Pet Theme Lesson Plan in PreK

PetThemeCenters

Since pets are often part of our family we went from our family theme to a pet theme in our PreK classroom.

Many of our centers activities can be found in my Pet Bundle.  You can see the count and clip, roll and graph, and the measurement activities above.  I used small clothespins for the count and clip, choosing to use the cards that have fingers to count.  For the roll and graph I used the pet counters with a laminated graph, but you could also use dot markers, stickers, or coloring to complete individual graphs.  I pulled out snap cubes for the measuring.  Be sure to print these pages actual size so that the cubes will be sure to match up in size.

My assistant played the roll and graph game with pairs at the beginning of the week so that everyone knew how to use this center, especially since we will have various roll and graph games throughout the year.

You can find affiliate links for the products I used to complete these centers below:

PetThemeCenters2

I was also fortunate to have some great center ideas that I have found from other sites for my easel, science center, and fine motor center.

Sparklebox has a matching game to match pets to their homes that I used on a table top pocket chart.  I find that my students are much more likely to play matching games like this if they are on a pocket chart instead of just flat in a pile.

The play dough mats are also from Sparklebox.  Most days we put out at least two spots for play dough work.

For the easel I put up clear sticky paper over the pattern block sheets.  I used foam pattern blocks for the students to create their pets.  Students have less frustration over moving pieces while trying to put together their pets than if they try this on the table top without the sticky paper.  I found some pet themed pattern blocks here, here, and here.

Below are some more affiliate links to help you find supplies for your centers:

PetWritingCenter

I used the Pet word wall printed two pages to a page to make smaller word cards for my writing center.  This is also included in my Pet Bundle.  I have just added the Pet themed writing paper to this product after testing it out in my classroom.  I printed the paper on various colored paper, which adds interest for students.  We somehow managed to misplace the cat word card, so off to figure out what happened to it before I put all of the pet items away and forget about it.

CreationCenters

We also continued to work on our Creation Bible lessons this week with a sensory bin, Creation puzzle and completing our personal Creation books to take home.

For the Creation puzzle I did not cut the puzzle into twenty pieces; instead I made it into eight pieces and provided the gray scale puzzle to glue the pieces onto.  One of my students completed this center three times during the week.

For the sensory bin I added things that went with each day of creation a day at a time.  Putting the bin away at the end of the week involved remembering where everything gets put away and lots of dividing up the day and night beans.

Day one of our Creation book

Day three of our Creation book

Day six of our Creation book

For the rest of our week, please check out my Pets theme lesson plan for PreK.  It has links to all of the supplies I used during the week.  Make sure you have the most up to date Adobe Reader and CTRL-click to follow links:

Pet Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

Some of the books we used this week (affiliate links):

 

 

Polar Theme in PreK

PolarQuestions

Our Polar theme week was shortened quite a bit because of snow creating snow days and delays.  We still managed to fit in a few fun polar theme centers and activities, beginning with our Question of the Day.  One of the questions asks students if they are taller than an Emperor penguin, so I had one displayed in my room so they could figure it out after taking a guess.

The life size penguins are from way back when I used to teach middle school and did a penguin research unit.  The final project was the life size penguin, which I now pull out each year to share with my preschool students.

PenguinEasel

Easel activities included a penguin number order puzzle is one of several in 3Dinosaurs’ penguin pack.  I laminated and added magnets to the back to use on the easel.  I find that students are more likely to do these puzzles on the easel than sitting in a bin on a table.  The magnets also help the puzzle pieces stay still while students are attempting to put it together.

On the dry erase side of the easel I put up a step by step for drawing a penguin.  I am unsure where this particular one came from, but found a few similar ones here and here.

PenguinPatterning

During January we do an assessment of several skills of our PreK students, with patterning being one of them.  I used these Penguins on Ice (affiliate link) to assess three different types of patterns with my students.  Even students who never want to leave the block area were happy to come play with the penguins with me.

There are plenty of penguins and ice bars to have several students at this center at a time.  I set it up for two students, but occasionally ended up with three with no problems.  If I had gotten out all of the ice bars I could have definitely had four spots to play.

PolarFineMotor

Most activities and centers in my classroom work on fine motor skills alongside literacy and math skills.  Above you can see a counting activity with polar animals from my math center that I found here.  Students needed to match the clothespins with the clipart of the animal before clipping it onto the cards.

Since my students this year enjoy Q-tip activities I pulled out my new Polar Q-tip Painting set, which is also part of my Arctic Math and Literacy Bundle.  Students use a qtip or cotton swab to paint the dots and can use the qtip or another writing utensil to trace the polar animal’s name.

PolarScienceTable

We played some Pop’n Drop Penguins this week.  I simplified the game rules for students since I did not have a student this year who already knew how to play.  They enjoyed popping the die in the middle, while I enjoyed the die not bounding around the room.

I also had out an Arctic TOOB set, similar to this one.  It appears that mine has some extra pieces in comparison.   I used the printable cards from Montessori Soul to go along with my set.

SensoryBinPenguins

Since we had a good amount of snow outside that shortened our week I was able to put real snow in our sensory bin with our Penguin TOOB.  I also found some penguin cards at Montessori Soul that I stuck to the lid of the sensory bin so that students could match with the figures.

PolarWriting

I added two different activities to my writing center.  The first one utilizes my alphabet stamps for practice stamping and writing polar animal names.  This is also part of my Arctic Math and Literacy Bundle, or can be found separately here.  Most of my stamping activities earlier in the year are for the beginning letter, but by this time in the year there are several students ready to stamp whole words and write them.

The other writing center activity involved coloring by code.  Since my students do not know the words for the colors I colored over the words with the correct color on each sheet.  We also had an older student visiting who colored the samples for the center to help students understand to color the entire area, not just the individual number to complete the activity.  You can find these sheets here and here.

PolarCenters

In addition to the real snow in the sensory bin, I created some snow with baking soda and white hair conditioner.  Students drew the alphabet letter in the snow.

Since we had not used our poke pins in a while I pulled out this penguin poke pin sheet.   Since it was a short week there were not too many students who finished this one.  The Polar q tip sheets could also be used with poke pins to make an activity that is shorter in duration for students whose hands get tired with this penguin.  I use the large pins below along with a couple cork board squares under the paper for this activity.

Since I still had my Penguin Hunt dramatic play up from the previous week, I added some ice fishing to it.  My director had created the ice fishing with the same thick blue plastic that I had utilized earlier in the year to make my bulletin board look like an aquarium.  She added magnets to some plastic fish.  The fishing poles we had are from Lakeshore, but the set below already is set up with fish and looks great as well.

You can sneak a peek at some of my polar theme crafts on my Instagram page.
Penguin Sponge Paint

Polar Bear Marshmallow Paint

If you are planning your Polar Animal or Penguin theme in your classroom, be sure to check out the activities I have in my shop below by clicking on the images.  Since I did not have time for them all I will be sharing some of them with my early care students next week.

Arctic Math and Literacy Bundle
Arctic Math and Literacy Bundle

Penguin Math Centers

I created the Penguin Math Centers to go along with a cute set of penguin erasers I picked up on clearance at Oriental Trading.  I will share some of the activities in action soon.

Bears and Hibernation in PreK

BearMaskCave

Our first week back from winter break was a short three day week, so I centered most of my plans for bears and hibernation around the book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Amazon affiliate link) by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen.

The first craft involved painting the backs of paper plates with brown paint and scrapers.  This project was inspired by this one for Brown Bear. The paint scrapers/brushes are similar to the ones with the green handles in this set below.  After students painted with their choice of scraper/brush, I cut the shape to make the mask.  The next day students attached ears and nose.

Some students used their masks to be the bear in our pretend play area.  I utilized a discontinued Cranium building set to make a large open cave area so that I could clearly see what students were doing while pretending to be a bear.  You could also utilize a pop-up tent.

I found a map set that matches the order of events in the Bear Hunt book.  Part of this was also used on my easel to put the map in order after reading the book together.  I also used signs around the room to use with the map to travel around the room to find the bear.  The map was laminated and put on a clipboard for the two students who were searching for the bear to follow around the room until they reached the cave and the bear.  The bear was the third student playing in the pretend play area.

BlockEasel

Students could also re-create the Bear Hunt in the block area, where I provided the characters as well as some winter trees and some blue and brown felt which could represent the water and the mud in the story.

QuestionMatchingGame

Our question of the day related to hibernation all week, including the one above.  There were actually a few children who voted to hibernate all winter.  The hibernation questions can be found in my Question of the Day Bundle, or in the smaller set of questions here.

I played a matching bears game with a few students during this short week.  This gave my students a chance to see that there was more than just brown and white for types of bears.

CaribooRollCover

Always a favorite with any set of cards is the Cranium Cariboo.  This is also no longer made, so if you see one anywhere be sure to snag it.  My only challenge is to remind my students to use the cards to pick which door to open because they get so excited about finding the balls that they forget.  The winter themed cards were a freebie on TPT.

The Roll and Cover game was matched with the size sorting bears and a foam die.  This game suffered the indignity of being at the same table as the Cariboo game, so was sometimes ignored or played while waiting for a spot to open up for Cariboo.  The bears below come in three sizes.  I am not sure where we got ours as they come in four sizes with the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12 on their bellies, which I just discovered this year.  I had always assumed they were three different sized until I noticed the numbers.

DoughPunching

Play dough is a great activity for any week.  It is especially good for back to school after a break.  The play dough mats I used came from Child Care Land  (I don’t see the exact one there right now but she has some cute printables for play dough.) and Sparklebox.

We also worked on some letter activities during the week to go along with the letter I, including punching.  Students work on recognizing the letter as well as building hand strength.  I use regular hole punches as well as some crafting ones I found at the dollar store that seemed to be a little easier for some of my students to use.

SensoryBin

I tried to have some bears in my sensory bin but students kept thinking they were just in there by accident from the roll and cover bear game.  The bin is white rice, winter pasta, silly bands shaped like the alphabet, snowflake table scatter, flat clear glass beads, a snowflake container from the dollar store as well as a large scoop I just picked up from Dollar Tree, along with a few other tools to pick up things.  The scoopers below look great and will probably be added to my list soon.  The set I have I believe were from Oriental Trading Company.  I like them but they do occasionally come apart when students try to use them with two hands instead of like scissors.

I was happy to discover one new book for this week on Christmas clearance at Walmart as well as one at our local used book store. Favorite books this week include the following:

Pet Theme Art, Books and Songs

PetPainting1

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.

SpotPainting

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.

CatPainting

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.

 

Pets I Love from Baby Sign Language on Vimeo.

Any favorites I missed?

Pet Theme in PreK

PetRollAndGraph

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.

FishInTheVetCenter

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.

WritingCenterStampDryErase

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.

You can find the stamping center in my alphabet bundle or in its own set.  The dry erase letter practice can be found on This Reading Mama’s site if you subscribe to her blog.  I cut them into strips and laminated them.

PizzaEaselPin

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.

EaselAnimalSort

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.

PlaydoughHats

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.

LetterPCircleTime

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.

SunflowerScience

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.

DaysOfCreationSensoryBin

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.

Pond Life in PreK

QuestionoftheDay

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.

FeedTheFrog

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.

PathGame

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.

turtlelettersound

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.

WordBuilding

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.

writingcenter

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.

ScienceCenter

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.

PondPuzzles

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.

Calendar

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.

Nocturnal Animals in PreK

Alphabet Bat Building
Alphabet Bat Building

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.

Owl Number Matching
Owl Number Matching

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.

Magnet Letter Matching
Magnet Letter Matching

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.

Nocturnal Animals Sensory Writing
Nocturnal Animals Sensory Writing

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.

Post Office Dramatic Play
Post Office Dramatic Play

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.

Mailbox from photo company
Mailbox from photo company

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.

Mailboxes for students
Mailboxes for students

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?