Colorful, fragrant glue and play dough using Kool-Aid


Thanks to the ideas on “11 Mind-Blowing Ways to use Kool-Aid”, from, you can save time and money making fun, sensory stimulating glue and play dough!  Obviously, there are 9 other amazing uses, so look those up, too. 

I used to stir in food coloring to make colorful glue, but this is even better!  The colors are vibrant and it smells so yummy.  You will definitely have to tell the little ones it’s for sticking, not for eating 🙂

For the play dough, here’s the recipe and a pic of the finished products.  Again, no eating!  That goes for the teachers, too! 🙂

Mix the following in a medium pot:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Kool-Aid packets
  • 3/4 cup water

Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the dough clumps together and reaches play dough consistency. Repeat the process for each color.




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“Ten Apples Up On Top” by Dr. Seuss

I love this book, which is very popular in September.  Thanks “vancemo” for posting this fun song on You Tube!   He stops at 10, before the true ending of the story, but it works well with the activity provided in the link below. 

The free printables provide 3 different ways (differentiating curriculum) to practice counting apples, either while listening to the story, or after. 

Each student can color the “apples” already drawn, in numerical order, or they can draw their own apples in numerical order, or they can draw apples in random order. 

I also like to laminate the pages and have students roll out small playdoh balls, place one on each circle (one to one correspondence), then smash each with their index finger while counting.  This is a very popular way to get the kiddos to slow down while counting objects.  You can increase the sensory aspect by making a soft dough with equal parts apple scented hair conditioner and cornstarch, or simply add apple pie spices to red playdoh.  It smells so good, even I am tempted to sample some, so just be watchful.  🙂

Free “Ten Apples Up On Top” printables:

 I suggest you subscribe to to get emails with links to lots of great (and free!) activities.

Have fun!  Miss Debi


Posted in Differentiating Activities in Preschool ESE, Early Literacy, Early Math, Apples, Dr. Seuss, totschooling | Leave a comment

Using QR Codes in Reading Centers

I love the ideas I have seen for using QR (quick response) codes in reading centers.  It makes it so easy for students to independently access technology as they choose stories to listen to while they follow along. 

Go to Meghan’s Pad ( to read how Meghan, a kindergarten teacher, makes QR codes using to turn video URLs into ad free videos easily accessible to students.  She has also made it even easier for us by making a free Teachers Pay Teacher download( that includes the pictures and QR codes for several books appropriate for preschoolers and kindergarteners.  She puts them on rings so the children can flip through to find the book that she has chosen, or one they choose on their own.

I found an ad free, QR Code Reader app (QRweb, but there are several) that is so simple to use.  You just open the app, point the tablet at the QR code, and voila!, the video opens and the students are ready to hear and follow along with the story.  You have to love technology!  I know I do 🙂

Let me know if you use this and how it works for you.

Miss Debi



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Great Books for Teaching Social Skills


The folks at “We are Teachers” have compiled a list of books appropriate for teaching social skills to young children in a fun, engaging manner.

I have read most of them, but I’m looking forward to checking out a few that are new to me, such as, “Rude Cakes” and “Do Unto Otters”!

Stories with social skills themes are a great way to teach or review the skills with large or small groups, or with individual students who really need more one on one time to practice the skills.

Let me know if you have used any of these and please pass along lesson plans!!

Miss Debi

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Growth Mindset: Encourage Motivation for Learning


We have heard so much on praise vs. encouragement.  The growth mindset movement, mainly led by Dr. Dweck,  a leader in the field of motivation, demonstrates how praising a child for “being smart” can actually hinder his/her motivation to grow and learn.

I found the following list of things to say other than, “You’re so smart!”, from Schoolhouse Diva on Teachers Pay Teachers (for free!).  Thanks so much!

Try these to encourage children to grow and learn.  Let me know how it works out for you!

Miss Debi

growth mindset




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I Can Calm…Conscious Discipline

From the wonderful world of conscious discipline comes a book and video demonstrating calming, self-regulating activities. 

Use the book to demonstrate and practice the calming activities, such as S.T.A.R., Balloon, and Bunny Breathing, when the children are in a group. 

Place the book in your “safe place” as a visual reminder to help students calm themselves when needed.

You can order the book for $10 here:


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Color Your World With Kindness

This is a very sweet, wordless video about the power of spreading kindness.  I think this is very appropriate for pre-school children.  

This  could start a great group discussion on what it means to be kind and how they can help color the world with kindness.  Enjoy!

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Differentiating Activities in Early Childhood

This is a really nice demonstration by Lindy McDaniel on differentiating the same activity in an early childhood classroom.  This could be done with activities across the curriculum. 

Work with the strengths and needs of your students to provide activities that will keep them engaged while learning concepts at their skill level.  Enjoy!




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Interactive Thanksgiving Story by Jeffrey Jindrich

turkey surpise

I found this interactive Thanksgiving story by Jeffrey Jindrich on

It’s very cute and has many opportunities to ask higher order questions.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miss Debi

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Encouraging Proper Pencil/Marker/Crayon Grasp

I found this post from Sarah on

She has listed “6 tips for Correcting Pencil Grip” in an easy to understand manner and even included videos for some of the tips.

I already use smaller writing tools and the pom-pom method, thanks to my wonderful Occupational Therapist friend, Sandy Murphy, who is a wealth of information on all matters dealing with fine motor development!  I’ll have to ask her opinion on the sock method.  It looks like it has promise.  I’ll let you know what she says!

Thanks to Sarah for publishing the post and videos and allowing me to share them!

Miss Debi

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