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Archive for the ‘Primary Education, Montessori and Kindergartens’ Category

Fraction Simplification

Posted by teacher on April 26, 2016

What You Need:

  • Deck of playing cards (with face cards removed)
  • Even number of players
  • Paper
  • Pencils

What You Do:

  1. Create a fraction bar sheet by drawing a line across a piece of paper. 
  2. Set up the game so that the players face one another. For each pair of two players, you’ll need to create a separate fraction game board.
  3. Shuffle the deck of cards.
  4. Distribute the deck evenly between the two players.
  5. Have the players place their decks face down in front of them.
  6. Players should begin by simultaneously turning over a card from their decks and place it on the fraction bar sheet. Each player should place one card above the fraction bar. The cards above the fraction bar represent the numerator.
  7. Then, players should place one card below the fraction bar. The card below the bar represents the denominator.
  8. There should be a card above the bar and a card below the bar, giving you four cards total.
  9. The first player to correctly simplify the fraction shown by the cards wins all four cards. If a tie results, split the cards evenly.
  10. If the fraction can’t be simplified, each player should collect the card that the other player put down and position it at the bottom of his deck.
  11. Play continues until one player has accumulated all of the cards.
  12. Alternatively, you could set a time limit on the game. When time is up, the player with the most cards wins!

Practice Reading with a Rainbow Puzzle!

Posted by teacher on April 19, 2016

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Envelopes
  • Markers in assorted colors
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Write the sight word on a piece of paper. A typical kindergarten sight word list may include words such as: I, see, am, the, me, my, like, go, have, do, but, no, said, on, make, you, a, it, is, play, we, can. Make the letters about 2″ high and 1″ apart.
  2. Outline the letters in one or two different colors so each letter has a rainbow effect. Use bright colors like red and yellow, blue and purple, or green and orange!
  3. Cut out each letter in a fun zigzag or jigsaw format.
  4. Put the finished puzzle into an envelope. Write the word on the outside of the envelope to store the puzzle and so your child can use it as a visual aide as she’s solving it.
  5. Hand your child the envelope and dump the letters onto the floor or table. Mix up the pieces, and then challenge her to put the puzzle back together! Recognizing the letters and stringing them together is an important step for your emerging reader, and this colorful puzzle is a fun way to practice!

Pipe Cleaner Letters

Posted by teacher on April 9, 2016

What You Need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pictures of letters for reference (if necessary)

What You Do:

  1. Take two (or more if necessary) pipe cleaners and bend and twist them to create the lowercase letters “a” and “t”. Put them together.
  2. Have your child create the letters c, b, m, and p.
  3. Put the “c” your child created in front of your “at”.
  4. Have your child read the word.
  5. Repeat this process with the rest of the letters he created.

You can repeat this activity with “ie” and have your child create words like lie, tie, die, and pie. Don’t forget, you can also practice with uppercase letters!

Fish Me a Word

Posted by teacher on April 8, 2016

What You Need:

  • List of sight words (see below)
  • Construction paper
  • Piece of string or yarn
  • Large wooden spoon (for fishing rod)
  • 12 paper clips
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Magnet (a small refrigerator one works great)

Sight words:

ate be black brown
but came did do
eat four get good


What You Do:

  1. Cut 12 fish shapes out of the construction paper. Using the list of sight words provided, either write one word on each fish, or cut the word out and paste in onto the fish. Let your child decorate the fish with markers or crayons.
  2. Attach a paper clip to the tip of each fish.
  3. Tie the yarn or string to the wooden spoon. Tie the magnet to the other end of the string.
  4. Spread all of the fish out on the floor, or on a table.
  5. Give your child the fishing rod and tell them it’s time to go fishing! Each time you call out a word, she should look for the word you’ve said, and then try to catch it with her rod.
  6. Each time she catches the correct fish, ask your child to shout out the letters—spelling the name of the word aloud. This helps with reinforcement.
  7. Once your child gets the hang of it, make more fish. Here are a few more sight words to try: all, am, are, the, and, to, he, a, I, you, it, of, was, she, said, his, her, that, for, on, but, had, they, now, out, on, that, there, this, too

Word Recognition

Posted by teacher on April 4, 2016

What You Need:

  • Index cards
  • Pen or marker
  • Old magazines
  • Photographs (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. On one set of index cards, write some simple words that are easy to represent visually.

  2. On another set, draw or cut out magazine pictures that illustrate the words you have chosen.

  3. Lay all the cards on the table, face up, and have your child match each word to the corresponding picture.

  4. You could also try some name recognition by using photographs of your child, siblings, friends, relatives, and so on. Write each person’s name on an index card and have your child match the photos to the appropriate name cards.

Paper Pumpkin

Posted by teacher on September 7, 2015

What You Need:

  • Strips of cut construction paper, (8.5" x 1/2" or 1")
  • 2 brads, or a mini stapler
  • Green construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Have your child lay out two strips of paper in an "X" pattern, overlapping them exactly at the center point.
  2. Have her continue making additional "X" shapes with paper strips until she forms a starburst pattern.
  3. Carefully poke a brad through the center of all of the strips of paper and splay it out to secure the strips in place, or staple the strips in place at the center.
  4. She can now lift the strips up to create a pumpkin-like shape. Make sure the strips are saggy and bulgy in the center and all of the tops of the strips meet at the top.
  5. Secure the top of the strips with either another brad, or a staple.
  6. Cut off any additional paper that may be hanging off the top edge.
  7. Have her take another strip of paper and cut it in half.
  8. Staple, or glue it to the top of the pumpkin shape, from under the area where all of the paper is layered.
  9. Have her pull the paper up and curl it into a straw shape with her fingers to create a pumpkin stem. Glue this long tube shape in place.
  10. Draw and cut out two leaves from the green construction paper and glue them on either side of the stem. Let dry.
  11. Set your paper pumpkin on a table, or attach it to a string and hang it from a tree or window.

“See” the Alphabet with Your Body!

Posted by teacher on September 5, 2015

What You Need:

  • Large sheet of newsprint, mounted on an easel or taped to a wall.
  • Tempera paint in three bright colors
  • Three brushes, one for each color of paint

What You Do:

  1. Start by setting up the easel, paints, and brushes.
  2. Have your child stand in front of you with her back to you. Explain that, although you usually practice letters by looking at them, you’re going to try something different by "seeing" letters through the wisdom of your body!
  3. Explain that you’re going to draw a simple letter with your finger on your child’s back. Then start at the top of any letter you choose, and draw it firmly and clearly, using the child’s whole back. Practice once or twice to get the feel of it; kids usually love the sensation and will ask for more.
  4. Next, have your child stand in front of the easel and pick one color of paint. Ask her to paint exactly what you are drawing on her back, starting at the top of the page. Now, take a second color of paint and have her try the same letter again, but make it different from the first—either smaller or on a different part of the page, for instance.
  5. Pick another letter for your child to draw, tracing it first on her back then allowing her to paint it. Continue on using more letters to create a letter collage, and watch the colors and shapes combine.
  6. Once she’s comfortable with letters, you can also try writing whole word messages together. You can even have your child try writing something across your back. See what you can "see", even with your eyes closed!

Make An Alligator and Learn About the Letter A

Posted by teacher on September 4, 2015

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tube from a paper towel roll
  • Green paint
  • Scissors
  • Green construction paper
  • 2 googly eyes from an arts and crafts store
  • Black permanent marker
  • 1 piece of plain white paper

What You Do:

  1. Help your child paint the cardboard tube with green paint, and set it aside to dry.
  2. While you’re waiting, cut the plain white paper into strips lengthwise, 1”x11”.  Tape three of them end to end to make one strip that’s 33” inches long.
  3. Then, ask your child how many words he can come up with that start with the letter A. Let him dictate as you write the words in clear block letters onto the 33" strip. If your child knows how to write a word, let him write it down for you. See if you can fill the whole long sheet. When you’ve filled the paper with all the "A" words you can think of, roll up the strip tightly.
  4. By now, the paint on the tube should be dry. Help your child use the scissors to cut a v-shaped opening in the front of the cardboard tube for a mouth. Use the sharpie to draw teeth. Then help him use the sharpie marker to draw on scales for the alligator.  Cut four legs from the green construction paper, two stand-up “eyes,” and a pointy tail.
  5. Glue the legs onto the bottom of the alligator, the tail onto the back, and the eyes on top of the construction paper.
  6. Glue the end of your rolled up “word” strip inside the alligator’s mouth.  A is for alligator…but when you and your child unroll the words, it’s for dozens of other stuff too which your child will be reading before you know it.

Exercise the Alphabet Outside

Posted by teacher on September 3, 2015

What You Need:

  • Beach ball
  • Sidewalk chalk (Note: If you prefer to complete these exercises on the lawn, you can use pieces of paper or foam, labeled with a letter of the alphabet, one per letter)
  • Hula hoop
  • A partner

What You Do:

Assist your child in using the sidewalk chalk to write each letter of the alphabet in a line on the sidewalk. Leave about a hand’s width of space between each letter. (If you are doing this on the lawn, spread out the labeled foam pieces or papers.)

Have your child say the first letter, A, and touch it with her pointer finger on the sidewalk. Then say the sounds associated with the letter: /a/ as in “apple,” and /ay/ as in “acorn.” For each letter, have your child repeat the sounds to you, then complete the associated exercise as described below:

Apples and Acorns A’s: Reach up with one hand, stretch tall and make a twisting motion as if picking an apple from a tree, then bend down and put the “apple” in an imaginary basket on your toe. Switch hands, and repeat motions to pick an acorn. Say an /a/ or an /ay/ word as you pick.

Bendy Beach Ball B’s: Hold the beach ball in front of you with arms outstretched at your waist. Say a word that begins with /b/. Now hold the beach ball to the right, and bend to the side. Say another word that begins with /b/. Back backward and hold the beach ball over your head, as you say another /b/ word. Continue in a clockwise motion, bending with the beach ball and saying /b/ words.

Crab Crawl C’s: Walk on all fours with your backside facing the ground, and your chest facing the sky. Say /c/ words while you crab crawl.

Drop Down and Dangle D’s: Start in a standing position. Have a partner say a word aloud. If it starts with a /d/ sound, drop your upper body forward and let your arms dangle toward your toes. If it doesn’t start with a /d/ sound, stay standing.

Easy Eggshell E’s: Run in place super fast, like you’re running on broken eggshells with bare feet. Say /e/ words while you run.

Five Flap and Fly F’s: Flap your arm wings and fly like a bird. When your wings come up, say an /f/ word.

Get Up and Grow G’s: Start by squatting near the ground and hugging yourself in a tight ball, like a seed waiting to sprout. Put your hands together over your head as if getting ready to dive. Then say “Get up and grow, grow, grow…” as you slowly stretch up toward the sky and rise to a standing position. When fully standing, raise your hands as high as you can, and let them come apart, like a flower that is blossoming.

Too Hot to Hold H’s: A partner tosses the beach ball to you. As soon as it touches your hands, pass it back. It’s too hot to hold! As you pass it back, say a word that begins with /h/.

Inflate It I’s: Put your hands in front of your mouth, like you are blowing up a pretend balloon. Slowly move your hands apart, as if the balloon is being inflated. Continue until your arms and hands are outstretched, making a giant circle. When you can stretch no more, say an /i/ word, and let your balloon pop!

Jumpin’ Jack J’s: Traditional jumping jacks (legs apart, while clapping hands over your head; then legs together with hands at your side), with the added twist of saying a /j/ word on the clap.

Kickin’ K’s: Kick the beach ball back and forth with a partner. On each kick, say a /k/ word.

Left Leg Lift L’s: Lie on the ground on your right side, with your head propped up on one hand, and your legs extended. Lift just the left leg a few inches in the air, then bring it back down. Say a /l/ word on every lift.

Mad March M’s: March in place, with big, strong steps. Say an /m/ word on every other step.

Neck Nod N’s: Nod to the front, to the side, to the back, to the other side, and so forth, in a clockwise direction. On each nod, say a word that begins with /n/.

Octopus O’s: Sit with a partner on the ground inside the letter “o” (a hula hoop). Lean against each other, back to back. Let your legs and arms (and your partner’s, too) extend outside the hula hoop so that you have eight arms and legs, like an octopus. Wiggle your octopus arms and legs, and take turns saying /o/ words with your partner.

Poppin’ Popcorn P’s: This is a leapfrog exercise, played with a partner. As one person pops over the other’s back, she says a /p/ word. Then she squats down, and it’s her partner’s turn to pop over her back and say a /p/ word.

Quick Quicker Quickest Q’s: Hold the hula hoop in the air, and try to twirl it around your wrist. Twirl it quickly! Now quicker! Quickest yet! Notice that the hula hoop looks like the circle in the capital Q, and your arm looks like the tail.

Ready to Run R’s: Get down into a push-up position. Use your legs to “run” in place on the ground by bending one leg toward your chest and leaving the other leg extended. (Your feet actually stay on the ground, while your legs bend one at a time. Your upper body supports your weight.) As you “run,” say /r/ words aloud.

Six Super Slide S’s: Take a giant step to the right with your right foot and slide your body to meet it. Say a /s/ word as your slide. Then slide to the left. Repeat for a total of six slides.

Ten Toss the T’s: Toss and catch the beach ball ten times. On each toss, count aloud and say a /t/ word.

Up, Up, Up and Under U’s: Stand across from your partner. You and your partner hold onto the hula hoop with both hands so that it makes a flat circle in the space between you. Then raise it three times, and say “up, up, up” until you’re holding it as high as you can above your heads. Say “under” and step under the hula hoop with your partner, still holding it high in the air. Each of you says a /u/ word, then you both drop the hula hoop so it forms a circle at your feet.

Very Velcro V’s: “Stick” like Velcro to your partner by locking arms with her. Walk forward. Take turns saying a word aloud. If it starts with /v/, you both jump up together. Don’t let go!

Waddle-and-Winging-It W’s: Make duck wings by bending your arms at the elbow. Waddle by bending back and forth to the sides as you walk and flap your wings. Say words that begin with /w/ as you walk to a finish point.

Crossover X’s: Stand with your hands on your hips, and your legs slightly apart. Jump up and cross your legs so that they look like an x when you land. As you jump, say a word that ends with /x/, such as “fox.” Repeat, and switch your legs around.

Yo-Yo Around the Yard Y’s: Walk quickly around the outside edge of your yard while you use a pretend yo-yo. (Make an up and down motion with your hand in front of you.) Say /y/ words as you yo-yo.

Zigzag Z’s: Zig (quickly run) forward, and zag backward as fast as you can from one starting point to another. Say /z/ words as you zigzag.

F is for Frog Craft

Posted by teacher on September 2, 2015

What You Need:

  • 2 plain white plates—the kind with scalloped edges that are lightweight enough to fold
  • Red and green washable tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Red or yellow “party blower”—the kind that unfurls when you blow on it
  • 2 cotton balls
  • 2 wiggly eyes
  • 1 piece of green construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black fine-point marker

What You Do:

  1. Paint the plates: paint the underside of one plate green and paint the serving surface of the other plate red. Put the plates aside to dry.
  2. Use the scissors to cut four frog legs from the green construction paper. Each leg should be about 5 inces long and 1 inch wide. If your child can handle the scissors, have her try cutting a wavy edge onto the bottom of each frog leg to look like a froggie foot.
  3. Make sure the plates are dry enough that they can be handled.
  4. Start by stacking the plates with the green one on the bottom and the red on top, so the plain white sides facing each other. Help your child fold the plates sandwiched together in half across the diameter of the plates. You’ve just made a semicircular froggie head with a big red mouth space inside!
  5. Stick two froggie legs on each side of the semicircle, inserting them between the bottom green and red sandwiched layer. Now have your child use the glue to attach the frog legs to the green layer and then have her use the glue to attach the green layer to the red. When you’re done, make sure that the plates are folded so that there is a semicircle with legs sticking out.
  6. Glue two cotton balls onto the top green layer of the semicircle and then glue a googly eye onto each one.
  7. Now for some extra fun: Take out your party blower, and invite your child to blow it all the way out, so that it’s fully extended. Hold it fully spread out on a table and have your child write “F” followed by “FROG” in large black letters on the tongue. Be careful not to tug too hard—you want the party blower to roll right back up when you’re done!
  8. Cut a slit in the fold of your plates (where the plates are folded in half to form a semicircle) and insert the plastic blower end of the party blower all the way through so there is enough of the plastic end sticking out of the back to still be able to blow the "tongue" out. The extendable end should stick out of the rounded part of the semicircle. Use a few dabs of glue to anchor the plastic section to the plates.
  9. Invite your child, or any relative or friend, to blow the party blower. The froggie’s tongue has a delightful, homemade message: “F” is for “Frog” and your child is sure to remember it!

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