Showing posts from August, 2008

A Little Information About "The Gingerbread Man," HeidiSongs' Musical Play for Young Children

I often get asked, “ How long does it take to teach the kids the Gingerbread Man primary play?” I do always start teaching the songs at the beginning of November, and that leaves you plenty of time for the kids to learn the whole thing easily by Christmas. I like doing it this way because it allows me to work with them on the songs just a few days per week, so I can still use other songs to keep teaching in the content area meanwhile. My friends at my school have done the whole thing in just three weeks, and have been fine with it, but that is more pressure than I like to put on myself. Do you need the DVD to learn the motions? Well, you could always make some up yourself. I don't think that I did anything unusual with the handmotions at all. The DVD also has the kids putting on the play, so you can see how it all goes on the stage. It's easier with the DVD than without, but certainly not impossible by any means! **UPDATE** Since we don't sell the DVD anymore, you

Sight Word String-Ups

Here's an idea I had for sight words using those pencil boxes with the slide out tray, available at Office Depot and other office supply stores. I was going to put the plastic letters for one word in the box, write the word on the top of the box, and then the kids could build the word together. Well, I decided to use Sight Word String-Ups in the boxes! If you haven't seen Sight Word String-Ups yet, go to or  They are plastic letters with a hole in them for stringing words, but instead of strings, which are hard to manipulate and tangle up a lot, they use pipe cleaners. The hole in the letters is large enough for the pipe cleaners to go through. (The kit comes with 4 trays, word cards, and about 260 letters.) I figured that I would use those letters in my pencil boxes, and put a pipe cleaner in there with them. My kids LOVED sight word string-ups! I actually made a table on a paper, with the words that they were responsible for ma

An Introduction to Calendar Books

Calendar Books are becoming more popular these days!  A Calendar Book is a little binder for each child with a copy of the monthly calendar in it for them to fill in daily, one number at a time.  Calendar notebooks can be a powerful tool for increasing accountability to pay attention during this repetitive time of day, and to review lots of concepts daily.   This is my “concept board” with all of our sight words stapled up next to the calendar so that children can practice them daily right along with their math concepts when we fill in our calendar book. I originally learned about the idea from the  I Teach K Conference in Las Vegas  in 2007, at a session by Shari Sloan. It sounded like a great idea, so I decided to try it. I took my masters from Shari Sloane’s website . She has a lot of prepared masters that you can download for your calendar book FREE!  I also now have a lot of free downloadable masters for you as well! The general idea of the calendar book

What to Put In a Fine Motor Skills Kit

Have you ever thought about putting together a "Fine Motor Skills Kit?"  This is a great thing to have in any preschool, pre-K, or Kindergarten classroom!  This post includes a complete list of what to put inside.  And I got most of them right out of my kitchen, classroom, or local dollar store! My fine motor skills kit includes lots of manipulatives that help children improve muscle control on the same muscles that are used in writing, cutting, etc. It is similar to many of the things that are shown here. It has: spray bottles, squeeze bottles, tweezers and pompom balls or cotton balls, clothes pins and small plastic baskets, modeling clay, medicine droppers, etc. Nuts and bolts to screw in are a great thing to add to it. I found some yesterday at Discount School Supply that come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, so they can practice sorting them and then screwing them together! It's great practice to peel and place stickers, too. Try opening and closing padlo

“Help! I have an extremely difficult child with a “helicopter” mom in my class. What should I do?”

This is a response that I posted on to a question about a problem with a very difficult child, and a "helicopter mom." In this case, a "Helicopter Mom" is a facetious name for a mother that hovers over her child constantly, rarely ever asking the child to take any responsibility for his or her actions. Although this entry applies to the teacher's situation specifically, I thought that it might be helpful to post it here, since I am sure that many of us have found ourselves in similar situations. Here it is! "I have a very difficult child that seems to always be instigating one kind of issue or another, with pushing, shoving, fighting, name calling, etc.  This is hard enough to deal with, but her mother is always there after school, insisting that her child didn't do any of these things and that I must be picking on her.  She wants me to soothe her child when she is upset by "holding and rocking her!"  This is KINDERGARTE

What To Do on the First Day of Kindergarten

Here are my lesson plans for the first day of Kindergarten!  Everyone has their own way of dealing with the first day of school. It’s always tough, but this is the routine that I have developed. I hope it gives you some ideas! On the first day of school, I always teach my students Zoo-Phonics , and read a first day of school story (hopefully about first day jitters- I like the book, “Will I Have a Friend?” ). Then I get out my dog puppet and read Wiggles Learns the Rules at School .   Wiggles, the dog, helps me read the story, and he acts it out as we go along. Of course, he breaks every rule, and the kids howl with laughter! Here's an example: At the end, he always gets it right, and we clap for him, and then he gets a star to wear that I attach with velcro. The kids would listen to that story every day for a month, if we had time for it. There are other Wiggles stories, too. This is how I teach my rules, along with some songs from my Classroom Management C