Opposites, and Following Directions

 Opposites, and Following Directions

Objective: Children will learn to follow directions using opposite, position, and attribute words.


  • Have stickers—each child will need a variety of stickers, but all children will need the same ones.
  • On sheets of paper, have the words “Opposites/Following Directions”
  • Find music for the song, The Hokey Pokey.
  • Various objects to set up an obstacle course such as:
    • Chairs

    • Desks

    • Hula hoops

    • Pillows

    • Whatever you can find.

  • Suggested books:

      • The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss

      • Here A Chick, There A Chick by Bruce McMillan

      • Baby Food by Tansy Dunn


Set up an obstacle course that will require children to learn attributes, positions and opposites. Here is an example:

  • walk backward and forward  between chairs
  • go up stairs to the top and down stairs to the bottom
  • crawl under table
  • step over stools
  • crawl through a tunnel
  • go in and out of a small tent
  • hop from two legs to one leg alternating left and right


  • Read a book(s) then discuss opposites.
  • Ask the children to name some opposites.
      • What is the opposite of up?
      • What is the opposite of out?
      • What is the opposite of big?
      • Etc.
  • Discuss positions words like, middle, top, side, bottom.


1. Following directions paper:

Give the children the “Following Directions” papers and have them place specific stickers on specific places on the paper (back, front, left, right, middle, bottom), for example:

  • Place the orange star sticker at the top of your paper.
  • Place the pink heart sticker on the left side of your paper.
  • Etc.

2. Obstacle Course:

Have children take turns in the Obstacle Course by using position words.

3. Sing and act out, “The Hokey Pokey”.

More fun things on our website. http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/ 

Little Miss Muffet


Little Miss Muffet

Objective:  Help children learn about spiders and counting through the nursery rhyme, “Little Miss Muffet”.


  • Find pictures of spiders.  (The internet is a great source.)
  • Find drawings or picture book of Little Miss Muffet.
  • Do the following for each sack puppet :
    • Cut a sheet of black construction paper 5 ¼” wide.
    • Cut off 3 ½” so you have 2 rectangles one 5 ¼” x 3 ½” (spider’s face) the other one will be 5 ¼ x 5 ½ (spider’s belly).
    • Using the remaining part of your sheet of black construction paper to cut 8 strips ½” wide for the legs.
    • Have pre-cut foam shapes, googly eyes, or other shapes of construction paper.
    • White school glue. 
    • Crayons for finishing the spider.
    • White crayons. 
    • Print and cut out the rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” from this link: little miss muffet

Read the rhyme then discuss;

  • Little Miss Muffet,
  • Sat on a tuffet,
  • Eating her curds and whey.
  • Along came a spider
  • And (or Who) sat down beside her
  • And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Define these words:

  • The word tuffet was once a common word for a short stool, such as a footstool.
  • Curds and whey are what we call cottage cheese.
  • Frightened means scared.
  • Discuss the concepts of BESIDE, AWAY, and ON.
  • Discuss spiders and insects. Explain that spiders have 8 legs and insects only have 6 legs.
  • Spiders are called Arachnids.

Discussion Questions:

  • Who sat on a tuffet?
  • Who ate curds and whey?
  • Who frightened Miss Muffet?
  • Where did the spider go?
  • What frightens you?

Activity: Make Spider Sack Puppets

Have the children follow these steps::

  • Glue the face onto the flap of the paper sack.
  • Accordion fold the strips (legs) then unfold. (You can do legs straight.)
  • Glue or staple 4 strips to each side of the front of the bag.
  • Glue the belly on to the side of the sack below the flap on top of the ends of the legs. Take care not to glue the flap down.
  • Glue on eight eyes and designs.
  • Decorate the spider with crayons.  
  • Write the word “spider” with white crayon on the spider’s belly.
  • Glue the rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” to the back of the puppet.

Great lesson plans on our website; http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/

Act Don’t React!

Act Don’t React            displayImage--sm6

When you anticipate what will happen and make plans to avoid any problems, it makes everything go smoother.  Here are examples of how to ACT.

  • If you have a child that has attention-getting behavior,  evaluate when they misbehave, then plan ahead to give them opportunities to help.  This gives them a chance to have positive attention before you start the family dinner, lesson or other activity.  Preparation avoids most discipline problems.
  • When a problem happens, stop and pretend to be angry before it goes too far.  Use very few words.  (I like the word, “Stop”.)  Sometimes we are too patient and let bad behavior go too long.  If you pretend to be angry, you can pick words that address the behavior instead of attacking the child.  If you wait too long and really become angry, you will say things you will later regret.

Think ahead and plan how you will act with the children in your life.   Enjoy the children in your life.  Smile more.

Great learning materials for children.  http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/

Sunshine Salad

Sunshine Salad             

Layer the salad with:

  •     lettuce leaf (optional)
  •     slice of canned pineapple
  •     scoop of yellow yogurt

Eat and enjoy!

(Fun for children to make.)

More fun for children on our website.  http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/


Lesson Plan Ideas For the SH Sound

Digraph SH        SH

Objective:  To recognize the SH sound and compare with the Ss sound.


  • Be prepared to talk about “Sh! Baby’s Sleeping”.  We have phonics songs, pictures, games, worksheets/readers (The Other Sounds), and lesson plans on our website.   (www.phonicsbyspelling.com)
  • Collect some pictures with the SH sound at the beginning or end and pictures with the Ss sound.
  • Decide on a worksheet and/or She reader from CD.  (Great reproducible worksheets and readers in our The Other Sounds CD. )  Free sample from CD.     Worksheet sh with pictures
  • Copy the Nursery Rhyme, “There Was an Old Woman”.


Listen to at least 10 songs in Phonics By Spelling books including Ss and Sh. 

Replay the “Sh! Baby’s Sleeping” song.   Have you heard people make the SH sound? (Church, someone is sleeping, bedtime, library) Make your lips small and make the SH sound with me.  Compare with the Ss sound.

Read the Nursery Rhyme, “There Was an Old Woman”.

  •  There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
  • She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
  • She gave them some broth,
  • Without any bread.
  • She whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.

 What words in the Nursery Rhyme had the “Sh! Baby’s Sleeping” sound?  Count how many times the word “she” is in the rhyme.  What other sounds did you hear in the rhyme?

Put a sticker on each child’s right hand just above the wrist.  As you show pictures of things, ask them to raise their right hand if they hear the “Sh! Baby’s Sleeping” sound.   Have them raise their left hand if the picture has the Ss sound (Water in the Sink).  Put some words on the wall card or word wall.  (she, show, wish, chef, action, social)


Do together a worksheet and/or the She reader.

Read So Many Bunnies by Rick Walton.

Teaching Shapes is a fun follow-up.



Objective:  Children will learn the characteristics of spiders and how they differ from insects.  (This is a good lesson to teach after the insect lesson.)


  • Find drawings or pictures of spiders and insects from books, magazines or old calendars.
  • Make word cards for the words, “insect” and “spider”.
  • Cut out 1”- 1 1/2″ hearts from foam or heavy paper. Any color will work, spiders vary in color.
  • Cut out 3” hearts from foam or heavy paper
  • Glue the hearts together at the points to form spider’s Cephalothorax (head and body) and Abdomen .
  • Punch holes around the sides of larger heart—4 on each side
  • Have chenille (pipe cleaner) stems 4 per spider
  • Have permanent markers of all colors
  • Make a web in the classroom to hang the spiders on. You can create your own with yarn or use synthetic spider web.
  • Suggested books:  Spider Names by Susan Canizares,  The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, Spiders by Gail Gibbons


Read the book(s) then discuss while showing pictures.

Spiders belong to a group of animals called “arachnids”. Arachnids are creatures with two body segments, eight legs, no wings or antennae.

Most spiders have four or more openings, or glands, on their abdomen called spinnerets which produce the silk they use to create webs.

Discuss the body parts of a spider

  • Spiders have two body segments. The front segment is called the Cephalothorax. The spider’s eyes, mouth fangs, stomach, brain and the glands that make the poison are on this part of the body. The legs are connected to this part, as well. Most spiders have eight eyes, but some have less. Spiders also have these tiny little things called ‘pedipalps’ that are beside the fangs. They help to hold prey while the spider bites it.
  • The second part of the body is called the Abdomen. The back of the abdomen is where the spinnerets, the silk producing glands, are. The spider’s body has an oil on it to keep the spider from sticking to it’s own web. 
  • Spider’s legs are covered with many hairs. The hairs pick up vibrations and smells from the air.
  • Spiders have a hard outer shell called an ‘exoskeleton’.

Discussion questions:

  • Where do spiders live? Spiders live everywhere even in lakes and ponds.
  • What does it eat? Spiders are carnivores and most eat insects.
  • What likes to eat the spider? Birds, toads, lizards and monkeys.
  • What is the difference between spiders and insects? Insects have six legs and three main body parts. Spiders have 8 legs and most have 8 eyes.  Most insects have wings.
  • Can spiders hurt humans? All spiders have fangs! And, yes, they almost all have venom in them. Most spider poison will not harm people, however, because it is quite weak. There are a few spiders which include the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse spiders with poison strong enough to cause pain. If a bite from these spiders is left untreated, death could result.

Here is a very fun song to sing with the children to the tune of “My Darling Clementine”:

It’s an insect, not a spider.

It has 6 legs instead of 8.

3 on this side and 3 on that side

and its crawling on my plate.


Picture Sort

Take pictures of insects and spiders and sort them by putting the insects by the word “insect” and the spiders by the word, “spider”.  

Foam Spider

Have the children add 8 eyes to the Cephalothorax and decorate the Abdomen with permanent markers.

Back of spider

Help them feed the chenille stems down through the hole closest to the Cephalothorax on one side and come up in the hole farthest from the Cephalothorax on the other side.

Repeat previous step for each hole crossing over in the back.

Have the children bend the “legs” into an s-shape from the body.

Hang the spiders on your spider web somewhere in the classroom as a decoration.

Note:  Children love this activity and it is fun to do around Halloween.  

Check out our website.  http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/


Measuring  (Good math lesson to teach the week the short I is taught.)

Objective: Introduce children to measuring, inches and the tools and words used in measuring.


  • Make a word card for Measuring.
  • Have measuring tools like cups, measuring spoons, tape measure, ruler, etc.
  • Have small objects to measure with a ruler.  (books, blocks, crayons, pencils, tools, toys, etc.)
  • Have a wall measuring poster to measure each child.  Plan to leave this on the wall and measure again in the spring.
  • Print and make a small book (4 pages) for each child.  inches book
  • Get stickers 1 inch square, 3 in. square sticky note pad, yarn cut in 4 in. pieces.
  • Have a ruler for each child.
  • Suggested book:   ME and the Measure of Things , by Joan Sweeney


  • Put up the word card “Measuring”.  Talk about some of the sounds in the word.  (Mm, _s_)
  • Read the book and show some measuring tools and discuss how they are used.
  • Measure the height of each child on the measuring poster on the wall.
  • Have each child select one of the objects to measure or have them pick an object from the room.  Measure each object with a ruler.
  •  (You may also want to use a balance scale, ounce scale or postal scale to weigh the small objects.)


Give each child the book, Inches.   Help them read the questions? Help them measure and glue items to the page.  Have them write the number of inches on the line.  On the last page have them draw a picture of themselves and write how many inches tall each child is.

Read the book together.

More ideas for teaching young children. http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/


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