The Big Question

Our language arts curriculum is divided in themed units and each unit has a big question that generates discussion about the theme. Then each week has a question. These are introduced in the following manner:

Teacher: Hey class, I want to tell you about the Big Question.
Students: What! The big question?(with arms out, looking surprised)
Teacher: Yeah! The big question!
Students: All right!(with a sweep of the arm across the front like the lollipop guild munchkins)
Teacher then goes on to introduce/explain the Big Question.

The question of the week goes as follows:

Teacher: Hey class, I want to tell you about the Question of the Week.
Students: What! The Question of the Week?!(looking surprised again)
Teacher: Yeah! The Question of the Week!
Students: Okie-Dokie!(giving the OK sign like Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat.)

This week's question of the week is, "Who is in our family?" So we listen to this way-cool song from The Roots on Yo Gabba Gabba. Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Thumb Power


To develop skilled phonemic awareness we practice comparing phonemes in two words. We listen for initial, middle, and ending phonemes to see if they are the same or different. To practice we play THUMB POWER!!!!!!!!

Students are given two words like "ten" and "tub". For ten, students hold a thumbs up and  a thumb held sideways right next to it for tub. As the words are compared, they alternate each word three times emphasizing each word with their thumbs. The teacher then says/yells, "Thumbs together!" Students put thumbs up together and yell, "THUMB POWER!!!", if the initial phonemes match (Think: "Wondertwin powers activate!").  If the initial phonemes don't match,  students put one hand down, the sideways thumb,  and make a "raspberry"(a noun; a loud, abrasive, spluttering noise made with the lips and tongue to express contempt. Also known as the "Bronx cheer".)

The hands are held as far out apart to compare final phonemes in a word. As they say the word, students bring thumbs in together to emphasize the final sound. To compare middle phonemes, students hold one hand up high and another down low. The middle phoneme is emphasized as hands are brought together.

After a few different phonemes it gets tiresome making "raspberries", so recently we've converted the raspberry to saying the phrase, "Poopie Pants!". Now that's FUN! Don't tell anyone.

Ten Little Cowboys

Young little mathematicians need to learn how to count backward. One thing we like to do is sing the numbers backward. So we sing the classic "Ten Little Indians(Native Americans). Well, we don't want to be politically incorrect, and Native Americans doesn't fit rhythmically, so we've picked a group that would not be offended, hopefully, --the cowboys. So we sing forward, and we sing backward. We start from 1 and end a 10, then back again. We can also start at eleven, but it's a mouthful. The greatest part is this version has a "yeah", and a "yee-haw!!!!!!" Now that's FUN, don't tell anyone!