Terrific Tips for Starting the School Year!


Crumpled Heart

To encourage kind thoughts and words in her classroom, Cheri Winton Gaetz cuts a paper heart out of red construction paper. She demonstrates crumpling it up and then trying to open it and smooth out all the wrinkles. Cheri reminds her children that when they say something unkind or hurt a friend it crumples their heart. And once their heart is crumpled, it won’t ever be quite the same. Throughout the year, Cheri keeps children kind by reminding them about the crumpled heart.

Crumpled Heart


Memory Book

Here’s a great idea for saving all those love notes and pictures the children draw you each year. Get a three ring notebook and punch holes in those special notes. Keep the book in the classroom library so children will know you treasure what they make for you and they can enjoy what their friends give you as well.

Memory Book


Signing the Pledge

Most children can recite the Pledge of Allegiance, although the words have no meaning. A teacher once told me a funny story about the pledge. She noticed most of the children fidgeted and were disinterested when they said the pledge, but one little girl was always so enthusiastic. One day the teacher listened closely to what the little girl was saying, and this is what she heard instead of “With liberty and justice for all”, the little girl said, “With lollipops and jello for all”! Children will be much more engaged and focused if you will teach them how to do the pledge in sign language. This would also be a great opportunity to develop vocabulary and talk about the meaning of “liberty,” “justice,” “republic,” and other words.


The Pledge of Allegiance
(Visit the American Sign Language web site for clarification)



To the Flag

Of the United States of America

And to the Republic For which it Stands

One Nation
Under God


With Liberty

And Justice

For All

Make letter “I” with pinky and place on chest.

Right palm on heart and left palm in the air.

Make “f” with left hand, bend wrist, and wave palm like a flag.

Clasp fingers and move in a circular motion as as if stirring a pot. (People in the US are a melting pot of different people.)

Put out one hand palm down. Make “r” with other hand, point down, circle around and place on hand. Stand index and middle finger up on your other palm.

Hold up 1 finger. Bend thumb in palm and place by forehead, and then bring down.

Pretend to clutch fingers and the try to pull apart.

Make fists and cross wrists; then open as if being freed.

Make circles with thumb and index fingers and pretend they are scales on a balance.

Pretend to scoop out a bowl and pass it around to everyone.

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