Saturday, July 11, 2015

Back to School Planning

I just returned from presenting at the SDE National Conferences, and WOW I am so inspired by all of the teachers I met. There was so much energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to our children. I will be sharing some slides from my sessions over the next coming days and weeks.  First up is a topic I am very passionate about.


I know many times we feel like we have no control over what happens in our classroom because of changing standards, assessments, or political mandates.  But we really do.  How we choose to teach those standards can make all of the difference.  

How will our students best learn these standards?  As early childhood educators, what do we know about teaching young children?  Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees.  But we must see clearly when planning learning activities for our students.  When looking at our curriculum and standards, we must remember to use our early childhood lens.  Young children learn through play.  Young children learn through hands-on, minds-on activities.  Worksheets do not keep our young children engaged.  A recording sheet can just be another name for a worksheet.  Balance is key when planning activities.  


We tend to overplan.  Overplanning is fine but don't let it consume you.  Pinterest and blogs are amazing resources, but everything you do does not have to be picture perfect.  Don't wear yourself out trying to make everything color-coded, sprinkled with glitter, and in a perfect package.  Children like authentic.  You establish the climate of the classroom.  You make a difference.  

I hope you are enjoying your summer break, even though I know most of you are already thinking about the upcoming school year.  Don't forget to add some time in there to relax too.

See you again soon!

Photo Credits:  Dollar Photo Club

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Earth Day Kid's Activities

Are you ready for Earth Day on April 22nd? Do you need some videos, books, songs, and activities for Earth Day?  I have rounded up the following resources to make your planning easier.  Enjoy!

This is a cute song from Patty Shukla. Don't forget to subscribe to her channel while you are there.

The next video is from Reading Rainbow. Levar Burton shows what happens to all of the things we recycle. Wow!  This one is fantastic! Give your children a clipboard with post-it-notes or notebook to write down interesting facts as they watch the video.  They can draw pictures, write words, or both to record their thinking. Use their recordings to build an anchor chart or list of how things are recycled.

This video is from D-rop (drop of water) explaining reduce, reuse, recycle.  Cute and engaging for children.

Need an uplifting, catchy song for your children to sing? I've used this one with my children for a few years. Love, love, love!  They can learn the same motions as the children and even draw their own back ground posters to hold up as they sing. This would be a great way to share information with other classes by putting on a performance show.

You've gotta love Harry's Kindergarten and all of his videos. He has two on his YouTube channel that would be great for Earth Day.

This one adds in some movement too.  I call that a win-win video.

Here are some great books about recycling for Earth Day.   Many of these have a kindle version.  If you have a kindle or an iPad, you can use these books to display on a projector or put in a folder for independent reading and research. The kindle version is usually at a reduced price.

The first book has a preview to show what it is about. I included the link to it on Amazon (affiliate link below). I like how it gives examples of what it does "not" mean to be going green.


Here is the book version link:
What Does It Mean To Be Green? Book Version

Here is a link to Pre-K Pages blog. She has a cute song about recycling and other book suggestions.

Here are some links to free products on Teachers Pay Teachers that would work great with your Earth Day theme.

Earth Day Book
Earth Day Emergent Reader
Earth Day Fold and Snip Book
Earth Day Adapted Song Book

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Earth Day!

Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club - WavebreakMediaMicro

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Zoo Animals Songs

Do you need some fun songs about the zoo for your children?  Get your children singing and moving to these fun animal songs on YouTube.

This video is one of my all time favorites.  Your children can sing, move, and count too.

We're going to the zoo!  How about you?

This video gives movement examples for the children to do while they are singing.  Move, sing, and build vocabulary while having fun!

If you are talking about monkeys, you'll love this version of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  Check out these math and reading activities to do with Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

One of the favorite animals my children love to watch at our zoo is the otter.  Jack Hartmann's song is perfect because you get to watch a real-live otter while you sing and move.

Remember to sign up by email at the top right corner of my blog to receive updates. Thanks for stopping by!

Giraffe Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club (anyatikhonova)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentine's Day Songs on YouTube

Valentine's Day is on its way!  It's time for writing cards and sharing with friends.  Here are some fun Valentine's Day videos and songs to make your day more fun along with some activity suggestions for teaching rhyming words, sight words, following directions, and story problems. Don't forget to sign up by email in the top right corner of my blog to receive more ideas for having fun while learning too.

The first video is by Jack Hartmann.  Need I say more? Boogie! Shake! Cha cha! Monkey! Have fun dancing with your children.


This cute song is sung to the tune of Bingo. Listen and follow the directions.  FUN!

Valentine colors are everywhere! Work on the color sight words at the same time.  Also, can your children find the words that rhyme?  Can they say a word that rhymes with the colors of the valentines?

Who doesn't love this next song? My own children loved singing this song except we kept singing it faster and faster!  Let your children act out the motions too.

Five Little Hearts is great for counting and using for story problems.  Can your children make up their own version to this song?  Call 5 children up to the front and give them a red heart.  Let them act out the song.  Or give each child 5 hearts.  They can hold up the hearts in order just like the song.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to sign up by email for more blog post updates. See you soon.

Video credit:  Dollar Photo Club (Chasing Moments)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Subitizing with Stickers

Subitizing is crucial for children to develop number sense. Subitizing is the ability to know the amount in the set without counting. It's an instant recognition.  Compare it to learning sight words.  It is instant recognition of the total. Our young children need many opportunities with counting objects in many arrangements to master this skill.

Here is a fun way to work on subtilizing using foam or raised stickers. The children can touch/feel/count and also practice on subitizing.  I used 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper and large heart sticks found at the Dollar Tree for these cards.  You can also use laminated card stock or 4x6 index cards.

I first arranged the stickers into dice configurations and let the children practice telling me what they saw.  "What do you see?" is an open-ended question which allows the children to work on their own level and encourages higher-level mathematical thinking.  Let's look at the arrangement in the picture above.  Some children will recognize there are 6.  Some children will see 3 + 3= 6.

I also make subitizing cards using two different colors.  Children can work on many different levels this way.  Some children will be counting the set to know that is has 5 hearts.  Some children will be working on subitizing or "knowing" there are 5 hearts without counting.   Some children will begin to see that 5 can be a set of 2 and 3 as show below with the 2 different number combinations.

Materials needed:

  • Paper
  • Stickers

Easy, peasy!  Lots of learning happening!

Have fun subitizing!  Don't forget to sign up by email at the top right corner of the page.

Thanks for stopping by!

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.

 Don't forget to sign up by email in the top right corner of my blog to receive more ideas on teaching young children through music, play, and hands on learning.

 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. 


Don't forget to sign up by email in the top right corner of my blog to receive updates as I post new ideas for teaching young children to learn through play and hands on materials.

Thanks for stopping by!