I can’t believe it is already November, and with the beginning of a new month is also the beginning of a new theme: friendship. I thought doing a friendship theme would be appropriate with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. And to be perfectly honest, I am hoping that this theme will help some of our students get along a little better, so I’m loading this theme with lots of friendship building activities that encourage sharing, taking turns and helping.
Friendship Baggies – Students decorated brown lunch bags by coloring and by adding stickers of interest. These bags will be where students receive notes from friends. Each day of the unit, students will make a card for a specified friend in preschool, and dictate a nice letter to them, leaving the note in their baggie.
Friendship Crowns – We read a book called The Spiffiest Giant in Town which is a funny book about a giant who gives away all his nice clothing to help his animal friends. At the end of the book, the giant no longer has any spiffy clothing and is left wearing a ragged, scruffy gown. His animal friends return to say thank you and give the giant a crown for all his help. So, we made crowns in preschool, too.
Students decorated their crows with sparkly sequins and glitter paint. Then, as a class, we named things each student does that is friendly, and wrote those qualities on the crown. Now each student has a spiffy crown like George the Giant.
Friendship Themed Books
Being the first week of our new unit, much of our discussion was based around some favorite books we read.The Spiffiest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their friends? by Jane Yolen Otis and the Tornado by Loren Long That’s What Friends Are For by Valeri Gorbachev
Phonemic Awareness:Review All Previous Skills – This week no new skill was introduced, but instead I reviewed with the students all the phonemic awareness skills I have previously introduced. We identified words in sentences, counted words in sentences, divided words into syllables and practiced putting syllables back together to make words.
Phonics: Letters Mm, Ss, Tt, Rr, Nn, and Pp Review – Students reviewed previously introduced letters by doing a letter/initial sound sort. This is one of my favorite activities because it is an easy and quick way to informally assess a student’s knowledge of letter sounds and if they can differentiate various initial sounds to match with the appropriate letter. Below was only half of the photos the students sorted.
Students also reviewed letter names with this fun letter identification racing game. Students rolled a dice with lower case letters on it and had to match that lower case letter with it’s upper case letter on the game board. The first letter to reach the top of the board wins! While I made this game by hand with strips of one inch wide construction paper, a reader has been kind enough to make this game into a PDF file for me: Letter Race. You can find more of her printables in her TPT store.
Our last game was a traditional game of Blackout…letter identification style. I rolled one dice at a time (one dice had upper case letters, the other lower case) and students used round counters to blackout the matching letter. I made sure that not every game board had every letter, and some game boards had multiples of the same letters. This challenged the students by encouraging them to look extra hard for the matching letter.
One to One Correspondence – A participating mom made this fun math game for the kiddies to practice one to one correspondence. Simply roll the dice and move your frog. For the most success with preschoolers, give each student their own game board and do each roll of the dice together. Most preschoolers get bored waiting for their turn, and multiple players on one board can get very confusing.
Shape Study – Students explored shapes by playing with pattern blocks. I first allowed students to simply play with the pattern blocks, making their own designs. Soon enough, students began asking for patterns to follow. I gave each pair of students one pattern sheet to complete together, encouraging students to help each other and work together as friends do.
Friendly Notes – Students drew pictures and made cards for specified preschool friends in the class. Then I recorded their friendly notes as students dictated them to me. The notes were placed in the friendship baggies and students read their cards before going home.
Students also got a fair amount of fine motor practice in by exploring the pattern shapes. it takes quite a bit of dexterity to keep all the pieces in place and not bumping them when adding new pieces. I’ve seen some teachers place contact paper sticky side up to prevent the pieces from moving.
Coming Next Week
- identifying rhyming words
- letter Cc
- friendship games