Evaluating lesson plans in preschool

I write a lot of lesson plans and I never know how well something will turn out until I see it in action.

One of the best ways to evaluate lesson plans is to observe children in action. When evaluating lesson plans, some questions to ask yourself might include…

  • Were the children interested in the activity?
  • Did the stay engaged in the activity for an age appropriate length of time?
  • Did the activity give children opportunity to be creative, explore, discover, or work independently?
  • What learning objectives or experiences did you hope to offer through this activity?
  • What learning objectives or experiences do you feel were actually met through this activity?
  • If you provide this activity again with the children, what will you do differently? Why?

Sometimes the children will surprise you with their own ideas or twist to the activity. Sometimes what you think will be fun and engaging will end up being a flop. And sometimes what you planned to do will change at the last minute. On paper, an activity may look good but once you start working with the children the idea may need some quick adapting or adjustments in order for it to work well.

Writing lesson plans always requires constant evaluation and a readiness to adapt to the needs of the children. If what you propose to do isn’t working then change it, adapt it, or scrap it and move on!

Use each experience as an opportunity to reflect on what your students love, what your students can do, what your students are ready to do, and then build on this knowledge for future planning.

And keep in mind – process, process, process – ultimately, you want to consider how much of the process was child centered.

Infant lesson plan suggestions

My number one request for information is on how to write infant lesson plans so I thought I would share some tips as well as a lesson plan shared with me.

Lesson plan template

Click for MS Word Doc

First of all, you want to start with a lesson plan form of some type. It doesn’t have to be what you see here but this one may be helpful to use as a guide.

Lesson Plan Sample

Here is a sample of an infant lesson plan filled out by my friend over at Centers and Circle Time. She created this for me to share with all of you! Thank You Myra!! Click the link below to view…

Infant Lesson Plan by Centers and Circle Time

Individualize

With infant lesson plans, keep in mind that because infants develop so quickly from one week/month to the next – you will want to either…

  • Create a lesson plan that is for each infant
  • Or create a lesson plan that gives an overview of a theme of ideas and adapt the ideas to the developmental abilities and growth of each infant in your classroom.

Themes

I like to think in terms of themes for developing my lesson plans. It may be because it helps me think outside of the box a bit. The theme helps me look for ideas that I may not have otherwise considered.  When I think of a theme, I keep it very tangible and simple – the rule of thumb is to choose themes that a child can use their five senses in some way or themes that are meaningful to the child’s world. Here are a few examples…

Meaningful to the Child’s world Using the Five Senses
Me and My FamilyA Little Yellow Rubber Ducky

Teddy Bear Time

Riding in My Car

Little Lamb, Little Lamb

Hugs and KissesWhat Color do I See?

Soft and Fuzzy

“Honk, honk! goes the horn

Baa, Baa, goes the sheep

Music and Finger plays

For every theme, there is ample supply of simple finger plays you can sing or chant as you hold the infant, rock the infant, or as you help the infant move hands, feet, or body to the sounds and rhythms.  If you don’t know a song then make one up. You can make up about four sentences that rhyme and add it to a tune that you already know and you are good to go!

Little Lamb, Little Lamb,

Soft and white.

Little lamb, little lamb

Say good night!

Planning with Puppets

You can make a puppet for just about every animal or object there is. Each puppet is a theme that you can build your lesson plan on for example….

Theme: Little Lamb, Little Lamb

Puppet: Lamb

Music: Mary had a little lamb

Language: Lamb Little Soft Fuzzy White

Sensory: Soft and Fuzzy cotton ball play

Art: Gluing white cotton balls on a lamb

Movement: Baby follows little lamb puppet by crawling or tracking with eyes.

Social/Emotional: I can hold my little lamb

And each idea would need adapted to the growth and development of each infant but you at least have a plan to work from as you make the adjustments.

Planning with Photos

Photos of things a baby has in his or her everyday world is another resource you can use to build your lesson plan on. For example…

Theme: A Little Yellow Rubber Ducky

Photo: Rubber Ducky

Music: Rubber Ducky Song

Language: Quack, Duck, Yellow

Sensory: Rubber Ducky Water Play

Art: Feather Painting

Movement: Open Close hands while quacking like a duck

Social/Emotional: Where is rubber ducky at my house?

Planning with Books

A quality picture book is a great way to inspire ideas for you to build on. Here are some book titles you can consider. Click here to see more about Books for babies, literacy Activities for babies, and Tips for Reading to Baby.

See more ideas for infant lesson plans here!

Check out these sounds that you can use to as another resources in your infant classroom!

Remember to choose simple objects, ideas, or themes to build on and then adapt to the individual needs of your babies!

Infant lesson books available on Amazon…
      

      

    

By | October 6th, 2010|Categories: Infant and Toddler|Tags: , |6 Comments

Building connections to math, art, and more through children’s literature

When I am at a loss as to what to do in my preschool classroom, I always sit down and start thumbing through all my children’s books.

As I read through my collection of children’s books, my mind begins to swirl with all the ways each book can be extended throughout my curriculum content. I seek out ways I might be able to build connections from the book to creative art, math, science, music, and even to the items I set out in my classroom centers.

Let me give you an example….

The book titled, “In the Small, Small, Pond” by Denise Fleming may at first glance seem like a simple book with just a few words and  a whole lot of pictures. But as I explore this book with my students I discover wonderful opportunities for connecting the words and illustrations in the book to vocabulary, art, music, math, and more….

Pond Creatures

This book is filled with wonderful pond creatures that can be created by the children during art.

The problem will be narrowing down to what we actually have time for. I can envision making a pond filled with fish, turtles, and frogs just like those shown in the book. I will read the book more than once to the children and leave it out so we can go back to review and explore our ideas throughout the week.  See how our hands are in our pond just like the little boy in our book?

Sounds of Creatures

This book shares the wonderful sounds of each creature. We can explore the sounds of animals and creatures too through a listening game. I can record the sounds of animals then play the sounds for the children so they can try and guess what they hear.

Minnows

We can sort minnows by color and by size, create patterns, and count them!

Tadpoles

We can sing a song about One Green Frog and create puppets to hop like a frog too!

The possibilities are endless as we seek to expand literature into the classroom experience…. and then there are real world opportunities too! The next time you are having a mental block for ideas to do in the classroom, just sit down and go through a few good books and see what you can do to build on the ideas, illustrations, characters, and words of the book.

Building connections to math, art, and more through children’s literature

When I am at a loss as to what to do in my preschool classroom, I always sit down and start thumbing through all my children’s books.

As I read through my collection of children’s books, my mind begins to swirl with all the ways each book can be extended throughout my curriculum content. I seek out ways I might be able to build connections from the book to creative art, math, science, music, and even to the items I set out in my classroom centers.

Let me give you an example….

The book titled, “In the Small, Small, Pond” by Denise Fleming may at first glance seem like a simple book with just a few words and  a whole lot of pictures. But as I explore this book with my students I discover wonderful opportunities for connecting the words and illustrations in the book to vocabulary, art, music, math, and more….

Pond Creatures

This book is filled with wonderful pond creatures that can be created by the children during art.

The problem will be narrowing down to what we actually have time for. I can envision making a pond filled with fish, turtles, and frogs just like those shown in the book. I will read the book more than once to the children and leave it out so we can go back to review and explore our ideas throughout the week.  See how our hands are in our pond just like the little boy in our book?

Sounds of Creatures

This book shares the wonderful sounds of each creature. We can explore the sounds of animals and creatures too through a listening game. I can record the sounds of animals then play the sounds for the children so they can try and guess what they hear.

Minnows

We can sort minnows by color and by size, create patterns, and count them!

Tadpoles

We can sing a song about One Green Frog and create puppets to hop like a frog too!

The possibilities are endless as we seek to expand literature into the classroom experience…. and then there are real world opportunities too! The next time you are having a mental block for ideas to do in the classroom, just sit down and go through a few good books and see what you can do to build on the ideas, illustrations, characters, and words of the book.

Organizing your daily lesson plan materials

This is a simple way to keep your daily lesson plans materials organized as you prepare for each week of school. Gather a nice sized basket (a lesson plan box). Make sure your lesson plan box is large enough to hold file folders and large children’s books.

Label a set of pocket folders with each day of the week and place them in your basket.

In each pocket folder, place the games, flannel board pieces, songs, or books you plan to use for each day.

We also use the pocket folders as dividers in the basket. What doesn’t fit inside the pocket folder goes in front of each pocket folder like sponges, tape, cotton balls, or other specialty items that will be needed for each day.

The goal is to have everything that is called for in the lesson plan available and organized so the teacher can focus on presenting the material rather than spending valuable teaching time searching for the material.

 

It is important to note that there are also centers in each classroom that are filled with items for children to freely explore and create!

At play with baby: musical instruments

When baby Clara kicks the tambourine it goes “jingle, jingle!”

When baby Clara kicks the maraca it goes “shake, shake!”

The rhythm sticks go “tap, tap, tap!”

“Jingle, jingle, shake, shake, tap, tap, tap!”

I wander if Clara can go clap, clap, clap?


See why reading to your baby is so important from Room to Grow: Making Early Childhood Count.

Leave me a comment and I will respond right here:)


By | July 29th, 2010|Categories: Infant and Toddler|Tags: , |11 Comments

At play with baby: There is a baby in the bucket

Three colorful buckets

Clara goes inside the bucket

Clara goes outside of the bucket

Clara goes on top of the bucket

Clara goes under the bucket

Where’s Clara?

There she is!

Clara goes behind the orange bucket

Clara goes behind the yellow bucket

Clara goes behind the blue bucket

Infant Lesson Plan


You can find the words and tune to There’s a Hole in the Bucket here!

Tune in next Thursday for more infant activities!

View At Play with Baby: Little Bear – Big Bear



By | July 15th, 2010|Categories: Infant and Toddler|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments