Thursday, October 30, 2008


I'm very excited to be part of a virtual book tour which is slated to launch this November. Each week I'll be featuring a different author. You can add comments or questions that I can ask the author. I will interview these authors and get insights into their lives and their writing. Some of them might be authors that you have read or are using in your classroom already, while others are exciting new authors entering the book world. I am one of the latter. I have just signed a contract for my first children's book entitled, "Trouble on Earth Day." This book about a squirrel named Shelby and her family is a great way to introduce your children to conservation and recycling. After finding things around the house to recycle, Shelby hears someone crying outside her home. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that she helps another animal through a crisis using her recycled materials. Then all is well in the forest again! This book will come with several activity pages for children, parents and teachers to enjoy. I will be interviewed on other authors sites as well.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Prefix and Suffix Activities!

To make a prefix wheel just click on the pictures to enlarge and print. You can change the words or the prefix as desired. Other re words: reapply, recheck, recopy, redry, refry, reglue, regrow, relearn, reload, reread, remix, rename, repaint, repay, retape, retest.

When introducing a new prefix or suffix, draw an elephant on the board and write prefixes on the raised trunk and suffixes on the tail. In the center, on the elephant’s body attach a series of base words. Explore which prefixes or suffixes make a new word. Make some practice cards for the kids to use at a center. Make some with prefixes, some root words, and some suffixes. Let the children mix and match to come up with a list of new words. The kids can make an elephant; write their new word on an elephant, and the meaning on the back. If their word doesn't have a prefix or suffix, they can cut off the trunk or the tail. They love that part!

Have the students find and circle prefixes or suffixes in simple stories they read in reading class. Also explain a lot about the root words and some different prefixes and suffixes you can use with them.

Here are some great websites with more good Ideas!

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Friday, October 24, 2008


Consonant Blend Action Rhyme and activities!

Consonant blends are fun to do.
Read them all with me, won’t you?

Float and flutter in the sun.
Twist and twirl and have some fun.

Dribble and drive down the street.
Crawl and crouch on your own feet.

Swing and swim on the big lake.
Prance on in and bake a cake.

Try to fly up in the sky.
Fry some eggs and ask me why.

Consonant blends can really rock.
Practice them around the clock!


1. Have fun reciting this rhyme.
2. Create actions for this rhyme and perform it together as a class.
3. Let the children do a movement exploration activity with this rhyme.
4. Have the children circle all the consonant blends that they can find in the rhyme.
5. Create a book by drawing pictures for each line of this rhyme.

Consonant Blend Musical Chairs

Set chairs up in alternating directions, and put a consonant blend card on each one. Either use lively music or recite the above poem as the children march around the chairs. When the music stops everyone sits in a chair and comes up with a word that starts with the consonant blend on their card. If they can’t, they are out of the game. The last one left is the winner.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Earth Day Activities II

Recycle toilet paper rolls to make napkin rings

1. Cut each roll in half.
2. Paint the ring.
3. Wrap 13 feet of thin ribbon around the ring and glue the ends.
4. Tie a large bow on the front.
5. Place a napkin in your new napkin holder.

Recycle cardboard and gift wrap to make a bookmark

1. Cut a cardboard rectangle 2 ½” by 7”.
2. Wrap it up like a gift.
3. Cut a 1” by 4” piece of construction paper.
4. Put each child’s name on the paper.
5. Glue it to the center of the bookmark.

Recycle short pieces of crayon

1. Put shavings of old crayons in a cookie mold.
2. Add several colors together.
3. Heat and let them melt together.
4. When cool, draw and see the interesting effects that you can make.

Pebble jar vase

1. Clean a large pickle jar. (4 ½” diameter)
2. Glue a 2” to 2 ½” jelly jar inside the pickle jar.
3. Place small rocks or pebbles between the two jars.
4. Tie raffia around the rim of the pickle jar.
5. Fill with dried flowers.

Make a pinecone birdfeeder

1. Tie some string around a large open pinecone
2. Spread peanut butter all over the cone.
3. Roll the cone in oatmeal, nuts, or birdseed.
4. Hang it from a tree and watch the birds feed.

Make a litterbug

1. Paint one section of a paper egg carton.
2. Poke three holes on each side of the body.
3. Place three pipe cleaners through the holes to make legs.
4. Glue beans, buttons, or small rocks on for eyes.
5. Glue yarn or a small twig for a mouth.

Recycle ice cream containers to make blocks

1. Wash them out.
2. Glue the lids on.
3. Paint them.
4. Have fun building things.

Recycle old nylons to make sachels

1. Cut a 4” section.
2. Tie one end with a ribbon.
3. Stuff with poppori.
4. Tie off the other end.
5. Hang them in closets.

Recycle old CD’s to make ornaments

1. Spray glitter on the CD.
2. Tie a ribbon through the hole to hang.
3. Take a picture of each child.
4. Cut the edges with pinking shears.
5. Glue the child’s picture in the center of the CD.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


BLIND PICK Place several sight words on a large poster board and hang it on the wall at your child's eye level. Like "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," tie a scarf around the child's eyes and spin them in place three times. Have them place their finger on a sight word on the poster. Remove the scarf and have the child read the word.

WORD SCAVENGER HUNT Hide sight words around the room.

BEACH BALL WORDS Section off a ball into many squares with a marker. Each square houses a sight word. Toss the ball to your child, who recites the word under their right thumb.

GAMBLE FOR WORDS Roll the dice. Pick the same number of sight words as the number indicated on the dice. He/she must be able to read each word as they pick it up. Set a time limit and see how many points he/she can earn.

WORD WAR Write sight words on a stack of index cards. A parent or older sibling can play this game with the child. Each player takes turns flipping a card over and the first one to read the sight word wins that card. Parents should count to 10 slowly before telling their child the sight word.

STINKY CHEESE GAME Cut triangles out of yellow construction paper. On 20 triangles write sight words that you want to practice. On 5 triangles write "stinky cheese." Put the triangles in a sack and shake it up. Your child identifies the sight word on the cheese he pulls out of the bag. If he chooses "stinky cheese," he holds his nose and says, "Stinky cheese!" in a silly voice.

UNIFIX CUBES Practice reading sight words that are taped onto the cubes. Make a tower of correct and incorrect words. Try the incorrect words again. Try to make a giant tower with all the sight words correct.

PINECONE WORDS Place poster board pinecones on a small Christmas tree. On the back of each one write a sight word. The children take turns running to the tree, grabbing a pinecone, and reading the sight word.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008


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.”

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Friday, October 17, 2008


DAYS END LULLABY written by Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman

This enduring book offers you a soothing lullaby to read or sing to your children. The charming illustrations are sure to be pictures your children can relate to and treasure. Upon reaching the last page, my niece fell fast asleep. The lyrical words and sweet melody will lull any restless spirit into a deep and dreamy sleep.

KEESHA'S BRIGHT IDEA written by Eleanor May and illustrated by Amy Wimmer

This book is full of delightful facts about energy usage and waste. This unusual book brings the relevant issue of energy conservation to life with fun characters and an interesting story. The colorful, hip illustrations with their many details keep young children’s attention. On almost every page you’ll find a box with quick tips of fresh new information, which stimulates class discussion. My students were eager to share their own energy saving stories from home, and couldn’t wait to share the new facts and tips they learned in school with their families.

I coupled this book with a great activity. We made “I save energy” T-shirts with energy tips displayed. We hung them with clothespins on a rope across our classroom.

TROUBLE ON EARTH DAY by Kathy Stemke (yes, that's me!)

This children's picture book about a squirrel family that saves nuts, recycles, and saves a little yellow songbird is a great way to start a conversation about conservation with your children or your students. Coming soon!!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008


How High Can You Fly?

1. Tape a large piece of paper to the wall.
2. Practice jumping and touching the paper with one finger.
3. Put one finger on an ink pad
4. Take turns: jump, touch the paper, mark with ink
5. Measure the height with a ruler

Make paper airplanes with each students name on it. Place a 25 foot measuring tape outside on the playground. Have flying contests and measure how far each plane goes.

Balloon Craft

1. print out the template (click on picture to enlarge)
2. color the balloon
3. take digital pictures of each student in the class
4. cut out and glue students into the box
(tissue box or strawberry carton)
5. tie lengths of ribbon or string to each of the 4 corners of the box
6. glue or tape the other end of the string to the balloon
7. tape a fifth piece of string to the top to hang

Air Balloon Action
(I’m a Little Teapot Tune)

I’m a big bright balloon, way up high,
(from squat, rise up onto your toes)

Gliding on air currents, watch me fly!
(arms out, fly around the room)

When the air is used up, I’ll come down,
(touch the ground)

Swirling and whirling, to the ground!
(turn, spin, and squat)

For a dot-to-dot hot air balloon go to:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I HAVE A NEW BOOK UNDER CONTRACT: "TROUBLE ON EARTH DAY!" A teacher activity book will follow. It's a great fictional story that teaches kids how to RECYCLE, RETHINK, AND REUSE things around the house!

Ladybug Rocks!

1. Wash an dry some smooth round or oval rocks.

2. Paint the rocks with acrylic paint in colors of your choice.

3. Paint a head using black paint.

4. Use a black sharpie to draw spots and an line down their backs.

5. Glue on two wiggly eyes. You can substitute beans for the eyes if needed.

Nest Building Activity!

For most birds, nest-building supplies consist of whatever nature has lying around — wood, grass, twigs, feathers, and fur. You can provide the birds in your neighborhood with easy-to-obtain nest fodder by stuffng a mesh onion bag with materials such as pet fur, colorful strands of cloth, bits of stuffing, hay, colorful yarn cut into short lengths, hair from your brush, or feathers from an old down pillow. (Avoid anything synthetic or sharp.) Snip a few large holes in the sack so birds can poke around, then hang it in a tree, ideally near a feeder so it will get noticed.

In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for birds visiting the sack, then watch what trees they return to — from the right viewpoint, you might even get to see your building materials being incorporated into the birds' nests.

Tin Can Herb Pots!

1. Completely wash and dry aluminum can. If necessary, sand off any rough edges from opening of can, and poke holes in the bottom with a screwdriver..

2. Paint can desired color, repeat coats if needed. Decorate however you like. Decorate with stickers if desired.

3. Place enough rocks or pebbles in the bottom of the can to form a single layer.
Add enough potting soil to fill the can two-thirds full.

4. Remove potted herb from its container and transplant into the can.

5. Place can on a plate (to catch any water drainage) and add some water to the newly planted herbs.

6. Paint craft stick whatever color you like. Use a black Sharpie marker to write the herb name onto the stick.

7. Insert your plant marker into the soil, being careful not to crush any roots along the way.

8. Place your new garden in a sunny window and remember to water them!

Kathy Stemke on Education Tipster

Kathy Stemke on Helium
Kathy Stemke on Associated Content
Kathy Stemke’s Website

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Perfect squares are fun to do.
Come on guys; let’s do a few.

Zero times zero is zero.
Move with me, just like a hero.

One times one is always one.
Skip around, we’ve just begun.

Hey, two times two is four.
Let’s rock around some more.

Now, three times three is nine.
Slip and slide right on time.

Four times four equals sixteen.
Push and pull like a machine.

Five times five is twenty-five.
Come on kids let’s jump and jive.

Six times six is thirty-six.
Hip-hop and pop in the mix.

Seven times seven is forty-nine.
Float up high and you’ll be just fine.

Eight times eight is sixty-four.
Ride your bike around the floor.

Nine times nine is eighty-one.
Jumping jacks are always fun.

Ten times ten equals a hundred.
Spin and count up to a hundred.

Eleven squared is one twenty-one.
Come dance with me, we’re almost done.

Twelve times twelve’s one forty-four.
Let’s all march right out the door.

Perfect squares are fun to do.
Good job guys; we've done a few.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008


Here are some great kids' websites that kids enjoy: ml (for older kids!)

Also children's book publishers such as Scholastic usually have good sites that have activities that coordinate with their books. It would be nice to read and then reinforce with activities.

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Monday, October 6, 2008


If you become a follower, you will be updated on your dashboard when a post is published. I would appreciate comments on what you like or don't like about the blog, as well as what you'd like to see more of on this blog. I hope to hear from you. Thanks Kathy

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Action Rhymes and Activities for Sunday!


Skate on Sunday,
And don’t be shy,
S-u-n d-a-y!

We slip and slide on Sunday too,
We always have so much to do.

Skate exploration!
Skate around the room while saying the rhyme. Remind the children to slide their feet on the floor instead of picking them up. When the rhyme is done everyone freezes and holds their last funny position. For interest, add small jumps and turns like real figure skating.

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