This week in Preschool Co-op we studied seeds and tractors within our farm theme. The students participated in multiple hands on activities, some of which resulted in a bit of mess making. A participating mom, who aided instruction this week, said to me at one point, “I’m glad this wasn’t at my house!” (Read on and you will see why). But all the fun and learning was worth every floor sweeping, vacuuming, and extra table cleaning!
Sensory Bin- This week I added a new sensory bin and tweaked the one I introduced to the kids last week.
For the corn kernel sensory bin, my objective was to give the students items and pictures to match by subject. I added a LeapFrog Farm Fridge Magnetic Animal Set. Students worked to find the animal matches, as well as matching figurine toys with various pictures I’d kept from the week before. Included are also some farm flashcards from DK Publishing.
I introduced a second sensory bin this week in honor of studying seeds and tractors. It consists of birdseed, fruit and vegetable cards from Montessori for Everyone , some seed packets I had saved from gardening, and some small tractors. It was so exciting to see how creative the kids were while using this sensory bin. Filling the empty seed packets with seeds form the bin, then dumping them into the tractors was a highlight.
Pretend Play-Students continued to use the barnyard toy set to explore our learning concepts.
Farm Themed Books
We read the following books this week:Fantastic Farm Machines by Chris Peterson A Day in the Life of a Farmer by Heather Adamson From Kernel to Corncob by Scholastic News Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig and Marc Brown Farm Animals: Fun Facts and Stuff to Do by Tiger Tales
Sensory Bins-Sensory bins are an excellent hands-on way for students to explore new concepts they are learning. Having two bins meant that the children could choose where to play and had a greater amount of time for sensory play and the children used this play time to experiment with the materials and do a little more pretend playing. Two students, in particular, played out gathering seeds, readying the tractors, planting and harvesting.
Fruit and Vegetable and Seed Collage-I had saved my Burpee seed catalog I’d received this spring in anticipation for this farm unit. I cut out as many pictures as I could and set them out on the preschool table for the children to see. The students selected their favorite pictures (foods) to add to their collage. Finally, the students added seeds to complete their collage.
Note: I strong recommend using a seed catalog for collage pictures. They are inexpensive (usually free), and also host a large array of fruit and vegetable varieties. This provided plenty opportunities for discussion of specialty color varieties, since carrots can actually be red or yellow in addition to orange, potatoes can be blue, and new varieties of beans can be purple.
Seed Examination-I had some seeds left over from gardening this spring, so I placed them in clear baggies with their packet. During discussion, the students were able to handle the baggies and examine the seed characteristics with a magnifying glass. I heard the children mention that some were shaped like a ball, or rock, while some were long and pointy. It was an excellent way to expand their description vocabularies.
Phonemic Awareness: Counting Words–Students learned how to identify and word and a sentence. A sentence is a group of words that tells us about something. I demonstrated by clapping for each word in a sentence, then invited the students to join in. The sentences were simple, like Raise your hand, or Close your eyes. Finally, we counted the number of claps to determine the number of words in the sentence.
Phonics: Letter Ss–Students learned to identify the letter Ss and it’s sound. I printed and laminated several color photos beginning with the /s/ sound. Examples: sun, slide, snow, sandwich, snake, seal, swing and spaghetti. Students practiced saying each picture name, emphasizing the /s/ sound. I also showed a picture of a bus, and explained that the /s/ sound can be found at the beginning of a word and at the end. Students practiced listening to the sound location in various words.
Students also put together a letter puzzle I’d made. Click on Letter Ss Puzzle Template to make your own. I simply printed out the letter S on heavy cardstock and glued on wallet sized /s/ photos (the same photos from phonics, just smaller). Laminate and cut out. Note: for a simpler version, print two copies of the letter s, one for the puzzle and an additional one for a template mat for the students to follow.
One to One Correspondence–We sang Five White and Fluffy Sheep from Miss Courtney Meets Bobo to practice one to one correspondence. The students loved this song and it was such a great way to teach one to one correspondence!
Graphing…and Sorting-Students sorted the fruit and vegetable cards from Montessori for Everyone by color. Actually, we did this activity twice, because after our first attempt I realized I could have made the activity so much better, so we completed the revised version later in the week. I placed foam cards on the wood floor in rainbow order. Then, I gave each student a card and asked for the color of the fruit and vegetable and where the matching foam color is. We lined stacked the cards in a row above the foam pieces, thus making a giant graph. Then, we discussed how healthy foods come in many different colors and how good eaters choose a variety of colors of foods to eat. Finally, the students practiced more one to one correspondence by counting how many cards fell into the different color categories.
Sorting-As a class we also discussed how not only are seeds for planting and growing new plants, but some seeds can also be eaten. I gave each student a plate of pumpkin, watermelon, and sunflower seeds and explained that we were farmers, but our seeds got all mixed up and needed to be sorted so we can plant our fields. This pretend play piece was encouraging to the students. Once the seeds were separated and some glued onto labeled papers, the students got a second helping for snacks, along with peanut butter and a stick of celery to use as a wand to pick up the seeds.
Measurement-Students reviewed measurement skills by sequencing tractors by size and length.
Students practices fine motor skills by beading pasta onto pipe cleaner and threading nuts and bolts.
Coming Next Week:
- Autumn Theme
- Blending syllables
- Letter Rr
- Creative one to one correspondence
- Graphing activities
- Theme based puppets