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

Pet Theme Lesson Plan in PreK

PetThemeCenters

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

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

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

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

PetThemeCenters2

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

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

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

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

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

PetWritingCenter

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

CreationCenters

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

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

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

Day one of our Creation book

Day three of our Creation book

Day six of our Creation book

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

Pet Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

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

 

 

Family Theme and Letter P in Prek

HouseinBlockArea

Family theme week in PreK seemed like a great week to get out the play house I purchased at Lidl, along with the furniture and people.  This was out in the block area all week long with a variety of students playing with it.

During our family theme we also found time to work on our letter focus of letter P as well as our Bible lesson of Creation.  You will see how we managed this with both my lesson plan that I will include at the end of the post, along with some photos of my centers and sharing our crafts, books, poems, and songs.

FamilyLiteracyFIneMotor

Our math and fine motor center also had some literacy activities on it this week.  We used the jumbo cubes again this week to review the letter sounds we have been working on as well as adding this week’s letter.  I cut out and laminated the letters and pictures and then taped them to the cubes with clear packing tape.  For this time I made the game self checking with the same color being for the same letter.  Later in the year I may switch it up and mix up the colors.  You can find this alphabet letter sound activity to use with jumbo cubes in my TPT shop.

We also used the family counters along with some houses to play a math game with my assistant on Monday and then made it available to play as an independent center for the rest of the week.  Students picked a house, rolled the die, and put that many matching color family members in the correct house.  I just printed a gray scale house clip art that I liked on colored paper to match the colors of the family counters.

Below are affiliate links to items needed to set up these centers:

PizzaFeltBoard

To go along with letter P, we had a pizza felt board.  The students made some awesome and creative pizzas.  We also read Pete’s a Pizza (which I will link to below with the other books) and sang the Silly Pizza song during circle time.

LetterStampingPlaydoughFaces

This is the first time we have gotten out the letter stamps, so I spent some time showing students how to find the letter they needed by singing the alphabet song while pointing to each letter.  Some students also needed to be shown how to put the letter stamp into the ink to use it.  As teachers we sometimes forget that this may be the first time students are using these tools.  Some students also avoid new centers because they have not used the tools before, so we try to make sure there is time in each day to invite a few children to new centers to show them how they work.

The Alphabet Stamping pages can be found in my TPT shop.  They are also part of my alphabet bundle.

We used play dough mats from Sparklebox this week to build faces.  I like that this set has a wide variety of faces to choose from.  I put different ones out each day, with the entire set available to switch choices if students want to do so.

CreationActivities

Our Bible focus this week was God Created Our World from Cross Connections for Early Learners.  We also had our sensory bin be a creation bin that will continue into next week.  I added black and white beans for the first day for Day and Night.  On the second day I added some blue streamers and cotton balls.  For the third day I added some plants and ground.  For the fourth day I added some stars.  Next week we will add things God created on the fifth and sixth days.

Our main craft for the week was working on a Creation Book that each child will take home at the end of next week.  I found the words on this blog.  Next week I will share all the pages of the finished books with you.

GroomerPretendPlay

Since pets are part of our family and we will be studying pets the next week, I decided to make our dramatic play area a Groomer.  Sometimes I do a combined Vet and Groomer or Groomer and Pet Store, but I decided to go simple this time since it is still the first month of school and it will make for easier clean up for my students.  I do not want to overwhelm them with too many pieces and parts and then get frustrated when they have messes that are too overwhelming for them to handle cleaning up.

The printables for the Groomer come from Pocket of Preschool’s Vet Clinic set.  If I were going to keep the center for more than two weeks, I would definitely keep adding to it each week for interest.  I may add in some pretend cages and a feeding area next week.

We used many books this week that related to families as well as the letter P.  With a new student being added this week we also read our class books both before and after adding our new student’s pages to help the student learn classmates names as well as classmates learning the new name.

Below are affiliate links to the books we used:

We also learned another song from Signing Time! called “Mom has a Mom.”

For more information about my lesson plans for Family week, please download my complete lesson plan below.  Be sure that you have the most recent Adobe Acrobat Reader installed and use CTRL-click to follow links to where all activities and books can be found:

Family Theme in PreK

You can also find the editable lesson plan form in my TPT shop.

Lesson Plan Form for PreK and Preschool

 

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

 

 

 

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 Art, Books and Songs

PetPainting1

During Pets week my PreK students did two different types of painting.  They painted a dog after reading Dog’s Colorful Day and they painted a cat with yarn.

I found the Spot printable on A Special Kind of Class’s blog.  I put out paint with q-tips and let the students fill in the spots as they wanted to after I gave the instructions to make him look like the dog in the book.  Some students carefully used each color, some chose a couple colors, and some stopped towards the end and wanted help to figure out which color they had forgotten.

This was set up as a center activity.  It was popular so I only had to ask a few students if they had a chance to do it yet to get everyone to have a turn.  I do not make my students complete every center, but occasionally I want everyone to complete something so I can get some assessment information.

SpotPainting

For our cat themed art I cut strips of yarn to dip in black, brown or orange paint.  I used clothespins for the students to hold onto so they would not get quite such a mess of paint on their hands while working.  Students put the yarn in the paint and then dragged it around on their cats.  I suggest not cutting out the cats until they are dry; otherwise the cats will curl quite a bit while the paint dries.

CatPainting

My bulletin board background is a dollar store shower curtain with dogs and fire hydrants.  Very light weight and easy to put up by yourself.

Books used during pets week include the following (all Amazon Affiliate links, which means I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.)  Note that the final book must be out of print as it is rather pricey; I got a copy quite a few years ago for my own kids and still have it:

 

We also had to have at least one great pet song from Signing Time, which is called “The Pets I Love.”  We learned the signs and sang along.

 

Pets I Love from Baby Sign Language on Vimeo.

Any favorites I missed?

Family Theme in PreK

QuestionsAndLetterWork

For our Family theme in my PreK classroom we also focused on the letter F.  Our questions of the day related to family and our letter F.  You can find the family related questions in this Question of the Day set.  The letters in your name questions are a freebie in my shop.  I printed mine on colored paper for more interest.

I did find that my students who were a brother had a hard time not counting themselves when deciding how many brothers they had.  I do have brothers in my classroom so we did some counting to figure it out, but it is a concept we are still learning.

The cards for the letter F are part of my Alphabet Bundle.  I use them during circle time to talk about things that start with a particular letter, to sort between a letter we have already worked on and a new letter, during our small group writing and drawing time, as well as in creating our letter books.

EaselIdeas

One of my goals for the last couple of years on and off was to make sure I have some new ideas for my easel so that there are different kinds of opportunities to work on a vertical surface.  This week I found a great set of family cards from Fantastic Fun and Learning that I could laminate and add magnets to for one side of the board.  This was played with often during the week, which is great since sometimes that side of the board gets forgotten since you cannot see if from most of the room so kids forget to look at it except when they are lined up for leaving the room.

The other side we used with dry erase markers and practicing creating pictures with circles.  You can find the free printable here.

FamilySorters

Since my students discovered the family sorters late in the week, I kept them out this week, but made the houses stand up and found some new sorting mats.  Students discovered new ways to sort the people and pets throughout the week.

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HousesCreationBin

For my family theme in PreK I printed some photos of houses in the area from the real estate website so that students could choose one they might be familiar with and build it.

Our Bible lesson for two weeks is about God creating people and the world, so my sensory bin is a creation bin, with something added each day based upon the days of creation.  We use Cross Connections for Early Learners in our school for our Bible curriculum.

Day One:  white and black beans to represent day and night

Day Two:  cotton rounds or cotton balls for water in the sky and blue foam shapes to represent water below

Day Three:  trees and green hill to represent plant life

Day Four:  star shaped ice cubes for sun, moon, and stars

Day Five:  fish and birds

Day Six:  animals and people

ScienceMagnets

Science this week involved magnets, so there was a lot of fine motor practice.  The gumball magnet counting game is from Lakeshore.  I discovered the Melissa & Doug picture maker on clearance at a craft store one summer.  I am thinking by the price at Amazon that it may be discontinued so I would suggest watching for it at yard sales both online and off.

PatternBlocksandPlayDough

We worked on letter T and F for our pattern blocks as well as doing fish and train patterns.

Play dough is out nearly every week, especially at the beginning of the year.  This week we had face mats out from Sparklebox.  I put out different faces each day during the week.

PoemCalendarPhotoLayout

As part of my circle time, we have a poem or song every week.  To go along with letter F, we had Little Miss Muffet.

As you can see from the calendar it was a big week for birthdays in my classroom as well.  Lots of birthday crowns….

To go along with our family theme we sang a couple songs and learned some of the ASL signs to go with them.  These are In A House and Mom Has a Mom, both from Signing Time!

VetDramaticPlay

We changed our doctor to a veterinarian this week, complete with several pets.  I like to use the labels from Pocket of Preschool and many of the printables as well for this center.

VetDramaticPlay2

My daughter was kind enough to share many of her old stuffed animals for our pretend play.

WritingCenterPhotoLayout

My students are really enjoying the writing center so far this year.  We have our names to practice again this week, along with letter F and T.  In addition, I added family words and paper from Pocket of Preschool.  I had one student who practiced writing nearly every other students’ name during the week, giving them to the students as presents.

I would love to hear about your favorite family theme activities in your classroom.

 

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.

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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.