During Pets week my PreK students did two different types of painting. They painted a dog after reading Dog’s Colorful Day and they painted a cat with yarn.
I found the Spot printable on A Special Kind of Class’s blog. I put out paint with q-tips and let the students fill in the spots as they wanted to after I gave the instructions to make him look like the dog in the book. Some students carefully used each color, some chose a couple colors, and some stopped towards the end and wanted help to figure out which color they had forgotten.
This was set up as a center activity. It was popular so I only had to ask a few students if they had a chance to do it yet to get everyone to have a turn. I do not make my students complete every center, but occasionally I want everyone to complete something so I can get some assessment information.
For our cat themed art I cut strips of yarn to dip in black, brown or orange paint. I used clothespins for the students to hold onto so they would not get quite such a mess of paint on their hands while working. Students put the yarn in the paint and then dragged it around on their cats. I suggest not cutting out the cats until they are dry; otherwise the cats will curl quite a bit while the paint dries.
My bulletin board background is a dollar store shower curtain with dogs and fire hydrants. Very light weight and easy to put up by yourself.
Books used during pets week include the following (all Amazon Affiliate links, which means I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.) Note that the final book must be out of print as it is rather pricey; I got a copy quite a few years ago for my own kids and still have it:
We also had to have at least one great pet song from Signing Time, which is called “The Pets I Love.” We learned the signs and sang along.
For my Pet theme in PreK I wanted to introduce the roll and graph center in small groups. I did not find a roll and graph that I liked, so I created one of my own. The next day my director showed up with the pet counters (affiliate link) and I realized I had made my game to match them.
I purposely made my game only go up to five since many preschoolers do not have the stamina to get a winner in this game if it goes up to ten.
We played it at first with a dry erase marker in small groups and took turns rolling until one of the pets won the game. After all students had played this way I put it out on the math table with the pet counters to play the game.
You can find this game in my new Pets Math Centers. This also includes count and clip cards, a path game, and a measurement center.
During Pets week we continued to play in our Vet Center for dramatic play. We even had a pet fish. I used the original container our real betta fish came in to create a pet fish for our center. The fish attached with fishing line so that it appears to float inside.
For writing during Pets week we reviewed letters T and F and added P. Dry erase activities were available again as well as a new stamping center.
I decided to cut the stamping center pages in half since it is the beginning of the year. This made the students much more likely to try it out since it did not look like too much to do at once. I also reduced the stamps to only the ones needed. Later in the year I will have the entire alphabet out when using these stamps.
Since our focus letter for Pets week in PreK is letter P, I had to pull out my pizza felt pieces. My students made lots of different pizzas, with several pizza faces being created as well. We did have some peppers get destroyed, so I brought the pieces to circle time and talked about being careful with our felt pieces.
We also had to sing the Silly Pizza song from Signing Time!
I do not do quite as many signs as Rachel does while singing with the kids, but I do work on all the main signs, like apple, crackers, ice cream, cereal, and so forth.
The other side of the easel had a size sort with common pets. I am pleased that more students are noticing this side of the easel this year, probably partly due to having more students so that the most favorite spots are taken and they need to do a little more exploring.
Play dough is still a favorite so I put out two mats from Sparklebox. I W alaminated them with something on each side. I have found that a magic eraser does wonders for cleaning these mats when play dough residue builds up on them.
We had several birthdays the week before and several children wearing birthday crowns, so I decided to put out a crown that everyone could wear who was interested with this letter P hat center that I purchased from Beth Gordan. A few students made two hats, one to wear and one to share with a younger sibling.
My letter cards from the Letter Pp Book are in my circle time area all week, except when we borrow them to draw something on our dry erase boards that starts with our letter or when coloring our letter books in case my students want their pictures to match. These are also in my alphabet bundle.
My students loved the poem of the week since it was quite the tongue twister. We practiced lots of P sounds and searched for the letter P in the poem.
Science this week was not specifically related to pets because we had some sunflowers that were ready for exploration. Last spring my class planted sunflowers and I was able to save a couple huge heads for some up close discovery. We will save some of the seeds to plant this spring.
Since we have been studying Creation in our Bible curriculum, our sensory bin has changed each day for six days to represent the six days of creation between family week and pets week. My students were happy to discover what was new each day.
In my next post I will share some of our songs, books, and arts and crafts projects from Pets Week in PreK.
We start each day with our Question of the Day, so Pond Life week started with questions about turtles, frogs, and dragonflies from my Animals set. I like having questions with photos, especially for students who may not have seen any of these creatures in real life.
On our fine motor and math table we played Feed the Frog with black pom pom flies. I found the trash can at the local Dollar Tree, but they do not currently have them in stock. I have seen other versions that use a parmesan container as well. I would like to get some plastic flies (aff. link) to go with this game. I had students roll the die to see how many flies to feed the frog with the tool.
I made a spinner for this path game so there would not be competing dice on the same table. Students move their frog along the lily pad path to the finish. These frogs (aff. link) look like the set I have used in several places in my classroom, including this game. I also used the frogs in my sensory bin with water and pony bead and pipe cleaner tadpoles with green foam lily pads.
I used these ABC Turtles from maketaketeach, along with letter tiles for some work on letter sounds. This is a center that mostly required some assistance from myself or my assistant to at least get them started with the activity since many know their letters, but are still working on letter sounds.
For the Pond word building students had to be able to match up lowercase and capital letters. You can find the cards for this at A Teaching Mommy, along with several other printables for this theme. I try to have my students sometimes match lowercase to lowercase and sometimes capital to lowercase or lowercase to capital letters when we use the letter tiles.
My writing center had a die with letters on it to practice writing on this sheet from PreKinders. However, a couple girls ended up doing the heart grid above during their time at this center. I promised to take a photo of it for one of the girls.
We are watching our caterpillars grow, so they are on the science table, along with frog life cycle stamps, some Pond Life words and some magnifying lenses. Pond Life words were found at Sparklebox. This is a UK website, so be sure to check wording and spelling for printables there.
I put out our Pond Life puzzles for my students to work on the large rug. These are challenging puzzles, with no picture underneath, so are good for this time of the year. The puzzles are say Excellerations by Discount School Supply on them, but I cannot find them anywhere online to share a link.
I could have used my frog themed calendar this month as well, but chose to use the insects set instead since I really like all these cute insects in this set. We are also growing our caterpillars into butterflies as well as doing an insect theme this month. If you really have a hard time deciding which calendar numbers to use each month, please check out my bundle.
During story time we used several pond animal themed books. There are affiliate links to them below so that you can get a closer look at them by clicking on the book covers.
This version of Five Little Ducks is a board book with cut outs. I usually use this one during farm week and read the next one during ponds week.
The illustrations by Ivan Bates in this version of Five Little Ducks are really cute. I like how each duckling has something to give its mother when they return.
Jump! is one of those chain stories. Each animal jumps because of a larger animal. The version I have also has Spanish in it.
Frog and Toad stories are fun to share at this time of year because students are better at longer stories. They also enjoy hearing stories that involve characters they know.
It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni is all about some frogs that are selfish and how they learn not to be. I channel my inner three year old to read the lines of the selfish frogs.
This one has some great photos of frogs without filling the page with too many words for a preschooler to handle.
During our Nocturnal Animals week I pulled out the bat building activity that I created last year. It was inspired by a bat counting craft on Fantastic Fun and Learning. I painted the parts of the egg carton black and put colorful eyes on the bat bodies. Wings are craft foam with puffy paint (referral links) letters. I chose to use three different colors for the letters to make it easy for me to give a hint to a student who was having trouble finding a match. I could tell them that it needed to be the same color.
The owl number matching activity was from KidSparkz on TPT. I sometimes use this tabletop pocket chart (referral link) for matching games for my students. It tends to draw some of their attention when just placing the cards on the table would not.
For my easel this time we had letter matching magnets. You will notice that some of the letters are capital and some lowercase for some mixed practice. Looks like this one is not still available online due to being updated. I do have an Alphabet Magnets set that I use at other times that you can find here. Mine is based upon working on just a handful of letters at a time.
My timing was not the greatest for this sensory writing activity since we had done something similar recently with our winter theme, so this one was not quite as popular this time around. I do try to avoid doing similar activities on back to back weeks for the most part. I found the word cards here.
About this time of year is usually the right time to open a post office in dramatic play. My students love making cards and letters for each other and manage to practice lots of fine motor control and alphabet formation in the process. Most of the printables for the dramatic play area came from this set from Primary Delight. I had a blue bag that I used puffy paint to write the word “MAIL” on for the postal worker bag.
The mailbox came courtesy of our class photo company a few years ago. It was where unwanted photo packages and payments were to be delivered. Afterwards I painted it blue and put the label on it. The kids loved filling and emptying it.
Each student has his or her own mailbox for mail to be delivered. Some of the mail was junk mail donated from home and other mail was created by the students. In addition we had some boxes that I put velcro on with the matching velcro on a laminated label. Students enjoyed attaching the labels and deciding who would get the package.
A few books we used for nocturnal animals included:
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
We also read several nonfiction books about various nocturnal animals. Any favorite books about nocturnal animals that you love and would like to share?