January 2009



WOW! It wasn’t easy to type these up, and I hope you’ll forgive me if the directions aren’t quite clear. Nevertheless, I promise that if you’ll look you will find at least ten great ideas that will meet my criteria of simple, easy, and FUN!

Think of this as a treasure hunt!

And be sure to check out our Downloads this month. We have a Color Farm book, Happy Haircut and some other song sheets, Caterpillar's Story book, and a new YouTube video about Transitions. Click Downloads in the menu at the left side.

Oh, my, did we rock and roll in Atlanta!!!! - Click here for a slide show.

“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…”

Auntie Nym (Elizabeth Burriss, Bristol, TN)
Introduce antonyms with “Auntie Nym.” Explain that she is so silly! She came to visit and told me she would arrive in the morning, but she didn’t arrive until night. I asked her to turn the light on and she turned it off. Continue to use antonyms in sentences.

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.

Magic Erasers (Andrea Gerks, GA)
Did you know that magic erasers will clean everything without water? You can write on children’s desks with a Sharpie or permanent marker and then remove. (The generic erasers work just as well at half the cost.)

The Bundle Dance (Andrea Gerks)
On every 10th day turn around in a circle with your hands over your head as you chant, “Bundle, bundle, bundle. Bundle, bundle, bundle.”

Set Cards (Andrea Gerks)
Take index cards and write numerals on them (0-10 or higher). Have the child clip clothes pins on the cards to correspond with the numeral. For example on “5” she would clip five clothespins.

Color Code Games
Make file folder games on colors to indicate different concepts you are working on. For example, color games on red, number games on yellow, alphabet games on blue, shape games on green.

Scatter and Read (Melissa Webb, Northport, AL)
Teach your students how to do this at the beginning of the school year and practice, practice, practice! Whenever the teacher says, “Scatter and Read” the children stop, go quickly and get their book box, and then go to their special reading spot. This works perfectly for a productive break, when an administrator comes to the door, etc. Hint! Let them choose a new spot at the beginning of each month.

Money Time Line (Melissa Webb, Northport, AL)
Make time lines with pennies, nickels, or dimes. Children can use these to skip count or do other math problems.

Individual Letter and Numeral File Folders (Melissa Webb)
Use Velcro and file folders to make individual offices for children. Write letters and numbers on the file folder and attach a small piece of Velcro by each. Make another set of letters and numbers on squares and attach the other side of the Velcro. Children can store their letters and numbers on the file folder and use them for “show me” activities.

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 hair tie or silly band in the slit to bind the book. You can make larger books with poster board and connect with headbands.

SAT Words (Lynn Wilkinson, Jacksonville, FL)
SAT words stand for Smart As Teenager words. As the opportunity arrises, teach “upper level” vocabulary words. Write words on sentence strips and staple to the wall. The first word we teach the children is “random,” which means in no particular order. We then teach “loquacious” which means talkative. Use the words in context. For example: “Tootsie roll, lollipop, we’ve been loquacious, now let’s stop.”

Birthday Ideas
*Decorate a “compliment chair” for your classroom. When a child has a birthday, she sits in the chair. Go around the room as each friend gives her a special compliment. *Use a “universal clip” for centers when children have a birthday. That means they may play in any center of their choice. *Decorate their faces with face paint on their birthdays.

This is a great website with games, ideas, recipes, and more!

Heads Up Sight Words (Janelle Russell, Mableton, GA)
All students put their heads down on the table. Take 3-5 flash cards and lay them down by 3 to 5 students. The teacher says, “Heads up sight words!” The students lift their heads. If they have a sigh word card they bring it to the front of the class. All students read the words. The game continues as the students put their heads down. A new “it” is chosen to distribute 3-5 new word cards.

Silly Names (Donna Stewart, Shelby, NC)
Each week when studying a new letter the classroom helper uses a pointer to choose a friend. Substitute the sound in the child’s name to make a silly name. For example with the letter “s” the class would say, “She used to be Donna, but now she’s ‘Sonna.’ ‘She used to be Dr. Jean, but now she’s Dr. ‘Sean.’”

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!

Woof! Woof! (Whitney Farmer)
Write sight words, numbers, letters, etc. on index cards. On a few cards draw a dog’s tail and on a few draw a dog’s mouth. Place the cards in a sack. If a student pulls the dog’s tail she wags her “tail” back and forth. If she pulls the dog’s mouth she barks.
Hint! You can play this game at centers by flashing a card to each child. Everyone wins!

Magnetic Dominoes (Bonnie Dennison, OH)
Make dominoes and put magnetic tape on the back. Students can match numerals or number words to the dots.

Number Grid Game (Bonnie Dennison)
Make a grid and write numbers 1-6 at the bottom. Roll a die and color in a box on the grid for that number. Which number will win? Several students can play.

“Sleeping Bubbles” (Mary Katherine Ellis, Vicksburg, MS)

Get a container of bubbles and label it “Sleeping Bubbles.” At nap time tell the children that if they lay down quietly you will blow bubbles on them that will help them go to sleep. If they are loud or wiggly the bubbles will not work.

Kiss Their Brains (Claire Peck, Vicksburg, MS)
Glue red lips to a large popsicle stick. Use it to “kiss” the children’s brains when they are sharing, lining up, or answering questions.

Paper Dolls (Tina Shephard & Sharon Pillips, Wilkes County, NC)
Take a full body picture of each child. Cut it out and back with cardstock. Laminate and use a butterfly clip to hold the picture at the bottom. The flat edge will allow the paper doll to stand up. Use in dramatic play, blocks, or for name songs and chants.

sparkz.com (Carla Ansley, Byron, GA)
Use leftover laminating paper and colored glue to make a letter, name, shape, number, etc. Dry. Add magnetic tape to the back.

Ketchup Bottle Shake (Jennifer Sitka, Winnipeg, Canada)
Fill an empty ketchup 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.

Birthday Song (Fiona Hall, Macon, GA)
Sing this song to the tune of “Put Another Nickel in Nickelodeoun.”

Kings and queens and bishops, too.
Want to wish the best to you.
So wish day, washday, Wednesday, birthday,
Happy birthday to you!
There are flowers in the air,
People smiling everywhere,
Happy birthday, uh (pump arms),
Happy birthday, uh
To you! Uh! Uh!

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