterns, and a bucket of games when school begins.

WHY?
All you have to say is, “Let’s play a game!” and you will naturally engage your students. But there’s more than PLAY going on with these games!

Standards – Sugar coat those standards by developing a game around the skills you want to reinforce.

Executive Function – Through games children can develop task initiation and completion because there is a beginning and an end. They also learn self- regulation and delayed gratification.

Active Learning – With games children can talk, interact with friends, and use multi-sensory materials.

Purposeful Practice for Automaticity – In order to master skills children need to repeat and practice them. Clearly, kids would rather do that with a game than with a worksheet.

Intentional Teaching – Teachers can create flashcard games, board games, or a variety of games based on any skill (letters, numbers, sight words, vocabulary, math facts, science or social studies, etc.) Think about skills in your curriculum and there’s the content for your game.

21st Century Skills – Children will naturally develop cooperation, collaboration, and communication as they share and play games.

Brain Research – The brain likes anything that is novel and challenging. Games add that element of fun and motivation to academic content.

Differentiated Instruction – Games can be adapted for specific needs and used for small group, independent, or take home practice.

Limited English Learners – Games can provide that visual and auditory connection in a non-threatening way.

Instructional Time – Take advantage of transitions and those few extra minutes during the school day by playing games.


HOW?
Look at your standards. What skills do your students need to master?
Are they struggling with any letters, sight words, shapes, math facts?
Be specific with the content you choose. Start simple and make the games increasingly complex. Remember, nothing succeeds like success.


WHAT?
construction paper, poster board, fun foam, file folders, scissors, tape, glue, hole punch, jumbo craft sticks, magnetic letters, markers, recycled materials, small toys and inexpensive items you can find in a dollar store

Tip!
You can make games yourself.
You can ask parents to make games for you.
You can share games and rotate them with other teachers.

WHERE?
Store games in zip bags, manila envelopes, pencil boxes, plastic tubs, or other containers. *Hint! Color code with stickers to indicate content area.


WHEN?
Demonstrate how to play the games and keep the rules simple. It often takes several times for the children to “get” a game. Model how to care for the materials and clean up.

Games can be used for large group instruction during transitions. They can be used with small skill based instructional groups. And, they can be used for independent practice.

Tip! Use games to motivate your students by saying, “If you work hard we will have time to play a game.”

*Try using “Brain Lotion” before playing games with pieces. (Take the label off a bottle of hand sanitizer and replace it with a label that says “Brian Lotion.” This will keep your games clean and germ free.)

ONLY YOU!
YOU add the magic! You can take any game and make it more exciting with your attitude. Be dramatic and challenge your students! Come back tomorrow for some “quickie” flash card games.

STATE SONG, BLESSING, RECALL BEARS AND MORE!

State and City Song (Holly Koop, Grand Forks, ND – Traci Plante / Singer)
Children will easily remember their city and state when you sing them to “Yankee Doodle.”
     Here I am in name of state
     Living happily!
     All my friends and relatives are
     Nice as they can be!
     City, I love you!
     City, is my home!
     State is my state
     And for this we celebrate!


Brown Bag Special (Diane Landoll, Lawton, OK)
For parents who work, send projects home in a brown grocery sack marked “Brown Bag Special.” Include materials, patterns, and directions for what you want them to make. The child will be so excited to take the bag home and the parent will feel positive about what they have contributed to your classroom.

                                          
Blessing (Deanna Hofmeister & Tami Zwaschka, Mankato, MN)
Here’s a sweet blessing to the tune of “Twinkle Little Star.” (Although you can’t use this in a public school, you could use it in a church school or with your children at home.)
     Thank you, thank you, Lord we pray
     For this food we have today.
     We love you so very much.
     God bless every one of us.
     Thank you, thank you, Lord we pray
     For this food we have today.

Recall Bears
Connie Cook cuts out bear heads and writes story elements (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) on them. Children pick a bear before the story and then answer it after the story.
              
Shoe Tying Journey (Allison Caspers, Oak Grove Lutheran)
Kindergarteners know how to navigate the web, but many do not know how to tie shoes. Get a suitcase and put an old shoe in it along with the poem below. (Allison uses two suitcases.) Each night a child gets to take home the suitcase and practice tying the shoe. When they have completed their “Shoe Tying Journey” they receive a PASSPORT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT for learning to tie their shoes.

*There are several sites online where you can download free certificates.
                                                          
1-2-3-4 – Tying Shoes
Let’s get ready to tie your shoes.
Over and under. Now, what to do? (Pull strings tight.)
1. Make a loop that looks like a tree. (Make a loop with right string.)
2. The other string is a rabbit you see. (Hold up left string.)
3. The rabbit goes around and in a hole. (Take left string around loop and stick
in the hole.)
4. Pull the loops tight and there is your bow! (Take both loops and pull.)


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

HOME-SCHOOL ABC AND 1 2 3 BOOKS

We all know how critical it is to involve parents in their child's education.  These books provide a hands-on activity that will encourage parents to talk to their children about school and what they are learning.  The books will also be a great addition to your classroom library.

Home-School Alphabet Book
Send a page with a letter on it home with each child. Ask them to decorate it with their 

parents. Put the letters together to make a class ABC book.
                 
Home-School Number Book
Create a take home number book that every child can add to and will enjoy reading. Include a note so parents will know what to do. The first child takes the book home and makes a set of one on the first page. The second child takes the book home and makes a set of two on the second page. The third child….etc.

                                                 
Brain Hug Song (Dara Gee, Lawton, OK)
(Tune: “If You’re Happy”)
I’m wrapped up (Extend arms and cross.)
Twisted up (Clasp fingers.)
Tangled up (Bring clasped hands under and next to chest.)
With self control.
I’m wrapped up (Extend arms and cross.)
Twisted up (Clasp fingers.)
Tangled up (Bring clasped hands under and next to chest.)
With self control.
I take care of me
With responsibility.
I’m wrapped up (Extend arms and cross.)
Twisted up (Clasp fingers.)
Tangled up (Bring clasped hands under and next to chest.)
With self control.


15 Minutes of Walking/Exercise
Try building 15 minutes of walking each day as you count, sing letter songs, say days of the week, months, and review other information.
 

Twiddle Your Thumbs (Janice Biederman)
While waiting, have the children twiddle their thumbs forwards, backwards, fast, slow, happy, sad, and so forth.
                                    
Electronic Books vs. the REAL Thing
Download a copy of a favorite children’s book on your Kindle, IPad, etc. Let the children compare and contrast illustrations from the real book and the electronic format.

Laptops for Every Child
A teacher explained at her first parents’ meeting that she recommended that every child needed at least one laptop – two if possible. It’s not the kind of laptop that you plug in, but the kind with two knees. This laptop is perfect for reading, talking, hugging, and singing!

Name Cards and Secret Words (Crystal and Shelley, Long Beach, CA)
Make name cards for each child. On the back of each card write a sight word. Look for a word embedded in the child’s name. (Almost everybody’s name has a “secret word” inside.) For example, Lindsey has “in.” John has “oh.” Ashley has “as.”
         
Number Yoga (Michelle Drees, Danbury, IA)
Have children hold yoga positions as you practice counting.
(Scholastic has a cool alphabet book of yoga poses!)
                                            

Bear Hug Letter (Susan Finklestein, Montgomery, AL)
Send home a note shaped like a bear that says, “My teacher is so proud of me. Give me a bear hug!”

                      

Monday, June 19, 2017

QUIET MAN AND QUIET HANDS

QUIET Man (Candace Reed)
Make "quiet man" with your fingers by sticking up pinky and pointer and touching thumb, ring man, and tall man. When the teacher holds up "quiet man" the children respond by making "quiet man" and focusing on the teacher.
                             
Quiet Hands
When you want children to settle down ask them to show you their “quiet hands” as you model folding your hands. When they focus on their hands they will become quiet.


Magic Triangle  (Cathy Crady)
Remind children that they all have a magic triangle in their pocket. (Place pointers and thumbs next to each other to form a triangle.) When they need to calm down or if a child is upset she has them take out their magic triangle and hold it in front of their mouth. She tells them to take a deep breath in through their nose, and then slowly blow through the triangle.


Word Hunt (Amy Fritz)
Each week students use their journal to go on a word hunt. Words must begin with a different letter or digraph each week and must be found in the classroom.

*Adapt for parts of speech, math words, seasonal words, etc.
                                                              
Secret Message in Sign (Melanie Wilkins)
Enlarge sign language letters and attach a magnetic strip to the back of each letter. Write a "secret” message or word each day on the board for the children to decode and write on their morning work.

Karaoke Kafe (Pam Stonecipher)
Encourage children to share their stories, journals, and other writings with Karaoke Kafe. Provide a play microphone and special chair where they can sit and read to classmates. Younger children could recite nursery rhymes.

Good Job Rally (Veda Hamrick)
Have children form two lines facing each other. One at a time children walk between the two lines as friends give them "high five" and say, "Good job!"


Bubbles and Duck Tails (Jennifer Conatser)
Before lining up say, "bubbles and duck tails." Children put imaginary bubbles in their mouths and put their hands behind their backs to make duck tails.

Mailbox Vocabulary (Cheryl Grasso, Boston)
Place a small mailbox on your desk. If the flag is up, that means there is a new vocabulary word in the mailbox. Model using the “special delivery” word in sentences throughout the day.

Happy Day
(Tune: “Happy Birthday to You”)
Hello! Good Day!
You’re looking mighty fine.
Come in and have a seat
And be a friend of mine.

Put Your Bottom on the Rug

(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
Put your bottom on the rug, on the rug.
Put your bottom on the rug, on the rug.
Put your bottom on the rug, then give yourself a hug.
Put your bottom on the rug, on the rug.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

KINDNESS SPRINKLES AND COMPLIMENT COOKIES

Kindness Sprinkles (Christin Cannan)
You “sprinkle” kindness (hands up and wiggle fingers) on the Star of the Week, Birthday Child, or for other occasions.

Spacing Spaghetti and Meatballs
To help children with spacing between letters and words give them a dry spaghetti noodle and a pom pom (meatball). They should use the dry spaghetti noodle between letters and the “meatball” between words.
                                                     
Occupation in a Bag (Megan Pope)
When studying community helpers, send home a paper bag with each student. Ask them to put in items that explain what their parents do. This is great for parents who are too busy to come in and speak about their jobs.
                      
Number Bottle Shake (Jennifer Sitka, Winnipeg, Canada)
Fill an empty plastic bottle half way with water and place a die inside. Place the lid on and seal with packing tape so the students cannot get the bottle open. Let children take turns shaking the bottle with a partner. They can say the number on the die, write the number down, make up a number sentence, etc.


Number Combinations (Linda Patterson, Lawrenceville, GA)
Put dots on paper plates (for example, 6 red dots and 2 blue dots). Flash the plates and children add them up.  Children can whisper the answer or use their fingers to show the sum.
Hint! Use bingo dotters or stickers on plates to make different combinations.

Treasure Box Math (Whitney Farmer)
Buy a treasure boxes at a craft store.  Put 10 gems in the box. Take out three. How many are left in the box?
                                             
Count to 100 (Special K’s, Heritage El., Marion, OH)
Count each “ten” with a different style.
Quiet 1’s (Whisper)
Yucky Teens (Attitude!)
Roaring 20’s (Loud)
Twisty 30’s (Do the twist)
Jumpy 40’s (Jump)
Flying 50’s (Spread arms)
Angry 60’s (Stomp feet)
Spooky 70’s (Ghost voice)
Flip Pancakes 80’s (Pretend to flip pancakes)
Laughing 90’s (Hold stomach and laugh)
Jump and Cheer for 100!!!

                  
Compliment Cookies (Whitney Farmer, Pulaski Co. Schools, KY)
Place a pan somewhere in the room. Cut cookies out of construction paper. Whenever the class receives a compliment, place a cookie in the pan. When the pan is full everyone can enjoy a cookie party!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

YOU'RE INVITED TO A WORD BALL!

Word Wall Ball (Lynn Urban, Chesterfield Co., VA)
Students earn a bead for each word wall word they learn and string it on a necklace. Once all word wall words have been learned, they earn a “gold” bead. In the spring celebrate with a BALL! Students wear nice clothes and their word bead necklaces. Serve refreshments, and dance!
                                    
Riddle Book (Leighann Beam, Raleigh, NC)
Create a “Riddle Book” for each child with blank paper stapled between construction paper. The children get to decorate the cover. The teacher reads a riddle to the class. Establish a routine where everyone puts a finger to their lips and says, “Shhh!” when they think they know the answer. The children draw a picture of what they think the answer is and then try to write the word. The children share their thoughts and then the teacher shares the answer. Save riddles and answers in their “Riddle Books.”

Oh No! Game (Jane Sparks, Murrells Inlet, SC)
Take a paper sack and write a word ending on the front. For example: “at.” Write the words “fat,” “cat,” “mat,” “sat,” etc. on cards and place them in the sack. Make two cards for each word. Add several “Oh NO!” cards. Each child pulls out a card and reads the word. If they draw “Oh NO!” they must put their cards back in the bag. After all the cards are out of the bag each child finds the friend that has the same word.

              


Air Hug (Jane McPartland, St. Louis, MO)
Say, “Give me an air hug.” Students open arms and pretend to squeeze.

Air Kisses (Beth Jenkins, VA)
Kiss your fingertips numerous times as you scan the class. Blow kisses to all the children. Cross your arms across your chest and rub your arms as you say, “Feel the love.”
                                                                       
Mini Books (Timara McCollum, Dillard Academy Charter)
Fold several index cards in half. Open and cut a ½” slit on the top and bottom of the center crease. Insert a small hair rubber band. 


                       
Recess Line Up (Jane McPartland, St. Louis, MO)
At the end of recess blow a whistle and start counting backwards from 20. Students count with you and everyone has to be in line by zero.

“Today Is P.E.” (Bron Wolfe, Henry County, GA)
To help children learn the schedule, adapt the song “Today Is Sunday” to include specials you have each day. For example, “Today is Monday. Monday P.E. Today is Tuesday. Tuesday music. Today is Wednesday. Wednesday art…”

Main Idea (Elizabeth Burriss, Briston, TN)
Switch book covers on several books. Have children look at the cover and guess who the main character will be, the main idea, etc. Read the book. The class will realize that the story does not match the cover. After reading the story have the children illustrate a cover for the book and select a title. Compare their pictures to the real book cover.

Friday, June 16, 2017

KINDERGARTEN CADENCE AND PLEDGE

These ideas are ones I collected years ago, but they are definitely "keepers."  The Kindergarten Cadence and Class Pledge could easily be adapted to any grade level.

Kindergarten Cadence (Paula Pennell, Lenoir, NC)
(Students repeat each line.)
Kindergarten, kindergarten, what do you say?
We’re gonna have some fun today!
We’re gonna read and write and spell.
We’ll do these things very well.
Sound off. (Students repeat 1-2).
Sound off. (Students repeat 3-4).
Bring it on down, 1-2-3-4 (clap, clap) 3-4.
                                  
Class Pledge (Brenda Stremmel)
Make a class flag from the children’s handprints, and then teach children this pledge:
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!

SMART Board Contestant (Julie Cunday)
Child’s name come on down.
You’re the next contestant on
Name that number (letter, etc.).

Welcome Collage (Emily Hall, Danville, VA)
Make a poster with “Who is this teacher’s name?” in the middle. Put pictures of your favorite things, places, foods, etc. on the poster. Add personal pictures of friends and family. Display this at Open House. For the first few days of school let each student pick a picture for you to talk about.
                   
Family Photo Sheet (Sherry Lee & Jess McGuire, Concord, NC)
At the beginning of the year send home one sheet of colored construction paper and ask students to cover the page with family pictures. Ask their parents to label the pictures. Put the family photo sheet in a sheet protector and have children keep it in their writing folder. This will inspire them to write about family members and experiences.


Days of School Count  (Catherine Bouwman)
Touch body parts each day as you count during calendar time.
Touch toes for 1/6/11/16…
Touch knees for 2/7/12/17…
Touch hips for 3/8/13/18…
Touch shoulders for 4/9/14/19…
Touch heads for 5/10/15/20…
*Remind children that they should be touching their heads on all 5’s and 10’s. You can also let them shout when they get to the 5’s and 10’s.
 

6 vs. 9 (Donna Bell, Magnolia/Woodlands, TX)
Use this rhyme to help children discriminate #6 from #9.
Number 6 is always sick.
Holds his head down, ick, ick, ick! (Bend head down.)
Number 9 is always fine.
Holds his head up all the time! (Hold head up tall.)

Handwriting Warm-Up (Allison Burney, Rowlett, TX)
Buy individual containers of play dough for each child. (These are available where they sell party favors.) Before doing handwriting activities, let the children warm up their fingers by playing with play dough. One day they might make snakes, another day snowballs, and another day free play with the play dough. The children won’t realize that they are building small muscles that will help them write.

Start the Day with a Smile! (Eva Arteaga)
Put a smiley sticker on each child’s right hand when they arrive at school. This will help them learn their right hand and encourage them to be at school on time!
                                                                         
Abracadabra! (Emily Hilbig, Houston, TX)
Close your eyes and pretend to wave a magic wand as you say:
Abracadabra!
I want my friends to make good choices
like sitting on their bottoms
and using inside voices.”
Snap your fingers and open your eyes!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

KISS YOUR BRAIN!

Kiss Your Brain! Pointer
Cut a pair of lips out of paper and cut a hole out of the center as shown and attach to a craft stick. Children can use this to focus on words, letters, etc. They can also use it to kiss their brains!

                                             Tracking Print (Kathy Smith)
To help children learn to track print, sing this song to the tune of “London Bridge.”
     When you read you track the print, 
     Track the print, track the print.
     When you read you track the print,
     Touch every word.
     Start on the left and move to the right,
     Move to the right, move to the right.
     Start on the left and move to the right,
     Track every word.

Classroom Mystery
Encourage your students to problem solve and take responsibility with this idea. When there is a problem in your room (such as a center not cleaned up, trash on the floor, etc.) simply say, “Mmmmm? We have a mystery in our classroom. I wonder who can help us solve it?”


Photo Memory Game (Kindra Schoenradt, Austin, TX)
Make copies of children’s photos and glue to cardboard squares to make a memory game. You could have them match up like photos or have them match up photos and names.
            
One Hundred Day Caterpillar (Donna Franklin, Louisville, KY)
Make a caterpillar head and then let one student put up a number each day. Make the 5’s red and the 10’s blue. Every day count how many days you have been in school. You can decide each day if you will count by 1’s, 5’s, or 10’s. Make a special 100 circle.

*Hint! This will cover over 2 walls so put it up high on your wall.

I Love You! (Sheila W.)
Here’s another way to say, “I Love You!” in sign language. Kiss your fist and then point to a child. Sweet!

It’s Time for Us to Go (Arlene Middendorf, FL)
Sing this song to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” to end your day:
     It’s time for us to go.
     It’s time for us to go.
     Say good-bye to all your friends.
     It’s time for us to go.

     We’ve had a busy day.
     We’ve learned a lot today.
     Say good-bye to all your friends.
     It’s time for us to go.
                                              
Children select the symbol for how they will go home and line up.
Walkers – Feet
Car Riders – Car
Bus Riders – Bus
After School – Schoolhouse

Self-Check for Classroom Management (Elizabeth Rennels)
Teach children how to do a “self-check.” Make sure their heads are doing what they
are suppose to do (eyes, ears, mouth), hands are doing their job, feet are doing their job. Put the responsibility on the students by asking them to “please do a self-check.”

Short and to the Point! (Elizabeth Rennels)
To settle children into their seats say, “Backs on the backs, bottoms on the bottoms, and feet on the floor.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

INTEREST INVENTORY

Have you heard this quote? All children are gifted. Some just open their presents earlier than others. Most of the assessments that are done in schools COMPARE children to a norm. There are special things about each child, and that’s why I liked this idea so much.

Interest Inventory
In addition to saving writing samples and self portraits in a “portfolio” each month, have children complete an “interest inventory” by filling in sentences similar to the ones below: 
     I am good at______.
     I like to _____.
     I want to work on _____.
     My favorite book is _____.
     I wish _____.
                       
Hint! Younger children could just dictate their responses to an adult.

*Wouldn't this be good to share at parent conferences?  It would also be a good springboard for student led conferences.

Criss Cross Nursery Rhymes 
This activity combines two of my favorite things – nursery rhymes and crossing the midline. Wouldn’t this be a great brain break for any age?
You can adapt all nursery rhymes can to these movements:
     Jack (extend right arm)
     And Jill (extend left arm)
     Went up (right hand on left shoulder)
     A hill (left hand on right shoulder)
     To fetch (right hand on right hip)
     A pail (left hand on left him)
     Of Wa- (right hand on left knee)
     Ter (left hand on right knee)
     (Clap Hands!)
     Jack (extend right arm)
     Fell down (extend left arm)
     And broke (right hand on left shoulder)
     His crown (left hand on right shoulder)
     And Jill (right hand on right hip)
     Came (left hand on left hip)
     Tumbling (right hand on left knee)
     After (left hand on right knee)
     YEAH! (Thumbs up!)

Touch and Count
Touch different body parts as you count by tens. For example, touch your head as you count 1-9. Touch your shoulders as you count 10-19. Then touch your knees as you count 20-29, and so forth.


Vinny Vertical and Harry Horizontal  (Amy Freund)
Can you tell which one is Vinny Vertical and which one is Harry Horizontal?

       Money Signs
Reinforce coin value by adapting “high five.”

“high penny” – children touch pointer fingers in air
“high five” – children open palms and touch five fingers
“high dime” – children open both hands and touch ten fingers with their partner

Sticky Notes
Use sticky notes to encourage writing and reinforce functional print. “Get a sticky note and write it down so you don’t forget.” “Put a sticky note on your desk about riding home with your aunt.” “Put a sticky note in the book when you find the solution.” Hint! Many
times doctors or dentists have sticky notes from pharmaceutical companies that they will be glad to share with you.

Serious Science
Add a silly pair of glasses (Groucho Marx with a mustache or seasonal glasses available at dollar stores) to your science center. When children do experiments they get to put on the glasses.
                                                  
Dialog Bubbles
The speech bubbles used in cartoons are interesting for children to write in. Ask children to draw their picture and make bubbles saying their favorite word or phrase. You can also cut giant bubbles out of poster board and laminate them. Children can write on these with an erasable marker.

Row with Vowels
Sing the vowels to the tune of “Row Your Boat.”
     A E I O U
     A E I O U
     A E I O U
     A E I O U – and sometimes “Y”. (Put hands in the air and shake.)