Thursday, July 17, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: Time to Do a Kindergarten Prep Theme

It's that time of year! It is time to prepare our students in a year round 4K preschool programs for kindergarten.

They will be experiencing so many new things in a few short weeks, and it is our job to prepare them. They will be in a new class, with new kids, a new teacher, and a new way of doing things.

So that being said, you can take a few weeks and use a theme to prepare them. I have used a Kindergarten unit with my classes several times and I know how it made them more comfortable. I am just going to go through some elements that I like to throw in there.

I like to, of course, schedule a trip to a Kindergarten class or have a Kindergarten teacher come visit. This helps them get settled even if it isn't their teacher.

I would do a calendar activity where we counted down until Kindergarten. I gave each child a calendar page print out to hang in their cubby. Everyday at the end of circle time they got a graduation cap sticker and marked of a day. this helped them better predict how much time was left.

I have a bunch of books about Kindergarten, my favorite being Ms. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. I would read this book in circle time a lot, and created an activity to go with it.

I would have a child's backpack and a teacher's bag, and I would have a bunch of stuff that a child or Ms Bindergarten would use to get ready for school- i.e toothbrushes crayons markers, ABC strips. And had each child pick one and decide which bag it belonged to. We would pack the bags.

I also had a activity called a "bubble race" in which I taught good hand washing skills. This was important for healthy hygiene in kindergarten because the teachers might not be able to help as much as we did. The idea was to do every step correctly 3 days in a row. When they did they got a bubble race award I made up on the computer.

That's just a few ideas from my arsenal, but if you have some of your own leave them in the comments section.

The main idea is just prepare these beautiful kids for the adventure they are beginning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Preschool Lesson plans at home

Last year I tried to do a co-op preschool with friends that didn't work out. But now I am going to try to do it with my daughter at home.
Right now we are talking about bugs because she is fascinated, and along with that the letter B.

We do calendar time, weather,, and now we do a form of circle time (My daughter initiated it). Yesterday we had 2 stuffed monkeys, and 3 baby dolls in circle with us. She really is enjoying it!

I thought I would post a few ideas about creating a classroom in the home and adapting preschool lesson plans for home.

  1. Find a corner in the kitchen, playroom Etc. to create a place to color, write, glue, paint, and of course learn!
  2. Don't spend a lot! I bought all my stuff for the "School" at the Dollar Tree. They have a lot of teaching materials for, of course, $1.
  3. Don't think it has to be an all day thing. It only has to be a hour or two. Then you can get back to the laundry!
Here are some pictures of how I did it-

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

File Folder Games in Preschool Lesson Plans

I have gotten busy over the last months and haven't blogged. I am going to try to keep it up this time. I have a lot of great ideas and really want to share them.

Also, if you have read my preschool co-op blog you know I TRIED to do a co-op with my friends that didn't work out. But this year, I am going to do it with just my daughter at my house. I have a corner in my kitchen set up as our "school". She really needs to be academically challenged more, and because of health issues we aren't ready to let her go to preschool yet..... So teacher- mom to the rescue!

We had our first "lesson" today. We talked about bugs, the letter B, and of course, butterflies. We colored a butterfly, and made a stamping picture of bugs.

I am just trying to get her used to the idea.

So, please join me again for this little adventure, and my many other ideas in child development and preschool lesson plans.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans:Classroom Garden

One of my favorite things about spring is starting a garden with the kids. there are so many things they learn through it. Patience, responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment are some. But cognitively, there are math skills(counting the seeds you plant), science (photosynthesis), and cause and effect (if the plant gets water sun and soil it will grow). You can do a gardening unit, and then make your garden a part of your daily routine. if you are able to grow enough, pick it and serve it. You may encourage healthy eating while you are at it!! Here is a resource for teachers about gardening in the classroom.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: Going Green

There is a lot of talk now about "going green". And if you have read my earlier post then you know I think teachers have been doing this for a long time. But why don't we really practice what whe preach. I have a few ideas about how we can "go green" in our classrooms. Here are just a few.
  • Don't use paper paint cups. Use yogurt containers with lids. That way when you are finished with the paint for the day, you don't have to waste it.
  • Use old wallpaper books for painting. Not only does it add to your project, it puts use to something that was going in the landfill anyway. Ask wallpaper stores for them. I have gotten the old ones for free, and I have had to pay a $1.00 for them.
  • Make your own play dough. If you have read the ingredients of store bought play dough, you have seen things you can't pronounce. (And it is gross,but sometimes the kids eat this stuff.) It is easy to make and you know flour is not going to hurt the environment.
  • Have a organic garden in the spring time. The kids will have a blast, and you can teach ecology at the same time.
  • This last one seems obvious but it is big. Stop using paper towels or at least cut down. Buy a pack of 20 cloth hand towels, and wash them when they are dirty.
Walking softly on the earth is something we should all do.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Preshool Lesson Plans: Centers

Do you adapt your centers for your preschool lesson plans? If you don't, you should. That is really how you really enforce the concepts. We all know children learn through play, and during play is when the most learning takes place. So, if you arrange the environment and toys to reinforce the important concepts, you will be more successful.
An example-
If you are doing apples- have trees in blocks, have a bowl of apples in home living, have apples at the water center, have apple related manipulatives. Using a computer, making an apple file folder game is easy!

Here is a WONDERFUL book on classroom design. Check it out!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Preschool LessonPlans: Teachable Moments

There is one teaching method that isn't on that preschool lesson plan form that is probably the most important. Teachable moments. A teachable moment is a moment in your day, where if you take advantage of it, can bring home the concept you are teaching.

You can think of a spilled glass of water as a mess to clean up, or a science lesson. As you and the kids clean up, you can discuss water and it's properties. They will ask questions. You can discuss that the sponge fills up with water, and you have to squeeze it out. You can study the pores of the sponge. You can discuss that natural sea sponges live in the ocean. It can go on forever. But these times are precious resource to teachers. Because in some way the kids are signaling to you that they have their ears open and they are ready to learn.

So be aware of these moments, and take advantage of them. Those are the moments in your day that you will be the most productive.

What is the Purpose of Preschool?

Tonight, I started going through what articles "bloglines" had for me. I, of course, am interested in things about preschool. I saw several people wondering about preschool, it's purpose, and any damage it can do. I am going to give my opinion.

First of all, preschool's purpose is to prepare young children for life, not school. It is supposed to help them build character, a sense of self, a inner barometer of right and wrong. Essentially, if a child were a house, preschool is the foundation. It is below the surface, but still holding up the house.

Developmentally appropriate preschool doesn't mean every child is reading before kindergarten. It means that if a child is interested in reading, and in the right developmental stage, teaching reading is great. But pushing them into it to be "prepared for kindergarten", before they are ready isn't right.
Preschool teachers (and parents, for that matter) are just feeling the pressure to prepare their kids for the dog-eat-dog world out there. But I feel the preparation we need for life is play, fun, getting messy, splashing in puddles.... Good preschool celebrates childhood, doesn't kill it.

Okay, I am stepping off the soap box now.......

Monday, January 21, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: Cooking activity!!!

I saw this recipe on Rachael Ray this morning, and immediately saw it's use in preschool lesson plans! A few posts back I talked about the value of cooking activities in the classroom. And I do think cooking is important to every domain of development. But it also important that every cooking activity not involve a desert. This recipe from Rachael Ray is perfect for snack time, and it is healthy!

Have fun!

Cool Preschool Lesson Plan Website!!!!

I found this website today-ALFY and think it is so cool! It has a feature where you can enter your individual lesson plan information and save it or print it out. The only thing I don't like about it is that you have to submit your ideas if you save your lesson plan. But it is a great idea and a good tool. Here is a link to a lesson plan I created to try it out- Lesson Plan.

Try it. I have seen others kind of like this on the net, but not to this quality. It gives you a lesson plan like I was taught to in college.

I hope it makes preschool lesson planning easier. I know teachers need all the time savers we can get!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Free Preschool Lesson Plan Ideas

A good bit of publishers of teacher resources tend to put free activities on their websites. And these are usually really good preschool lesson plan ideas. Here are a couple I use a lot.

Gryphon House

Mailbox Books

Teacher Created Materials

The ideas on Teacher Created Materials tend to be for elementary school, but it has some preschool. Look at the publishers of your favorite resource books, and many have free lesson planning ideas.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Your Classroom May Be Effecting your Preschool Lesson Plans

Is your classroom in chaos?? Are your students not behaving? Are you not getting finished with your preschool lesson plans? It may just be your classroom layout is to blame. Here are some things to think about when arranging the layout of your classroom.

  • Is there too much "stuff"? If so, this may be distracting the children. When children have too many choices they become overstimulated and the classroom becomes uncontrolled.
  • Is there too little "stuff"? If there isn't enough to occupy them they will become bored and misbehave. Also, have duplicates of favorites so there aren't as many fights.
  • Are there large spaces in the room for running? If so, rethink your layout. you can even draw it out on paper to find the best layout.
  • Are your "loud" centers too close to your "quiet" centers? You need to group "loud" centers (blocks, home living) together. And group quiet centers (reading, science, writing) together. This is so the loud center activity doesn't disturb the quiet ones.
If you have tips, please use the comment button!

Preschool Lesson Plans: 5 tips for Keeping the Preschool Classroom Tidy

when you have 20 preschoolers running around, it is really hard keeping things nice and organized. But there are a few tricks of the trade. Here are five of them.

  1. Start with an organized classroom. I know it sounds too easy, but it is true. If it starts neat it will be a lot easier to get back there later.
  2. Teach the children how to clean up. They don't come with that skill at birth. You have to teach it. And make it fun. Turn up music and have a "musical chairs" clean up race.
  3. Pair down toys and books. If you have too much stuff, it will be overwhelming to you and the children at clean up time. Just have out what you need. Only have theme books on the shelf. That way everything doesn't get mixed up together.
  4. Label every thing with picture labels- blocks shelves with pictures of the blocks, the storage container for cars with pictures of cars, and so on. You can cut out pictures out of catalogs, or go to this website and print them out.
  5. Don't have large toy bins. Toys just get lost, and it is hard to clean up. Use smaller clear storage boxes with picture labels on them.

If you have any tips be sure to leave them in the comments!!! We all can learn from each other.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: Guide from NNCC

I found a preschool lesson planning guide online from The National Network for Child Care. It really has a lot of good information. Click here to read it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cooking Up a Good Preschool Lesson Plan

Cooking and baking are so much fun and so educational! I don't know why teachers don't use cooking more in preschool lesson plans. It could be spreading icing on a cookie, making a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, or even making a salad. It adds so much.

In those simple activities what knowledge can they get from that? Well, hand-eye coordination, self help skills, and healthy eating for a start. But if you go a bit deeper, you find they would learn lots of math concepts (measuring, counting, fractions), science (one matter being changed into another by heating or cooling), or pre-literacy(reading a recipe).

So try and work a cooking activity into you lesson plans. It's worth the hassle!

Preschool Lesson Plans: Portable Circle Time Center

Here is an idea for a circle time center for home preschools, teachers with small classrooms, or who have kids who won't leave things alone. It is a portable circle time center. I came up with it as a part of a preschool co-op my friends and I started.

It is one of those presentation boards used for science fairs, and then just done like a standard bulletin board. This is also a good idea for an environmental print board, or other bulletin board in a small setting.

Preschool Lesson Plans: Springtime Science

One of my favorite ideas for spring preschool lesson planning is the caterpillar- butterfly unit. Children are fascinated. I always order butterfly larvae and allow the class to watch them grow and mature into caterpillars and then butterflies. Here is a great website to order from. I already have the habitat so I just order the refill kit. After years, I still haven't had a bad batch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Preschool Parents

In teaching preschool, the children are easy. The parents are harder. Children are open, they come in the classroom everyday ready to sock up what ever you teach.... But parents are more closed off and set in their ways. They read an article last year about infant potty training or how your child should be reading by three. Of course we know these ideas are absurd and not developmentally appropriate. But if we say that we will 1)Probably lose a child from the program, and in doing so, lose income for the center. And 2) Probably get fired. The customer is always right.

So what can we do??? We we can teach with a gentle whisper. We can post and/or send home articles, lists of books, and developmental checklists that can redirect parents in a more appropriate direction.

It is so important for parents, just as much as teachers, to have a good understanding of child development and developmental milestones. These are some developmental milestone parent education sheets you can download and print.

Enviromental Print in Preschool Lesson Plans

Well, I am big on literacy, and in turn creating strong readers. Print rich environments tend to be better at strengthening reading skills. I touched on this a bit with classroom labels. We need to put word labels on anything that will stand still. We need to have each child's name everywhere. We need to have environmental print in the classroom. Many times this is a designated bulletin board in the classroom, but it doesn't have to be. Have the children bring in labels and boxes and even pictures of print (ex. McDonald's fry package, pizza box, coupon from Chuckie Cheese). Parents can be great facilitators of this too. The more children see print, the better.

A great book on the subject would be Everyday Literacy: Environmental Print Activities For Young Children Ages 3 To 8

A Cool Site for Preschool Lesson Plan Help

I have used Preschool Printables for years. I think it is awesome and is a website that should be supported... I even used it for my Kindergarten unit I blogged about earlier. Try it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Internet in the Classroom

I have only worked in place that had internet access in the classrooms for kids. It was nice. We could work on all the different domains playing games on Nick Jr, Noggin, Disney channel and PBS Kids. I really like Nick Jr and Sesame Workshop right now. (My 2 year-old daughter likes Blues Clues, and Sesame Street right now.)

We know the children in our classes are already obsessed about these characters. The last time I went to Walmart I swear I saw a can of corn with Dora on it. So why can't we, as teachers, use that as a tool?

As an ending note let me say I am not endorsing T.V. in the classroom as a whole. But when it is about your theme (Ex. A snow episode of Blue's Clues during your snow theme.) is completely appropriate. But please don't sit your class down in front of the T.V. and watch 3 episodes in a row. That, most definitely isn't appropriate! Experts say that preschoolers shouldn't have more than a half an hour of T.V. a day.

Art in Preschool Lesson Plans

I remember in kindergarten gluing a thousand cotton balls on a paper cutout of a bunny for Easter. That activity, although I enjoyed it, wasn't very creative.

I think art lessons in preschool lesson plans shouldn't be something that the teacher does and then the kid colors it. I know why teachers do this. They want a nice finished product for parents. They know that their child didn't do that complex cut and paste job. So why don't we, as teachers focus on the process, and not the product. And teach parents the same concept- that it's the actual act of making art, not the final product, that matters.

We can work it in our themes. An example would be having paper cut into butterfly shapes and have them paint with watercolors. Stamp painting with kitchen implements, car painting, or sculpting with clay would be other suggestions. They are still the creators.

I think if we can teach our children to be creative thinkers, to think outside the box, then they will be better at so many things when they grow into adulthood.

Start Thinking Spring in Your Preschool Lesson Plans

I love spring. I love all the great ideas there are for preschool lesson plans for spring. There's spring, baby animals, flowers, Easter, the rain forest, earth day, (insects and caterpillars/ butterflies being my favorite.)

There are so many exciting things happening in the spring. And all of these things happening in nature are mesmerizing to children. Just the butterflies alone seem like a magic trick to them. So with that, you know your theme will be developmentally appropriate.

Next week I will post a full lesson plan for spring. Be sure to check back for that!

Have fun bug hunting!!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Future Preschool Teachers Lobby for Early Childhood Education in Hawaii

I have to give "props" to some early childhood students in Hawaii! They are lobbying The state legislature for improvements in teacher pay and parent costs for quality child care. I have to say today, after reading this article, I am very proud to share in the same profession as these young ladies.

Preschool Lesson Plans: Challenging Gifted Preschoolers

It is a teacher's job to understand what each child needs to be challenged in the preschool classroom and adjust the lesson plans accordingly. With some of our students, we get to our wits end because they are so much more advanced that the others. Some say "it's preschool, just move them up", but the problem with that is the child is likely not advanced socially enough to move up.

But how do we help everyone? Well we add to our classroom a few more challenging activities. During a quiet time, take that under-challenged child aside and work on adding or reading. I found something, that may help in that instance: Get Ready to Read-Letter Names
and Get Ready to Read-Letter Sounds.
For the most part, they look like good tools. I haven't used it yet but I think I might look into it for my daughter.

If you have used it feel free to let me know what you thought!

Happy Teaching!

Preschool Lesson Plans: 100 Days of preschool

Well, it's that time. It is time to celebrate the 100th day of Preschool!! How time flies! Here is a celebration that is completely developmentally appropriate. All the children are celebrating the same thing, and experience the same thing. 100 days of school. Why not add this to your preschool lesson plan? To that note, I have a suggestion for a book on the subject.

I love the "Miss Bindergarten" books, my being Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (Miss Bindergarten Books). But there is also for this theme Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten (Picture Puffins). Try and use it this month for your 100th day celebration theme. It has a lot of alphabet recognition and phonics skills written in there with names like Adam the alligator or Christopher the cat.
Happy 100th Day!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: Free Theme Ideas

I have used Perpetual Preschool for preschool lesson plan ideas for years and it is invaluable. The content is free and thats great too. Click here to visit and get some ideas.

Assessment in Preschool Lesson Planning

I spend time every week coming up with preschool lesson plans, but I don't assess if it did it's job. Assessment in the preschool classroom is important not only at teacher conference time, but also when evaluating the effectiveness of lesson plans.

We probably all use portfolios, but that just isn't enough. It is nice to pull out the folder of work samples at a conference, but can it help you modify your lesson plans to be more useful? Yes. You can go through and say "Bobby has got the hang of patterns" or "Anna hasn't gotten the hang of cutting yet". With that you can modify your lesson plans to include more advanced math concepts with Bobby, and plan more opportunities for Anna to practice cutting paper.

All classrooms need to have a system to do observations in the classroom. The methods used don't really matter, but the knowledge it gives you when you are planning is invaluable.

If you don't use a camera in documenting, you should. Parents can see you aren't just "playing" and you have more insight to better serve your students.

We are taught to assess for parent teacher conferences, but some time assessing can really help you be a better teacher.

Study: Preschool Teachers Stress Related to Expulsions

Did we really need a study to validate this statement? I think this just shows how desperate the need is for QUALITY preschools, for teachers and the kids. If you have team teaching with lower child teacher ratios and a good director as a support system, you are going to have less stressed teachers. And in turn, they can pay attention to the needs of those kids who need more.

Click here for the article from the L.A Times.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: When Parents Don't Get It

Teachers work hard to teach the children in the classroom, but they aren't the only students. Parents sometimes look at what we do and what the kids do and write it off as "play". And it is, but it is through play that kids learn. Sometimes it is our job to remind parents that.

I found something that might give you the ability to quietly and passively teach parents why we do what we do. has a lot of resources for free, some you have to be a member for, but these center signs are free. These signs explain why we play in each center. I put them on poster board, laminate them and put Velcro dots at the bottom for center management.

Time for Preschool Lesson Plans in Your Day?

YEAH RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!

If your center is like most, your planning time is during nap time minus your lunch break. That's if your lucky. Unless you have been doing this for years, preschool lesson planning isn't that easy. And even if you have been teaching 10 years, isn't that "All about me" theme boring by now? It isn't our job to give an average start to our classes, but to help them be exceptional. To do that, we have to be exceptional ourselves. But how? When you have to squeeze your lesson planning in between your lunch break and cleaning up the cots!!! I don't have an easy answer to this, I am afraid.

I wish I could. I think lesson planning is important and worth a couple hours out of your week.But with small budgets and high turnover rates how do you find the time? I think the answer is the directors and assistant directors. I know they are busy with payments , staffing and keeping costs down, but why don't they come around and give each teaching team time to plan their next week's activities? It would help them remember the struggles their staff goes through in the class room every day. They may even see what you are talking about with that unruly kid!

Math in Your Preschool Lesson Plan

When we think about our little preschool students, we don't always think they are capable of "math". But we must incorporate math into our preschool lesson plans. there are lots of things that we can do that can strengthen those pre-math skills.

One is graphing.I tend to use bar graphs because it's a lot more visual and obvious to the kids. You can graph anything- hair color, eye color, who has pets, and the list goes on. When using graphs you talk about more and less, you count how many people have on red shirts. You are expanding their knowledge of numbers and mathematical concepts.

Something else you can do is patterning. When preschoolers learn that there are patterns to things, they learn the principles behind math concepts. When they learn to predict the sequence of patterns, they learn skills that will transfer to math later.

Also, math skills can be exercised by sorting, counting of course, and recognizing sizes and shapes. Math is a skill that if nurtured early, can help a child succeed later in our life.

In our technology and science based culture, strong math skills can take them far. It's important to give children that head start.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Preschool Lesson Plans: What Does NAEYC Say?

We, as, preschool teachers work hard every day to make sure we are doing right by these little minds we are in charge of. But how do we know we are making correct decisions in our preschool lesson plans and curriculum? Well I found a position statement from NAEYC about what out lesson plans and curriculum should be.

Here is the article. I hope you find it as informative as I did.

Preschool Lesson Plans for February

February can be an easy month to create your preschool lesson plans... Unless you have families in your classroom that don't celebrate Valentine's Day. If that is the case then you have to be more creative.

Some easy preschool themes for February could be Friendship, Post Office, and at the end of February, a Dr Seuss theme(March 2 is his birthday).

Some ideas for Friendship could be Friend painting(having them at the easel together painting together), have them make a gift for a friend, and you could even have a "Friendship" party in lieu of a Valentine's party. You could exchange "Friendship" cards they make in the writing center, or pre-bought ones. You could make "Friendship cookies" as a cooking activity for the party (use a gingerbread cookie cutter and make 2 cookies hold hands). In doing these activities, you are teaching the value of friendship, cooperation and patience.

With the post office idea you can plan a trip to the post office to see how the mail gets where it needs to go,(be sure to mail something back to the kids). Something else would be to set up a post office center in your classroom with a mail slot for each child(this is easily done with shoe boxes). And when the kids go to writing they can "write" notes to each other. Be sure your writing center is set up with stickers that resemble stamps and mailing labels, envelopes, and ink stamps too. This works well with the friendship theme preceding the post office theme.

And finally with the Dr. Seuss theme. Just have a Green Eggs and Ham day with a cooking activity, have a Red Fish Blue Fish day with a fish matching activity, and so on with your favorite Dr. Seuss books. Have a birthday party for Dr. Seuss, make Cat in the Hat hats, and of course read the books!
I find that if they know more about the authors, they become more interested in literature.

Preschool Classroom Labels to Help Keep the Classroom Tidy

We know that we need to have language every where in a preschool classroom. Kid's learn by osmosis at the preschool level, and seeing written language strengthens pre-reading skills. So a great way to advance pre-reading skills, and help promote self help skills is classroom labeling.

When you label items in your classroom it helps to have the word and picture. This helps the children understand the correlation between these symbols and the spoken word.

Another great reason to label in your classroom is clean up time. When a child can put things away on their own it gives them a sense of self sufficiency and pride. Besides it makes it easier on you. If they can pick up themselves then YOU don't have to do it all.

I found a great place to help this endeavor- Environments. They have resources for teachers that you can make up on their site and print out. You do have to register for a free membership but isn't worth it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Do you use Bloom's Taxonomy?

Preschoolers experience the world in its purest form, to the delight of those who are not too busy to observe. Preschool is an opportune time to begin to apply Bloom's Taxonomy, given young children's openness and willingness to see the world in so many ways.

This article by
is a great one on the use of Bloom's Taxonomy in preschool classrooms. I wish my professor in college was that clear in her explanation......

I hope it makes you think about the Bloom's Taxonomy when creating your lesson plans.

A Great "Green" Book!

A few posts ago I talked about Green teaching. Well I found a book that would be really relevant to a "green" theme. The Link below will take you to it. It's really about OUR responsibility to the Earth and teaching that to children. I hope you think about doing a green lesson plan this Spring for Earth Day (April 22, 2008). We all need to understand our own ecological responsibility.

Easing the stress of Preschool Lesson Planning with Technology

Seven years ago, when I began teaching, there weren't many classrooms I came in contact with that had computer access for teachers let alone for the classrooms. But now, we have them every where, in the teacher workroom, in the office, and in the classroom. This world has changed, and technology can really ease the work load coming up with preschool lesson plans adds to the plate.

First of all, you can now use the computer to research and create a lesson plan, a digital camera to document your activities, and classroom computers to teach basic skills. This tools are wonderful at easing stress during your planning hour. Also, they help parents and administrators see whats going on in the classroom.

When I sit down to do a lesson plan the first thing I do is search the Internet and my private database for themes and lesson plan ideas. Before, I would have to search through my file drawers, drag out all my theme books, and spend nap time going from one to the other writing things down. Now I get on the computer, find what I need, fill it in on my planning form, print out and I am done.

When you are truly using DAP practices, there usually isn't a lot of product to show to parents and administrators (because sitting down and doing worksheets are not developmentally appropriate). But if you take pictures as you are doing the activities, and then post them in the classroom or on your class's web page, they see they are really learning important skills. This will help others respect you as a professional (which, as a preschool teacher, you may not get a lot of.
So don't shy away from technology in classroom. See how it can ease your task-filled to-do list and ease that teacher stress away!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

10 Ways to Great Days at Preschool

I just found some really great articles on the parent side of This one is especially useful with children and parents new to the routine of child care and preschool. It wouldn't be a bad idea to print it off and keep it in your resource file for future use.

10 Ways to Great Days at Preschool

Literacy-Based Preschool Lesson Plans

I really believe in literacy-based preschool lesson plans. I love books. There is nothing better than going into a bookstore and looking through the stacks. I really love going in the children's section. The books are bright and colorful and most are fun to read.

So if I love books this much why not bring this into my lesson planning? Well, I do. Some of my favorite themes have been based around a specific book. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Gingerbread Boy, and Dinosaur Roar are just a few that I have used.

You really can expand on these books to enrich your whole curriculum. An example may be for Gingerbread Boy. I made a file folder game with gingerbread shapes and numbered them. I had them match the numbers to the correct number of buttons on the gingerbread shapes. We mixed , decorated and baked a large gingerbread boy. When we went back to the oven to get him he was "gone". We then from classroom to classroom asking if they had seen our gingerbread boy. And at the last class, we found him. We had those kids convinced that he was running around to the classrooms. But then of course, we ate him. Just in that activity we worked on math skills (measuring the ingredients), cause and effect (He is gone, so he must have run away like in the story), and problem solving (how do we find him?). And I haven't even gotten to pre-reading skills.

Also, I would have an author of the month each month. It might be Dr. Seuss, Mercer Mayer, or Laura Numeroff. We would read about them and read their books. We would even "write" stories in book form in our writing center. Books and those authors who write them are great resources to lesson planning in preschool.

So the next time you are finding it hard to come up with something new for you lesson plan, go to your bookshelf and pick one out.

Let's Go to the Circus! A Great theme for January Preschool Lesson plans

This time of year it seems like every teacher I now is basing their preschool lesson plans around snow, winter and the like. I don't totally understand that, especially in the deep south where I live. It doesn't get cold enough to flurry, and forget about snow! So this kind of theme isn't really developmentally appropriate. Not to mention, after 3 or four years, it gets boring and redundant.

But every January the Circus comes to town. This is a great idea for the cold months because there is so much expansion potential. And you can do it all INSIDE. Which, even in the south, is nice in January.

Some of the things I have done for my preschool lesson plans are-
-Hang a colorful parachute (most preschools have them) in your classroom from the ceiling. Be sure to have the center a bit higher than the rest so it resembles a circus tent.
-Have a circus parade. Have all the kids dress in clown costumes and paint animal faces on them. Give them some musical instruments and you now have a parade. March around your classroom or through the halls of your center.
-Make a matching game out of clown hat shapes cut out of poster board. Color them differently so they have to match them. If you want to reuse them next year be sure to laminate them.
-I love the book,
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (Dr Seuss Green Back Book)
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (Dr Seuss Green Back Book) To use for this topic. it isn't exactly about the circus but it works. It's a lot of fun. I have done author of the month in the past, and if your circus comes in February or march it could turn into a great study of Dr. Seuss. His birthday is March 2.

You could even add some ecology or ethics to the discussion by talking about being kind to the animals, or how some animals are endangered.

There are lots of theme resources out there for a circus theme. Just go to your local library or teaching store and you will find a lot.
This is a good start. I have it and use it a lot. some of the activities will have to be adjusted for preschool kids, but is a good resource.

What is the best thing about a circus theme this time of year(at least where I live)? It is relevant to most of the class because their parents will be taking them. And if its relevant to their experiences, its developmentally and individually appropriate curriculum.

Have fun at the circus!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Going Green in Preschool

Green. That seems to be the buzz word for this generation. But preschool teachers have been "green" for the longest time and didn't even know it in many cases.

As preschool teachers in our lesson plans, we reduce, reuse, and recycle everyday. When we cut the plastic butter tops into Christmas ornaments, take that weeks worth of old newspapers and make paper mache, or make plastic soda bottles into an experiment about the ocean or the rain forest we are being "green". We have been doing it for years and never gotten credit for it. We were just stretching the meager budgets we are given to educate our children.

But what if we continued our "green" ways and taught the kids those same values? Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. In 2027, we may have solved the energy problems, fixed that hole in the ozone and ended air and water pollution. But how could a population with such small resources like teachers solve such big issues as these? Because we are leading today's biggest resource- our children. We teach them and they go out and solve the problems of the past and save this beautiful earth for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know how corny it sounds, but the children ARE our future. And if we, as teachers, not to mention, parents lead them in the right way, we can contribute to the resolution of all of our environmental issues.

My Favorite Preschool Lesson Plan

I have one favorite Preschool lesson plan. My Kindergarten unit. I began my Kindergarten lesson plan because I was working in a class of 4-5-yr-olds. It was spring and the whole class of 20 couldn't talk about anything besides kindergarten. So, as I learned from my professor, I followed their interests. We did a whole month's lesson plans with Kindergarten as the theme.

We did things like a "Countdown to preschool Graduation" with a calendar and and graduation hat stickers, we did sorting activities with things we take to Kindergarten, and we went on a field trip to see a kindergarten class. Also, we charted how many kids were going to which schools.

I have looked back many times remembering how much fun that theme was for not only the kids, but for myself and my co-teacher, as well. I wondered why that was so much more successful than other preschool lesson plans. but I think it's simple. This was completely student directed curriculum. Because of that, they learned so much more than if we had done yet another unit about the zoo or ocean life.

What Does a Quality Preschool Program Look Like?

Quality preschool programs can be defined but it takes some thinking. First of all, you need someone capable of developing strong preschool lesson plans, and implementing them. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

If you have a good teacher who is creative and intelligent, but have large class sizes, that teacher won't be able to perform the job she was hired to do. But staff is the most important indicator of a quality preschool program. If a program offers computers, and a "Spanish program" but hire non-educated people at $6.00 an hour, what does this indicate about this program? This says although they want to appear to offer a "Quality preschool curriculum", what they are offering is glorified babysitting. Why pay $200 a week for babysitting when your child can be learning and thriving in a great preschool environment.

So when you are looking for a place for your child to go to preschool, think about what they are offering you, and ask about the qualifications of those you trust with your child's preschool education. If you opt for the low cost option automatically you may short change your child's education.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Developing Appropriate Preschool Lesson Plans

Dinosaurs, bugs, and zoo animals. These are the typical preschool lesson plan themes all teachers tend to go back to every single year.

Why is that? It's simple. What are 2-5 year-olds interested in? Dinosaurs, bugs and zoo animals! I keep going back to these themes in my preschool classrooms because these are the themes that will hold the kids attention. And if they are paying attention, they are learning. In the child development classes we learn that we need to offer preschool lesson plan activities that are not only age appropriate, but also developmentally appropriate and individually appropriate. What does that mean?

Well, that means we listen. We listen to what the kids tell us. We watch what they play with and focus in on those things. So would a preschool theme about the beach be developmentally appropriate? Maybe. If you had a class who had all went to the beach on vacation, or you live near a beach the answer would be yes. But if you had children who had never seen a beach, that probably wouldn't be individually appropriate.

But all kids have seen bugs, and most have been mesmerized by them. So a fun preschool lesson plan about bugs could be the answer to a teacher's prayers. They will pay attention to you when you read the books about bugs, they will get excited about looking at ladybugs on the play ground. They will learn and remember all the things they discover about bugs. In doing all these things, they are learning new skills and information. And the best part? They are excited to be learning! Isn't that the goal of a preschool teacher? To inspire children to be learners?