Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Counting to 100 You Tube Videos

Counting to 100 takes practice, repetition, and a LONG time!  Using music and movement helps keep young children engaged.  Here are some YouTube videos that will help your children count to 100.  You can use these all year and especially on the 100th Day of School.

This the the Macarena Count to 100 by Dr. Jean!  Love Dr. Jean :)


This is Counting Super Hero by Harry's Kindergarten.


This is Pump Up to 100 which will get your students moving.


This the the Big Numbers Song.

The is the Count to 100 Song.


Let's Get Fit and Count to 100 is from Jack Hartmann. Singing, moving, counting = learning.


Need some ideas for counting objects to 100 plus a FREE printable? Check out my 100th Day of School blog post.

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 Thanks for stopping by!

Photo Credit:  Dollar Photo Club

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

100th Day of School Activities

Are you needing activities for the 100th Day of School? Counting objects to 100 requires a lot of hands on practice and understanding of one-to-one correspondence.  Understanding that the numeral 100 means 100 objects requires even more hands practice.  Here are fun ways to work within 100 by using paint sticks and borders.


  • Dollar store border
  • Lids
I purchased this border at the Dollar Tree in the teacher section.  The border has the numbers 1-10 on it and came with 14 different strips.  The lids are from pouches (baby, toddler food).  You can substitute milk jug lids instead.

  • Children can lay the strips out counting by 10's to get to 100 (10 strips).
  • Children can put a lid on each number to practice one-to-one correspondence.
  • Add 1-2 dice to make it a game.
  • Each child rolls and adds that many lids to the 100 strips.  Game is over when they cover all of the numbers.
  • Children can play the game as above but use 2 different colored lids. Each child uses one color.  When the number strips are full, the children count their lids to see who has the most.  
  • For older children, they can tell how many more or how many less they have than their friend.


  • Copy the free printable (see below).
  • Cut in strips as seen above.
  • Paint the stick with Modge Podge.
  • Lay a number strip onto of the painted stick.
  • Put another coat of Modge Podge on top of stick.
  • Let dry.

  • Children place the sticks in order to make 100.
  • Have one child remove a stick.
  • The other child has to figure out which set of 10 has been removed.
  • Use the extra number strips to 120 (included in the free printable) after children master this skill. 


  • Set out number sticks.
  • Children arrange them to make 100.
  • Children use different manipulatives or counters to build 100.
  • Children can put the sets of 100 objects in plastic bags to compare the sizes of the bags. 
  • Remove a few counters as seen in picture below.
  • Child says the number of one of the empty squares (5).
  • Child tells what is one less (4) and removes that cube.
  • Child tells you what is one more (6) and removes that cube.
  • Play continues until all the cubes are removed.
Amazon links are included in this post.

  • Bump it up even more if the children are ready.
  • Remove a few counters as seen in the picture above.
  • Child says the number of one of the empty squares (27).
  • Child tells what number is 10 less than 27 (17) and removes the cube.
  • Child tell what number is 10 more than 27 (37) and removes the cube.
  • Play continues until all cubes are removed.

When your child has mastered working with the paint sticks to 100, you can added 2 more paint sticks to make the total go to 120.  Download your FREE printables HERE. 


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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Polar Bear YouTube Videos, Books, and Activities

Polar bears and winter are common themes during this time of the year.  If you need some video resources, online books, magazines, or a live web cam to help enhance your polar bear thematic unit, then this post is for you. I always use short videos as a hook when introducing new content to my students. Real photographs and short video clips engage young children and peak their interest and curiosity. They love to see the "real thing."

Here are some resources that I found on my search for great content videos on YouTube and the internet. I've included a link to an informational text article from a National Geographic Explorer along with links to other resources including an adorable art project that allows for your children's creativity to shine.  Remember you can sign up by email to received my future updates and blog posts.

This video talks about animal adaptations. The polar bear segment begins around the 7 minute mark and continues until the 11 minute segment. It compares and contrasts a polar bear vs. a brown bear. This would be a great way to use venn diagram to chart the differences. Young children could have a clipboard and paper to draw the differences while watching the video.



National Geographic for Kids has information about polar bears and a short video too. Click HERE.

Check out this  National Geographic Young Explorer Back Issue 2008 for an online magazine article that can be read to the children by clicking on the buttons.

The San Diego Zoo has a polar bear cam, video, and other information. Click HERE.

World Wildlife Fund has a wonderful FREE app that is about endangered animals.  They have information, videos, and more about polar bears.  Click HERE for a link to the app.

Polar Bear Polar Bear Turn Around is a cute poem featured on Twiggle Online Magazine. Click HERE.

The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett is currently a featured FREE book on WE GIVE

Read The Three Snow Bears to your students.  Discuss and list the experiences of the characters in The Three Snow Bears on chart paper.  Discuss and list the facts and details from the informational resources above on another chart. Use these charts to make a venn diagram comparing and contrasting polar bears in the literature to the polar bears in the informational text.

Whimsy Workshop has the most adorable tutorial for drawing a polar bear on her blog. Love, love, love!  Click HERE.

I hope this collection of resources make your planning over the next few weeks easier.  Have fun teaching about polar bears.  Don't forget to sign up by email so you don't miss any blog posts or resources.

If you are interested in online resources for penguins, visit my All About Penguins blogpost.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Penguin YouTube Videos and Resources

If you need some penguin videos to help enhance your penguin thematic unit, then this post is for you. I always use short videos as a hook when introducing new content to my students.  Photographs and short video clips engage young children and peak their interest and curiosity.  They love to see the "real thing." So I thought I would share what I found on my search for great content videos on YouTube.  I also added 3 cute video songs along with a link to 2 free online books.  You can sign up by email to received my future updates and blog posts.

This series is one of my favorites. They recently added the "aliens" to explain about nature to their latest video. Not sure if I like that new feature, but the information is great. Click subscribe on their channel because most of the previous ones are around 2 minutes and are perfect introductions to many different animals.


And this one is from Pottery Barn!

This one has a cute song on it along with the video.  The last minute has advertisement for the CD.

If you don't know about SafeShare.TV, check out their site to share safe view videos on YouTube.  It will remove all of the ads and put a gray border around the video to put it in safe view.  Click HERE to see more about SafeShare.TV.

Also, WE GIVE BOOKS is a great resource for online books. Currently, they have these books Emperor Penguins and Penguins: See How They Grow.  Both are excellent nonfiction books to read with your children.

National Geographic Young Explorer has an article in one of their back issues about penguin chicks. Click HERE for the link.

My friend Vanessa Levin at Pre-K Pages has a great Pinterest board with ideas to use in your Penguin theme and winter ideas too.  Click HERE for a link to her Pinterest board. While you are there, be sure and follow her boards.  They are amazing!

If you are looking for some nonfiction recording sheets for K-2, check out Victoria Moore's FREE Penguin Palooza.

Don't forget to sign up by email in the top right corner to receive updates on new blog posts.

 Thanks for stopping by! I hope these resources will be helpful in the coming weeks.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Reading and Writing Recycling Christmas Activities

Keeping children engaged and learning can be a challenge over winter break.  Here are 7 fun, engaging ways to keep your children reading and writing using recyclable materials from Christmas.

  • Cut out different shapes to make story covers.
  • Put paper inside.
  • Trim paper to fit shape stories.
  • Write stories about your winter vacation.
  • Send stories to school to share with friends.

  • Tear wrapping paper into pieces. 
  • Program or write the following skills on the torn paper depending of the skill level of the children.
  • Letters/Sounds
  • Sight Words 
  • Family Names  
  • Phonics Patterns Blends ( bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, sc, sk, sl, sn, sm, sp, st, tr, tw)
  • Phonics Patterns Digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh, ph)
  • Word Families Short a Words (at, an, ap, ab, am, ag)
  • Word Families Short e Words (eb, eg, en, et)
  • Word Families Short i Words (it, ip, ig, in)
  • Word Families Short o Words (ob, od, og, op, ot)
  • Word Families Short u Words (ub, ug, up, ut)
  • Long Vowel Word Families (ake, ine, oke)
  • Two Vowels Together Word Families (ai, ea, ee, oa, ue)
  • Opposites (hot/cold, up/down, over/under, day/night, go/stop)
  • Describing Words (chilly, hot, steaming, cold, wet, slippery)
  • Winter Words (cold, snow, snowball, snowflake, hot chocolate, mittens, coat)
  • Words with Prefixes (re, un)
  • Words with Suffixes (s, es, ing, er)
  • Numbers
  • Math Facts
  • Scrunch the paper into balls.
  • Throw in a pile.
  • Have the children open the paper balls and read the letters/sounds/words/numbers/ or solve the math facts.

  • Cut open the sides of the gift bags.
  • Put paper on the insides of the gift bags.
  • Write a story about your family's experiences or traditions.
  • Add real photographs or illustrations to you book.
  • Read your story to a friend or family member.
  • Hang your story on your doorknob.
  • Bring your gift bag back to school to share with your class.

  • Play can you find  . . . ?
  • Look for letters.
  • Look for sounds.
  • Look for phonics patterns.
  • Look for sight words.
  • Look for little words hiding in big words.
  • Look for suffixes.
  • Look for prefixes.
  • Look for antonyms (opposites).
  • Look for synonyms (words that mean the same).

  • Read the names.
  • Say the letters in the names.
  • Say the sounds of the letters in the names.
  • How many words can you make from the name?
  • Put them in ABC order.
  • Turn them over and write letters, sight words, theme words, weather words, etc. on the tags and make a matching memory game.

  • Cut off the back of the card.
  • Add a new piece of paper to the back.
  • Children can make new cards.
  • Children can write a story to match the picture.
  • Read the names on the cards.
  • Say the letters on the cards.
  • Say the sounds the letters make.
  • Take the first sound off the name and substitute if with a new sound.
    • Shane = take the "sh" off of Shane and and a "l" = lane
  • Look for little words hiding in big words (day = holiday, Christ, is, as = Christmas, is = wish)
  • Think of rhyming words to go with words on the cards.  
    • We = be, see, three, key, wish = dish, fish,  you = do, too, through, merry = cherry, Jerry, fairy, scary
  • Write the above skills on a dry erase board or paper.
Can you think of other ways to recycle these materials into educational games?  Leave your ideas in the comment section below.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Making the Polar Express

The Polar Express is one of my favorite books.  Building the Polar Express is one of my favorite activities to do with children.  All that is required is a box, paper, markers, tape, bells, and an imagination.

Sometimes we spend so much time trying to make our dramatic play center just perfect that we forget what they are all about . . . creativity, imagination, language, and play.  Throw in some books and some tickets and you add reading and writing to their play too.

The Polar Express train in the picture above is my favorite as my grandsons and I built it together.  It's our first of hopefully many more to come. Since they are young, I decided to cut small pieces of duct tape and put all over the box.  My grandson chose bells and ribbons along with some repurposed circles I had saved from a craft box.  They had fun taking the bells on and off and repositioning them to get them "just right."

We also added "windows" to our train using black construction paper to make it "dark." My grandson wanted rope for the train (red paper by wheels).  I asked him how we were going to make rope and he said with the red paper.  I cut long strips and he started twisting it like rope.  Young children are so creative.

When we finished the train, we sang Jingle Bells and read some stories.  Of course getting in and out of the train is the most fun and you need a new ticket each time. My favorite quote of the day came from my 3 year old grandson: "Nana K we need one of those tall things for our train."

I was going to get poster board for our "tall thing" but I stopped and asked. "What does the tall thing look like?" Reply:  "Like a man taking the tickets!"  He was referring to the conductor.

We recently took a ride on the official Polar Express Train in our area. And from my grandson's eyes, he was tall!  And he was also an amazingly fun conductor.  Unfortunately, I couldn't grant my grandson's wish of bringing that conductor to our house so we just pretended that I was the conductor and took the tickets. We also brainstormed what we would need to dress up like the conductor.  Pretend play is such a great time to build vocabulary while having fun too!


This week will mark one year from the hardest time in my life so far.  I lost my mother to cancer on December 21, 2013 and the week leading up to it was gut-wrenching.  My Mom was awesome. We didn't have much money growing up, but I didn't know it.  We used our imagination to create all kinds of things to play with.  My Mom was the best Grandma.  She could take a box and turn it into hours of fun for my own children.  My children have the best memories of time spent with their Grandma.

So this week, I am remembering my Mom in the way that she would want - preparing for her favorite holiday and making memories to last a lifetime for my own grandchildren.  

During this busy, hectic holiday season, remember to take the time to make your own lasting memories with the special people in your life.  I am so thankful for the many wonderful ones that my Mom made for me and my children.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Reindeer Activities

Children build language and emergent literacy skills through exposure to rhymes, songs, poetry, and stories.  By learning these fun rhymes and stories, they will increase their oral fluency skills which help build reading fluency.

Rhymes and chants are the ideal to focus on rhyming words.  Here is a new poem that I wrote about Santa and his reindeer.  Nine Little Reindeer provides rhythmic fun for everyone! Teach your children this rhyme and let them become familiar with the rhythm and language.  I made this prop below for whole group, small group, and as an independent literacy center.  The paint stick provides great fine motor practice too, as the children use their pincer grasp to add and remove Santa and his reindeer.

Amazon links included in this post.

  • 1 paint stick
  • 10 clothespins
  • Red duct tape
  • Glue gun or craft glue
  • FREE Printable (see below)

Nine little reindeer guiding Santa's sleigh.
Santa said, "Up, up, and away!"
The first one said, "Here we go!"
The second one said, "I see some snow!"
The third one said, "There's a nip in the air."
The fourth one said, "But we don't care!"
The fifth one said, "Let's fly across the sky."
The sixth one said, "We're going fast! Oh my!"
The seventh one said, "I see something bright."
The eighth one said, "It's a shiny red light!"
The ninth one said, "My nose is what you see."
Santa and his reindeer shouted, "WHEE!"
Then SWISH went the sleigh as it drove out of sight.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Kathy Griffin (c) Copyright 2014
Permission to post this poem on the Internet must be granted by the author. 
Please link to my site/this page if referring to this activity.


The children can act out the poem and wear antlers, reindeer headbands, or hold reindeer cards. They can put on a performance play for the class and parents too!

Choose 10 children to play the roles of the nine reindeer and Santa.  You can have a narrator or the class say the parts of the poem that are not the dialogue or sentences in quotations.  Keep on reading for the FREE printable link below.

Puppet Stands for Little Hands helps children put on plays independently or in a small group.  The cups provide the stability children need to move their puppet props as they retell the story.  I use the cups from the Dollar Tree in the birthday supply aisle for my puppet stands. They come in many colors and are sturdy.

  • Glue puppet pieces onto popsicle sticks.
  • Cut a small slit in the top of a paper cup.   
  • Place the popsicle stick in the cup.  
  • Read to play!
  • Remove the puppet sticks and stack the cups when finished.  
  • Store in small container or bin.
  • Play repeat and echo.
  • Say a line to the poem and have the children repeat it.
  • Do a choral reading where everyone says it together. 
  • Find the rhyming words in the poem.
  • When the children have learned the poem, leave off the rhyming word and have them guess what word would fit.
  • When finished with the poem, list the rhyming words on chart paper.
  • Can they children think of other words that rhyme?
  • Focus rhyming words include:  sleigh, away, go, snow, air, care, sky, my, bright, light, see, whee, sight, night
  • Put the reindeer in numerical order.
  • Teach math skills such as ordinal position (1st, 2nd, 3rd . . ). 

If you like this activity you might be interested in the full packet which includes the printable story, headband cards, story retelling cards, and puppet pieces for the Puppet Stands for Little Hands.  To find out more about this packet CLICK HERE.

Click HERE for your FREE printable that can be used with the paint stick activity.  It also includes the words to the poem. 

Have fun using this poem to teach rhyming, number recognition, and ordinal position.

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