Teddy Bears is our theme for our first three days of school. Along with Teddy Bears, we also spend time assessing and working on skills that will be used throughout the year, including cutting, dot markers, qtip painting, liquid watercolor painting, and various name related activities.
Teddy Bear Math and Literacy Centers
For our first week I use several items from my Rainbow Bears Centers. In the math area of my classroom I use a large path game with a pocket die and large bears for game pieces. I also found a spinner game for bears to match colors. These games are simple for the beginning of the year and allow me to get an idea whether students know colors and beginning counting skills as well as turn taking.
You can find bears and dice here (affiliate links):
Small magnadoodle boards and a set of teddy bear alphabet cards are a great beginning literacy and writing center. These are in my Rainbow Bears Centers. I found the small magnadoodle boards at the local dollar store.
Teddy Bear Question of the Day and Fine Motor Work
For our Open House as well as the first week of school we had teddy bear themed questions. Most students are used to finding their name card and putting it on a pocket chart to say they were at school from last year. This year we add to this skill in PreK and have them find the name card and place it under the answer they choose for the question of the day.
This year it seems that I have several students fascinated with scissors, so I am glad that I put out my Teddy Bear cutting practice. I always put out envelopes for students to put their cut pieces in to take home. Envelopes that come with bills can be saved for this purpose. I have one lefty this year for sure. Please make sure your classroom has actual left-handed scissors for your students who may be left handed. Those ambidextrous scissor really do not work well for beginning cutters who are left handed. The top blade blocks the view of the where they are cutting.
New Pet For Our Classroom
I have kept a betta fish for many years in my classroom. It was time for a new fish this year. If you take good care of your betta fish they will live up to three years or more. I choose fish with at least some white on them because I have discovered that the colors spread over time if you take good care of them. I once had a fish that was white with some black and blue. He eventually turned completely blue with the black starting to spread.
Teddy Bear Circle Time
Next week we will start our Rhyme of the Week officially. This week we use There Were Ten in the Bed as our rhyme because the pocket chart I have uses teddy bears. Velcro is added to the bears to be able to take them in and out of the bed as we read or sing the poem. I also found two different books with the song to share, each of which ended differently. The first book is probably one of my own grown up children’s book and the I found the second one at a thrift store this summer.
The links below are affiliate links, which means I get a few pennies for directing you to the books if you purchase them. I mostly do this so you can see the photos of the book covers without breaking any copyrights and to allow you to get more information about the books.
Every Week Circle Time Activities
Another important part of our circle time is our calendar. I use a different set of calendar numbers each month, with different patterns each month. Calendar sets can be found in my MBT and TPT shops. We learn not only time words with calendar. Students also learn counting, that we start at the left side of each line on a calendar just like in reading, and patterning. I have one calendar helper each week who points at the calendar and calls upon a helper to answer each question about the calendar. This ends up meaning that five students are actively being a part of the calendar time each day, instead of just the calendar helper.
Since I teach in a Christian school one of the most important parts of our circle time is our Bible Story time. We use Cross Connections for Early Learners in our classroom. You can find some samples to try on their website, including the one we begin with God’s Special Book.
Teddy Bears Fit Right in at the Dog Groomer
Students can bring a teddy bear on the first day of school. Many of the bears spend time in the Dog Groomer pretend play getting brushed, a bath, or a nail trim. The Dog Groomer printables come from Pocket of Preschool’s Vet Dramatic Play. For the beginning of the year I like to simplify pretend play so I do not add the vet stuff at first. After a couple short weeks of grooming we will add in the vet care items to expand the play.
Name Practice During Teddy Bear Week
Jumbo Cubes Center has all the correct sized printables to make a great name building center for the beginning of the year. Each child gets cubes of one color to search for the letters of their name. Once students have practiced this at least a couple times with a teacher, the center can be more independent. We keep a color coded class list with the center so students (and the teachers) can see which color cubes to search for the letters needed to build a name. More advanced children can try building a friend’s name.
Jumbo cubes are here (affiliate link):
Last year was the first time I made name bottles with my students. I got the idea from this post. Ingredients needed for this project include: letter beads, a small bottle or tube, and some dyed rice. I let my students choose what colors to put in and alternated between putting in a bead or two and then adding a few spoonfuls of rice. It is easier to find the letters if the bottles are not all the way full.
Library Center for Teddy Bear Theme
Library books change with theme throughout the year. My method is to leave some of the books from the week before out and add new books to the top section of the book shelf each week. This way students will be able to look at books we read aloud the week before while also having new books that go with the current theme. The bottom shelf always contains our Bible story books. A few of the books on the shelf are rainforest theme books since that is the classroom theme for the year.
I put up new birthday bags this year for my birthday display. I don’t know what was wrong with the blue sticky tack we used last year, but the bags fell down constantly and ended up getting in rough shape so it was time to refresh. A colleague also shared some of the white sticky stuff and I am trying that instead this year. Will let you know how it goes.
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