Video segment about me, by the school district

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow

In January, one book that I can't wait to read to my students is There Was A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow.  I like it because it's really great for remembering details and sequencing.  It's also a fabulous link to talking about temperature and different types of weather and seasons.  I compare this book to previous books that we've read, such as There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A BatThere Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie, and There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Trout.  In fact, every month of the school year I do a different version of this story.  I always make props that my students can use to say what she swallowed first, second, third, etc.  I use large pictures when we do whole-group retells, and smaller pictures for them to sequence on sentence strips for their seat work.

Please enjoy these January giveaways.
Sequencing Pictures for There Was A Cold Lady Swallowed Some Snow

Pictures for There Was A Cold Lady Swallowed Some Snow

If you want more "Old Lady Who..." props, look at my store on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Story Props for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat
Story Props for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie
Story Props for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Trout

There's a really great song by Dr. Jean Feldman (from Keep On Singing And Dancing With Dr. Jean, which you can find here) called "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly."  I especially like this song because instead of ending the rhyme with "...perhaps she'll die," Dr. Jean says "...perhaps she'll cry."  And at the very end of the song, after she swallows the horse, it says "...this is a silly song, of course."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gingerbread Integration

My pre-k students really enjoy the fact that they can go to Library Center and pick up a book to read by themselves.  I made this very simple gingerbread counting book for just that purpose.

Number Gingerbread Man Book

I read the book to my students during guided reading, and I also had gingerbread cookies for them to count.  They placed the correct amount of cookies on each laminated page of the book.  I also found a great song on iTunes by Tiana called "The Gingerbread Men."  The song counts backwards from 5 and includes a pretty neat rhyming pattern.  One additional thing that I did with the song was to give my students gingerbread number cards.  Throughout the song, as each gingerbread man got eaten the student holding that number gave it to me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pudding Color Mixing

Two colors of pudding being mixed on plates using marshmallows

My pre-k students LOVE to mix colors.  As a blind teacher, I always look for ways for my sighted students to experience projects with all five of their senses.  Paint is wonderful, but it doesn't smell very good, and you can't eat it.  So why not try vanilla pudding mixed with food coloring?  Fill a bowl with red pudding, a bowl with blue pudding, and a bowl with yellow pudding.  Have the students identify all three colors.  Give each student a small plate with a teaspoon of pudding and have them identify the color of pudding they received.  Have each student choose a second color of pudding to add to their plate, and use a marshmallow to mix the two colors together.  Have them pretend that their white marshmallow is a mouse, like in the story Mouse Paint.  (Mouse Paint at  My ESOL students spoke more during this project than I ever heard them speak before.  My four-year-olds started to use words like "squishy," "smooth," and "sticky."  Additional books that I've used for my students with color mixing include:

White Rabbit's Color Book on
The Color Kittens on

One song that I found about color mixing is:

"Color Changes" by Newbridge Songs for Learning

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snowman Action Book

This is a book that I made for my kindergarten class a few years ago.  Since the snow is coming, I thought it would be a great resource for others to use in January.  Some things I did after printing out the book to use with my kids were: highlight high-frequency words in the book, have them re-write the sentence, share reading the book with 3 other students in the classroom, and take the book home and read to siblings or parents.

Snowman Action Book

Monday, December 26, 2011

Snowman Numbers

As I was shopping in the grocery store with a sighted companion, we found the cutest little marshmallow snowmen.  I thought "What a wonderful way to make math time magical!"  I made the following number line as a PowerPoint file:

Snowman number line from 0 to 10

Not only does placing the marshmallows on the number line teach one-to-one correspondence, but it really holds my students' attention, helping them to focus on each individual numeral.  Some of my students also started to understand "Oh, 5 is one more than 4."  Having been a kindergarten teacher for 17 years, I know that it's vital to help younger students learn their numbers from 1 to 10.  My students often say how much they love math, especially when it's something that they can see, smell, touch, and finally eat at the end of the lesson.

A kindergarten teacher at my school saw me doing this and asked for something more sophisticated, so I made her a sheet for 1 to 35 with the same snowmen, for her to use with the marshmallows.

Snowman counting sheet from 1 to 35 in rows of 5

Take a look at this product on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Numeral Recognition With Snowmen

My pre-k students are excellent counters.  However, they have trouble matching numerals to objects.  I found a great winter song on iTunes called "Six Little Snowmen" by LifeWay Praise Kids.  It counts backwards from six to one, and has each snowman melt as the sun comes out (a great science link).  I went to Michael's Art & Craft and got six plush snowmen.  I then put little, laminated and brailled necklaces on each snowman.

Plush snowmen wearing teacher-made number necklaces

The children use these snowmen also in Math Center and sing the song independently.  I like using things that the children can feel and interact with.  The literature link that I used after the song and counting activity was Frosty The Snowman.  It's a really good book based on the classic song "Frosty The Snowman" by Bing Crosby.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Gingerbread Girl

I've collected gingerbread books for many years.  My girls often ask me, after we finish reading The Gingerbread Boy, if there is one about a gingerbread girl.  There is, and it's really cute.

Book cover of The Gingerbread Girl

For fine motor practice, I have my students draw gingerbread boys and gingerbread girls (whichever one they choose).  I have found, however, that pre-k students will often tell me "I don't know how to draw it."  So I've made two books that sequence the steps of putting on the eyes, nose, etc.: My Gingerbread Boy and My Gingerbread Girl (pictured below).

"My Gingerbread Girl" Book

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread Baby Book

I love reading gingerbread books around this time of year.  They're so perfect to read in public school because they don't have any religious or commercial agendas.

Book cover of Gingerbread Baby

Gingerbread Baby especially is a wonderful book because it talks about the fact that it was a cold day, and it would be really nice to make gingerbread.  I went to the grocery store and got cinnamon sticks and ginger root, as well as gingerbread cookies.  Before reading the book, my assistant and I gave each child an opportunity to smell the cinnamon stick and the ginger root.  Since most of my students speak Spanish as their primary language, the more opportunities that I can give them for vocabulary development, the better their language becomes.  We received some wonderful responses from the kids, such as "That smells like pie or cookies!" and "My mom puts that on my toast."

We read the book, pausing to ask the students what they thought the main character, Mattie, was doing after the gingerbread baby ran away.  One boy said "He was making another gingerbread baby."  A girl said that Mattie was making a gingerbread girl so she wouldn't run away.  Another student thought that Mattie was making a whole family.  What great responses!  I was so surprised that one of my students even said that Mattie was making a house for the gingerbread boy, which was exactly what Mattie was doing in the book.  We asked that student why he thought Mattie was making a house, and he replied "Well, because he doesn't have his own house."

Following our discussion of the book, we did a great song by Jack Hartmann called "The Gingerbread Man," in which the children got to act out the story.  They pretended that they were characters from the story, skipping, running, hopping on top of the fox, and finally eating the gingerbread cookie that had been placed in their hand in the beginning.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Great songs to use in the winter

Currently I'm working on a theme called "Weather & Seasons."  I didn't choose this theme - it's part of the pre-k curriculum chosen by my county.  I've been trying desperately to find concrete activities that my students could participate in, to help them understand what they would experience during the different seasons.  These two snowflake songs are excellent for getting little ones up and moving while learning about weather, natural phenomena, personal space, and how to move in a creative fashion:

"Swirl, Twirl, Melt and Pop Up" by Kate Kuper and Neal Robinson
"Snowflake Dance" by Surie Levilev

A friend, who is a performer herself, found out that I really wanted white dance scarves.  I've searched the internet for two years trying to find such a product.  I can't say how pleased I was when my friend presented me with a bag of them!  The children use the scarves to represent snowflakes, and it really allows them to feel the lightness and delicacy of how a snowflake would move.  It often seems to me that if young children are given completely open-ended time for dancing, they become slightly wild.  I have observed that the scarves allows children to exercise their creativity but also gives them an object to focus on so they do not get out of control.