Wednesday, February 25, 2009



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Thank you to the many people who have emailed me with excellent comments about the newsletter. I have noticed that some of you have been taken off my list. If you do not get my March newsletter by March 5, please sign up again and confirm your subscription. Thanks for your support.


Fantastic newsletter! I am going to enjoy reading your newsletter and look forward to trying lots of the activities with the children I teach.

Thank you,
Mary K.

My absolute favorite part of your newsletter was your Musical Consonants in Action to the "If You're Happy and You Know It" tune!! Having just published my first ABC book, I'm a bit obsessed with the alphabet at the moment. :) But I loved this song and think it's a fun, engaging way to practice letters, sounds, vocabulary, and movement. Well done! May I share this song? I would love to pass it on to the teachers I help train at the University of Texas at Arlington?

Keep up the great work!


Thank you for the newsletter. I am a literacy mentor and loved your song, if you are happy and you know it, I am planning on sharing it with the teachers that I work with.

Thank you,
Cathy Kallevig

Great Newsletter!! I especially liked "Awareness of Space"-something I can teach my son. I will use these tips on my own children.


Both parents and teachers of small children will want to subscribe to Movement and Rhythm, a valuable new resource from educator and children's author, Kathy Stemke. This free newsletter is chock full of original articles, activities, and other offers to make education and teaching more fun and effective both inside and outside the classroom.

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

I love your newsletter! As a classroom teacher working for the school district I am required to document my on-going "professional development." Frankly, it can become very boring. Your content is set up in easy to read blocks and the way it is written translates immediately into something I can do right now with the kids.
Please continue with this awesome resource!

Versana Polidore
Thomas Gibbs Elementary School
Classroom teacher

Kathy Stemke's "Movement and Rhythm" Newsletter is a must read for all parents and teachers of little ones. I remember having my children clean their rooms to music, as we sang little songs. Learning through movement and rhythm is a good means for teaching many things, as well as helping children learn to appreciate music. After all, many of us still sing the Alphabet Song to ourselves when we need to check the alphabet.

Vivian Gilbert Zabel
Publisher 4RV, Author, Educator
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Monday, February 23, 2009


Put a colored square on the front of several plastic soda bottles. (Rainbow) Call a color. The student rolls the ball and tries to knock the correct bottle over.

Toss a beanbag into a box with a colored circle on the front.

Make vinyl color shapes and tape them to the floor. Children jump from color to color and identify the color. Or you could just make masking tape squares with a small piece of colored construction paper in each. VARIATION: Give each child a command such as: “Mary, put both hands on the red square.” “Keesha, run around the blue square.”

Print a color name on each paper cup. Have the children put red buttons in the red cup, etc. The children can count each color when they are done sorting.

Write red, yellow, blue, green, purple, and orange on a paper. Show them how to combine the primary colors to make the secondary colors. (Red over blue makes purple) Using red, yellow, and blue colored tissue paper circles have the children glue the correct color under each word.

Write the color names on one side of an index card and a construction paper triangle on the other side. After reading the color name, the children can flip the card over to see if they are correct.

Put a color and action command in each side of a photo cube. Example action command: 5 jumping jacks, or hop on one foot. Children take turns tossing the cube. If they can identify the color they get to follow the command.

Place color shapes into a paper bag. Also place a few triangles of construction paper cheese wedges. Children take turns picking a color out of the bag to identify. If they pick cheese, they hold their nose and say, “Pew, stinky cheese.”

LEARN TO SPELL THE COLOR WORDS equips students to become better spellers by letting them practice spelling with their own personalized lists, rather than just random spelling words. The site allows the user to do a variety of things with their spelling words such as see them in flashcard format, hear them spoken by a real human voice, play games with the words, and even take practice-spelling tests.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Free study guides and teacher resources from author Simon Rose

Author, Simon Rose, is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature of West Redding, CT and has been a prolific writer of children's fiction for many years.


The Heretic’s Tomb While exploring a medieval archaeological site containing the ruins of an ancient English abbey, Annie discovers the long-forgotten tomb of Lady Isabella Devereaux, who had been condemned to death as a heretic in 1349. When she examines a mysterious amulet, she is suddenly sent hurtling back to the Middle Ages, encountering sorcery, treachery, treason and the ghastly horrors of the Black Death.

The Clone Conspiracy At the dawn of the twenty-first century, governments around the world panicked as technology rapidly advanced. They didn't realize that cloneing genie was already out of the bag.

The Sorcerer’s Letterbox In a hidden drawer, Jack discovers a letter from a boy calling himself Edward. Penning a reply, Jack is astonished to be corresponding through time with the boy king Edward V. Travelling back in time, Jack attempts to rescue Edward V from death, but is soon fighting for his life in the terrifying London of 1483.

The Alchemist’s Portrait A school trip at the city museum leads Matthew into an eerie meeting with Peter Glimmer, imprisoned inside his own portrait by his villainous uncle in 1666. Matthew is sent hurtling over 300 years into the past to recover the one object that can save the world.

The Doomsday Mask In the destruction of Atlantis, the legendary mask of Kulkaan was thought to have been shattered and irretrievably lost. The mask’s crystal fragments have now been found and the mask of Kulkaan reassembled, with deadly consequences for all mankind. Josh and Erica must prevent the mask from falling into the hands of the shadowy Crystalline Order, in order to save the world from catastrophe.


Each of the authors novels can provide teachers with a wide variety of ways to explore projects in the classroom. The Fun Stuff and Puzzles page features word searches related to the text and character names in each novel, plus you can also access The Super Scavenger Search, where the answers to a series of mind boggling questions are hidden in different pages all over the author's website.


In The Emerald Curse, Sam had adventures inside a strange comic book universe, where the super heroes and villains are disturbingly real. The novel lends itself to numerous student projects related to the superhero genre.

Create Your Own Superhero

Students invent their very own hero, complete with a colourful costume, amazing powers, a secret identity, a hidden headquarters, friends, family and an archenemy, who has some kind of connection to the hero. Students could also craft detailed character synopses of their hero, along with all the supporting players, including their main adversary and even a sidekick.

The Beginning

Once they have invented their very own hero, the students create an exciting origin story, detailing how the hero got his or her powers in the first place.

Headline News

In the style of a traditional newspaper front page, students can write an exciting, dramatic story, describing an action packed battle between the hero and his arch-enemy, complete with an attention grabbing headline.

Comic Book

Students learn how to create their own comic book depicting the adventure of the
superhero they have created, complete with an eye catching cover and unique logo
designed especially for their hero.

Board Games

In the novel, Sam is propelled into the comic book universe and has adventures in a
number of different worlds, before his arrival in the realm ruled by the sinister Baron Midnight. Sam’s initial journey into the illustrations and subsequent travels elsewhere could form the basis of a board game that students could develop, once they are familiar with the storyline.

Throughout the school year, Simon Rose offers presentations, readings, author in residence programs and conducts workshops for children at schools and libraries all across Canada, the United States and around the world.

Websites for author Simon Rose:

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Black History Month Don Cheadle:A Person of Influence

Don Cheadle: A Person of Influence
The American film actor, Don Cheadle, inspires many people to give their time, money and energy to help the people of Darfur in Africa. This Article will inspire you to ask what you can do to help those less fortunate in the world. During Black History month we need to see what others are doing today to help the unfortunate people in Africa.

Don Cheadle, actor, director, producer, author, and humanitarian, has stared in over 40 films and 20 TV episodes. After playing a hotel manager in "Hotel Rowanda," he was shocked and energized into becoming an activist to bring awareness to the genocide, and monumental suffering of the people in the Darfur region of Sudan. The over 400,000 deaths and 2.5 million people forced to leave their homes and live in deplorable refugee camps inspired Mr. Cheadle to co-author a book with activist, John Prendergast, entitled, "Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond." This book challenges its readers to become politically active and use their influence to raise awareness about this horrible human crisis. Along with fellow actors, he founded an organization, Not on Our Watch, to draw on the powerful voices of artists, activists and cultural leaders, to generate lifesaving assistance and protection for the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced. Last year this group raised 6 million dollars to help prevent malnutrition, administer immunizations to children, teach hygiene and safe cooking practices, and provide health care and alternatives to dangerous fuel gathering outside the refugee camps. They also helped protect various aid agencies and contributed to the Humanitarian Aid Helicopter Service, which were all vital services for the millions of displaced people in the refugee camps.

To read more of this article click on this link:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


All of us have enjoyed dancing around the living room to music when no was looking. These are uninhibited moments in response to music. In fact, moving to the beat of the music is an innate quality found in all human beings. Infants and toddlers bounce to the music without any instruction at all. We need to provide children with a safe environment to explore and learn all they can about how their bodies can move to music.


Improvising movement to music is a natural way for children to express themselves. This release of emotional tension can help to calm children and improve their mood. Depending on the music, it can invigorate or soothe the emotions. Exposing children to a wide variety of music at an early age will increase their appreciation of music.

Because classical music generally evokes strong emotions you could use Beethoven’s “5th Symphony” to inspire anger, or Rimsky-Korsakov’s, “The Flight of the Bubble Bee” to inspire excitement.

Making and using simple instruments in exploration of various musical styles will add to the experience. For instance, a homemade drum will add to the fun when moving to Native American music.


Giving children the opportunity to explore and expand their movement vocabulary will increase their creativity. These activities will bring out quick and slow, heavy and light, strong and gentle, as well as tense and relaxed movements. As kids experience different combinations of movement and a variety of themes, their own movement ideas will emerge.

In the “Fastland/Slowland” activity one side of the room is for quick movements and the other side of the room is for slow movements. Children cross over to the other side when they hear a signal like a drum beat or a whistle.

“Abracadabra” is an activity that teaches the difference between heavy and light movements. Kids push an imaginary refrigerator. When you say, “Abracadabra” the refrigerator is suddenly on wheels, or the children stomp through the woods like Tyrannosaurus Rex then turn into a ballet dancer.


Movement exploration helps develop both fine and gross motor skills. “Move this Way” is an activity that inspires practice in locomotor skills. Prepare a set of large word cards with one action word on each card like walk, skip, gallop, slide, crawl, roll, tiptoe, hop, jump and stomp. Kids move around the room doing the skill on the card in front of them. When they hear a signal they stop at a different card and when signaled again they do the new skill.

In “Paper Plate Balancing” each child balances a plate on part of the body as they move around the room. When it falls off, they balance it on another part of the body.

To see the rest of this article go to:

This article can only serve as an introduction to this enormous topic. Sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter on the right sidebar for more in-depth analysis of movement and music activities. It is my hope that after experiencing some of these activities with your children you will be inspired to create your own activities. The possibilities are endless, so have fun.
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Friday, February 6, 2009


An Empty Stage By Kathy Stemke

Coiled torso frozen on an empty stage,

a living sculpture trapped and placed

with no gown of tulle to hide her age

but with weeping knees below her waist.

Framed in light her insides groan

with pent up passion poised for release,

she now waits long and alone

for rhythm to carry her into peace.

But I remember her unencumbered

prance, so light for one who was held down

by unfulfilled dreams remembered,

floating above her tattered gown.

Published in;
Cyberwizard Productions
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Thursday, February 5, 2009



Research indicates that reading books to children is the single most valuable activity in helping children learn to read.

1. Be dramatic and have fun! The more enthusiasm you show to the children, the more they will enjoy the book.
2. Run your finger underneath the words as you read to signal that the print is telling the story.
3. Relate events in the book to events in the children's lives.
4. Leave plenty of time to explore the illustrations. Encourage children to find things in the pictures.
5. If a child asks a question, stop and answer it. The book may open up important discussions with your children. It can serve as a launchpad to many subjects.
6. Do fun activities that relate to the book.
7. Use musical instruments to create suspense, silliness, happy and sad sounds. This can bring your story to life as well as keep each child engaged.
8. Have the children act out what you read. If the character walks to the store, they should be able to walk in place as they reach a door and open it and grab some groceries. This should be fun and can help on those days it's raining out and their energy levels are high. It's a good idea to give them boundaries for control. You could have them stay inside a hoop on the floor.
9. Use a prop bag to illustrate parts of the story. Collect items that pertain to the story, and display them when they are mentioned in the story. Let's say your reading, "Miss Spider's Tea Party." You could take out rubber bugs, a tea cup, silk flowers, or a hankerchief to dry Miss Spider's eyes. If your story is about bananas, pull some bananas out of the prop bag. It would be fun to eat them while they listen to the rest of the story.
10. Ask the children questions about the story. Reading comprehension is one of the hardest things to teach a child if it doesn't come naturally to him. In order to comprehend something, you must be paying attention to it. Help children to develop their ability to comprehend stories by asking questions either about what they think is about to happen or what has already happened. This develops critical thinking, which helps later in life in making major decisions.


Your attention and praise is essential to encourage continued success in a child's continuing efforts to learn to read.

1. If a child is learning to read and asks for a word, give it immediately so that the meaning of the story is not interrupted. DO NOT ask the child to sound out the word.
2. On the other hand, if the child initiates the act of sounding out, don't intervene.
3. If a child makes a miscue, listen for the meaning of the miscue. If the word "road" is substituted for the word "street," no meaning is lost. Don't stop the reading for a correction.
4. If the miscue makes no sense, like using the word "horse" for "house," ask the child to reread the sentence because you're not sure you understand what's been read.
5. Most importantly, give lots of praise! Praise from you is critical for futher risk-taking and learning.

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