We are now two week into our new theme, Autumn! Everyday the students are excited to share new things they are noticing outside that relate to our new unit as the mornings become crisp and the leaves change colors and twirl to the ground.
Sensory Bin – The sensory bin from last week continued to be a big hit with the students. I didn’t add or change the sensory bin in any way, so if you missed last week’s post, check out Preschool Co-op Week 4 to read more about our autumn themes sensory bin.
Autumn Colors – We stepped outside for part of the day to find autumn colors in the yard. I gave each student a set of paint samples in brown, red, purple, orange, and yellow and challenged the students to find nature in each of those colors.
Salt Dough Leaf Prints – I wanted an additional way to show students the shapes and veins in leaves, so we did leaf prints in salt dough. I colored salt dough red and yellow and the students kneaded the two colors together. (They also made animals and rolled the dough into snakes). We rolled the dough into 1/4 inch thickness and then rolled out leaves on top, making an impression when lifted. We baked the dough and the children were able to take home their impressions. Note: This idea came from the Nurture Store, but she used home made play dough and the impressions turned out nicer than ours, probably because play dough is more malleable than salt dough.
Autumn Themed Books
This week we read the following books:Let it Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber
Leaf Examination – Students used magnifying glasses to examine various leaves I’d collect form around the neighborhood. Specifically, we shared what they felt like and what they smelled like (one students said cinnamon and sugar). The students traced the veins of the leaves with their fingers as I told them the purpose of veins.
Leaf Color Wheel – I found this amazing photo of a color wheel made from maple leaves on wikipedia.org and thought I’d give that a try.
Turns out, it is very difficult to collect such precise color gradation as shown in the picture. Instead, we ordered the leaves we did have from greenest to reddest. Sorry I don’t have a picture. 🙁
Phonemic Awareness Skills: Blending Syllables – We continued to practice the same skill from last week. Students learned how to blend syllables into words. Some words can be divided into parts (syllables), and students practiced putting those parts together to make a word. The dialogue sounded like this:Me: Listen to the word: tiger. I hear two parts in the word tiger. I hear ti-ger. (I open up my right, then left hands/arms for each syllable to show the two parts). If I smoosh them together, the word is tiger. (Then I clap).
The dialogue continues with other practice words.Me: How about the word cup-cake? (Showing opening hands/arms for each syllable). Students: (clap) Cupcake!
Phonics: Letters Mm, Ss, and Rr Review – Students reviewed the previous letters by identifying the name and beginning sound of each photo (from previous weeks). After that students sorted all the photos by their initial sound and matched them with the appropriate letter. Our dialogue sounded like this:Me: What is the name of this card? Student(s): Raccoon. Me: What sound do you hear at the beginning of /r/ raccoon? Student(s): /r/ Me: What letter says /r/? Student(s): R
I also introduced a beginning spelling activity where I told students I wanted to write the names of each photo but I needed help with the first letter. It went like this:Me: I need some help writing the names of these photos. I want to write the word sun. What sound do you hear at the beginning of sun? Student(s): /s/ Me: I hear /s/ too! What letter says /s/? (Then I gave the options m, r, and s). Student(s): S Then I wrote the letter s under the card while saying its sound. Then I wrote the rest of the word and read it to the students.
Our last review activity was the game Bang. Students give the name and/or sound of the letter flashed in from of them. If students give the correct answer, they get to keep the card. If not, the card gets returned to the pile. When a Bang card if flashed the students looses all his/her cards. When the game was completed, students sorted the cards into letter piles.
One to One Correspondence – We sang Five Little Ducks from Everything Preschool to practice one to one correspondence. A participating mom printed off ten clip art ducks from online, colored and laminated them. We practiced one to one correspondence by singing the song counting down from ten instead of five.
Patterns – Using items form our sensory bin, the students practiced making and reading patterns. At this point, the students are still gaining mastery in AB patterns, but soon we’ll move on to ABC patterns.
Shapes – After reading the book Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber, students matched real leaves with familiar shapes, like ovals, hearts, and stars.
Foam Leaf Garland – Students practiced fine motor skills by weaving yarn through foam leaves to make a decorative garland. I used decorative scissors to cut basic leaf shapes, and then used a “sewing hole punch” (I don’t actually know what the tool is called) to punch out four holes per leaf. Because I didn’t have time to get blunt plastic needles from the craft store, I just taped one end of the yard to make it stiff enough to thread through the holes and keep from fraying.
Salt Dough Leaf Prints – While this is also a thematic activity, it is also a great fine motor activity. I gave each student a lump of red dough and yellow dough. Students had the work the colors together themselves, thus strengthening the muscles in not only their hands but also their arms and core.
Coming Next Week
- syllable segmentation
- letter Tt
- examining new signs of autumn
- discovery boxes
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction