Friday, March 6, 2015


A song always works better to engage children when it's time to clean up.  I love the idea someone shared last week of providing children with tools, such as a dust pan, duster, sweeper, etc.  You could probably get most of these at a dollar store.
Hi Ho Helpers
(Tune:  "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's off to Work We Go")
Hi ho, hi ho, a cleaning up we’ll go.
Everyone join in the fun,
Hi ho, hi ho.
Hi ho, hi ho, a picking up we’ll go.
Put your things away for another day,
Hi ho, hi ho.
(Sing twice.)

Tidy Up
(Tune:  “Jingle Bells”)
Tidy up, tidy up, put your things away.
Tidy up, tidy up, we’re finished for today.
Oh, tidy up, tidy up, put your things away.
For we’ll get them out again another school day.

We’ve had lots of fun as we’ve worked and played.
Now it’s time to all join in and play the clean up game.
I See Someone Cleaning Up! 
(Tune:  “London Bridge”)
I see child’s name cleaning up,
Cleaning up, cleaning up.
I see child’s name cleaning up,
Just like second child’s name.
Continue singing the name of children who are helpers.
*Get a flashlight and shine it on the child as you sing their name.

Magic Trash
Select one random piece of trash to be the “magic trash.” Have children
pick up the room. As they dump the paper and scraps in the trashcan,
inspect what they have in their hands. The one to find the “magic trash”
gets a sticker.

To help prepare children for clean up time set a timer for three minutes. Explain, “You have three more minutes. When the timer goes off we will have a whisper clean up.”

Who You Gonna Call?
Send a letter home asking if anyone has an old dust buster to donate to your classroom. Choose one person each day to be the “dust buster.” When there’s a mess shout, “Who you gonna call?” Children respond, “Dust buster!” The designated “dust buster” of the day GETS to clean up the mess.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Some teachers at my seminar in Baltimore last week had these shirts.  This is what it said on the back:
I am a ...
kindergarten teacher!!

Out of My Mouth (Dori Bailin)

To engage children and help them remember tell them:

Rhyming Game (Dori Bailin)
Mama Llama Ding Dong (Chant and clap to a beat.)
Leader: Say Mama
Class: Mama
Leader: Say Llama
Class: Llama
Leader: Say Mama Llama
Class: Mama Llama
Leader: Say Fox
Class: Fox
Leader: Say Box
Class: Box
Leader: Say Fox Box
Class: Fox Box
*Continue with as many rhyming pairs as you choose. After playing the game the children can take turns presenting a rhyming pair.
For the final verse end with "Mama Llama Ding Dong."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Five Little Kites 
One, two, three, four, five little kites (Hold up fingers as you count.) 
Flying up in the sky (Fly fingers in the air.)
Said “hi” to the clouds as they passed by, (Pretend to wave to clouds.)
Said “hi” to the birds, said “hi” to the sun, (Wave.)
Said “hi” to the airplanes, oh what fun. (Wave.)
Then “swish” went the wind, (Move hand down in a
And they all took a dive: swooping motion.)
One, two, three, four, five. (Hold up fingers one at a time and count.)
*Download this book on my website.

Paper Plate Kite - Cut the inner section out of a paper plate. Decorate the rim with markers. Glue tissue paper streamers to one side. Punch a hole and tie a piece of string on the other side. Go outside and run to make your kite fly. 

Kite Experiments – Let children make kites out of lunch sacks, plastic bags, and other materials. Have them predict which one will fly best. Experiment to see which one is best. Why did some work better than others?

Kite Tales – Ask each child to write a story about what it would be like to be a kite. What could you see? What could you hear? How would you feel? What would you do? 

Lion or Lamb? Explain the quote, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Every day ask children what kind of day it is, and then let them color a “lion” or a “lamb” on the calendar. Graph "lion" and "lamb" days and compare at the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Do you know what today is? That’s right! The Star-Spangled Banner officially became our national anthem on March 3, 193l. It was written during the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key.  Seeing the American flag flying over Fort McHenry in the Baltimore Harbor inspired him to write the song. 

Although your students will be familiar with this song, today is a perfect time to discuss what the lyrics mean and to introduce vocabulary words. (I wonder how many adults could actually write the words to the national anthem?)

Put a copy of the first verse on the board and read over it. Invite children to tell you what they think the lyrics mean. Explain that when things are difficult to understand it helps to read one line at a time. Take each line and discuss the meaning. (This is really going to be a challenge for young children, but it’s good to stretch their brains - and maybe your brain as well!)

Vocabulary – Ask children to come up and highlight words they are not familiar with. (dawn, twilight, hailed, perilous, ramparts, gallantly…)

Invite children to close their eyes as they listen to the song sung. You could also show this video where the words are connected to photographs.

Want to learn more? Check out this website:

FYI Did you know that the famous write F. Scott Fitzgerald was a distant cousin of Francis Scott Key and was named after him?

Monday, March 2, 2015


Yesterday, March 1st, was National Pig Day. Why not celebrate this week with some little piggie ideas? Here’s an extension of the traditional rhyme where you can reinforce ordinal numbers. 

         The first little pig went to the market.
         The second little pig stayed home.
         The third little pig had roast beef.
         The fourth little pig had none.
         The fifth little pig cried, “Wee wee wee” all the way home.
         The sixth little pig ate some pizza.
         The seventh little pig ate a pear.
         The eighth little pig had spaghetti.
         The ninth little pig’s plate was bare.
         The tenth little pig cried, “Wee wee wee, I will share!” 

Glue pig faces to jumbo craft sticks. Write the ordinals at the bottom and use as you say the rhyme.

Ten Little Piggies Counting Book
Give each child an 8” x 8” square of paper. Let them take off their shoes and socks and trace around their feet. Next, let them decorate their footprints with markers or crayons. Tape their pictures together to make an accordion book. Write the numerals 10, 20, 30, 40….on the pages.

Piggie Bookmark
Let children take off their shoes and socks and trace around their foot on construction paper. After they cut it out and decorate it they can use it as a bookmark to “step into a good book.”

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Your students will catch “math fever” with the hands-on activities, games, and catchy tunes you’ll find this month on my website. Hopefully, if you tell your students that math is fun and that they are good mathematicians they will keep that positive attitude.

The free song download is "Hickory Dickory Dock." It's great for younger children because of the counting and rhymes. It can also be adapted for older students who are learning to tell time because they can use their arms like the hands on a clock as they sing.

Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory dickory dock. (Palms together and tick tock back and forth.)
The mouse ran up the clock. (Wiggle fingers up in the air.)
The clock struck one, (Clap one time.)
The mouse ran down. (Wiggle fingers down.)
Hickory dickory dock.

Two – “Yahoo!” (Continue clapping the appropriate number of times.)
Three – “Whopee!”
Four – “Do more!”
Five – “Let’s jive!”
Six – “Fiddlesticks!”
Seven – “Oh, heavens!”
Eight – “Life’s great!”
Nine – “So fine!”
Ten – “We’re near the end.”
Eleven – “We’re sizzlin’.”
Twelve – “I’m proud of myself.”

*Make paper plate clocks and use to as you sing the song.

*Use your arms like the hands on a clock. Extend both arms over your head. On “one,” bring right arm down to the position of “one” on a clock. On “two,” bring right arm down to position of “two,” and so forth as you sing.

Digital Time - Place a digital clock by the wall clock in your classroom so children can associate both ways of telling time.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Last Monday we danced, skated, played, and exercised our brains with paper plates. I’m not one to waste anything, so here are a few more ideas that teachers could do with their plates when they got home. Paper plates can be used for letters, numerals, shapes, words, math facts, or any skill that needs practice. 
Hint! Draw a star at the top on the back of the plates. Tell children to put the star next to their chin and the letters will be in the right position.

Musical Plates
– Place the plates on the floor and play some dance music. Children dance around, but when the music stops they have to find a plate and pick it up. After they’ve identified the information they place it on the floor and the dance music begins again.

Word Worm – Decorate a plate to look like a worm or caterpillar. Pass out words (or letters or numerals) to the class. First child places her word next to the worm’s head and reads it. Second child places her word next and reads both words. The third child reads all three words. The game continues as the worm grows.
Hint! Allow children to ask the audience if they don’t know a word.

I Have – Who has? Write numbers (1-25) or letters on plates. The child with number one stands and says, “I have one, who has two?” The child with two stands and says, “I have two, who has three?” The game continues as children count in order.
*A similar game can be played with letters in alphabetical order.

Push, Pull, Click, Click – Susan Shomo shared this chant that's perfect for the plates.
Push (Push in the air.)
Pull (Pretend to pull.)
Click, click (Snap fingers.)
Read this (word, letter, numeral, etc.)
Really quick. (Show plate to children.)

And, now for some NEW ideas from New Jersey!

Name Change (Cathy Richards)
Children choose a letter from a bag or use the letter of the week. Change the child's name to that sound to sing good-bye to the tune of "Good Night, Ladies.)
For example: "T"
Good-bye Tonathan. (Jonathan)
Good-bye Tophia. (Sophia)
Good-bye Tyan. (Ryan)
Good-bye Tilly. (Lilly)

My Messy House (Lorraine Clark)
Cut shirts, pants, socks, and other clothing out of construction paper and write sight words on them. Put them in the middle of the floor in a pile and explain that mom's so busy she needs their help to clean up. One at a time children pick a word/piece of clothing and read it.
*You can even let them hang the clothes on a clothes line with clothespins.

Ivory Soap Experiment (MaryAnn Kressling)
Put a bar (unwrapped) of Ivory soap in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Observe. It will transform into a cloud.
*Great for writing or drawing observations.