Thursday, October 30, 2014


For homework this weekend ask your students to save all their candy wrappers and bring them to school Monday. Here are some learning activities that will taste “yummy” to your class!

Counting - Count the wrappers. Tally how many in the whole class.

Sets - Make sets with the wrappers.

Sorting - Sort the wrappers. What’s the sorting rule? Can they regroup them?

Graphing - Use the wrappers to graph their favorite candy bar.

Nutrition - Look at the food value on each wrapper. How many calories? How much sugar? Rank the candies by calories.

Vocabulary - Find descriptive words on the wrappers. Make a list of the words and use them in sentences.

Writing - Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book. Children write “I like…” at the top of each page and glue a candy wrapper underneath. This is a book every child in your room can read! Older children could write descriptive sentences about each candy.

Alphabet Letters
- Use the wrappers to make a class book called “The Sweet ABC’s.” Write alphabet letters on 26 sheets of paper. Children glue their wrappers to the appropriate letter. Bind pages together to make a book.
Hint! If you don’t have a wrapper for each letter, let children suggest “sweet” words for the page. 

Money - Glue candy wrappers to a file folder. Write a coin value by each wrapper. Children count out the appropriate amount and place it on the wrapper.
Hint! For young children, price the candies from 1 cent to 10 cents and give them pennies. Make the amounts higher for older students.

Art - Let children use wrappers to make a collage.

Finally, take advantage of this “teachable moment” by discussing why sugar is not good for their bodies. What happens if you eat too much sugar? Make a list of healthy snacks that would be better food choices.

For additional resources check out the following links:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


How many old ladies do you know besides me? I know the “Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” She also swallowed a pie and a bat and a chick and numbers… She must be getting pretty full! The Old Lady is entertaining, but she also helps children with recall, sequence, phonological awareness, and oral language. 

Here are a few visuals and craft activities that can be adapted to any version of the Old Lady. You can find free images online for the different stories or let children make their own illustrations.

Sandwich Bag Old Lady
Give children a circle to decorate for the head of the old lady. Staple the head to the back opening of a zip sandwich bag. Staple on strips of paper for arms and legs as shown. Run off copies of the different items for the book or song you are singing. Children line up items in sequential order and then insert them in the bag as you sing.

Paper Plate Old Lady
Cut the center out of a paper plate. Use the center for the Old Lady’s head and attach with a brad fastener. Attach strips of paper with brad fasteners for arms and legs. Tape a sandwich bag to the back of the plate so you can insert illustrations as you sing. 

Flannel Board File Folder
Staple the sides of a file folder together and glue a piece of felt to the front. Add Velcro to the back of pictures and place on the flannel board as you sing.
*Milk filters would be perfect for running off illustrations directly from the book. (If you don’t know about using milk filters for the flannel board use my search engine and you’ll find a blog about it.)

For additional resources check out the following links:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


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

What’s a line? What’s a curve? 
Start by finding out what children know about lines and curves. Let them take turns drawing lines and curves on the board. Can they walk around the room and touch a line?  Can they touch a curve? As you walk down the hall have them silently point to lines and curves. Can they find lines and curves in nature on the playground?

Horizontal, Vertical (Carrie O’Bara and Terri Miller)
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
Horizontal, horizontal,
(Forearms held up horizontally in front of chest.)
Vertical, vertical.
(Forearms bent at elbows to form right angles.)
Horizontal, horizontal,
Vertical, vertical.

Then diagonal, then diagonal.
(Right arm slants in front and then left.)
Add a curve. Add a curve.
(Make a “c” with right hand and then left.)
Then diagonal, then diagonal.
Add a curve. Add a curve.
Skinny Books 
This is a super idea to help children learn to track from left to right and practice pre-writing strokes. Lay 4 sheets of paper on top of each other and staple four times along the left side. Cut horizontal lines to make four skinny books. Children practice drawing horizontal lines, vertical lines, curves, and diagonal lines on each page.

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

Letter Sort 
What letters are made from lines? Curves? Lines and curves? Let children sort magnetic letters on the board or for a center activity.
Number Sort
Using a Venn diagram, have children sort numerals that are made with lines, curves, or both.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014


I have so much fun coming up with new ideas for my blog every day. Actually, these ideas are old as I am, but it’s fun to adapt them to the season or skills you might need to reinforce. I thought it might be interesting to brainstorm a few ways to integrate vocabulary and spelling words with Halloween. (Even though you might not do holidays in your school, you can make these work for “autumn” or another theme.) 

Mixed Up Words - Take vocabulary words, Halloween words, or spelling words and mix up the letters. Challenge children to figure out the words and try to write them correctly on their paper.

Word Makers – Give children a seasonal word or vocabulary word. How many other words can they make using the letters in that word?  (This might be a good activity for children to do with a partner or in a small group.)

Pumpkin Head - This game is similar to “Wheel of Fortune.” The teacher thinks of a 
word and makes blanks on the board for the number of letters. As children call out
letters, the teacher writes them on the appropriate blanks. If a child calls out a letter
that is not in the word the teacher draws a pumpkin on the board. For each letter
that is not in the word the teacher adds features (stem, eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) to the
pumpkin. The children try to identify the word before the pumpkin head is
*Keep a “bone pile” in the corner where you write letters that are not in
the word.

Picture Words - Write words so they look like what they mean. For example, write “spooky” in shaky letters, “fall” in letters that go down, “colorful” with many colors, “candy” decorated with sprinkles, etc. 

Word Finder - Read a sentence and leave out a word. Children supply a word that would make sense. For example, “I am afraid of…”
*Write a sentence on the board and leave out a word. Brainstorm all the possibilities. For example, “The ______ monster ________.”

If you're looking for a fun October Music Mix, look HERE! You'll find the Halloween Medley, The 5 Days Of Halloween and much more! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I'm going to Kansas City, and Omaha here I come.
I'm going to Kansas City, and Omaha here I come.
They've got some awesome teachers there,
And I'm going sing with some!

I really am on my way to Omaha and Kansas City this week. I'll be doing my swan song of "Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read" as you can see from my schedule below. I'm super excited about my new two-day training I'll be starting later in the spring. Hope I'll see you at one of these events!
Go to or call 800-924-9621 for details
10/27/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Omaha, NE
10/28/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Kansas City, MO
11/12/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Columbus, OH
11/13/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Toledo, OH
11/14/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Grand Rapids, MI
11/20/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Oklahoma City, OK
11/21/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Tulsa, OK
12/1/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Springfield, MA
12/2/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Albany, NY
12/3/14 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Binghamton, NY
2/12/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Raleigh, NC
2/26/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Baltimore, MD
3/23/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Houston, TX
3/24/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Westlake, LA
4/27/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Minneapolis, MN
4/29/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Seattle, WA
4/30/2015 Rock, Rhyme, Write, and Read - Portland, OR
4/15 & 16 Intentional Teaching for Active Learning: Developing Your Best Practices Toolkit - Murfreesboro, TN
5/6 & 5/7 Intentional Teaching for Active Learning:Developing Your Best Practices Toolkit - Des Moines, IA
5/13 & 5/14 Intentional Teaching for Active Learning: Developing Your Best Practices Toolkit - Elk Grove, IL
Boo!  Teachers doing the Halloween tear story!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Read at Home Book
Cut 9” x 12” sheets of construction paper in half. Let each child choose 4 or 5 different colors and staple them together to make a book. Write “I Can Read” on the front and let the children decorate with their name and picture. Send the book home with a note to the parents about helping their child recognize different logos, signs, and words on products and in the home and as they drive down the road. Encourage parents to help their child cut out words they can read from boxes, magazines, and advertisements. Ask children to bring their books back to school to “read” with classmates.

I Like
On Monday send home a sandwich bag with a note asking parents to help their child look for words she can read on food labels, toys, advertisements, and other products around their house. Children cut these out and bring them to school Friday in the sandwich bag. On Friday, encourage the children to “read” the labels that they have brought to class. Write the words “I” and “like” on index cards for each child. Model how to place the cards on the floor with a label from their bag. Point to the words as you read, “I like logo.” Ask the child to read it for you as you point to each word. Comment, “Look at you reading!!!!”
*Put a small piece of magnetic tape on the back of index cards and logos and send home as a reading activity for children to do on their refrigerators with parents.

Traffic Signs
If you use “google images” you can download traffic signs that children will be familiar with. You can make memory games or lotto games with the signs.
*Let children glue signs to paper towel rolls to use in the block center.
Shopping Mall
Cut store logos from Sunday advertisements. Tape to wooden blocks and make your own mall in the block center.

This website ( has fantastic ideas for using environmental print. You’ll even find several pages of foods, restaurants, and household products to download.
I started doing my free concerts at Charleston Schools this week and what a happy time we had!  "Tooty Ta" is always their favorite and I gave "birthday boy" my pumpkin story.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Children are naturally curious about all the signs and words they see daily in their environment. By using environmental print we can help children make print connections, develop visual memory skills, and motivate them to read. 

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

Ask children to save food wrappers from snacks and their lunches. Glue wrappers to sheets of paper and write this rhyme at the top of each page:
            Old Mother Hubbard
            Went to her cupboard
            To get her poor dog a bone.
            But when she got there
            The cupboard was bare
            And so the poor dog had…(Children read food logo.)

What’s for Breakfast?
Ask children to bring in the box from their favorite cereal. Cut the front section off and on a sentence strip write: “Child’s name eats name of cereal.” Glue to the bottom of the cereal box. Put all the boxes together and make a book. Write “What’s for Breakfast?” on the front cover. Hole punch and put the boxes together with book rings.
*You can also make a book with sacks from fast food restaurants.

Read sayings on T-shirts, sports jerseys, shoes, and other clothing the children wear to school.

We Can Read Bulletin Board
Ask children to bring logos from food boxes, magazines, toys, clothing and household products. Make a poster or bulletin board that says: “We Can Read!” Let children glue their logos to the poster. Read over the words together.

Matching Game
Cut the fronts and backs off food boxes. Mix them up and then challenge children to match up the ones that go together.
*Play a visual memory game by placing food boxes face down on the floor. Children turn over two at a time and try to match them up.