Using Question of the Day in PreK

QuestionUpdates1

Since I taught several summer camps this year I decided it was time to refresh the questions in my Question of the Day Summer Fun set.  This set has questions that are great for the beginning and end of the school year if you do not teach over the summer.  I usually use a few at the end of the year and a few at the beginning when kids are thinking of outdoor activities.

I place my questions on a long pocket chart that I purchased from Amazon; they apparently do not currently offer it through Amazon, so I linked directly to Lakeshore.  I hang it with Command Hooks (aff. link) on the back of our classroom bathroom door since that is near the entrance of the room.

The top of the lunch cubby area is where I place the students’ name cards so that they can find the card and answer the question before moving on to centers activities at the beginning of the day.  At the beginning of the year I put first names on the cards, but about halfway through the year I put last names so that they will begin to recognize those as well.

During circle time one of my students is in charge of counting the responses so that we can discuss the numbers, decide which number is larger, and discuss words like more, less, tie, and unanimous.  They get very excited when we get a unanimous response.

QuestionUpdates2

These Summer questions are also included in my Question of the Day Bundle, which has more than enough questions for the entire year.  I just have a few of my new questions to laminate for the new year and then I am set.

Bugs, Insects, and Spiders in PreK

InsectQuestion

We started our Bugs, Insects, and Spiders week with a question of the day that would go along with our dramatic play area.  I love the photo of the kids in the beekeeping suits in this question.  This question is part of my Spring Question of the Day set.

InsectPatternBlocks

Pattern blocks are inviting when on the easel with sticky paper.  The pattern blocks are made of foam.  I used painters tape to put up clear contact paper over the insect theme pattern blocks that I printed out from PreKinders.  You can find pattern blocks from Teacher Created Resources. (aff. link)  We often use Contact brand liner (aff. link) for these projects, but have also used Duck brand (aff. link) as well.  Since this side of my easel does not have a tray, I use a large clip to hold a container for the foam pattern blocks.

ABCMagnet

The other side of the easel has some alphabet review for my students.  The Alphabet Beginning Sounds Match is from my shop.  I like having a handful of letters for my students to review, instead of the entire alphabet.

ABCMagnets2

I used both capital and lowercase alphabet magnets for this center.  This set of alphabet magnets can be found here. (aff. link)  I am liking this set of alphabet magnets, although the lowercase t does have the curve at the bottom.

InsectLacing

During our Bug, Insect, and Spider week we did a couple sewing projects.  This center got a bunch more use out of it after we created a spider web with a paper plate as one of our craft projects.  I had a difficult time finding a source for these.  I would not suggest buying them at this price, but wanted to share more branding information in case you could find them somewhere else.

Cootie

How can you  have Bug, Insect, and Spider week without Cootie? (aff. link)  My set has one missing leg, but none of the kids seemed to notice this year.  Putting the legs on is probably the biggest challenge for preschoolers since the legs look like they should go on one way, but really go in on more of an angle.

InsectMeasurement

We used some linking cubes to measure some insects this week, thanks to this great freebie.  Most of my students did not bother with filling out the form, but a few tried it.  They did enjoy measuring how big each insect was.  You could use a variety of non-standard measuring tools for these critters; we used linking cubes similar to these. (aff. link)

InsectSensory

My sensory bin was filled with shell, rotini, and bow tie pasta to represent the stages of a butterfly.  I also picked up some bug catchers, small nets, and tweezers from Dollar Tree.  The nets try to slide off the plastic handle, so I will probably glue the plastic handle shut for next year.  I also have some plastic bugs from Melissa & Doug to catch.  They look similar to these (aff. link), which may be the updated version since I have had these for several years.  Some friends captured bugs while others used the bug catchers to sort pasta.

My next post will share some more of my buggy week with a look at our bee keeper dramatic play that I was fortunate to have a bunch of help creating from both a coworker and a great set online that I purchased.

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.

Dental Health Books and Circle Time Activities for PreK

I was gathering my dental health materials for our second week of healthy habits when I realized I might need a few more activities to round out the week.  When I get ready to plan a theme in my preschool classroom I try to divide up my plans into different areas to make sure I am covering everything I need to as I plan.  I try to gather my books and circle time activities together to make sure I have plenty for each day of the week.  Here are some of the dental health books and poems that I plan to use.

Dr. De Soto is a book that I think originally belonged to one of my own children before I started teaching preschoolers.  I enjoy being able to read longer books that have a story that my students really need to follow along with as I read.  I enjoy asking my students whether they think Dr. De Soto should treat the fox, what might happen if he does, and how will he keep from getting eaten in the process.

Many of my students have seen Little Bear episodes on television or on another electronic device, so Little Bear’s Loose Tooth might be familiar to some of my students.  We often talk about whether any of them have known anyone with a loose tooth.  Often there are older siblings to talk about.  We can also take guesses as we read whether each attempt at getting the tooth out will work.

Why Do I Brush My Teeth? is a nonfiction book with color photos and suggested activities on each page.  At least one of these suggested activities we will be doing this week with an egg and vinegar.  I also plan on having a few mirrors to pass around while I share this book, as well as having one with the book in my library area.

I Know Why I Brush My Teeth is a bit longer than the other books.  It is told as a story with a mother explaining to her son about teeth when he discovers a loose tooth.  There are lots of details in this book about tooth brushing, fluoride, foods to eat, visits to the dentist, cavities, and parts of teeth.  Some years I can read the entire book and other years I just read portions, depending upon the type of group of students I have.

I also make sure I share songs during the week that go along with our theme as well.  Here are links to a few that are easy to sing (love those piggy back songs to familiar tunes):

Brush Your Teeth (to Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Brushing (to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

I’ve Been Brushing (to I’ve Been Working on the Railroad) There are actually a bunch of songs here, just make sure they will work for you with the tune they suggest.  Sometimes I know it is just my lack of musical talent, but sometimes there is a word left out or something that just makes the words not quite work with the tune given.

Insect themed calendar set with three sets of cards for three pattern choices. Also has month headers, days of week, and seasons.
Insect theme calendar set

Since it is a new month I have just switched out my calendar numbers.  I did not go with a dental theme since the rest of our month will deal with spring type themes.  I decided I needed to use these great insects.  I discovered I had to laminate the last week’s worth last night because somehow I had managed to fit all the other numbers into little spaces during the year when I was laminating other stuff, but not 24-30.

questionofthedayteeth

I also plan to use my Question of the Day for healthy habits during circle time.  One student has the job for the week of tallying our responses and then we figure out which answer has the most and which has the least responses.   Healthy habits questions are in this Question of the Day set or you can find them in the bundle.

Do you have any favorites for circle time that involve dental health?

 

Kites and Wind in PreK

KiteTails

This year we decided to focus on kites and wind in our spring theme week in preschool.  Besides making paper bag kites to fly outside during one of our windy days and blowing paint through straws, we also did several centers with kites, wind, and springtime weather as our theme.  I found the kites shown above at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I attached chenille stems (affiliate link) to the kites and added pony beads (aff. link) for this activity.  Chenille stems are a bit easier for students to add beads to than yarn.  This was a popular activity.

UmbrellaGridGame

Also on my math and fine motor table was this umbrella grid game from PreKinders.  I added one of my foam dice and some flat blue glass beads (aff links).  I purchased my beads either at the dollar store or with a coupon at a craft store.  For advanced players I would suggest they make a pattern as they play with the different shades of blue.

PaintWithWater

My students really enjoy painting with water on the dark side of my easel, so this time I found directions for drawing a kite and let them try it out with a paint brush.  Sometimes they create the kite, and other time they paint their own ideas.  I am not sure where this direction sheet came from; if anyone has seen it please let me know so I can give proper credit.

RainyDayEasel

For the other side of my easel I chose to put up a felt board and have students play this roll and put together game.  I printed the pieces on milk filters and cut them out to use on the felt board.  The milk filters I linked you to are smaller than the ones I purchased, but I do not see 15 inch ones available currently on Amazon.  I cut them down to fit in the printer as an 8.5 by 11.  After posting this, I finally discovered where I found this game.

rainbowquestion

Managed to take a photo of my question of the day when the early morning sun was hitting it.  Hopefully next time I will remember to photograph it at the end of the school day.  This question comes from my spring set and is also included in my Question of the Day bundle.

rollandwrite

I combined something I had already printed from PreKinders with my new Spring Alphabet Centers cards for my writing center.   I put six of my alphabet cards in the foam pocket die (aff. link).  Students roll the die and write whichever letter comes up until they have filled all the squares.  Students can also play this in pairs and take turns writing.  I switched out the cards during the week to practice different letters.

qtipcolors

Since my students still like qtip painting, I pulled out these printables from 1+1+1=1.  As you can see, one student worked on her patterning while painting.  The students all seemed to want to finish the rainbow at the bottom of the sheet as well.

calendar

I am using the free Spring calendar numbers from my shop this month.  They are also available in my Calendar Bundle.  Be sure to let me know if there are any calendar number themes not included as I would like to add a couple more sets to the bundle.

windexperiment

For one of our science activities I set up a wind experiment with straws and objects from the classroom to blow.  I used an IKEA bin to limit where the items would get blown.  I used straws cut in half and labelled each straw with a student’s name so that we could avoid sharing straws and germs.  The items I used matched up with this free printable.  Most of my students who tried out this center did not necessarily bother with filling out the sheet; if I had an assistant I would probably have the assistant guide students in completing the sheet.

pizzashop

Since our healthy habits theme was coming up soon, I decided to switch to a Pizza Shop for our dramatic play.  We had not had a food related theme in a while.  Printables for this theme came from Pocket of Preschool.  I also followed several of her suggestions for creating pizza toppings.  The pizzas on the bulletin board were created by students.

pizzacustomertable

The toppings are old spice containers with appropriate colored paper shred inside.  I did have to explain to one student that he could not actually shake it out.

pizzatoppings

Keeping the pizza shop toppings put away nicely when finished does require good labelling and containers.  One also needs to model and help in the first day and remind afterwards to have the shop look like this at the end of the day.  There are plenty of times that there are pizza toppings everywhere, but there are also beautifully created pizzas and students using the menu to mark what toppings they would like.  We even had our pastor come in and order a pizza from our students.  They loved it and the look on their faces was priceless when he pretended to leave the room with his pizza.

A new favorite book I discovered relating to kites and wind was Stuck by Oliver Jeffers.  This has the perfect four year old sense of humor in it.  The kite gets stuck in the tree and the kid keeps throwing things in the tree to knock it down.

We also read Curious George Flies a Kite:

What are your favorite books for preschool related to wind and kites?  I am always on the search for more books.

Bundles I Use All Year, A Giveaway, and A Sale

Favorite Bundles, Sale, and Giveaway
Favorite Bundles, Sale, and Giveaway

I am realizing as I share some of the activities we do each week in my classroom that I don’t always share some of the items I use on a regular basis.  Since TPT has a sale coming up (more on that below) I know bundles are something I tend to purchase during these sales and figure you might like to see some bundles that you can really save on this week.

 

Question of the Day Bundle
Question of the Day Bundle

My Question of the Day Bundle gets used daily in my classroom.  For example, this week I am using some Valentine and friendship questions.  I place my questions on a pocket chart near entrance to the classroom with student name cards placed nearby for students to choose their own name and respond to the question.  You can see the pocket chart (referral link) I use below.

I also use several of the items in my Alphabet Bundle weekly.  I do not use each part every week, but rotate through them for variety.  I do use the alphabet emergent readers each week that I am reviewing an alphabet letter, rotating through whether we will be cutting and pasting or coloring in our books.

Alphabet Bundle
ABC Bundle

My students really enjoy dot markers, so I use them often in different ways.  Below you can see an example of the alphabet letter search included in the ABC Bundle.

Sample Dot Marker from ABC Bundle
Sample Dot Marker from ABC Bundle

My students also enjoy stamping as part of the writing center this year, so I rotate stamps in with my Stamp and Write pages from my ABC Bundle.  Letter stamps are from Melissa & Doug (referral link).  I wrote the letter name on the side of the stamps as well because they will not stay standing up and give enough space for little hands to grab them.

Writing Center Stamp and Write from ABC Bundle
Writing Center Stamp and Write from ABC Bundle

My students also enjoy building so I rotate my linking cubes and triangles (referral link) into my room every so often and add the alphabet building cards from the ABC Bundle.  If you have ideas for theme pictures sets for the cubes and triangles, please let me know.  This is definitely on my list of ideas to work on making more cards for since my students enjoy them.

Alphabet Building with my ABC Bundle
Alphabet
Building with my ABC Bundle

The other bundle that I use all the time in my classroom is my Calendar Bundle.  Right now I have the Nursery Rhymes cards in my calendar and will probably move on to the Spring set next.  My students love guessing the pattern each month.

Calendar Cards Bundle

So now, on to the special announcements.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale on February 14 and 15.  Using the code XOXO, you can get up to 25% off items in participating shops.  All of the items in my shop will be discounted the additional 25% off.  This means these bundles will be super deals.

Finally, I have a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card to give away.  To enter, follow the instructions below.  Giveaway begins at at 12:00am February 13 and ends at 12:00am February 14.  I will contact you Wednesday morning so that you can get your gift card in time to use it during the sale.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Polar Week in PreK

 

Polar Expedition with Ice Fishing
Polar Expedition with Ice
Fishing

Now that I have recovered from the flu, I have a chance to share the last few themes we have been working on in my preschool classroom.  This year we focused on Polar Animals instead of just penguins, so I was able to pull out some of my favorite Arctic Animal activities as well as penguin activities.

For dramatic play we started with a Polar Expedition with a tent and ice fishing.  The fishing poles (referral link) above are what I used.  I laminated fish that I cut using my Cricut and then put a staple or two in each so that they could be caught with the magnetic poles.  Photos of polar animals were placed around the area with a laminated checklist on clipboards.  I found several of the printables for this dramatic play at Sparklebox.  Students used binoculars (referral link) to find the animals.  Our binoculars are fairly similar to the ones at the Amazon link.  We also had dollar store gloves to wear while doing everything.

Polar Expedition Supply Area
Polar Expedition Supply Area

The more labels for where everything goes, the better.  I usually try to have the word and the photo or matching clip art.  If there are not labels things soon get very messy and clean up takes forever.

Dramatic Play Bulletin Board
Dramatic Play Bulletin Board

My dramatic play area has a small bulletin board that I change out to match the area.  I managed to find a cute border for it at Dollar Tree that had polar animals on it.  The foam snowflakes also came from Dollar Tree.  During the next week we switched out what we were searching for and added some more photos to the board.

Arctic Measurement Center
Arctic Measurement Center

I was happy to get to pull out my Arctic Measurement Center this year.  My students love the snap cubes and will build a tower as long or tall as the arctic animal and then count them for me.  I laminated the pages back to back to save on laminating sheets.  I have discovered that the linking cubes are just as wide but make slightly shorter towers because of the way they link together.  I still sometimes use them for variety but keep that in mind if I want to have my students fill out the counting sheet.

Arctic Clip and Match Game
Arctic Clip and Match Game

This Arctic Animal Count and Match Game is one I was happy to pull out again.  My assistant a few years ago worked very hard getting this one together for me.  I like that the clips have the animals to match up with the cards along with the counting.

Penguins on ice
Penguins on ice

The Penguins on Ice (referral link) is from Lakeshore Learning.  My students loved using this set to sort by color and to make patterns.  The ice bars connect in two ways, which was a great discovery for my kids.

Polar Path Game
Polar Path Game

I had my Polar Path Game all ready to play and then we had just enough weather to cancel school.  Students draw a card and then move to the letter the animal starts with to get to the igloo.  The game comes with people that you can print out to play the game, or you can use any other small token to play.

Pop n Drop Penguins
Pop n Drop Penguins

We did have time to use this game, Pop N Drop Penguins (referral link).  Students push down the center to make the die pop.  They move their penguins all the way around the board.  There are extra directions for making penguins fall through the bridges, but we did not use those this time since students mostly played independently.

Spin 20 game
Spin 20 game

I found this free Spin 20 game when I was perusing Pinterest.  You can find it at The Printable Princess.  I had some penguin and polar bear erasers that I think I got at Walmart several years ago that I used for this game.  With preschoolers I find it is best to have pieces that won’t fall over or move easily when the spinner is attached to the same sheet where the pieces go.

Life Size Penguins from the 90s
Life Size Penguins from the 90s

So I used to teach middle school when I first got out of college.  We did a nonfiction unit on Antarctica and the students did a group project to draw a life sized penguin.  They had to research more than one source and had a bunch of facts to go with them.  I saved several of the penguins and have started pulling them out each year for my preschoolers to see how tall they are compared to a penguin.  And this is why teachers save everything.

Below are some things from my shop that I used but did not get photos of in my classroom.

Question of the Day Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, Polar Lands
Question of the Day for this theme
Arctic Math and Literacy Bundle
Literacy and Math Centers for an Arctic Theme
Polar Theme Calendar Bundle
Arctic Theme Calendar Bundle

So Much For Space Week

Space Theme Sensory Bin
Space Theme Sensory Bin

We were starting back from Christmas break with a space theme, which goes along well with our Bible lesson about the three kings following the star.  Then, on top of the crazy cold weather, we had a glancing blow from that super storm which resulted in a two day week.  Not much time for space.  I will be giving the kids one last day to play with a few things on Monday before moving on, however.

You can see our space theme sensory bin above.  I used black beans as the base.  I also included some glow in the dark stars of various sizes as well as the space themed tube. I have included links to similar items below. I get a small commission if you order through my link. I picked up the space tube at Michaels or ACMoore and I am unsure where the stars came from since my director picked them up. I know our pack did not have as many as the example I found online, but they look like the same kind.

Uh Oh Snow Dough in the Space Sand
Uh Oh Snow Dough in the Space Sand

So it was the first day back after Christmas break and we had snow dough on the art table and space sand on the writing table.  They are nowhere near each other, but near the end of the day I found snow dough in the space sand.  I picked out the big pieces and decided the rest were stars.  See what we were doing with it below.

Space Theme Sensory Writing Center
Space Theme Sensory Writing Center

I found the cards for this activity at Homeschool Creations.  The black sand I found at a dollar store as well as the metal pan.  If you do not see black sand at your local dollar store, you can also try your craft store.  The smallest size container I see through Amazon is here.  I have also heard of people dying sand, but my experience has not been successful at this point.

Space Theme Question of the Day

Above you can see a quick phone shot of one of my questions for this space theme week.  It was interesting to see that not every kid thought they would like to live in the space station.  Maybe if I had put “visit” the answers would have been different.

Below you can find a few of the items in my shop that I used in my class for my space theme.  Please don’t laugh at the cover to my space word wall; it is the very first item I listed for sale in my shop and I no longer have an editable file because my computer crashed shortly afterwards.  I am quite disappointed that we did not have time to play my space path game and will figure out some other time to pull it out soon.

Outer Space Path Game
Outer Space Path Game
Question of the Day Space, Hibernation, Friends, Healthy Habits, Dinosaurs
Question of the Day
Space Theme Word Wall
Space Theme Word Wall

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…

Community Helpers in PreK

One of my community helper questions of the day
One of my community helper questions of the day

We start our day with our Question of the Day.  I usually have questions that go along with whatever we are studying, so this past week we have had several questions about community helpers.  I thought this one would be one that everyone would say yes to, but that was not the case.  Learn something new about my students every day.  My community helper themed questions can be found in this set.

Block area with play house on fire and firefighters on blocks
Block area with play house on fire and firefighters on blocks

To go along with our question, I had put out the play house with laminated flames stuck to it.  I also found a set that was meant for play dough play and used it instead to attach to blocks for some block area fun.  One of my students had all the fire fighter blocks balanced on the fire truck block and slid it across the carpet to put out the fire.

Writing Center Stamp and Write
Writing Center Stamp and Write

Our writing center focused on the letter M during the week.  We used the Alphabet Stamping Set with some ink pads and my alphabet stamps from Melissa & Doug.  This writing center will return in a few weeks with another letter.  I like to switch up what is in the writing center and then circle back to something familiar in a few weeks with another letter or theme.

Letter M Punch Out
Letter M Punch Out

This is a center that I did not expect to be as huge a hit as it was.  Part of the reason is probably that I found a couple of different punches that were easier for my beginning of the year PreK students to use.  No luck finding a photo of the ones I used online, but the students could line up the letter in the shape and then punch using their thumb and two fingers.  There is a similar type punch here.  I had a few try out the hand grip hole punch, but we need to work up to that one.  You can find one of the hole punch sets here.

Count and Clip Bandaids
Count and Clip Bandaids

I am discovering more about the group of students I have this year.  I had several who were interested in trying out the first set of count and clips I put out this year.  I have found that some years kids really enjoy these and other years they get ignored.  Happily this seems to be a good year for these if this past week is any indication.  Students count the bandages and then clip the clothespin to cover the correct number.  This set came from Making Learning Fun.

Construction Theme Sensory Bin
Construction Theme Sensory Bin

For our sensory bin this week I chose rocks and aquarium gravel.  I also used construction vehicles.  This makes for a loud sensory bin, but the kids loved playing with it all week.  In the past I have used rocks with sand, but since we used sand during the first week of school I wanted to give them a different experience.

After a day of play...
After a day of play…

And just to keep it real, a look at the bin after a day of play.

What are some of your favorite community helper theme centers?