Halloween is a great time to talk about how skeletons are not just a scary decoration, but really part of our body.

One of my favorite things to do around Halloween was to teach my Kindergartners the BONES Song by Dr. Jean Feldman.  You sing it to the tune of Macarena.  If you would like to hear it, I found several examples on YouTube by typing in Dr. Jean Bones Song.


Here are the words:

My Kindergartners would touch each part of their body as they sang the words.  The best part was when parents told me their kids would sing this when they visited their Pediatrician!

Here are a few fun skeleton books:

We also made these big skeletons and posed them in funny ways around our classroom.  Sometimes we cut the sides of of the paper plate faces to look more like skulls, but I kind of like the round, happy look!

I liked this project so much I still use it to decorate for my grandchildren!!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


Room on the Broom

Scan 269

I know this book was published in 2001, but it is new to me!  I ordered it from a recent Scholastic Book Order, and I have loved reading it to my grandchildren!   There are lots of ideas of activities to use with this book on Pinterest, as well as the website  If you have a chance, check them out!

I think this story would be great for retelling!  My favorite way to retell stories is to act them out.  Here are some pictures of the characters that I found online and enlarged.  You could print them on cardstock and punch holes to make yarn necklaces, or put them on headbands for the children to wear.

witch cat

Good characters 2 dog

Good characters 3 


Here is a smaller set that you could print out, add magnets and retell on a magnetic board.

character cutouts

Or finger puppets!

ROTB-activity-sheet-4 (1)

Please check out the websites noted on these pages, they have great ideas!  Also, check out this site for more great graphics!

story cut outs

Another activity would be to sequence some of the events of this story.

Sequence board 

The children would just cut out the pictures on the following page and glue them onto the recording sheet in the order they happened in the story.

Sequence pieces

This story was just full of great examples of problems and solutions.  As well as generating some great discussions you might ask children to identify the problem represented by each picture, and find the picture that represents the solution.

Problem solution 1 

Problem solution

There are 2 of each item on this page – each child would get a half sheet.

This book is full of rich vocabulary.  I think it might be helpful to have some illustrations to help children understand these unfamiliar terms.

vocabularyYou might choose one or two fun new words to concentrate on, and then look for opportunities to use these new words over and over in your classroom.  I love the word “magnificent!”

The rhymes in this book make it fun to read, but I don’t think I would emphasize the skill of rhyming.  The words that rhyme are far apart in the story, and children who are still gaining confidence in rhyming might have trouble recognizing the rhymes.  But it would be fun to point out the phrases that are repeated through the book, and emphasize those rhymes – room/broom, ground/found, be/me and on/gone.

Another teacher in my building made a great bulletin board display – she cut out a very large paper broom and taped it up horizontally.  Then each child created an animal or character that might be riding on the broom, and she mounted those pictures as if they were riding on the broom, with the title, “Is There Room on the Broom for Me?”

Maybe you have been using this book for years and love it too!  I would love to hear how you use it in your classroom!


Fire Safety

I’m so excited because we leave tomorrow for DisneyWorld!  Owen will miss a few days of preschool and their unit on Fire Safety, so I thought I might have a chance to share a few things with him, just to introduce the topic.

I already shared a lot of my Fire Safety unit, if you are interested just type “fire safety’ into the search bar.  I always think a song is a great way to help children remember facts, so I wanted to sing this song with Owen.  I found it at  On their great site you can hear the song, but if you don’t remember the tune I just sing it to a sloppy rendition of the Farmer in the Dell.

Song 1

Song 2

I think this song does a good job introducing and explaining basic fire safety rules very simply.  I wrote out the words for Owen (have I bragged about what a super reader he is?) and also made a chart of the basic rules.

Fire song


I thought he might also miss out on a discussion of Stop, Drop and Roll, so I made another chart for him.  I am cutting out some orange felt “flames” that I can stick onto the kids’ clothes.  We will practice what they would do if their clothes ever caught on fire.

stop drop

I sing that to the tune of Three Blind Mice.

We all had a great time at the Commerce Township Fire Safety Open House last weekend, even though it was a rainy day!  Lily was the only one willing to squirt the fire hose, but we all had fun!




Halloween Senses Book

I love getting comments from readers!  Awhile ago, Aaron made a comment on one of my posts that helped me decide to do a remake 0f a Holiday Senses Book that I shared.  The Five Senses are an important part of Kindergarten Science curriculum, so I liked to reinforce them in different ways through the year.   One of the things that helps children be successful reading this book, even early in the school year, is that I included pictures for the senses and little helper pictures to remember what goes on each page. Of course, you probably have some different ideas of things to put on each page, feel free to change it to make it work for your class!       I cut apart a clipart picture of a skeleton into 3 pieces.  The children cut them out and assemble them.     The children cut out the word bubble BOO! and glue it on the top.  They can just draw a ghost, or if you use colored paper they could use white chalk, paint, or construction paper to create their own ghost.   The most tactile thing I could think of is the inside of a pumpkin.  I always loved bringing in a pumpkin to carve, and encouraging the children to touch the pulp and seeds.  On this page I would ask the children to free cut a pumpkin, then cut off the top.  I would give them each a couple of pumpkin seeds to glue on.   I had trouble thinking of a Halloween smell, but my class always went to an apple orchard this time of year, and enjoyed cinnamon donuts!  I would put cinnamon into a shaker and give the children paint brushes with watery glue.   One option for this page would be just to give each child a small candy and after they taste it they could glue the wrapper on the page.  Or you could give them each a couple of candy corns and ask them to color this one to glue on.

Here are pdf copies of the book pages and clipart.

Halloween Senses

skeleton clipart


candy corn

Happy Halloween!

Fire Safety

Every year I had to make so many difficult decisions about what to teach.  Of course I was responsible for the district Kindergarten curriculum, which was based on State Benchmarks, which were developed from National Standards; but I had choices about HOW to teach that curriculum.  In Kindergarten much of the curriculum can be taught or reinforced through lots of different units.  I always tried to integrate math and language arts into our science and social studies units, and I loved to spend time on topics that my children were interested in.  But from year to year I switched off some units, and lengthened or shortened some, depending on lots of specific factors.   Some years I spent quite a lot of time on Fire Safety and Fire prevention, other years I just hit the main points.  Rachel is already planning her fall units, and asked for some ideas – so here goes!

I usually began a unit by thinking through what I wanted the children to learn, and came up with 5-6 important ideas.  For Fire Safety, like lots of other units – I loved to introduce these facts with a puppet.  You could use a bear puppet who might come and tell about his “cousin” Smokey the Bear, or a dog puppet – talking about Dalmatians and how they are sometimes called Fire Dogs.  A puppet is always an effective way to share information with young children.  You might want to make a fire hat from a red foam sheet or construction paper – I will include some simple patterns that you could resize on a copy machine to fit your puppet.

Your puppet might bring along a backpack or something to hold pictures of things like a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher, a fire engine, or telephone to call 911.  If you ever come across tiny replicas of these things that would be even better!   I found these cute pictures online:

You could even turn these into stick puppets.  Here is a suggestion of things you could tell children about them:

You might like to make Fireman Fingerpuppets.  You could use one to share information, then when the children make one you could encourage them to talk abou fire safety too!

finger puppet

Here is a book about Fire Safety that I made.

Some years our local fire department would bring a fire truck to school, occasionally we took a field trip to a fire station.  Even when we didn’t have a chance to see a fire fighter in person I would talk about the protective clothing they wore, and how their face might be covered, and the noise of the air tanks.

I included the main points I wanted my class to remember in this book.  Through the unit we would discuss and read about lots of other elements of fire prevention, but these were my main focus.  I sent home a note telling parents we were discussing fire safety and encouraging them to make a family plan, and find a safe meeting place.

 We would practice touching the door with the back of our hand, and talked about the importance of closing your bedroom door at night.

I read a fun suggestion to take a piece of roll paper and have the class color it to look like smoke.  Then 2 adults could hold the edges of the paper and the children could crawl under it – as a reminder that they need to stay low to breathe more easily.

 We would talk about the importance of helping a Fire Fighter find you, and that even though you might be scared you would never hide.

We would practice Stop, Drop and Roll.  I made flames from orange, yellow and red felt glued together.  I put a flame on a child’s clothing and they had to demonstrate this technique.  They loved it!

  We would talk about how you wait until you are safely away from a fire to call 911.  We also talked about the word emergency – and how important it is to know your address to tell the fire department.

Here is a copy of this book:

Safety Rules book

I put tiny picture cues on most pages to help the children figure out what the page says.  You might want to do this entire book at one time, or just one page a day.  Here are the clipart pictures I used:

book pictures

You could simplify this a bit by just gluing on pictures instead of cutting and pasting the tree, door, etc.

I Know Fire Safety Rules clipart

Dramatic play was a very important part of my classroom – I already shared our Fire Safety play but here are a few pictures.

I turned our play center into a fire station – these “fire fighters” were answering an emergency call.  I found an old red jacket they used for a uniform.

I cut off a length of an old garden hose.  These children are sitting on “Benchley” as a fire engine – other times it was a car, plane, train, etc.

I gave a full description under the Play heading on my blog, but the fire hydrant was a gas pump covered with paper.  The burning building was a magnet board – the kids drew an apartment or office building and I taped it over the magnet board.  Then I put magnets on felt flames.  They could pretend to put out the fire and remove the flames.

Here are some song ideas – I did not make these up, but I am not sure where they originated, sorry!


I found this website

  • it contained this song, including pictures.  If you go to the site you can click to hear the music, but I found it works pretty well to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.

    Song 1

    Song 2

    Here is another idea that someone shared with me – near the end of your unit, set up a maze using tables, chairs and classroom props.  You could give children the choice of being blindfolded, to simulate not being able to see in heavy smoke.  The children would crawl on their hands and knees through the obstacle course and then you could have a designated “safe” place in the classroom that they would run to, to meet up with the rest of the class.

    Here is one version of the story of Smokey the Bear.

    If you choose to talk about Smokey, or use a bear puppet, you might want to try this activity.  Each child could hold a simple bear shape with a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other.  You could read scenarios like these and the children show whether it would make Smokey happy or sad.

    Sad bear

    Here are more craft ideas that I have accumulated in my files:

    You would also supply a circle, or tracer to cut one, for the face, and some way to make hair.

    Each child only needs one hat.

    Paperbag puppet


    Here are the pieces you need to glue onto the styrofoam cup.,

    Fire stuff

    Fire truck project

    Here is a 2 page template to be taped together to make a fire fighter hat large enough for your kids to wear.

    Fire hat

    Here are a couple of books I found online.


    Fire safety book

    Here is a cut and paste fire truck

    firetruck template


    Toilet paper roll fireman

  •      Sesame Street
  • Stop, drop, roll
Here is a book
Here are some great pictures from Do2Learn
 picture cards
safety picts
If you are as organized as Rachel, and starting to plan Fall and October lessons, I hope you find something helpful here!
I hope your school year is off to a great start!

Cycle of the Pumpkin

I am sure many of you are familiar with this fun project – I saw it at a conference many years ago.  After I cut out the dip at the top of 2 plates for each child, they paint the entire plates orange – a bit messy but fun!  Then I staple the 2 plates together and staple a heavy duty piece of green yarn near the top of one side.  As we learn about the cycle of the pumpkin the children add one piece each day – the seed, the vine, the flower, the little pumpkin (green), the big pumpkin, and then they paint a jack o lantern face on one side.  As we retell the cycle we show the pumpkin side until the very end.  Sometimes I have the children put a big orange pumpkin on the string, sometimes we just use the plain side of the pumpkin for the big pumpkin.  The children love doing this and it is great reinforcement for cycles.  There are many choices of great books to go with this.

You could do this project in one day, but we add one piece each day – that gives lots of time to reinforce the cycle.  Along with this project we made a book.  The words were in the pocket chart and we reread them every day.

I used this title because we also learned a song to go along with this.  I love using so many modalities for children with different interests and strengths.

The song is to the tune of  Mary Had a Little Lamb – we act out hand motions that go with it.

Do you know how pumpkins grow

Pumpkins grow

Pumpkins grow

Do you know how pumpkins grow

In my garden?

First I’ll plant a pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed

First I’ll plant a pumpkin seed in my garden.

Rest of the verses:

Then the vine and leaves will grow …

Then the blossoms will appear …

Then the little pumpkins grow …

At last the pumpkins will turn orange …

Then I’ll carve a funny face, funny face, funny face.

Then I’ll carve a funny face on my pumpkin.

Depending on the group of children I have each year, and how many sight words I have introduced – I often change this text to read “I can see the seed.”  If I have not introduced I and can yet, I use this simpler text and spend that week reinforcing the word see.  I make a point of introducing the word THE very early in the year.  I’ll be sharing more sight word things.

For this seed page I just had the children color the page brown for dirt and stick on 2 white stickers.  If I was not doing the pumpkin project already using real pumpkin seeds I probably would glue those on.

On the pumpkin project we fold up a coffee filter and dip it into yellow food coloring.  For this page I just folded up cupcake papers.  You could do either one.

It is really fun if you can bring in a pumpkin growing on the vine with a blossom still attached so they can see it all.  If you can’t bring one in you could photograph one showing all the parts.  Of course there are many books too.

On this page I already had a clipart picture of a pumpkin and the children used the warming tray (meant to keep buffet foods warm) and peeled crayons to color it.  This is a really fun technique if you haven’t tried it!  You can often find warming trays at garage sales.  The crayon melts quickly and dries really fast – it looks like paint.  Of course you could just cut out or draw a pumpkin too.

Our school had an Ellison die cut machine – I precut the pumpkins and the kids put yellow paper behind the eye and mouth shapes.  You probably noticed that I included picture cues to help the children read the text as well as to help them be sure they are working on the correct page.  I almost always give the children a book that is stapled together to start with, sometimes they put a project on the wrong page if they don’t have a reminder picture.

Rhyming Leaf Book

This is the cover I used for the rhyming leaf book.  I put 2 on a page so after xeroxing I can just collate and cut it in half to make 2 books at a time.

I found a way to save the originals of this book as a pdf file.  If you are interested in printing it off please click the following link – thanks!


What I love about this book is that it introduces a simple pattern that you can use over and over again – like Brown Bear Brown Bear!  It also is a great way to introduce rhyming because the words are so simple and easy to hear the sounds.  I start the year doing this Leaf book but then change it to Pumpkins by the house… Snowman by the house… Hearts by the house…, etc.

The small pictures give a reminder clue about the word.  After acting this out and reading it several times with the children they can independently use the words and picture cues to add a simple cut and paste art project to each page.  Then they individually read it to me before taking it home to read with their families.

Please forgive this but I spent a LOT of time trying to figure out how to flip these pictures and finally gave up – so I am posting them sideways – did I mention I really don’t know much about this stuff?  But I wanted to give you an idea of the finished books.

Seasons of An Apple Tree

To reinforce our social studies objective of seasons and as a follow up for our apple orchard field trip we made a simple Apple shaped book.  The children just glued on a rectangle for a tree trunk on each page, and added details – winter – they drew branches, spring they tore light green paper and added bits of pink cotton balls.  Summer – they tore green paper and added apples by dipping a pencil eraser in red paint ( tearing paper is great for strengthening fine motor), Fall – they dipped squares of tissue into glue and added them to the tree trunk.

Halloween Counting Book

I loved making this Halloween Counting Book as a countdown to Halloween.  It gave me an opportunity to practice numeral writing and sense of number along with Halloween fun.  I also tied in literature and activities that went along with each page.  We began with Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian (even better if you can con someone into coming in wearing a witch costume.)

The text read 1 Witch on Halloween Night.  We read many witch books – including Humbug Witch.

We worked on rhyming – cat and bat, and learned bat facts.

We did a KWL activity about our bones and skeletons.  The children learned the bones song from Dr. Jean, touching the appropriate bones as we sing.  We created this page using the edge of a tongue depressor and the end of a toilet paper tube – dipped in white paint.  Then we used a toothpick to add eyes and details.  The ribs were a tongue depressor broken in half.

Page 4  was 4 Ghosts all dressed in White.  Sorry I don’t have a photo of that page – the children glued on 4 ghosts.  They were made by wrapping a tissue over a cotton ball and then wrapping a rubber band around it.  The kids used markers to add eyes.  They also used a piece of yellow chalk over the page to add a spooky feel before they glued on the ghosts.

The children created these pumpkins by gluing on squares of orange tissue paper.  These papers dried overnight,  then they cut out the 5 pumpkin shapes and added faces with markers.  We also had been learning facts about pumpkins, poems, etc.

This was the cover I used last year.  Sometimes I simply had the children draw Halloween things – or copied a different picture.  I had all the pages stapled into a book before we began, the children added the text and did one page each day.  As they completed the page they would read the entire book to me from the beginning up to today’s page.  That provided some one on one reading time with me – I would reinforce pointing to each work and looking at the beginning letter, etc. Because I had put the words in the pocket chart and we had reread it many times, the children were all able to “read” this book by the end of the week when they took it home.

I hope some of you might enjoy trying out this book too!