Sunday, June 28, 2009


This is a fun activity that requires measurement skills, art, body parts identification, and matching skills.

1. Have each child trace both his shoes on construction paper, and cut them out.

2. Put their name on the back of each foot.

3. Have the children measure the length to the nearest inch, and write it on the front of each foot.

4. Trace your own shoes and add several others of various sizes.

5. Let the children measure the other feet and record the lengths.

6. The kids can take turns matching up the feet first with the measurement side showing.

7. Now flip the shoes over and see if they can still match up the feet in pairs.

8. The children can practice counting by twos.

9. Now each child can use their art skills to decorate their own set of feet.

10. You can make a great bulletin board of feet, each with the child's picture next to their feet.

11. Laminate all the other feet. Tape them to the floor in pairs. Have the children jump from pair to pair counting by twos.

12. Talk about individuality and diversity. Bring in shoes or pictures of shoes that represent different cultures and talk about their cultures. (wooden shoes for holland, chinese slippers, middle eastern curly toed shoes, snow shoes for Russia, sandles for Africa, native american mocasins, mountain boots from Tibet)

A great book to use in conjunction with this lesson is Shoes, Shoes, Shoes by Ann Morris.

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Others Are Saying About "MOVING THROUGH ALL SEVEN DAYS" by Kathy Ann Stemke

We are very close to publishing Moving Through All Seven Days. Review copies have been sent out and the reviews are pouring in. The following reviews are a sample of what others are saying about this exciting new book with teacher resources.

Kathy Stemke’s Moving through All Seven Days offers a multifaceted approach to movement in the classroom that also offers a healthy dose of the language arts!

Rae Pica
Education Consultant
Early Childhood Physical Activity

Moving Through All Seven Days is a wonderful way to teach young children the days of the week. The days move forward with playful activities, "Slipping, sliding, spin and play, Fun on Sunday, that's the way."

Reading and exercise – what a combination! With bold and colorful illustrations it is sure to hold any child’s attention.

As an added feature, Moving Through All Seven Days includes an activity and learning section with: in class activities, spelling the days of the week, rhyming words, coloring pages and more. This is sure to be a hit in any preschool or lower grade classroom.
Moving Through All Seven Days is also a great way to teach the days of the week to your own little ones before they start school. I’ll be reading it to my 3-year-old grandson!

Karen Cioffi
Co-Author of Day’s End Lullaby

This fun book is full of lively rhymes, clever illustrations, and engaging activities sure to be fun for all the kids in your class -- or out of it. I knew I was hooked when I found myself filling in the missing letters on the Complete Each Word activity.

Kathy Stemke, can I be in your class? Pretty please?

Margaret Fieland

Move and groove along with the whimsical characters of Moving Through All Seven Days as they slip, twirl, and glide you through the days of the week. An activities resource to help reinforce the learning process of spelling the days of the week is a welcome bonus. It provides an ingenious way of getting the children up from behind their desks to experience learning through movement.

Children’s author, Kathy Ann Stemke brilliantly blends lyrical rhyme and the learning process in a fun and educational twist. Along with the vibrant illustrations created by Tony Glisson, Moving Through All Seven Days is a must have for preschool and kindergarten classrooms and no home library would be complete without it.

Reviewed by author, Donna M. McDine, for the National Writing for Children Center.
Marketing Manager at Stories for Children Magazine

Each rhyme is short, easy to learn, and fun. I teach Pre-k for the local school district. Our "teaching time" is so limited in Pre-k for scheduling reasons.
What caught my attention is that a teacher could quickly do a daily "story board" and the kids would GET it. At higher grade levels this material could be easily used in center stations for independent work that students would be interested in doing. WAY TO GO!

Versana Polidore
Thomas Gibbs Elementary School
Classroom teacher

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Executive Producers:
Daniel Klein and Perry


MeeWee is fun, exciting, and uplifting Hip-Hop music for preschool and elementary school age children. Through the years, nearly all Hip-Hop music and culture has been designed for adolescents and adults. These fans now have children who love the lively and energetic songs that they hear; unfortunately, most of the lyrical content isn't quite appropriate. Well, MeeWee solves that! With songs like "I Need A Hug", "Us Bus", and "I Can Be Anything", Hip-Hop fans who are four, five, six, seven, and eight years old have cause to celebrate. So do their parents, as they get their children ready to rap and dance to the beats and rhymes of MeeWee.


Danny Klein, whose résumé included three years as a production assistant for The Simpsons, returned to New York in 1999 to work and write. At the same time, he was already thinking about the project that would become MeeWee. "I was a second-grade teacher in Queens," Klein says. "The children didn't speak English or didn't speak it very well. So, being a hip-hop fan, I would rap to the kids, just so they would get it. And they picked up on it, and they laughed, and they thought it was great, and we continued doing it."


Veronica Davi, first grade teacher, Lowell Elementary, Teaneck, New Jersey

"MeeWee is an important and meaningful project. We use the songs in our first grade class, and the children's creativity is sparked. They become songwriters, and write lyrics to the MeeWee beats. Teachers are excited about MeeWee!"

Samara Kaufman, Jumpstart, site manager, Brooklyn, New York

"I found MeeWee music to be incredibly energetic for our young children and I now consider it an integral part of our curriculum."

Anita Septimus, PHD. Program Director, Department of Pediatric Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City

"As a light of hope, a sound of music and joy, MeeWee has infused new creativity, self-esteem, values, healing, and courage in our youth. Let's experience with them the magic when the power of 'Me' becomes the power of 'We'."

Kathy Stemke, Author/Educator Atlanta, Georgia

"As a former kindergarten teacher, dancer and choreographer I highly recommend MeeWee for your home or classroom. These hip and lively tunes will inspire endless hours of creativity and movement. The Us Bus has a catchy tune, and is loaded with short u vowel sounds like us, bus, fuss, must, hush, trust, gush, and bust. Jumping Jacks gives kids the opportunity to move and groove. One of my favorite songs is Sounds like Music, because it offers a huge variety of everyday sounds to move to. Check out the lesson plans on You can buy the tunes on Amazon, Rhapsody, itunes, and emusic.

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, June 15, 2009


Read this 4th of July mystery to your class and have them guess who stole the flag.


Mrs. Cowel
Tori Carter
Mr. Beard
Mr. Matthews

It was the last Eagle Scout meeting before the July 4th parade, and the winner was soon to be announced. Mike was so excited that his hands were sweating and he felt as if he was going to jump right out of his skin. He hoped that his display of the history of the American flag would be judged the best. The victor would march in the parade carrying the antique flag that was displayed in the public library. Mr. Matthews, the troop leader, told the boys that he had tried very hard to win the same contest when he was a kid, but he came in second place. Mike leaned nervously toward his friend, Brian, and whispered, "My father was the one that beat him and got to carry the flag in the parade." Mr. Matthews cleared his throat and announced the winner, "Mike Carter is this years champion!" Mike jumped up out of his seat and shouted, "Yay, I did it!" "We'll go pick up the flag tomorrow, Mike," said the scout leader.

Mike was making a yummy peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the kitchen when his sister, Tori, came rushing through the back door. He ran up and gave her a big hug crying, "I did it, Sis! I came in first!"

Flustered by his unusual greeting, she pushed him back and said anxiously, " Mike, stop, I'm all wet. It's raining like crazy out there. W..w..well, that's great Mike. Now you can carry the flag in the parade just like Dad. Hey, I saw Mr. Matthews staring at that very flag in the library tonight. I said hello but I guess he didn't hear me. He looked a little sad."

Mike looked extremely puzzled. "I wonder if he went to pick up the flag? He said we would go together in the morning. That's part of the fun. Well, who else did you see at the library, Tori?"

"Nobody was there, except that weird janitor, Mr. Beard, and that mean librarian. That janitor usually moves as slow as a snail but tonight he was rushing around cleaning like a roadrunner. I don't know what got into him."

"I heard that his uncle died. I think the funeral is tomorrow." Mike couldn't help noticing the books his sister left on the counter, and read one of the titles out loud, "How to Make Cash Fast. Hey, what kind of books are you reading, Sis?"

"It's none of your business. I've got to go dry my hair," she said, as she marched off in a huff.

As the morning sun peeked through Mike's window the following day, he opened his eyes and smiled, as he remembered that he was to have the honor of representing troop 492 in the annual fourth of July parade. He pinched himself to make sure it was real and not just a dream.

At the same time, Mrs. Cowel's key was unlocking the library doors. As soon as she walked inside, she could sense that something was wrong. The books near the bathrooms were a mess and there were several lights left on all night. "I've been the librarian here for 36 years now and I've never left the lights on," she said, as she tidied up the books.

Tori was the first customer to arrive. She dropped her books on the table when her cell phone rang. Mrs. Cowel, already annoyed shouted, "I told you last night, young lady, no cell phones in the library. "I'm sorry Ma'am, I'll shut it off," said Tori nervously.

"Who in the world messed up these books?" asked Mrs. Cowel. "I don't know, they were f..fine last night," stuttered Tori.

Mrs. Cowel often felt that she was taken for granted and longed to retire to a beach somewhere. Although she was tired of stacking books, she knew it was impossible to retire on just her Social Security check. As Mrs. Cowel stepped into the computer room, Tori heard her scream. She ran into the room to see the librarian lifting the glass case in the middle of the room. "It's gone. It was here last night, and now it's gone," she cried. The American flag that was used during the Revolutionary War had been the treasured attraction of this country village for more years than anyone could remember. For generations it had been the symbol of freedom and pride and was used to commemorate all the special occasions in this tiny town. Suddenly, it had vanished!

Just then Mr. Matthews and Mike walked into the room. "We're here to pick up the flag," shouted Mike excitedly. "Sorry we're late. We had to let a funeral pass," said the scout leader. "Yeah, I think it was Mr. Beard's uncle's funeral, the uncle who was a Marine hero. It was really cool, they had his casket covered with an old flag and they carried it on a red wagon pulled by two beautiful horses with feathers on their heads," said Mike.

"Mrs. Cowel, you look so pale. Are you ill?" asked Mike. "The antique flag has been stolen, Michael," she exclaimed. "Oh no! I've been waiting all my life to carry that flag. How'd they get in?" cried Mike. "I don't know, the doors were locked properly," she whispered in disbelief. "Let's check the bathroom," said Mike, as he took off running. The others followed closely behind. "The window's broken, but I don't see any glass. The floor is completely dry. There are two umbrellas in the corner and one of the handles is broken. Maybe the thief used an umbrella to break the glass." Mike avoiding the sharp edges, carefully leaned out the window and shouted, "Wait a minute, there's glass outside the window. And I see footprints leading to the parking lot."

Mr. Matthews urged everyone to calm down, not to jump to conclusions, and recap the events leading up to this tragedy. "Now Mrs. Cowel, you and I left together last night when you locked up, right?" "That's right Mr. Matthews. I locked the door at 8:00 o'clock and turned on the alarm. It stopped raining when I got home at 8:20 but, my feet were already soaked." "My wife had a good laugh when I came home drenched," said Mr. Matthews. "Are you sure that no one was in the library when we left, Mrs. Cowel?" "Mr. Beard asked to leave early for his uncle's wake and when I turned off the lights I didn't see Tori or anybody else for that matter," she said.

Suddenly, Mike jumped up and shouted, "I've got it! I know who took the flag!
Do you?"

No one saw the thief leave the library because he was hiding in the bathroom.
The glass was outside the window because he had to break out, not in.
The floor was dry because he broke the window after the rain had stopped.
There was an old flag on Mr. Beard's uncle's casket.

Tori needed cash but, she couldn't have stolen the flag because she was wet when she came home.
Mrs. Cowel wanted to retire, but she didn't steal it because she locked up at 8:00 in the rain.
Mr. Matthews has wanted the flag since he was a boy but, he didn't steal it because he left at 8:00 and arrived home drenched.
Mr. Beard stole the flag to put on his uncle's casket. He brought it back the next day and apologized.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, June 12, 2009


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

MATH TOSS: Paint and number shapes on a large foam board. In each shape, cut a hole big enough for a small beanbag to fit through easily. Being sure not to cover the holes, glue or staple the board to a large cardboard box. Your child tosses a beanbag into two of the holes and either adds, subtracts or multiplies the numbers together. Younger children can just identify the numbers or shapes. They can toss a beanbag into the even or odd numbers only.


1. Ask children to sit or stand in one large circle
2. Start by throwing the beanbag to one child. At the same time give that child a compliment about something they have done well. It may be related to their behaviour or work.
3. The receiver then has to do the same. Everyone should have a turn. Variations: a boy must throw to a girl or a child with light-coloured hair must throw to a dark-haired person, or the beanbag must be thrown to someone who hasn't had a turn. The activity continues until everybody has had a turn or a time limit has been reached.


If playing on a hard floor or paved surface, make different shapes in a straight line on the floor using strips of masking tape (square, triangle, rectangle). If playing on carpet, cut the shapes out of construction paper and line them up on the floor. Have the child toss the BLUE beanbag into the TRIANGLE. Or have him toss the RED beanbag into the SQUARE. These games will help make associations between different colors and shapes.


Use the beanbags to help the child identify different body parts by asking your child to put the red beanbag on his or her head. Have him find various body parts and balance the beanbag on them (elbow, hand, and so on).


1. With the beanbag on your head walk around the room. (walk on tip toes)
2. With the beanbag on your foot, lift your leg up and down.
3. With the beanbag on your nose turn all the way around.
4. With the beanbag on your shoulder lift your leg up behind you.
5. In a crab position place the beanbag on your tummy and walk around the room.
6. With the beanbag on your back walk on your hands and feet.


1. Put the numbers one through five on five empty bottles.
2. Set them up in a V formation.
3. Throw the beanbag to see which bottles you can knock over.
4. Younger kids can namethe numbers as they pick them up.
5. Older kids can add the numbers together.


1. Place four hoops about five feet apart from each other.
2. When the student attempts to throw the beanbag in the first hoop have them share one thing they like about themselves.
3. In the next hoop, something they like about their partner behind them.
4. In the third hoop, something they like about their school.
5. In the fourth hoop something they like in their world.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The key to teaching reading is to motivate and inspire the children to practice. The use of rhyming poetry, songs or stories is an excellent way to engage the children in learning. Kids love to hear and memorize poems. It's a fun and very natural form of expression. Poetry is excellent for choral readings because of its rhythm.


1. Pick a variety of poetry. Demonstrate to the children that poetry can be sad, funny, silly, dreamlike, or mad.

2. Pick poems that go with the theme you're currently working on.

3. When you introduce a poem, read it with enthusiam and drama. Humorous poems usually grab their attention. You can hook a child to poetry for life if they catch your love of poetry.

4. Now pass out a copy of the poem so that students can follow along as you read it again.

5. Define any new words that are important to the meaning of the poem.

6. Read the poem chorally as a class.

7. If there are different characters in the poem, assign each one to a student to act out. Sometimes there's a part the class can say all together.

8. Start with short poems for memorization then go with longer ones.

9. Teach young children about rhythmic patterns by having them clap hands and stomp feet along with the poem.

10. Use the old familiar poems for word skills.


1. Say a word from the poem and ask the children to find synonyms or antonyms.

2. Pull some words from the poem and put them in alphabetical order.

3. Use words in the poem for word sorts. For example, label three cups people nouns, place nouns, and thing nouns. Then sort all the nouns into the proper cup. Sort by nouns, adjectives and verbs. Or sort by beginning or ending sounds. Sort by word families. Sort contrations and possessives.

4. Find and copy sight words from the poems.

5. Find word families in poems.

6. Use word families or rhyming words to write a class poem. It might be fun to do a class illustration on giant newsprint paper for a bulletin board.

7. Use word families to create student poems. They enjoy drawing illustrations for their poems.

8. Create poems in small groups about certain feelings. (sad, happy, angry, peaceful) These poems usually are great for dramatization. Kids might find out that other kids feel like they do sometimes.


1. Use classic children's authors like Robert Louis Stevenson.

2. Jack Prelutsky, named the nation's first Children's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, is the author of more than 40 books of verse and editor of several poetry anthologies.

3. Dr. Seuss demonstrates that made-up words can be poetry too.


Sight Word Poetry Pages: 100 Fill-in-the-Blank Practice Pages That Help Kids Really Learn the Top High-Frequency Words by Rozanne Williams.

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky.

Wham! Its a Poetry Jam: Discovering Performance Poetry
by Sara Holbrook. (Each poem is paired with explanations on how best to perform the poem out loud, alone or with a group.)

Bird Watch: A Book of Poetry by Jane Yolen (Several of her books pair poems with photography.)

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, June 5, 2009


The White Snail
Written and illustrated by Iliana Metallinou aka Liana Metal

The White Snail includes an exciting story and educational material appropriate for young readers. It is the first of a series of books that aims to encourage children to read stories while, at the same time learn about nature. At the end of each book there are educational activities.

The White Snail’s basic theme is self-esteem that develops from early childhood. The hero of this story believes that he is not equal to the other snails just because he is different. This story is about the differences among people or peoples generally. It caters not only to young kids but also to adults, parents and teachers.

This series also aims to highlight some of the small miracles of nature, that we usually take for granted. The White Snail encourages the reader to notice snails closely and learn some facts about them via the educational activity at the end of the book.


This book can be read both in Greek and English. Thus, it caters to Foreign Language education as well as to readers all over the world.

Author and illustrator, Iliana Metallinou, holds a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics, is an artist, a book reviewer, former Language School owner, and nature lover.

Available at Vasilis Savvanis Publications, Corfu, Greece,, local bookstores and kiosks.

The White Snail
ISBN: 978-960-98648-0-0
Paperback, 32 pages, 16x16 cm
5.50 euros

The White Snail by Liana Metal

Five Stars:  A delightful children’s book

Liana Metal is a talented writer of children’s stories and it shines in her latest book The White Snail. The White Snail is about a happy, lovable white snail, who wishes his “home” was brown like all the other snails. He meets a lovely female snail, who admires his beautiful white home, and the white snail soon realizes that the grass is always greener on the other side.

The illustrations, done by Liana Metal, are cleverly designed. Young children who do not read yet, can easily follow the story while looking at the lovable animals. I particularly enjoyed reading the Greek version. It took me back to my Greek school days when I was in elementary school and had to go to Greek school right after regular school, 3 days a week. Some of the words I am familiar with but with others, I have to guess. With some words, I didn’t know what they meant and had to guess from the story. I didn’t know what the word for snail was in Greek and now I do.

Pauline Papacalos-Hager
Author of Memoirs of an American housewife in Japan

The White Snail

Reviewed by Maria Gouna
ETL teacher, Greece

Very Highly Recommended

Liana Metal is an EFL teacher and freelance writer from Greece. She has been writing articles, children’s stories, non-fiction books and short stories, as well as ELT books for classroom use for a very long time. Among her books are: “ The Hostel”, “Bedtime stories”, “Writing Basics”, “Flowers for Women”.

The White Snail is about a snail that differs from the others in that he is not brown but he is white and so he thinks that he is not as beautiful as the rest of the snails. As a result, he decides to paint his “house” brown! But what will happen? Will he be able to achieve his goal? Will the other snails laugh at him or accept him as he is? And finally, will he ever realise that to be different is not bad?

Written in a simple language without difficult verbal images or exaggerations and double-spaced, it is a book that is suitable for very young children as well as for the “older” ones. Moreover, it is fully illustrated by the writer herself and this is an aspect that makes the book more interesting and entertaining. Most important of all is the fact that the writer tries and succeeds in introducing young readers to concepts such as discrimination, racism and love for animals in an amusing and easy way. It is absolutely a book that caters to everyone!

Kathy Stemke's websites:
Add to Technorati Favorites