Thursday, May 23, 2013

19 Storytelling Techniques
I have been meaning to write a post about storytelling techniques for quite sometime. I have finally gotten a few minutes in my super busy schedule to come up with one! Here is a list of a few techniques I have used and some I haven't (but learned about them when I was doing my undergrad). Enjoy! Oh, and please post some other ideas that you know of or use in your classroom!

Felt Stories

Tell a story using felt! It allows for great visuals especially for books that may have patterns. An example of how I did a felt story can be found here: Silly Sally - Felt Storytelling Technique

Finger Puppets

Using finger puppets are so engaging! Use them while you are reading or tell a story without the book. Works wonders each way! A fun story that I always like to do is The Three Little Pigs. 

Puppet Show

Oh my! What a fantastic idea to create your own puppet theatre! Use one of those 3-panel presentation boards (they cost around 8 dollars from Staples)! Got this picture from Google images and has now inspired me to create my own puppet theatre!

Stick Puppets
Tell a story with stick puppets. Just as much fun as any other technique! Remember, any of these techniques work with poems and songs as well!

Cut a Story
As you read the story, cut out a shape that may represent the shape. For example, "The girl was waiting for a valentine to arrive"; You can cut the shape of a valentine as you tell the story.

Draw a Story
Create a Class Story

Okay, I LOVE using this technique. That is a story that I drew in my classroom this year on the whiteboard. It can also be done on chart paper and then posted in the room. I chose to do it on the whiteboard. My students actually came up with this whole story on their own. Each child was given the opportunity to create the story. We started in a circle. One student gave one sentence. And the next student gave the next sentence of the story. We came up with this class story. Then they went to the desks and drew a picture of what their creation of the story was. It also became a class storybook! 

Real Props

This is one my most favourite stories! I have used this technique many times during my teaching experience. I used the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. I bought all the props (from the dollar store) needed from the story and put them in order of the story in the basket. As I read the story, I pulled out the item/prop and laid it in front of me. The kids love it and so do I!

Role Play
Role play the story! You can add students as you go along. I did it with my students and they loved it! Caps for Sale is awesome to read! Grab a bunch of hats as props and you're good to go!!! Here we can build role playing and theatre skills!

Storybox Technique

Fun way to have a few props in the box. An easy carry-with-you-anywhere box with all the things you need for the story. Check out my post Moosetache to find out how I did mine!

Musical Instruments

Simple! Use musical instruments while you tell your story. Mortimer is a great one to use. Check out my post to learn more about how I used Mortimer in my classroom. 

Get a strong clothesline. Buy some clothespins. Get pictures for the story (make from felt or photocopy the pages of the book and laminate them for forever-use). As you read the book, ask a child to put the corresponding item on the clothesline. This book is fantastic for it! 

Flashlight Fun
Reading a story is SO much fun with the lights turned off and blinds shut. Make the room dark and turn on a flashlight!!! I love this technique. So much fun to do at any time of the day. Gives children a change and lets them know that reading can be done during the night as long as you have a flash light!!

Large Books
Large books are great because the kids can see the pictures and words in a much bigger size! Awesome to listen to!

Other techniques can include: Singing chants during a story/song (We're going on a bear hunt), Physically participating (stamping feet, clapping hands), Use stuffed animals to tell a story, Word Cards/Pictures (when they hear a part of the story, they hold up their card/picture), and Hear and Respond (every time they hear a certain word, they must respond with an action/chant. Ex., "little frog" say ribbit ribbit or jump 3 times). 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Math Songs for Kindergarten, Preschool and Toddlers


Using songs on the computer are great for children as they are both auditory and visual. It allows for children to see and hear at the same time and it helps build concept skills as they are given the opportunity to put two and two together. For example, if they only hear the song with numbers, they will learn them as rote and won't know what it means. With visuals, and with time and practise, they will learn one-to-one correspondence. Here are some math songs I use in my classroom daily as they are fun and very educational. You will find shapes, Numbers, Colors, and Patterns, all part of Math!

Also, check out my Phonics Song For Kindergarten post here.

Shapes Song

Shapes Song 2

Number Song (1-10)

Number Song 2 (1-10)

Big Number Song (1-100; Bigger Numbers)

5 Little Ducks

10 in the Bed

Butterfly Colors Song

Butterfly Colors Song 2

Train Colors Song

AAB Pattern Song

Monday, May 6, 2013

Phonics Songs for Kindergarten, Preschool and Toddlers

Listening to songs has always been a hit in a Kindergarten classroom. But listening AND watching them is an even bigger hit!!! 

Here are some links I always use in my classroom to help children with phonics. If you have younger ones, this is a fantastic way to get them started. It's fun and the children pick up quickly the sounds and words that begin with the sounds. In just a week, my students had started to come up with their own words that began with each letter even though the video gives only a few examples.
Most of the links that are teacher friendly, child friendly and parent friendly are by KidsTV123 (username on YouTube). ENJOY! Please also note KidsTV123 uses ZED and ZEE versions in different videos. If you search the specific sounds for the letter Z, they will show up!

Also, check out my post for Math Songs for Kindergarten here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sound Therapy

Anytime I talk to people about sound therapy, I'm amazed at the amount of people who haven't heard about it! So, of course I would like to share!

What is sound therapy?

It is basically using music as therapy. Research has shown that using music (at certain wavelengths and types of music) helps the body, mind and soul to relax and feel calm.

Many people use sound therapy if you're going for a massage, doing yoga or doing meditation.

I used it in my Kindergarten classroom all year long and called it meditation. It allowed the students to calm down and relax for a few minutes (mind you, they couldn't sit still for more than 5 minutes meditating as per to their normal development). 

When I was doing my undergrad, I remember reading about sound therapy. Sound therapy isn't just great for younger children but it is absolutely amazing for children and adults with special needs. Research also has shown that sound therapy helps with people who have:

  • Mood disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Amnesia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alzheimer
  • Dementia

As I use YouTube a lot, I stumbled upon many videos for Sound Therapy. There was also one for a condition called Tinnitus. This is where there is a continuous noise in the ears such constant ringing, buzzing, etc. To overcome this condition, the following video was posted. It is a 6 hour video of the water from a shower hitting the wall. It is quite soothing for a person like me who doesn't have tinnitus so I hope it works wonders for people with tinnitus as well.

The sounds used in the above video are called natural sounds. The following are links to the natural sounds I have used at different times in the classroom. On a rainy day, I always used rain and thunderstorm videos as background noise. It helped the students relax and also helped scared students find love for the rain (as I have. I absolutely LOVE the rain). On super sunny days I have used ocean waves. These can work great with themes as well. For spring, you may use rain; summer, you may use ocean waves or water falls, etc. 

Thunderstorm and Rain

Ocean Waves


Hot Springs

Nature and Forest (imagine putting up a tent in the classroom with this as background music!!! Fantastic!)


Dolphins and Whales


Fire (one of my most favourite! Use this while students are reading or you are reading a story)


Here are some videos with soothing music. One of the them (1st one) is a video I showed my students a lot and they have fallen in love with it. The music plays a huge part of it! (Some started to refer to the video as the video with the meditation song!):

You can always search for specific videos on YouTube as of course these are not limited to the vast space for sound therapy.

The next links are sounds that have been created to help people with certain conditions (please note that these videos are not a cure and that they may not work for every single person out there):

Anxiety and Depression

Please be aware that some people are able to see sound and taste/hear colour. That is called synesthesia. One of my good friends has synesthesia and when she told me about it, I was amazed! Though she has said that there are times when the sound is too much and she sees colours everywhere. So, please make sure you are aware of students of other people who may react differently to sounds! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Meet Raja

I don't know why I haven't posted anything about my pet bird, Raja. Raja means Prince in Urdu. He is an Australian Budgie and he has been with us for a little over 5 years. 

He is super friendly. He loves to sing and tweet. And he is just really, really cute!!! Oh, and he is a bit of a show off which is why he is super friendly!

We let Raja fly around in the house at times. He likes to take about  4-5 rounds around the kitchen and the living room and then he sits back in his cage.

In the cage, I have some bells for him, a swing and a couple of mirrors. He loves anything shiny so he is crazy about the mirror.

Raja loves walking on shoulders and arms. And he loves sitting on my finger. Every time I put my thumb up to his beak, he kisses cute!!

I have taken him many times into different classrooms for the students to see. They love to observe him and listen to him when he is tweeting. It is a great way to spark an interest in pets, animals and science all at the same time.

For an art activity, I bought feathers from the dollar store and put it with paint on the art table. The children loved painting with feathers. Super fun activity.

On the science table, I took some feathers and put them with magnifying glasses. The students had a great time observing the feathers and feeling the feathers. I also put out white paper and crayons if they wanted to draw some feathers. 

For the play dough table, I was lucky enough to have cutters in shapes of birds. The children loved recreating Raja with play dough (I also used green play dough so it seems more realistic). 

My students drew pictures, painted pictures, built bird houses and wrote stories about Raja. They love it when he comes for a visit. Has anyone else taken their house pets for a school visit?
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