Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blank Lesson Plan for Pre-K

This lesson plan can be used for pre-k, preschool, kindergarten or homeschooling. It's not a comprehensive form, more of a guide to keep yourself on track or to alert parents or administrators to your plans. I always like to post something like this on my wall so that all interested parties would have an idea of what we were doing in class that week and it was helpful to keep me on track as well.

The curriculum enhancement space is for those of you who may have "extras" that go on, like when your kids leave class for Spanish, Dance or Computers. On days when the children aren't going anywhere outside the classroom, I usually would focus on sign language to teach and reinforce the letter and color of the week.

You can fill it out something like this:

Pre-K Lesson Plan Sample

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spider Webs

These spider webs look great when hung in random corners around the room. What I like to do is let them dry and then attach a white string with a construction paper spider cut-out that has the child's face mounted on. I'll wait until all the children are gone to hang these in various places and they love going and looking for their own the next day when they arrive.

You'll need:

  • A round cake pan

  • Black construction paper

  • White paint

  • Marbles

Use the cake pan as a template and trace around the outside. Cut enough off the edges so that the paper fits inside the pan. You'll need one paper for each child.

When it's time for the activity, place the paper inside the pan, then add a small spoonful of white paint right in the middle of the paper. Put the marble in the pan and allow the child to tilt and move the pan around to make the web.

Do not hang these to dry as there can still be a big clump of paint in the middle that will run. Lay these flat. Also, I use a white colored pencil to mark names or initials on the backs of the papers before they begin painting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Two Different Pumpkin Pies to Try

Cooking and eating pumpkin pie is a special treat that can be added to a Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Fall Curriculum theme. Most of the mixing, measuring, pouring and such should be done by the children if they are old enough.

This no bake variety is especially good for the youngest group. You can buy pre-made graham cracker tarts or you can give them a bowl with graham crackers to crunch into tiny bits and then come around with a little bit of melted butter to make it a "crust" in their bowls. A second bowl can be used to mix together the pudding mix, milk and pie filling and then they can pour it onto their crust. You can also make it one big pie as follows:

You'll need:

  • 1 can PREPARED pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 prepared graham cracker pie shell

Mix the first three ingredients and then pour it into the shell. Eat right away or chill and eat.

Note that there is a difference between prepared pumpkin pie filling and canned pumpkin. They look similar, but the prepared filling has already been cooked and has spices added.

Now, the cooked version -- a real treat for school-agers. Top it with whipped cream -- real whipped cream. I'm so surprised to see a group of school-agers who don't even know that you can whip liquid cream and get whipped cream. It's right there in the name, but I think so many kids are used to cool whip, they don't even think about where it comes from. I know that there's a real trend in moving cooking out of classrooms because of liability issues, too, and I think that just stinks. (/tirade)

You'll need:

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 can pumpkin

  • 1 can evaporated milk

  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (or see recipe below)

And then do the following:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Mix the sugar, salt and spice in a bowl.

  3. Beat the eggs and then stir in the pumpkin.

  4. Stir in the sugar mix.

  5. Stir in the evaporated milk.

  6. Pour it into the shell and bake it for 15 minutes.

  7. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

  8. Allow to cool for several hours and then serve topped with whipped cream.

You can make an easy pie crust even if you don't have a rolling pin. Just mix the following ingredients all together and then press it into the pie pan. This is a really fun part for the kids!

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

And now for the whipped cream... Just add about 2 cups of cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to a cold metal bowl and beat on medium speed until you can see a trail left by the beaters when you drag them through the mix. Set the beaters on high and mix until it's as stiff as you'd like (should only take a minute or so more from that point.)

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Roasting pumpkin seeds is a fun activity after carving a pumpkin. Not only do you get to have a nutritious snack, you get to talk about using the seeds and not being wasteful.

  1. Gather all the seeds and have the children dig through them (after washing hands, of course) to pick off the pulpy bits.

  2. Put the seeds in a colander and let the children take turns stirring the seeds up in a sink of running water to wash the seeds.

  3. Spread the seeds on a towel and roll it up, squeezing out any excess moisture.

  4. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet sprayed with a little bit of cooking spray (if desired).

  5. Place in a 350 degree F oven until toasty.

  6. Salt if desired.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wrap Your Mummies

This activity makes a great time filler or party game in October for Halloween or during an Egypt theme.

  1. Have each child bring in a roll of toilet paper from home.

  2. Pick teams of two children each.

  3. Have one child be the wrapper and the other child be the mummy

  4. You can keep time and have the teams shout when their toilet paper roll is empty or you can have them go to a designated spot to ring a bell. It doesn't have to be competitive, however, to be fun.

  5. For round two, have the mummy take a turn as the wrapper this time.

Once everyone is wrapped, be sure to take a group picture.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sponge Painting a Jack-o-Lantern

You can sponge paint a Jack-o-Lantern by using the sponge painting tips here.

You'll need:

  • Orange Paint

  • Black Paint

  • Paper Plates

  • Sponges

  • Clothespins

Have the children first sponge paint a paper plate orange. This serves as the pumpkin base. Then use the black paint to sponge paint eyes, nose and mouth. Hang to dry.

For younger children, if you want to offer some guidance about where eyes and mouths go, you can draw a face with a Sharpie before painting begins or you can hang pictures of real Jack-o-Lanterns in the area where art is being done that day. Some children will never have seen one before, so an example can be nice, but you don't want to provide so much guidance that it's not a free activity or that it drains all the creativity out of their art. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Easy, Almost Mess-Free Sponge Painting

If you like the look of sponge painting, but not always the mess, try this tip: Cut the sponges into small squares, about 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches. Then place the sponge pieces in the jaws of a clothespin. The clothespin acts sort of like a paintbrush handle.

This is a great way to use multiple colors. Just make several clothespins and then use small cups or bowls with a little paint in them. It's also a way to conserve sponges and use up the random bits of a sponge that you've cut for another activity.