Apple Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

AppleCraftsWe were able to fill our bulletin board, windows and even send a project home during our Apple theme week in PreK.  My Apple Theme Lesson Plan for PreK included three arts and crafts projects.  One project was switched after an attempt at an idea seen online just was not working well.

AppleMarbles

We started out with marble painting.  I used bits of painter’s tape to attach the outline of an apple to the bin.  Students chose an apple color (or two) and I squeezed some paint near the apple outline.   I then added four or five marbles and students moved the container around to make the marbles move through the paint and all over the apple.  Yes, we did have a few marbles escape.

Another craft we did were sun catchers, inspired by these.  Students chose the color apple they wanted and were allowed to choose from green, yellow, and red tissue paper squares.

Finally, we made some apple cores with paper plates, paint, and black beans.  I had planned to try creating three dimensional apples from parts of egg cartons, but I either did not have enough tape or the example I saw online was made from a very different brand of egg cartons.

Craft supplies you will need for these projects (affiliate links):

AppleFineMotorBesides crafting, students also did some fine motor practice with q-tip painting and cutting practice with apple themes.  The q-tip pages can be found from 1+1+1=1.  I provided apple colors to do this painting.  The cutting practice is found at This Reading Mama.  We saved the cut pieces that students did not want to take home to use during our Scrap Bin Friday when we put out the scrap bin and various supplies for students to create whatever they want.

AppleMagnetsandGameI pulled out the magnetic Apple Orchard set for the easel again this year.  This set is meant to be used with play dough, but I repurposed it for my easel.

Students all played Hi Ho Cherry O, pretending that the cherries were apples.  This was a center that my assistant pulled students in pairs to play on Monday and then it was available for students to play on their own the rest of the week.  This is an older version.  The newer version has apples, cherries, blueberries, or oranges for the trees. You can see that version below.

LiteracyAndNamePracticeNot everything in our room was apple related this week.  Our letter focus was the letter C, so we had various activities during circle time as well as a couple dot marker pages and building words that start with C on one side of the easel.

We also did some name writing practice in the writing center.  Students traced, stamped, and wrote their names.  We do this activity periodically throughout the year to assess growth.

AppleSTEMandSensory

The science table for Apple theme in PreK involved some easy materials to gather.  Students took the materials to create apple trees.  The goal was to put as many apples on the tree as possible.  I found inspiration for this center on this blog.

For the sensory bin for our Apple theme in PreK my director got me several bags of split peas.  I added a couple cinnamon sticks, some apples, magnets, and some apples created from pipe cleaners.  During the week I suggested that the students rub the sticks together and then smell them so they could figure out what they were.

AppleOrchardDramaticPlay

This year’s Apple Orchard was fairly simple to set up since I had created the tree tops last year and had put them in storage.  The tree tops are painted cardboard with velcro spots on them.  The apples are ball pit balls with the other side of the velcro on them.  I recommend the soft side of the velcro on the balls so they don’t stick to other things.  The tree tops stick to a long strip of velcro that I placed on the bottom edge of my bulletin board.

The Apple Orchard cards can be found in my shop.  For students who start thinking of the apples as balls, the cards a great way to re-direct students to the intent of the pretend play as well as get in some color recognition and counting skills.  Students enjoyed filling my apple order when I gave them a card.

During our circle and story times we read several apple and fall related books.  Below you can see some affiliated links to get more information about them.

Click the link below to access my complete lesson plan for this apple week:

Apples Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

About Me Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

ClassBooksFirstPostPhoto

For our About Me week in PreK lesson plans I started out over planning the number of books we would read.  I forgot to think about the amount of time it would take to share our About Me bags and to read our two class books.  My lesson plans at the end of this post are updated to mostly cover only what we actually had time for in class this week.

I found the template pages for the School Shoes book from rubber boots and elf shoes.  We created our school shoes last week for our bulletin board and I took the students’ shoe photos for the lift a flap book as well.  I waited to share it until this week, partly due to the time to get it put together and partly to get a student back to school who had been out for a few days.

We read both the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom class book and the School Shoes book at circle time and then put them in the library for students to read again and again.

CuttingPracticeCenter

To assess the cutting skills of my students at the beginning of the year, my assistant had each student try out this cutting center.  Students chose scissors and the cutting strip they preferred.  Strips were either letter F related or About Me related.   After cutting they could choose to paste the pieces onto a construction paper strip to take home or just put their cutting into the bin provided.  Students also counted how many strips they had cut.

PotatoHeadSpinandBuild

A popular center this week was the Mr. Potato Head spin and build activity.  This is great fine motor practice and when students are remembering to use the spinner they practice taking turns and following directions.  We also talked this week about having each of these body parts ourselves.

EaselActivities

Our Potato Head felt activity on the easel was nearly always busy this week.  Students created some very interesting creatures with the pieces, including what looked like a rabbit with very large ears (made from the two hat choices.)

On the other side of the easel I put out the family magnets.  I think the photo above was the least amount of magnets ever on the board.  Students generally covered the entire board.  Towards the end of the week a few started to sort the pieces, so these may get some more time next week for further exploration.  The family magnets came from this set on TPT; I think the store offered them at one point to try out before purchasing the whole set.

DotMarkerLetterTiles

PreK students tend to love dot markers.  In PreK we start to learn to dot with a purpose instead of just dotting every spot.  The dot marker sheet above required my students to only dot the letter F as well as anything that starts with the F sound.  Since this is the first time we did this type of dot marker activity I put out picture cards that matched the pictures that they should dot.  You can find the Alphabet Letter and Sound Search dot marker set in my TPT shop.

Before I created some letter tile sets of my own, I discovered a set of body part words to use during the About Me theme.  I keep my letter tiles in a container I purchased at a craft store that I think is meant to be used for jewelry findings.  I added little stickers with the letter in each section since sometimes the letters get turned upside down, making it difficult to find what you are looking for.  We use the alphabet song as a tool to help students find the tiles in this container.  I sing the song and have them point to each letter until we stop at the letter they are searching for.  We also do this with our letter stamps container as well.

You will noticed that many of the letter activities shown have the letter F, while activities like the letter tiles involve many letters.  I choose to have a letter that we focus upon each week, but we also have many activities that involve all the letters.  I also spiral back after we get through a handful of letters to review those we have already done.

PokePinandFingerprintScienceThe poke pin activity above utilizes a q-tip painting page since this is the first time we have gotten this type of activity out.  The q-tip page has fewer times to poke to be successful in finishing than some of the pages we will get out later in the year when they have more stamina.  You can find the set of q tip painting at 1+1+1=1.

For our About Me science center we studied our fingerprints.  I somehow managed to miss getting the magnifying glass on the table when I took my photo.  You can find the printable at Making Learning Fun.  The site used to have a printable that said “God Made Me Special”, but they now have this one.  This was another very popular center during the week, with some students making several pages of fingerprints.  It helped to have a sample sheet on the table so students knew to just use fingertips and where to put the fingerprints.

WritingCenterActivities

My PreK students already started creating things for each other in our writing center.  I put out a bunch of writing paper in various colors, along with our family words and body part words.  Just a few students were ready to use the words, but most students who chose this center were able to at least write their own name when finished.  We also ask that students write the name of the person they are giving a paper to as well.

The name cards are also at the writing center for practice with dry erase or to be used to figure out how to spell a friend’s name.  I also put out letters T and F cards in both capital and lowercase.  I will add the letter cards each week so that students can continue to practice the letters we have already worked on during the year.

LetterFSensoryBin

The sensory bin this week was relatively mess free.  I simply picked a bunch of items from our supplies that start with F.  I also had some matching cards with pictures of items that started with F in the bin.  I added the plastic farm, a farmer, a frog, a fox, flowers, feathers, fence pieces, and some alphabet letter Fs.  Putting everything back in the correct bin is probably what will take the most time with this bin.

During circle times we focused upon the Bible theme of God Made Me, using the Cross Connection for Early Learners lesson.  Books  and other items we used this week are shown below with Amazon affiliate links if you are interested in getting them for yourself.


My students also enjoyed several songs during circle time, including “Proud to be Me” by Signing Time!

My About Me lesson plan for PreK, which includes links for everything I did, can be found here:

About Me Theme

A blank lesson plan form that you can use for yourself, along with two more plans, is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.

Bear Theme in PreK

Our first week of school only contained a couple days, so we decided to go with a Teddy Bear theme in PreK.  Even though it was only two days, I still created a full week’s worth of centers activities to fill my room with Rainbow Bears.  I am including a link to my plans in this post so that you can plan your own bear filled week, no matter how many days you may have.

RainbowBearRollAndGraph

In my math center I set up two different bear games.  I chose to use dot markers with the Roll and Graph game, although I could have also used bear counters and laminated the graph sheets.  The dot markers and dice cube I used can be found below through these Amazon Affiliate links:

RainbowBearPathGame

My PreK students also played this Rainbow Bear path game in the math center.  We used large rainbow bears for game pieces and a foam die to decide how many places to move.  This is a good way to get an idea of what your students’ one to one correspondence skills are to begin the year.  You can find the rainbow bears and die below in Amazon Affiliate links:

RainbowBearPuzzles

The bear puzzles on the easel were popular this week.  It was easy for students at the beginning of the year to match up the puzzles by color.  I also placed capital and lowercase letters that each color started with on the puzzles.  You can see the easel is in the window where we get plenty of sunlight from the bottom photo.

Someone had just donated some adhesive magnet sheets to me so it was quick work to print, cut, laminate, cut and add the magnets.  I suggest cutting the puzzles into two pieces after laminating so they will match up nicely for students.

BearActivities

On the table where we do our arts and crafts as well as some literacy activities, I put out Bear Ten Frames for use with play dough, Bear cutting strips, and Bear qtip painting.  The cutting and qtip painting will come back out during our Colors theme week as well.

TeddyBearDoctor

Since we invited students to bring their teddy bears during the first week of school, I decided to start the year with a doctor’s office.  Students doctored a teddy bear, their friends, and even me.

You will notice that I try to have a bin for each item and a label with words and pictures for everything in the dramatic play area.  This really makes clean up much easier and adds additional print awareness to the room.

If you want to do a bear theme in your classroom, you may want to check out my lesson plans.  I have included links to everything I have used.  (None of them are affiliate links.)  There is a list of books, names of songs, and links to find all of my Rainbow bear items.

TropicalBirdCraftsWhen you look at my lesson plans you will notice that I had planned to create a bear mask with my students.  We ended up not having time for this because I forgot to schedule in our chapel time during our first day.  I decided I would rather not feel rushed to complete the bear masks when they would be wet and not be able to be taken home that day anyway.  We ended up finishing up our toucans and macaws for any student who had not attended open house and then put out the bear qtip painting that had not made it out yet.

The macaw craft idea came from this pin.  I adapted the toucan craft from the macaw idea by adding a long beak and taking some ideas from this craft.

BearActivitiesScienceWriting

For our writing center I pulled out a magnetic etch a sketch I got from the local dollar store as well as my ABC Rainbow Bear cards.  Students draw a letter out of the tub and draw that letter on the etch a sketch.

The science center had my scale for exploration, along with bears.  We will use the scale several more times this year, so this week was mostly about free exploration.  The scale I have is found in the affiliate link below.  I got it for about five bucks at a book fair.  We put away the weights that come with it since they are not appropriate for this age group.

 

TeddyBearLessonPlan_Page_1

You can see the first of the two pages of the bears lesson plan above.  The second page includes books used as well as all the centers used for this theme.  To grab my lesson plans for this week, please download my free lesson plan forms.  This week’s lesson plan is also included in this file.  Be sure to have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat and you will be able to CTRL-click the links to see where I found the activities that we did.

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation Theme in PreK

QuestionPatternBlockPin

Although we technically had two weeks of transportation in PreK it was broken up by the weather.

As always I started each day with our Question of the Day.  Around this time of the year I change the student name tags to last names so that they can start recognizing those.  I put first names on the back of the tags so that they can check to make sure they are correct as they grab their tags to answer the question.  For the siblings in my class I put all of the first names on the back of each tag.

This time I put the pattern blocks on the fine motor table, although I do sometimes use contact paper and put them on the easel.  You can find some pattern blocks sheets here and here.

EaselTransportation

Since we are not doing a space theme during the school year this year, I decided to use my rocket drawing activity during transportation week.  I found this at Making Learning Fun.

One of the letters we focused on during our transportation unit was letter K.  We used letter magnets to build words that start with that letter from This Reading Mama.  I use these magnet letters (affiliate link.)

MathFineMotor

My Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker was really popular this year with a few of my students this year.  I was fortunate enough to discover this on clearance at a craft store a few years ago.  This requires fine motor control and stamina since it has so many pieces to fill in a picture.

My Transportation Bundle includes this roll and graph game that I had my students complete with stickers.  This one is for my students who are still working on stamina so it only goes up to five.  I try to balance the activities in my room to appeal to different levels of the students in my classroom.

StampWrite

For my writing center I also chose a couple different activities from my Transportation Bundle to meet the interests and levels of my students.  I use the alphabet stamping set from Melissa & Doug (affiliate link) and crayons.  Just trying out new stamp pads.  Still looking for the perfect stamp pads, so if you have any you love, please let me know.

TransportationinPreK

The other writing center activity from my bundle involves dry erase markers and writing transportation words for my students who are ready for that.

I also used my transportation sort game in my sensory bin along with magnet fishing poles.  In order to make the cards magnetic I just put a few staples in the edges of each one after laminating.

For the science table I started with magnet wands and magnetic trains.  I showed the students how to use the wands to make the trains follow the taped paths without touching the trains.

BridgeBuildingPin

The other science activity for transportation involved building bridges.  I found some ideas here.  I printed and laminated photo examples and provided the supplies and let the kids experiment.

MoreTransportation

Another letter focus activity comes from my Alphabet Bundle.  Students use dot markers to dot the letter and pictures of words that start with the letter.  I purposely limit the letters and letter sounds on each page with this set of dot marker pages.

In the block area I added my train set from IKEA.  I have had this set since my girls were little, but there are many similar sets out there.  This one looks fun as well.

I was also gifted with some stencils that include transportation themed ones from Lakeshore. (not affiliate link)    These are great because they are really sturdy.  It does take a while for preschoolers to understand that they have to hold the stencil still while working with it, so the sturdy ones work best.  I would like to try out the Melissa & Doug set as well.

Those were my main centers activities during my Transportation theme.  If you would like to check out my Transportation Bundle and Transportation Calendar set, you can click through to them below.

Transportation Bundle

Transportation Calendar Set

 

 

 

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.

PreK Winter Activities & Learning Centers

SnowballABCSensoryBin

Our PreK winter theme must have been to get my students ready for the eight or more inches of snow we received over the weekend.

I created a new winter theme sensory bin this year inspired by Differentiated Kindergarten‘s idea with ping pong balls.  Since I am dealing with preschoolers I made my bin a letter recognition activity.  I drew snowman faces on the balls that had an alphabet letter written on the back side.  Students caught them with the tool and marked on the alphabet sheets that I had printed half size from my Winter Bundle or Winter Alphabet Centers.  I am providing affiliate links below to Amazon to help you find the supplies for this bin.  The scoopers I have are from Oriental Trading, I believe, but I would love to get the set below soon (and an extra set of ping pong balls.)  I also added cotton balls as suggested to mine.

My students did a great job keeping the balls and cotton in the bin.  When prompted they did a great job filling in their sheets to mark which alphabet letters they found.  We are still working on getting some students to remember to put their name on their sheet in case they don’t finish and will return later in the day or week to complete the activity.

GeoboardsWithLoomBands

I was very pleased with how hard my students worked on creating the pictures on geoboards.  I only made loom bands available this time and showed students to only stretch them between two pegs.  I was lucky to find a clearance sale at Oriental Trading to pick up some more bands, so you might check to see if they still have any on clearance there.  The cards are also part of my Winter Bundle or Winter Geoboards.

PenguinHuntDramaticPlay

Since my dramatic play will be for two weeks, I put up our Penguin Hunt activity.  Some years I have a Polar Expedition with Arctic animals to search for and other years I have penguin to search for in the classroom.  I found the printable penguins to put up throughout the room on a site that has apparently shut down, but there are some similar ones here and here.  I made my own laminated checklist for students to find the penguins with small versions of the larger photos.

To play in the center, students had to put on gloves.  This is a great way for them to learn how to put on gloves.  These were purchased at our local dollar store.  We did need to bring them home over the weekend to wash as they did start to smell a bit at the end of the week after many sets of hands wore them.

We also had play binoculars to search for all the penguins.

During the next week we will add ice fishing to the area.

SnowmanNumberSense

I used my table top easel to set up part of this snowman number sense set from A Dab of Glue Will Do.  I only used numbers five through ten for this center.

WinterCountAndClip

Another number related center was my Winter Count and Clip set.  I chose to use the set with the dice at the bottom this time.  There are also cards with fingers to count and numerals.  I found the mini clothespins at the local Dollar Tree.

WinterPathGame3Photos

My final math center for the week was this simple path game with spinner.  There is also an option for dice with this game as well.  I used water bottle caps along with the printables made to fit on them for game board pieces.  This is also part of my Winter Bundle.

WinterEasel

I utilized magnets and contact type paper this week on my easel.  For the black side I used snowman magnets found at Dollar Tree.  On the white side I put up a pattern block mat for a snowflake from PreKinders.  I put it up and then put some contact type paper sticky side out on top of it.  I provided foam pattern blocks to stick to the mat to create the snowflake.

ThinIceAndSnowflakeMatching

Our science activities this week included playing Thin Ice.  The balls are in a moat with water.  Students use the tongs to grab a ball and gently put it on top of a tissue.  They attempt to get all the balls to the top before the tissue breaks.

We also matched snowflake designs.  I attached one set to a cookie sheet.  This set I can no longer find online; I think it may have been updated since I printed it.  I would really like to print this one of snowflake photos to match next year if I can remember.

WinterWritingCenter

I had two different writing center activities this week.  The first used my alphabet cards from my Winter Alphabet Centers set.  I used salt to be my snow and flat glass beads to place on the letter that the student has drawn.  A couple of the snowflake clothespins were used to hold up the chosen card.

You can see the interesting creation a student left me at the end of centers time one day.  I had to take a picture of it.

The second activity was to help review some of our alphabet letters.  This activity comes from This Reading Mama.  I cut the graph down to be shorter so that students would have more likelihood of finishing before getting tired of writing letters.

WinterQuestionAndWords

Part of every morning and circle time is our Question of the Day time.  You can see an example of one of my winter questions.  This time marshmallows won out for the most responses.

We also worked on building winter words with our letter tiles.  I also sometimes use part of this set for stamping and handwriting practice.  This is also found in my Winter Bundle.

Next I will share favorite books, songs, and poems for our winter theme.

 

 

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:

Apples in PreK

 

 

AppleOrchardPretendPlay

My favorite new addition to my apples in PreK week this year is the apple orchard.  I had seen several pretend play areas from other classrooms and decided I wanted to add some apple trees this year.

I used cardboard to create the tops of my apple trees, attaching them to the bottom of the bulletin board with a long strip of velcro to keep my students from pulling the tree tops down with the apples.  I chose to have one tree for each color of apple.  The apples are ball pit balls, which I purchased from Walmart because I waited until the last minute to put this together.  You can find some on Amazon through the following affiliate link:

I put a small amount of velcro on each ball and the matching side on the tree top.  I figure when I am ready to take down the tree tops I can put it all in storage for next year.

I just added the Apple Orchard Activity Cards we use in this dramatic play to my shop.

QuestionWriting

As always, we start our day with our question of the day.  The question above can be found in my Question of the Day Bundle or the Farm, Apples, Pumpkins, Fall set.

Our writing center is very popular this year.  For the week we had some apple pre-writing from Confessions of a Homeschooler as well as name practice and practicing the letters we have focused upon so far this year.

AppleCountingGames

Apple math in PreK involved lots of counting during the week.  We used some roll and cover games from Recipe for Teaching.  We also played Hi Ho Cherry-O and just pretended they were apples.  You can find the updated game that actually has apples as well as cherries and blueberries at this affiliate Amazon link:

 

AppleOrchardMagnets

 

These apple orchard magnets were meant to be used with play dough, but I wanted something for my student to work on a vertical surface so I utilized them this way.  You can find them at Life over C’s.

BuildingTreesQtip

We also used linking cubes to build apple trees and our qtips to paint our letter focus of the week (M) as well as letters that go with the apple theme.  The linking cube apple tree is from 123 Homeschool for Me and the qtip pages are from 1+1+1=1. The paint pallets were purchased long ago, so not sure where, but there are some on Amazon here (affiliate link):

FineMotorCuttingPunching

We work on using our hands with a variety of tools in my PreK class.  This includes scissor practice, like the apple cutting strips, and paper punches to punch our focus letter.

SensorySTEM

I filled my sensory bin with green lentils, decorative apples, an apple shaped colander, an apple shaped ice tray, a couple cinnamon sticks, and some apples made from pipe cleaners that could be caught with magnet wands.

The science table involves a STEM building challenge to build an apple tree that will hold the most apples.  Toward the end of the week some students decided to add to the challenge by making the tallest tree as well.

ArtCraftsApples

Our apple theme arts and crafts projects for PreK involved lots of paint.

For our apple core, students painted top and bottom with the apple color paint that they wanted.  They added seeds to the middle with a marker.

The apple tree involved some cutting practice.  I marked the brown paper with two lines to cut to make the trunk.  This gave me a chance to assess cutting skills during this project.  Then we used bath puffs to paint the green top of the tree.  I had plenty of  yellow and red circles for students to glue on to their apple trees.

I enjoy most the arty crafty projects that all look different from each other, so I am pleased with our apple trees this year.

 

 

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.

About Me Theme in PreK

AboutMeSensoryCrochet

For our second week of PreK we focused on an About Me theme, with lots of emphasis on our names and the letters in our names.  The sensory bin was full of green rice, pasta in the shape of alphabet letters, and alphabet magnets, along with tools to interact with the letters and rice.  In addition, I used a clip art font that matched the pasta to create an alphabet sheet that letters could be matched with.

I also introduced my crocheted alphabet letters to my students.  I keep these out all year long.  You can find the crochet patterns to create these here.  When I created them I chose to use the same color for the capital and lowercase to help with matching.

AboutMeEasel

Although we have many activities that include several letters of the alphabet, we do have a focus letter of the week.  Our first letter is T, so one side of the easel had words to build with letter magnets that start with T.  You can find these cards from This Reading Mama.  I cut them apart and laminated them for my purposes.  I used the two sets of alphabet magnets below for this activity.  I did not like the shape of the lowercase t in the foam magnets and did not have enough to have six of them anyway.

I use a large binder clip to attach my small bins on the side of the easel that does not have a shelf.

(Note:  all Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a few cents if you purchase through my link, which helps me pay the bills.)

AboutMeMathandFineMotor

I introduced the family counters this week, along with houses that I printed on matching colored paper. Students were mostly given a chance to just play with these however they liked. Many sorted by color and some started playing pretend with them. I will add some more ideas with these next week since our theme will be family.

Some of the building bricks ended up on the math and fine motor table with the opportunity to build the letter that starts your name. At least one student made at least four different letters, including the first letter of his name. I will put the letter making cards in the block center after this so students can try this again if interested.

 

AboutMeChicka

One of the books we read this week was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  We also found the letters in our name with dot markers while some students also used the letter T dot marker page to find the letter T as well as pictures of things that start with T.  The Chicka Chicka page can be found here.  The letter T dot marker page is part of my Alphabet Letter and Sound Search.  For these sheets I only place a handful of letters and sounds on each sheet so that students are not overwhelmed.  For example, the T sheet has T, F, M, and P only.

We created our own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who Is In Our Room book during the week.  We used green feathers for the leaves, so no cutting a million leaves for the teacher and assistant since kids are not that proficient at cutting during the first couple weeks of school.  The trunk was brown construction paper this year, although I have also used sandpaper in the past.  Foam letters were used for student names and I added a photo of the student to help students read the book to themselves once it is placed in the classroom library.

On the last day of the week we ate a special Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree with a graham cracker, green apple slices, and alphabet cookies that I found at Walmart.

AboutMeLiteracyWriting

My assistant and I finished making the name cards for the writing center.  These consist of the student’s photo with name at the top and blank boxes below each letter for name practice.  These cards will be in the writing center all year for practice.  Students right now are mostly focusing upon their own name, but some want to practice their friends’ names as well.

I also found some letter T handwriting practice to laminate as well.

In the crafts and literacy center I introduced using a poke pin.  I use a couple layers of cork board with a carpet square underneath to protect the table.  I use the large poke pins for this and only have this center available to one student at a time.  I also make sure it is near the area where I or my assistant is working for this introductory week so there are no accidents.   I used the letter T sheet from this set.

AboutMeScience

For science this week I pulled out as many shades of knee high panty hose as I could find.  Students could put them on their arms to compare shades to see if any of them were close to the shade of their own skin.

Fingerprints were a huge favorite this week.  Lots of kids covered in purple ink.  The fingerprint page with the magnifying glass is found at Making Learning Fun.