Friday, November 24, 2017


You're still eating Thanksgiving leftovers and it's already time to think about December lesson plans.  Over the next week I’ll post art projects, gifts children can make, recipes, and lots of FUN ideas.  Join me for LIVE at  FIVE on Monday where I'll demonstrate these projects and sing you a song or two.

Note!  If you do not celebrate holidays in your schools, feel free to adapt these projects. 

*You can trace around their hands and cut them out, or let children dip their hands in paint and print.  You could also use fabric paint and make holiday shirts with their handprints.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


I am grateful for you! I am not sure who wrote this or where it came from, but it just seemed appropriate on this Thanksgiving Day.

Today is a day of blessing.

I bless you.

I bless your heart.

I bless your life.

I bless your health.

I bless your home.

I bless your family.

I bless your work.

I bless your spiritual life.

I bless your finances and all your projects!

May your day overflow with blessings!

With love,

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


This is a blog I posted two years ago. I thought it was worth repeating.  With all 
the hurricanes, fires, and shootings that have happened this fall we have to 
try a little harder to be grateful, and to be kinder to each other!

Some of you are cooking, some of you are shopping, some of you are traveling, some of you are sleeping, but I hope you all take a moment today and tomorrow to pause and...

     Make a list of your blessings. 

     Call someone who has done something nice for you.

     Write an email or send a card to someone you appreciate.

     Acknowledge the positive traits of others around you instead of their negative traits.

     Think of all the people who have done you good and forgive those who have hurt you.

Do a little act of kindness today and every day.

Several weeks ago my exercise instructor said her church gave everybody a twenty dollar bill and told them to give it to a random person who looked like they needed a little love.  As they handed the $20 they were to smile and say, "You are special and God loves you."  
I'm going to get some $20 bills and give them out this week.  It's not the money - it's an acknowledgement that I recognize you and appreciate you.  Somebody cares.

I appreciate each of YOU!  Thank you for caring for children every day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I am truly grateful for each teacher that I meet and every child that sings with me. You inspire me and keep me going!

Take a look at the ideas teachers shared with me this fall and you’ll understand why I still love to learn!

Letter Chant (Kim Henderson)
Use this chant to review letters and sounds during transitions. Hold up flash cards with letters as you slap your thighs and clap your hands.
What is this letter? (slap thighs twice)
(Children say the letter.)
What does it say? (clap hands twice)
(Children make the sound.)
What is this letter…

*I found these letters at mrprintables.

Criss Cross Applesauce (Eva Thompson)
Tell children to put their spoons (hands) in their bowls (lap).

Christmas Suitcase (Eva Thompson & Christi Harmon)
In December study Christmas around the world and discuss different traditions and food. On the last day make a suitcase out of a brown bag and fill it with postcards so children can draw about each country.

Sight Word Rings (Valerie Finley)
Write sight words on fun shapes like animals, trains, flowers, etc. Punch holes in the shapes and put on a book ring. Send home with the children to practice every night.

Birthday Book (Jennifer Phelps)
Have children draw pictures for friends when it’s their birthday. Put them in a book that they can keep at home forever!

Comfort Dogs
Have you heard about these amazing pets that are trained to visit people at nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and disaster situations? Visit Esther’s facebook page to learn more: EstherComfortDog.

Magnet Pompoms (Jan Platto)
Glue magnetic pieces to colorful pompom balls. Children can use them on a magnetic board to make pictures, do math activities, make letters, or just use their imaginations!

mpom Erasers (Carmen Griffith)
Glue color matching pompoms to the end of dry erase markers. Students will quickly be able to erase their work.
Mr. Munch (Lindsey Koning)
Use a Cascade dishwasher table container to make an alligator. Sing this song to the tune of “I Had a Little Turtle” as you reinforce different letters.
I have a hungry friend.
His name is Mr. Munch.
And what he likes to do all day
Is gobble up his lunch!
He likes the letter say letter!
And things that start with make letter sound.
And he is very happy
When he goes munch, munch, crunch!

Monday, November 20, 2017


Teachers all over the USA are thankful that this is a short week!  Forget "rigor" and give your children some special memories.  Here is a song memory from when I was little girl many, many years ago.  It's still a great song and a meaningful way to compare/contrast and talk a about the "olden days."

Over the River
(Traditional Tune:  Happy Everything CD)
Over the river and through the woods       (Pretend to hold reins of a sleigh
To grandmother’s house we go.                  and drive as you bounce up and down.)
The horse knows the way                           (Put hands behind back and nod
To carry the sleigh                                        like a horse.)
Through the white and drifted snow.                 
Over the river and through the woods,        (Pretend to drive sleigh.)
Oh, how the wind does blow.                        (Wrap arms around self and shiver.)
It stings your toes and bites your nose        (Touch nose and point to toes.)
As over the ground we go.

Through the country and cities far               (Pretend to drive a car.)
In sun or wind or rain.
We might go by train                                    (Pull down on train whistle.)
We might take a plane.                                (Fly hand like a plane in the air.)
Or maybe a bus or car.                                (Hold out right hand, then left.)
Through low valleys and mountains high    (Look down low and then up.)
Now, grandmother’s house I spy.                  (Hand over eyes.)
Hurrah, for the fun!                                       (One fist in the air.)
Is the turkey done?                                   
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!                        (Cheer with other fist.)

Comparisons – Use a Venn diagram to compare what it would be like to visit grandmother a long time ago and how we visit now.  How are things the same?  How are they different?

Graphs – Make a graph of how they will travel to their Thanksgiving dinner.  Car?  Plane?  Train?  Bus?  Boat?  Stay at home!

Olden Days
Bring in a rotary phone, typewriter, record player, and camera.  (A note to parents might help you find one of these.)  Talk about how they were used when their grandparents were kids.  What do we use now instead?
*Hint!  I think it's important for children to know what these items are because most of the books copyrighted before 2000 have pictures or reference them.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I don't know about you, but I've got the Turkey wiggles this week.  (That means I'm ready to get the Thanksgiving party started!!!)  Here are some ideas that might help your children move, learn, and release their Turkey wiggles!


Jump as you read the words on the word wall, count to 100, and repeat other information.
*Children can also march or do other movements as they repeat skills.

Put your hands in the air and say the letter "A." Put your hands on your shoulders and make the /a/ sound. Touch your toes and say a word that starts with that sound. Continue going through the alphabet.

*Ask older children to say words that are nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech.

Stand Up 
Simply asking the children to stand up gets blood going to the brain. They can stand up when they read, count, or review other information.

Air Writing 
Ask children to make numerals, shapes, letters, or write words in the air with their "magic" finger.
Foot Writing 
Use feet to write words, letters, answers to math facts, etc.
Have children stand and dramatize spelling words or vocabulary words.

Balancing Review
Have children stand. Can they balance on their right foot and count? Count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc.

*Can they balance on their left foot and read word wall words?

*Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg as they say the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and so forth?

*Can they balance on their left foot and extend their right leg and read big books and classroom print?

*Can they balance on their toes and read big books and other classroom print?

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Are you working on lesson plans today? Here are some books to encourage the "authors" in your classroom this week.  These are a good example of what I call a "rabbit trap."  Children will want to write in them, read them, and then take them home and share them with their families.

Napkin Book
Purchase seasonal napkins at the dollar store. Cut paper (4-36 sheets) the size of the napkin and staple it inside. Children can draw pictures and write about what they are thankful for.
Paper Plate Book
You'll need paper plates, blank paper, and pipe cleaners (cut in half) to make this book. Cut 8" circles out of the blank paper. Put 4 sheets of the blank paper between the two paper plates, punch a hole at the top, and bind with a pipe cleaner. Children can draw favorite foods or write what they are thankful for in this book.

*Younger children could cut out foods they like from magazines or grocery store flyers.
Thanksgiving Journal
Children can make this book and then use it over the holidays to record what they do. For each book you will need 2 sheets of white paper, a sheet of construction paper, a plastic fork, and a rubber band. Place the white paper on top of the construction paper and fold in half. Punch two holes 3" from the top on bottom on the creased side as shown. Insert the rubber band in one whole and loop the end of the fork through it. Insert the other end of the rubber band through the other hole and secure the fork.

Hint!  Large plastic forks and skinny rubber bands work best.



We Give Thanks
(Tune: “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” – HAPPY EVERYTHING CD)
We give thanks for food we eat.
We give thanks for food we eat
We give thanks for families…
We give thanks for friends so dear…
We give thanks for all the earth…

*Let children suggest other things they are thankful for and insert the words in the song.

Here is a link to run off the above book.