Down on the Farm Theme in PreK

One of my farm themed questions of the day
One of my farm themed questions of the day

We start each day in PreK with a question of the day.  Most of them relate to the theme we are working on in class.  My students’ parents really like to wait to see which answer their children will pick before they leave for the morning.  You can find farm themed questions in this set or in my Question of the Day bundle.

Rosie's Walk path game
Rosie’s Walk path game

One of the many farm themed books we read during our farm theme is Rosie’s Walk.  I found this path game at Making Learning Fun and braved using our large laminator to create it.  I used this as a shape review game.  I also printed the felt board pieces from the same sight for my students to use in the library corner during the farm theme.

Matching horses with their clothes pin legs
Matching horses with their clothes pin legs

For another sorting and fine motor activity, I had my students match up horse clothes pin legs to laminated colored bodies.  I used permanent marker to color the legs since paint does not seem to stay.  I used this in assessing my student knowledge of colors as well as pincher grasp.  I found the printable horses here.

Pattern Blocks on the Easel
Pattern Blocks on the Easel

I try to use my easel in different ways, so for the farm theme I used one side with pattern block patterns.  I put contact paper on top of the print outs and gave the students foam pattern block pieces (affiliate link) to stick to the contact paper.  It stays sticky enough to be used for a couple weeks, if interest stays.  I switched out a couple of the pictures for the second week to renew interest for those who had already tried it the first week.  Some of the pattern block pages come from PreKinders and the alligator, which goes with our letter that we were studying, comes from Jessica’s Corner of Cyberspace.

Farm themed sensory bin with bird seed
Farm themed sensory bin with bird seed

For my farm themed sensory bin, I used a filler of bird seed.  I created fence pieces with hot glue and two sized of popsicle sticks.  I also added letters to sort the animals.  We had some lincoln logs to create a barn as well.  As a preschool teacher, I am sure you can imagine what it looks like at the end of each day (or even a few minutes after the kids get to school.) Many of the animals come from a farm themed tube, but others are ones that my youngest daughter outgrew.

Poke Pin Pig and Letter A
Poke Pin Pig and Letter A

One of the fine motor activities that my PreK students enjoy is using the large poke pins.  For our farm theme I found a poke pin pig from This Reading Mama.  I also pulled out a letter A poke pin page from this set of Miss Helen’s Hippos.  I have a few cork board sheets stacked on top of each other to help keep from getting tiny holes in the table.

Farm Animal Word Building
Farm Animal Word Building

Another resource I used from Making Learning Fun were these letter tile cards.  You can find the letter tiles on Amazon (affiliate link).  It did take some work to get them to print out correctly for me because I did not have the size paper suggested.  Not sure which story these corresponded with since I printed them out quite a while ago.

Dramatic Play Prep Cutting Practice
Dramatic Play Prep Cutting Practice

During our first week on the farm I had my students work on creating items that would go into our Pumpkin Patch the following week.  We created pumpkins from paper bags.  Students cut leaves for plants, cut popcorn pieces for the popcorn machine, and cut hay for the hay ride.  I was able to have each student take a turn so I could assess everyone’s cutting skills at this point in the year.  All of these cutting ideas come from Pocket of Preschool’s Pumpkin Patch dramatic play set.

Next I will show you how the Pumpkin Patch turned out…

Welcome to PreK Week

Our first week of preschool was this past week.  I was able to finish getting my room all set up with my ocean themed items in plenty of time for our Sneak Peek.  I even had a new student enroll after our Sneak Peek and got her name everywhere in the room before school started.

Student names move down each week while jobs stay where they are
Student names move down each week while jobs stay where they are

My classroom jobs are placed over the coat hooks in my classroom.  I have to decide each year which jobs to use, based upon how many students are in the classroom.  I place velcro dots above the coat hooks and move the student names down one space each week to change jobs.  This way line leader is always at the head of the line and caboose at the end.  It also helps save the wall.  I used to move the jobs and ended up taking paint off the wall from moving them down each week.  The Helping Hands sign is part of my Ocean Decor Set, which also includes this set of jobs and more.

Question of the Day
Question of the Day

I purchased a new long green pocket chart for my Question of the Day.  I like that it is long enough that students can make one long column of names to answer the question.  It makes it easier to visually see which answer has more when we count and discuss during circle time.  If you need some questions for your Question of the Day, please check out that section in my shop.

Ocean Animal Sort
Ocean Animal Sort

For fine motor and math, I placed ocean animal sorters with matching color bowls and a couple types of grabbers to work on pincher grasp.  The sea animal counters are from Lakeshore.  The ones I see online do not have penguins, but appear to have sharks instead.  We also did a roll and graph with ocean animals.

Sandy Sensory Bin
Sandy Sensory Bin

My sensory bin had sand with shells, sea glass, and shark teeth to discover.  Students enjoyed using the sifters and scoops all week.  I had to sift through the entire bin of sand to pull out everything I had put in the sand.  I would not be surprised if someone discovers a shark tooth out in the playground sandbox later in the year since that is where I put the sand when I was finished.

Writing Center with colored sand
Writing Center with colored sand

Since it is the beginning of the year I want the writing center to be simple and fun.  My students thought the red, white, and blue sand were sprinkles and enjoyed trying to create the letter on the crab’s stomach.  I will admit there were students who also drew designs in the sand with the crabs.  The crabs are from Learning Resources, but I found an Amazon link here.

Ocean Calendar
Ocean Calendar

I use my ocean themed calendar for the beginning of the school year before moving on to fall themed sets.

Puffer Fish and My Seahorse
Puffer Fish and My Seahorse

Last year I had my octopus above my classroom all year, so I needed to change it up a bit for this year even though I really loved my octopus.  I decided to create a seahorse.  Our main craft for the first week were the puffer fish you see on the bulletin board.  They were inspired by these puffer fish.  With my students we painted the paper plates one day, then added eyes, mouth, fins, and white dots the next day.  I ended up doing the cutting since when I was first planning this I had several less students scheduled to be enrolled in my class.  Once I saw that the class was larger I knew we would not have time to do the cutting this early in the year without taking too much time.

Looking for items in my post?

Ocean Theme Decor Bundle

Fall Calendar Set

Question of the Day Bundle

How was your first week of school?

 

Bears and Hibernation in Preschool

We often do a hibernation theme in January.  This year we focused mostly on bears, but also included discussion of other animals that hibernate through our question of the day, some hibernation songs, and books that we used.

I decided to use our tent to act as a cave to go along with our hibernation and bear theme.  When I found a few different ideas online that related to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, I knew our pretend play would revolve around that book.  I found printable signs to hang around the room for each place in the story.  I also discovered a map that was meant to be used for retelling the story, but we used it as our actual map, finding each place in the room as we searched for the bear in its cave.  In addition, I found some story retelling puppets that I trimmed and laminated to make badges to each child playing would know which part he or she had.  The photos of each item will lead you to where I found these items.

Bear Hunt Cave
Bear Hunt Cave
Bear Hunt Snow
Bear Hunt Snow
Bear Hunt Map
Bear Hunt Map
Bear Hunt Name Tags
Bear Hunt Name Tags

For our fine motor and math center I discovered a winter themed Cariboo game and a roll and cover game.  My students had enjoyed Cariboo in December so I decided to pull it out again with these winter themed cards. Since I had a few students out during the week I was able to spend some time playing the roll and cover game with individual students to check on number sense.

Winter Theme Cariboo
Winter Theme Cariboo
Roll and Cover Bear Hibernation Theme
Roll and Cover Bear Hibernation Theme

We worked on a few crafty projects during our hibernation week.  The easel was set up on one side with q-tips, white paint, and black paper.  The students enjoyed experimenting and did well writing their names with the qtips when they were finished.  We also painted a box with a heart on the lid to go along with our study of the visit of the three wise men.  We put a heart inside that said, “I give my heart to Jesus” after discussing the gifts the wise men brought and what gift Jesus really wants from us.

Qtip painting on easel
Qtip painting on easel
Epiphany Craft
Epiphany Craft

My students really enjoyed several of our songs during this week, including:

Bear Hunt by Steve Songs

What is your favorite hibernation activity for preschool?

Preschool Favorite Authors, Sandwich Shop, and Letter J

Question of the Day for Dr. Seuss
Question of the Day for Dr. Seuss

We started the week with a leftover question of the day from our snow day on Friday.  We do a question of the day every morning as we come in the classroom.  Many of the parents hang around to see what their children will choose as an answer.  We needed to do this question since we still needed to read Green Eggs and Ham as well as have our special Dr. Seuss snacks which were saved from Friday’s “no snow” snow day.  If I recall correctly we had a tie in responses with this one, which is unusual.

Easel with J words and painting with water
Easel with J words and painting with water

This week our easel has painting with water on one side and practicing writing words that begin with J on the other.  Sometime I use these word sheets with magnets or stamps, but this week I decided to let them write the words with the dry erase markers.  I found these sheets on This Reading Mama’s blog.  I decided to use water and a brush on the other side because I had put it out a few weeks ago when I realized I had no plan for the other side of the easel and the students loved it and spent a bunch of time practicing letters and drawing shapes, especially some of my friends who are not quick to choose activities involving manipulating writing implements.

Race to the Top counting game
Race to the Top counting game

In my fine motor and math center I found a Race to the Top game with linking cubes.  My students have enjoyed using linking and snap cubes as well as dice games.  This one has just enough of a twist from activities we have done recently to keep their attention.  Race to the Top can be found on The Measured Mom’s blog.  We are using the one that goes to twenty but she also has one up to ten.  To get students started with this game I invited one student to play with me.  Once we started the game another student came over and asked to play so I let that student take my spot.  If one student quits I either jump in to play or ask another student if she would like to play if the student playing cannot figure out who to ask.

Count the Colored Fish
Count the Colored Fish

This game is best saved for the second half of the year because students need to only count the fish of a specific color, not all the fish.  I highlighted the color word with a dry erase marker that matched its color (although I apparently missed the one on top when I took the photo.)  You could also put a color word chart at this center.  I chose this game because we are reading Swimmy by Leo Lionni as well as Flotsam by David Wiesner.

Alphabet Trash Sensory BIn
Literacy and Art Table

My large square table is where we do our art and literacy activities.  Some of the activities we started the week with included play dough with alphabet stampers (similar to those linked below), Letter J crowns, painting alphabet letters to create a class alphabet book and a chameleon craft on paper towels which we plan to spray later in the week.

Due to a very large number of absences this week we may not end up with a whole alphabet book.  I am contemplating what to do since I ended the day with only four out of ten students.  It is pretty difficult to get twenty six letters painted with that many absences.

Alphabet Trash Sensory Bin
Alphabet Trash Sensory Bin

When I decided to do this sensory bin it reminded me of one I made a long time ago for a Vacation Bible Camp.  It had been a bin full of shredded paper and my fellow teacher had commented, “Who would have thought that preschoolers would love to play with trash so much?”  I had several kids playing with this right away on Monday.  A couple boys kept catching pieces with the grabbers I found at the dollar store and bringing them to me to show me which letter that was caught.  This Alphabet Pick Up game can be found in Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station.  The grabbers were found at the dollar store and were similar to those shown in the photo link below.

Sandwich making station
Sandwich making station

Our dramatic play area became a Sandwich Shop this week.  I used the foam pieces I had cut last year, placing them in aluminum trays from the dollar store.  Growing in PreK has some printables and was my inspiration for the beginning of this center.

Table set up with mustard, ketchup and placemats
Table set up with mustard, ketchup and place mats

On the table for customers are place mats as well as ketchup and mustard.  These were also found at the local dollar store.  I did not realize when I purchased them that they were meant to be joke bottles.  The kids love them because when you open the lids and squeeze them a little string that is red for ketchup or yellow for mustard pops out.

Ordering and Drinks Station for Sandwich Shop
Ordering and Drinks Station for Sandwich Shop

The big addition to the sandwich shop was my drink station, inspired by Play to Learn’s post.  The students figured it out right away, although I did have one moment when a student pulled the colored tissue out of it.  Another student informed me and I fixed it and explained to the student what it was since I am unsure he had any idea why the tissue was there.  To the left of the drink station are trays of crocheted cookies and plastic chips.  I have a couple different ways of ordering that I will alternate in this center.  One is found at PreKinders and the other was found at Growing in PreK, which was linked above.

What fun are you having in preschool this week?

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