This is the second of the follow-up posts about how to write preschool lesson plans for an entire year. You can read my original post here. Due to the interest and encouragement of my readers, I have decided to expand and elaborate on each step in a four post series. Today we are looking at how to teach reading and math in preschool.
As I stated yesterday, “these lesson plans do not reflect detailed and scripted daily plans that specify what is to be taught each minute of your teaching time. Instead, these lesson plans reflect an outline of skills and concepts you hope to teach throughout the school year. In educational terms they are known as a scope and sequence. This kind of planning helps you identify what skills and concepts you would like to teach during the year, as well as the sequencing and order of how you would like to introduce them. Many skills are incremental, with one skill or concept will building upon another, so it is only appropriate that your lesson plans reflect a specific order. As you will find as you follow these posts, this does not mean that these lesson plans are not flexible. In fact, they are very flexible and can be tweaked or completely discarded as your students or children demonstrate that necessity.”
The following are links to the posts in this series:
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Now that you have created a calendar for the school year, using the tips and information from yesterday’s post, you are ready to consider how you plan on teaching reading and math. There are a couple of different approaches you can take, which I will cover, as well have explain how I, personally, go about teaching reading and math.
State/Common Core Standards Based Or “Mom” Standards Based
I discussed this idea when I posted about how to select learning materials for a preschool co-op. Most states have some sort of preschool standards from which you can use as guidance for the skills you’d like to cover throughout the school year. Unlike elementary and secondary state standards, these early childhood standards tend to focus more on social, emotional, and physical development. Any academic skills cited are typically vague.
The second approach is to create a set of “mom’ based standards that reflect what you personally believe your child or group of students should be learning. You might find yourself gleaning from state or common core standards, as well as incorporating several skills and concepts that you believe are appropriate for your child.
Either approach is fine. It is a matter of personal preference. The important thing is to have a set of goals appropriate for your child that you are choosing to follow (and possibly tweak as need dictates) for the year.
So, how will you teach reading?
As I mentioned in my original post, I have adapted a research-based kindergarten curriculum (Storytown) to fit the needs of my students in literacy. It is heavily modified from its commercial version. My reading curriculum includes oral language development, phonological and phonemic awareness, and listening comprehension, and well as weekly letter identification and sound practice, and lots and lots of picture book reading. The skills introduced are incremental, and therefore are taught in a specific sequence. I seldom deviate from these plans because of that sequencing. Accompanying these plans, however, are several play-based and hands-on literacy activities to serve as reinforcement to support the direct instruction. These ideas I typically glean from Pinterest.
Update on Preschool Literacy Lesson Plans
*** Because of reader interest, I now sell my preschool literacy lesson plans! You can purchase each component individually, or you can purchase them as a bundle for a discounted price! They can also be purchased from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.***
Two of my all-time favorite books about teaching reading to preschoolers are More Than Letters: Literacy Activities for Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade by Sally MooMaw. This is an excellent book about how to make preschool reading instruction play-based. It includes countless activities that support learning the letters and sounds.
My next favorite book is about the research side of preschool reading instruction. It is called Achieving Excellence in Preschool Literacy Instruction (Solving Problems in Teaching of Literacy). While it does not offer actual activities, it does discuss what recent research tells us about teaching literacy in preschool and it follows several successful preschool teachers in their instruction. This is a book I have read several times.
Now, what about math?
There are five disciplines of math (number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis), and I spiral through each discipline focusing on one discipline each week, (with the exception of data analysis for my 3-4′s class, which I don’t introduce until the second half of the year). So, that means that week one I focus on number sense skills, week two algebra skills, week three geometry, and so on. Then, we loop through those disciplines again and again until the end of the school year. Now, this does not mean that only that discipline is taught during that week. It is only the focus of my math instruction.
Update on Preschool Math Lesson Plans
*** Because of reader interest, I now sell my preschool math lesson plans! These are not the thematic lessons I mention above, but these are complete lesson plans that include everything you need to teach preschool math for an entire year. You can purchase each unit individually (there are nine of them), or you can purchase them as a bundle for a discounted price! They can also be purchased from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.***
I teach the same focus concept for the entire week (both days of preschool), and we typically even do the exact same activities on the second day of preschool as the first. It has been my experience that preschoolers enjoy the repeating activities on the second day of instruction because it allows them to continue to develop mastery, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
This works well for me, too, because I only have to think up one activity per week, and also because my preschool program is only two days a week. I do this for the entire year. One new activity a week means I only have to think up and generate a total of 36 activities, instead of 72. It is fast and simple and allows me more time to spend with my own family instead of prepping for preschool.
When possible, I like to keep math activities theme related. But, these activities, while listed out and “planned” for, are not set in stone. I allow myself the freedom to make changes or ignore them if I think of something better, or if my students request more time with a specific concept or activity.
Once these activities have been introduced, I keep them out and available to my students to refer to during math center time so that my students have even more time to practice and reinforce specific skills. At any one time, I typically have three to four activities set out. It works well as most of my math instruction is play-based and hands-on. And, of course, by having these activities available as centers, students can make their own choices about what activities they would like to do.
***For my math instruction and sequencing, I rely heavily on Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood by Sally MooMaw. It is a fantastic book about how to teach early mathematics fundamentals in a play-based manner, and has tons and tons of examples/activities that are easy to make. In the back of the book are two scope and sequences of skills for parents and educators to follow, so you know when specific skills are appropriate to teach and it also demonstrates how those skill activities build upon one another. I love this book!
Get your copy of my scope and sequence
As I stated, I used the book Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood by Sally MooMaw as a guideline for this scope and sequence. Click the giant red download button to get your copy of my year long lesson planning template.
Or, check out these templates and create your own
Each template in the following file is slightly different and which one you choose to use is dependent upon how much detail you want filled in for you.
There are two levels, 3-4’s and 4-5’s class templates. And there are two versions of each template. One version is a template of math content to cover at it’s most basic form, and the second version offers topics within each math discipline to cover. Click the big red button to get your copy of the templates.
At this point, you will only be filling out part of the template, and you may find that you’d rather wait to fill it out. First, decide if you’d like your math activities to be theme related. If you do want them to be theme related, then wait, and just fill out what concept you’d like to focus on under each weekly discipline.
If you prefer not to have your math instruction be theme related (believe me, it can be exhausting and require a ton of extra planning and preparation), then you can begin filling out the template. Let’s look at the Math Scope and Sequence 3-4’s as an example.
For week one, the discipline is number sense and the concept is counting. So, you might write in a quick counting activity such as Apple Drop Counting, It’s a Zoo, or Dot Counting Cards, or you can do something even more basic like rolling a die and pushing the corresponding amount of buttons into play dough. Choose or make up a counting activity, and write it down.
The discipline for week two is algebra, and the concept is sorting. What kids of sorting activities would your child or preschool students enjoy? Consider any one of these activities.
Continue writing up activities until the template is full. If you want to plan your math instruction so that it aligns with a theme you are also teaching, that is great.