Fun Things from Dr. Jean

 Happy Summer from Teacher Mom of 3!  My name is Lauren and I am so honored and excited to be guest blogging for Jeannie!  I am new to blogging, but not to teaching.  I just finished my twenty-third year of teaching (oh, how can that be?!) reading and language arts.  I have taught every grade from preschool to grade 12 with the exception of grades nine and ten, in some capacity.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend a Dr. Jean (Feldman) workshop along with my principal and the preschool and kindergarten teachers from my school.  I had to get up VERY early to leave at 6:00 a.m.  YIKES!  I am a morning person, but still...  I was hoping that my time away from school (oh, all the running records I had to complete, the data reports, trying to squeeze in last minute learning with my intervention groups, etc) would be worth it. Don't get me wrong, I thrive on professional development, PLCs, reading journals, reading professional books, and of course blog hopping!

Click on the picture to visit Dr. Jean's blog!

Well, if you have ever been to a Dr. Jean workshop or conference, you know that it was well worth it and then some!  I entered the conference room very weary from lack of sleep and from the frenzy of the end of the year activities and assessments that I was smack in the middle of.  Dr. Jean had me at "You learn on your feet, not in your seat!"  And that is just what she had us do as soon as she started!  We were up on our feet singing, dancing, doing the "Tootie Ta", the Banana Dance, and more!  Dr. Jean is a best-selling author, educational consultant, and recording artist who makes learning so much fun!  

Her inspiring, practical, creative, and inexpensive ideas for motivating and teaching young minds is based on current reading and brain-based research.  Although she may be best known for her songs (I've been listening to her CD "Kiss Your Brain" all summer!), I wanted to share a few instructional "take-aways" I learned from my one day workshop. It was no easy task to select just three, as Dr. Jean has tons of ideas to make instruction delightful !  Even though her target audience is preschool and kindergarten, I found many of the ideas can be adapted to older grades as well.

Click on CD to go to Dr. Jean's Song Store

1. Letter WandDr. Jean suggested to use this to frame letters, but it can also be used to find and frame sight words during Read the Room, on the Smart Board, to find shapes, colors, and lots more!  My soon-to-be kinder son liked using the wand to frame his face as he sang a song and practiced his speech therapy homework!

Here's the wand I made!

 I made this wand by purchasing a butterfly net from the dollar store.  I cut out the net and added a colorful lei with flowers and sparklesI added some ribbons and streamers to make it even more colorful.  This one is a little "girly" so I will be making a more masculine one this summer!

My son demonstrating how to use the wand!

2. Story Bracelets- Have children make a bracelet to retell stories, practice sequencing, and work on small motor skills.  Each child could make one or you can make one with the children to share.  You could also place bracelets in a center/station to have students practice retelling a story to each other.  

Another idea I thought of is to have students create and design their own bracelet for a story they write. They select the colors for the important events and/or characters from their story.  A great synthesizing activity!

 This is so easy to make:  Take a pipe cleaner and add different colored beads to represent story events.  Here is one Dr. Jean shared for The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle:
  • white bead for the egg
  • green bead for the caterpillar
  • red bead for the apple
  • yellow bead for the pears
  • purple bead for the plums
  • pink bead for the strawberries
  • orange bead for the oranges
  • clear bead for children to name other foods he ate
  • black bead for the chrysalis
  • gold bead for the butterfly

Click on Dr. Jean's picture above to see more story bracelet ideas!

3. Snip Snap BookThese stapleless books have endless possibilities!  

  • Dr. Jean recommends taking two sheets of paper and folding them in half (hamburger/bathtub style).  Crease the fold.

  • Make tears/rips/tabs with your hands (or you can use scissors) about a thumbnail of the way down on the fold side. 

  • Alternate bending the tabs to bind the book.  

At the conference we used standard 8.5 x 11" inch paper.  At home, I used 8.5 x 14.25" paper to make a bigger book and used three pages.

Wow!  So simple, so practical and inexpensive, and it allows for such creativity ! 

Here are a few ideas of how Dr. Jean uses them:
  • Spelling and vocabulary books- write and draw
  • Use for retelling a story
  • Phonics- letter/vowel book
  • Rhyme/ word family books
  • Theme books to integrate curricula
  • Environmental print-  cut out pictures and glue in book
  • Writing original stories, journals, poems, note-taking 
  • Use for read and write the room
  • Nonfiction text structures and features
  • Place blank books in the writing center

Here is how I am using them at home this summer:  
My two young sons made a Snip Snap Book to record summer memories.  They will pick one or two favorites each week and place in the book.  I want them to work from a blank page to foster creativity so I'm not adding a template for them. However, since they are a rising kinder and a firstie, I will print out writing paper and they will glue in the book.  They will write book reviews, glue a photo in the book to write about, journal about vacation, draw, and more!  It's their book and they get to choose!  My youngest son likes to paint, so I'm suspecting that his book will be filled with his original art work. 

Here's the book I started today:

Front Cover
Inside Book

My day with Dr. Jean was memorable and inspirational, and I appreciate all the ideas she shared. The workshop was filled with songs, brain break ideas, literacy ideas, and just plain old fun!

If you want more, you can visit her website or check out her blog for even more!  

Now, kiss your brain, for making it through this rather long post!

Smiles to you!  Have a great rest of the summer!


  1. What a great post! Your wand just became my must do. Your child modeling it sold me!

  2. This is great! I love Dr. Jean. I am heading to the dollar tree to get butterfly nets. ;)

  3. It would be so much fun to see Dr. Jean! Lucky you!
    First Grade Found Me

  4. I love that wand also!! I really like the idea of story bracelets, because you can adapt it to every story & build comprehension. Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  5. Thanks for sharing such great ideas. It sounds like that is one conference worth going to for sure. :) I am also loving the wand and the snap books. So simple :)

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

  6. WOW Lauren - this is one of the "funnest" posts I've read in a long time... I love every idea especially the wand (I have something but not near as cute) and I love the sequence storytelling bracelets - I'm gonna start retelling center with those!
    Thank you - awesome!

  7. Wow! Thanks for sharing! Dr. Jean is fabulous. 2 of my bestie K teachers are going to see her this summer! Lucky girls!
    Awesome post.
    Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business

  8. Thank you ladies! It was a fun post to write! This conference was one of the best I've been to! Dr Jean's ideas are simple and practical and not over-the-top. When you go to the conference you get a resource book that literally has 100's of ideas. Subscribe to her blog and you can get daily emails with more fun ideas! Jeannie- Thanks for giving me this opportunity to meet more bloggy friends! Lauren
    Teacher Mom of 3

  9. My teaching partner and I were lucky enough to go to a Dr. Jean workshop a few years ago. We arrived extra early and got seats in the first row. It was one of the best workshops I ever attended.


  10. I love Dr Jean! She is so inspiring and uplifting! :)
    Crayons and Curls