Thursday, April 23, 2009

Preschool Lesson Plans: Recycling Ideas for the Classroom

I am sorry I haven't posted but my mom kidnapped my Monkey Girl for a bit so I have no one to teach. This post I really meant for yesterday, but my husband was using my laptop.

Today I want to show you how you can use everyday trash to help with projects, and organize your classroom.

This might just look like a meat tray, a muffin package, egg carton but the possibilities are endless.
Meat tray- you could use it for painting activities, craft activities like making a picture frame, or cutting out Christmas ornaments to decorate. Another thing is collages. This book is one of my favorite teacher resource books. In it the author talks about doing meat tray collages.
Just make sure they are washed well.

Egg cartons- Art projects. Example- Egg carton flowers, caterpillars, butterflies. Paint cups- use one segment for each color. Cut them in half and you get two uses out of one carton. Turn it upside down and then poke holes in the segments and you have a scissor holder that holds 12 pairs. Of course you can use it for holding small collage materials too.

Muffin Packages are great for holding collage materials or paint cups. They re close so they can store away on a shelf or in a cabinet.

So rethink throwing things away. Think about how you can turn them into great Preschool Lesson Plans.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Preschool Lesson Plans:Cheap Teaching Supplies

With the way things are with the economy right now, you probably aren't getting a lot of supply money from you center. But you still need stuff to work with in your classroom. So what's a smart teacher to do?

The Dollar Tree!

The Dollar Tree is awesome for teachers- storage, art supplies, cleaning supplies, snacks, gifts for mothers/fathers day, craft sets, everything.

Yesterday I went to the Dollar Tree and got 3 bins, 2 baskets, calendar numbers, calendar months, preschool alphabet workbook, a kids ice pack(not shown) and two card games.

If you have ever went to a teachers supply store you know the calendar stuff is expensive!!! I spent $11 plus tax for it all!!!

And a great thing is you can buy in bulk online! Great for centers!

Preschool Lesson Plans: "Green" Play Dough

Have you ever read the ingredients in commercial Play-doh? All I can say is, and I am a pretty intelligent person, that i have no clue whats in it. Why give this stuff to our kids when we have healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally sound options. Not to mention, more developmentally appropriate.

Why more developmentally appropriate? Well you can make your dough appropriate for the right age- oatmeal play dough for older babies/toddlers, a soft cooked dough for young preschoolers, a firmer play dough for older preschoolers, and a clay you can make and dry sculptures out of for older kids. You figure out whats right for you and go for it.
Here is the recipe I used today-


1 cup of flour

1 T. vegetable oil

1 cup water

2 t. cream of tartar

food coloring


1. mix the food coloring into the water

2. heat all the ingredients over low heat until the mixture forms a ball

3. knead when cool

I didn't use food coloring- I am out of food coloring and find it works better without it sometimes. It doesn't matter if it gets mixed up like it does if you have several colors.

Without food coloring it can be anything. And since today's my bread baking day- you can guess what she pretended it was:)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Preschool Lesson Plans: Earth Day Theme Continued

Today we did a few things. We talked about the water cycle more and did an activity to illustrate it.
First we took a cotton ball, representing the dry cloud. We talked about how it was fluffy and dry.
But when the cotton ball was subjected to water (or a cloud filled with water through evaporation), it became heavy and wet(condensation).

When it gets full ,the water in the cotton ball (cloud) begins to fall in the form of rain.
Isn't it a great visual teaching technique??? Awesome!

The the artist also known as Emily had to do an art project. So I cut up some grass strips and some rain drops, and gave her some cotton balls. She glued the grass on, then the clouds and then the rain drops. she could explain how the clouds would fill, rain down on the grass, it would grow, but the water would go back to the clouds and repeat the cycle. i did this just to reinforce the water cycle.
We finished up by simply playing with play dough. She wanted me to make stuff for her, so I made letters and she would tell me what it was and the sound it made.
But the play dough was kind of hard, so tomorrow- we make play dough!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preschool Lesson Plans: Earth Day Theme

Well, We are still working on the Earth Day theme, supplementing with fundamental concepts.

After we read a short online story, Drippy the RainDrop about the water cycle, we worked on our Hooked On Phonics for a bit, and then practiced with a file folder game I printed from Preschool Printables.
Monkey girl really enjoyed the game, and showed how well she recognised the letters.

We then moved on to vocabulary words. This is new and, unlike what you remember in elementary school, I don't expect her to read or spell the words, just have a basic understanding of them. I have them written out because the more print you expose children to, the better. The more they see letters grouped into words, the more concrete the idea of reading and writing becomes.

Emily decided she wanted to practice writing so she practiced on her dry erase board. She is doing well with p, e o, and c right now.

Then we made a recycling collage by taking old magazines and cutting them and gluing them into an art collage. Of course artistic Emily loved this. She loves cutting and gluing. And it reinforced the theme of recycling. (Her geeky dad was excited she picked the Star Trek ad to put on her artwork.)

Finally, we talked about recycling and our trip to the local recycling center we will go on next week. we are starting to recycle in our house and will be graphing this. Graphing reinforces math concepts of more, less, and equal to in a very visual way that is understandable for preschoolers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Earth Day Preschool Lesson Plans

It is April, so our focus moves to Earth Day, the environment, recycling and the like. Earth Day is April 22ND so that gives us about a week and a half to cover this topic in our lesson plans.

Green living has become such a big part of our lives that we can not skip over this very important topic. The very children we have in the classrooms now are the future caretakers of this Earth so we must teach them well.
What we did today was paint an earth on a paper plate with blue and green paint. Before we did this we looked at pictures of the Earth from space on the Internet. We talked about how the earth is where we all live and how we should take care of it.

We are raising plants from seeds in a small terrarium kit we got at Lowe's. I believe these will be zinnia's. We talked about how the earth sustains us, and in order to keep reaping those benefits, we need to protect the soil, plants, animals, etc.
We also played a game with some foam letters(you can get these from walmart in the baby section). We did a version of eye spy where we looked for items that started with that letter. D- dog, H- house......She had fun and it reinforced the alphabet.

We are also doing Hooked on Phonics. It is going well, but due to the fact it is mostly workbook stuff and some on the computer, she gets tired of the redundancy. So we take a day off here and there. That's working for us.

Here is a PDF of my lesson plan for the week-Earth Day

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Preschool Lesson Plans: Working the REAL Easter in to your Plans

This is irrelevant to many teachers, but it is what I am doing so I am going to post about it.

The theme for this week is Eggs, and Easter. We are sort of working on the letter E, but have also started the Hooked on Phonics for Preschool too. I'll let you know how it goes with that later.

Today we did our Resurrection Eggs that I found here. She has other Easter related activities and songs listed here.

Tonight we will be making eggs for supper. We will use this as a teachable moment in which we discuss how cooking changes the eggs, using eye hand coordination to scramble the eggs, and learn a sense of accomplishment when we eat what we created.

This week will end Saturday with an Egg Hunt. It is always good to mold your lesson plans around the events and experiences in your student's/ child's lives. This makes it all the more meaningful and relevant to their experience.