Friday, June 21, 2013

Preschool - Star Unit

We've started doing home preschool and so far it has been great. I thought I would record my lesson plans here in case you need ideas of your own.

Preschool starts everyday with circle time. We say an opening rhyming verse, do the calendar, and then sing a song or do a fingerplay or something like that. After that I talk about the theme for the week, cover the information we've already talked about, etc. Then I do a literacy/reading activity. We say a quick closing rhyme and go make our beds and do a few other chores. After that I intersperse the rest of the morning with theme based activities or worksheets in between chores or free play time. Phew! Did you get all that?

So here's what we did this week.

Song: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"

Literacy Activity: Rhyming words. We change each word by putting a different letter/letters at the beginning of the word and then patting our legs and chanting all the rhyming words we've come up with. (i.e. pat, cat, hat, bat, pat, cat, hat, bat) I started with -at words before I knew I was doing stars and so we stuck with it, but discussing words that rhyme with star (far, bar, jar, car) would be great.

Theme: Stars

Letter: S    Worksheet    Mini book   We mostly just practiced writing the letter "S" and talking about words that start with S.

Number: 5  Worksheet   Worksheet 
Additional activity: I printed out a basic star shape. We counted the "points" on the star. Then each child counted out five cotton balls and glued a cotton ball to each point.

                             We numbered the fingers on our hand from 1-5

Vocab word: Constellation

I printed out these pictures and we talked about how constellations were pictures made out of stars. Then we tried to figure what each of these constellations were. After guess I told them each constellations name and we tried to see the picture in it.

Activity: Using foam star stickers and a sheet of black foam we each made our own "constellation". You could easily do this with small gold stars and black contruction paper as well.

Additional Activities:  Using the page below, I cut out every star except the big one. I let the kids try their hand at cutting out the big star. ** Then we counted all our stars. I gave each child a piece of construction paper broken into three sections, labeled "Small", "Medium", and "Large". Then I had each child sort the stars into the three categories. A few of the stars were kind of on the border between the two, so it was interesting to see how each child sorted them. After that we glued each star onto the paper and the counted how many stars were in each section and wrote down the number. We counted all the stars again to make sure we still had 11.

**My 4.5 year old is getting pretty good with scissors, but cutting out stars is hard. So many turns of the paper. So be ready to help. My three year old just cut the star in to little pieces, which I figured was fine. Don't get worried about perfection. The process is more important.**

Talk about wishing on a star. Chant "Star light, star bright" rhyme and everyone talks about their wish.

Give everyone a paper star and practice following instructions on where to place the star with words like "above", "behind", "next to", "in front of" etc.

Talk about the life cycle of a star.  This chart seems simple enough. Make two copies, but cut one up so that the children have to practice sequencing. This is kind of an abstract concept, but if they have their own picture to use as a reference, it will help. The talking and new vocab words are most important.

I'd say go outside and find a constellation, but it's the summer solstice this week and my kids are in bed before the stars are out. 

You can do whatever you want on each day. I personally broke up the days. So one was about "S", one about "5", one about "constellation", one about the life cycle of a star. But we built on everything each day and so continued to talk about the letter and number and constellations even when it wasn't the main focus that day.

The kids have seemed to really love it and I feel like it's been a good mix of literacy, science, some history, vocab, math, writing, etc.

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