Peter the Cheater Cheetah

Every Thursday we have Song Time. We sit on the carpet, sing fun songs, songs with motions, play rhythm instruments, and have an all around, academic,  good time.

Several years ago, Peter the Cheater Cheetah , was written with a group of after school kids.  Since then it has become a classroom favorite. One year some girls made a dance to it, so the whole class performed it in the talent show. It's entertaining and inspiring to sing about a cheetah who changes his ways. More entertaining is singing names of students at the end of the song. We add names instead of the la, la, la, la, la part. So we would sing Carla-la-la-la, or jessica-ca-ca-ca. Everyone loves to hear their name in the song. Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Winkadink's High Frequency Show!

 "It's time for Winkadink's High Frequency Show! I'm Winkadink(big wink) and this is my show. The show where students can earn hundreds of dollars just for reading words. For every correct word you win $200. Read all the words and you earn the bonus! But don't get a ZONKO or you will hear this, 'Whah-whah-whaaaaaaaaah!' Our first contestant is from Ramon Urmston Elementary Annex, he likes laying on desks, and throwing crayons on the floor. He's Vern Jones. The audience is ready, the board is ready, Vern is ready, so let's play Winkadink's High Frequency
 The contestant takes the microphone, reads the word while the audience repeats the word and yells, "two hundred dollars!". The contestant continues as the words are revealed and the audience continues until he earns the bonus, or get a Zonko.
Winkadink's Microphone
Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone;)

Snap-Crackle-Pop Cheer

It's fun to have the crowd cheer for you, especially if you are doing something smart. So if someone in class does exceptional work, shares a correct answer with the class when called upon, or just needs some praise, we cheer for them. The Snap-Crackle-Pop cheer goes like this:
After announcing Snap-Crackle-Pop, students snap their fingers once, rub the palms of their hands together(crac-kle), then clap(pop). It's short and sweet.

Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Math Momma Mania

Every Wednesday we get some helpers to come in for Math Momma Mania. We set the room up into five stations, split the students into five groups, and spend the math time giving math instruction to small groups. Mrs. Ailstron is the most consistent, and frequent, helper. When students asked why she was coming to help with math, I told them "because she's Math Momma". The mania part, as you can imagine, was inspired by the "energy" and "excitement" of the first few sessions. After a few, the students have become professionals. Stations are set for independent group work, and the "maniacs" usually will pre-teach an upcoming skill, or review where weaknesses arise. Mrs. Ailstron's catch phrase is, "You're a smart cookie!", and everyone wants to be a smart cookie. 

Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.


Once students are trained on how to properly clean and organize their desks, we do inspections. When the command is given, students begin preparing for inspections. As they finish, they stand at attention to the side of the open desk. The sergeant approaches and asks (in a drill sergeant yell), "ARE YOU READY FOR INSPECTION, SOLDIER!!!????" The response, "YES, SIR!!!!!", is barked back. Of course, it has to be loud or we might hear, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!" The sergeant then continues with multiple questions like: "ARE YOU PROUD OF THIS DESK, SOLDIER?!", or, "IS YOUR MATH BOOK IN THE RIGHT PLACE SOLDIER?!", and, "IS THIS THE BEST LOOKING DESK IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE COUNTRY?!". When the soldier has passed the inspection, the sergeant says, "GIVE ME A SAAAAAAAAAAAALUTE!". At which time, the soldier and sergeant salute. Sometimes soldiers are rewarded with a "caught being good" ticket, a piece of healthy candy, or maybe just a "good job, I'm proud of you" and a smile. Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Baseword Baseball

When it is time to add suffixes to words in order to make BIGGER words, we play Baseword Baseball.
When playing Baseword baseball, the players pitch the base word, hit the suffix, and catch the new word. Of course, I am the manager of the team, so all the right players are in the right positions. With a word like reporter, the fun would go something like this: 

 Manager: What's the base word?
Team: The base word is report! Coach! 
Manager: What's the suffix? 
Team: The suffix is "er"! Coach! 
Manager: What's the new word? 
Team: The new word is reporter! Coach! 
Manager: Pitch! 
Team: REPORT! (pitching motion)
Manager: Hit
Team: "ER"!(hitting motion) 
Manager: Catch!
Team: Reporter!(catching motion)

After the team is warmed up, individual tryouts begin. Selections are made for pitcher, hitter, and outfielder. We take our positions on the "field", with the manager as catcher. We taunt the batter with baseball chatter, "Hey, batta batta!" The pitcher throws a base word. The hitter swings while saying the suffix. The ball goes to the outfielder as the hitter runs the "bases". Outfielder says the new word then throws the ball to home. If the outfielder knows the new word, most likely the runner will be tagged at home, but if there is any hesitation, the runner is usually "SAAAAAAAAAFE!"

Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.


     A fun activity we do to practice spelling is WORCHACAW. WORCHACAW is an acronym. WOR stands for word, CHA stands for chop the word, CA stands for card, and the W stands for write.
As each word is given, students are instructed to get the word in their head-WOR.
Then, they "place"the word on their hand and chop it up by sounds-CHA.
After that, students are instructed to find the sound/spelling card that corresponds with each letter-CA.
Finally, the word is written on whiteboards. This is a great way to practice spelling.
     Where is the fun in all of this, you ask? Before each word we stand and do WORCHACAW. At summer camps and adult team building/bonding activities it's know as AROOOSTASHA. WORCHACAW goes something like this:

For the first word we say and do the actions, "Thumbs together! Worchacaw, Worchacaw, Worcha Caw-Caw!" Next word, we say and do "thumbs together, wrists together". Maybe this is too much. We could just write the words 5 times each. Right!!

Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

goofy adults in canned video:


It's fun to have the crowd cheer for you, especially if you are doing something smart. So if someone in class does exceptional work, shares a correct answer with the class when called upon, or just needs some praise, we cheer for them. The AWE-SOME cheer goes like this:
Clap and sway as you cheer, "You're AWE(slight pause)-SOME, You're AWE (slight pause)-SOME!"     
Then, pretend to dust your right shoulder as you say, "You're AWESOME!"
Next, pretend to dust your left shoulder as you say: "You're AWESOME!"
Finally, open arms outward one at a time, show the hang loose sign, and say, "To-tally!(with
a total surfer dude voice.)"

That is one awesome cheer and I hope you know why. If you don't, I can only quote the words of one Andrew Bernard, Scranton, Pennsylvania, "So, sorry Tuna but if you don't know why that's awesome, then... you need awesome lessons." 

Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Bobby Balooba and Lovely Lily

The latest entry of the Bobby Balooba story had us attempting to write each kind of sentence in our animal fantasy: statement, command, question, and exclamation. In an earlier fantasy we had Bobby Balooba battle with a  space ninja (I was trying to get the boys attention.), so all they want now is to have Bobby battle other characters. I told them we already had a fighting story and that this one should be about friendship. Well, it turned into more of a love story. There were giggles, whispers, and kissing noises as we brainstormed and wrote.

Bobby Balooba and Lovely Lily
First, Bobby Balooba goes with Lovely Lily to the forest. 
Next, Bobby asks, "Will you walk with me?"
Then Lily whispers, "Hold my hand and I will walk with you."
Bobby yells, "I love you Lovely Lily!" 

Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

The Urmston Card


We use sound and spelling cards, with pictures, in the classroom to help students relate sounds, letters, and spellings. The picture for one of the r-controlled vowels is "earth" .

The week I introduced this sound, we were trying to brainstorm some words that use this sound. One little buddy said, "Hey, Earth is like Urmston." We decided that it should no longer be called the "earth" card, but now we would call it the "Urmston" card. If we were sounding out the word "burn", to read or spell, in sound-card lingo it would be: Beiber-Urmston-Nurse. Of course we had to put an Urmston picture on the card. Later, I sneaked into some other classrooms and put Urmston pictures on their earth cards.
Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Stayin' Alive Cheer

It's fun to have the crowd cheer for you, especially if you are doing something smart. So if someone in class does exceptional work, shares a correct answer with the class when called upon, or just needs some praise, we cheer for them. The stayin' alive cheer goes like this:

 Extend the right index finger in the air to the left of your body.
(It's the Saturday Night Fever dance.Duh!)
Put your left hand on your hip.
Move your right finger from the air to your side as you sing
(to the tune of Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees),
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, you did a good job, you did a good job!" (X 2)

If we really want to show our enthusiasm for the work of our fellow students, we add the long, drawn-out, "alive" part on the second time through, "You did a good Jo- ah-aaaaaah- ah- ah- ah- aaaaaah- ah- ah- ob, YOU DID A GOOD JOB!" Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Joe Momma's Problem

Everyday for math we solve a few word problems. This poor fella is Joe Momma and he's the guy with all the problems. Why else would he be crying? 

Joe is first introduced as a boy who has lots of problems, we are going to solve them for him everyday, and he will be so happy to have friends who can help him.  Joe Momma has a dad named Mr. Momma, a mom named Mrs. Momma, a friend named Yo Daddy, and a dog named Obama Momma. 

A problem is introduced. We determine what is the important information, what operation to use, and make a plan for solving. Students work on white boards to solve it. As they work they commiserate with Joe Momma, "Poor Joe Momma has birds all over his head." "That's OK Joe I'm your friend. I'll help you." 

After students, alone or in groups, solve the problem, I ask, "Who has a solution for Joe Momma that will make him so happy?" They answer in a complete sentence, "Joe Momma has nine birds on his face." Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Bobby Balooba & Alphie the Leprechaun

As we worked on another chapter in the Bobby Balooba saga, the students were reminded that in a fantasy things happen that could never really happen. We proceeded to collaborate after we came up with our second character, Alphi the Leprechaun(it was the week of St. Patrick's day).

Bobby Balooba and Alphi the Leprechaun
First, Alphi the Leprechaun was lost and crying. Bobby Balooba helped him out.
Next, they rode the pretty pink pony. Finally, Bobby and Alphi find the pot of gold.

When we brainstormed the pony,  it was suggested that they ride the pony over a rainbow, and find the pot of gold. Hence the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
One little buddy-boy shared the following thought process as we quietly wrote. "Hey! This IS a fantasy. A little pony can't be pink and a pony can't climb over a rainbow." I was so proud that he'd learned the elements of a fantasy. Then he added, "Only unicorns can climb over rainbows."
Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Sharon Sheep

This is  Sharon Sheep.Whenever it's time to share after a Think-Pair-Share we get out the Sharon Sheep. Sharon is thrown to students with raised hands and only the chosen ones can share their thoughts.
You may have noticed that this is an elephant and not a sheep. When she was first introduced, Sharon was all I had. I try my hardest, each time I introduce her, to convince the students that she is a sheep and not an elephant. They all protest when I say, "Let's get out Sharon. She's a sheep." Many times, after the first time, students yell, "She's an elephant, not a sheep." They protest until we get a visitor, then they all try to convince the guest that Sharon is a sheep, and not an elephant. Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.