My favorite curriculum supplement for preschool

Before going any further, you should know that I write, and have been writing, my own curriculum for the classroom for over 30 years now. I haven’t ever used a store bought curriculum but not because I am opposed to using one but because I have always loved the challenge of writing my own. But I also enjoy supplementing my own ideas and curriculum with this one resource…

sMy Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

You got it! Scholastic classroom magazines (which I have always called “weekly readers”).  I use two different types for my classroom. For all of my students (Preschool and PreK), I love “My Big World” which you can view a sample of the magazine here. AND FYI: Scholastic is running a contest right now that you might like to check out. I am not associated with the contest but I have shared the details on how to enter their contest at the end of this post. 

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for Preschool

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for Preschool

For my oldest students (PreK and Junior K), I love “Let’s Find Out” which you can view a sample of the magazine here.

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreK

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreK

I have been using Scholastic children’s magazines in my classroom since I started teaching over 30 years now and each year, the magazine just keep getting better. Beautiful photos, fabulous topics, and a wonderful layout for discussion with my students. And just in case you are wondering – this is not a sponsored post.

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

Integrating Scholastic’s Magazines into the Classroom

Integrating Scholastic’s magazines into the classroom is probably one of the easiest things I do. The first reason is because the topics are almost always related to current seasons, events, and other topics that my students are already interested in.

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

The second reason is because the magazines promote discussion that naturally lead us to continue that discussion through play and exploration. Did I say that I love these magazines yet? Well I do so just in case you missed that point, I want to say it again. I love these magazines!

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

Introducing the Magazine

Introducing the magazine to our students is fairly routine in that we usually sit on the floor and start at the beginning. We discuss what the children see on the cover and any stories that they may to want to add.

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

We go to the middle of the booklet and walk our way through the framed photos on the page, taking both a picture walk and discussing the words in each frame as we go along. Each photo invites the children to tell their own stories of similar experiences so I don’t rush through the frames.

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

The last page of the magazine is a simple activity page that my students enjoy doing. We usually walk through the activity together but sometimes the children are way ahead of me and complete the page before I even get started! It may be completed in a way that makes sense to them but it is still completed and adds to the information we have explored through the discussion process. The activity on “Let’s Find Out” will be a little more challenging than “My Big World.”

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

Expanding through the classroom

Every Scholastic’s Children’s Magazine is easy to expand on throughout the classroom through play, creativity, and exploration. For example, we can expand the “Orange Autumn” magazine on our light table examining and tracing/rubbing orange leaves…

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

We can discover orange autumn by weighing, measuring, and opening up a pumpkin as part of our science exploration…

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

We can add orange sand to promote writing skills in the salt/sand writing box…

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

The list of things that our magazines inspire us to do is endless!

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

I always enjoy designing my own curriculum based on my student’s development, interests, and experiences I want to provide. I love how Scholastic’s magazines gives me a fabulous resource to share with my students and yet still allows room for us to expand the concepts in a way that is hands on and interesting to us.

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

PLUS it goes home to parents which extends our conversation about Orange Autumn at home too!

My Favorite Curriculum Supplement for PreSchool and PreK!

SMART TEACHING TIPS CONTEST

You could win a $200 gift card from the Scholastic Teacher Store!

Scholastic loves #SmartTeachingTips. Share yours for how you use Scholastic magazines creatively in your classroom. Tell us about it on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, or Instagram, and include a photo or video. Be sure to use #SmartTeachingTips.

Three winners will be chosen based on outstanding creativity. Each winner will receive a $200 gift card to the Scholastic Teacher store. We’re excited to see your ideas! Follow Scholastic Teachers on social media to learn more.

 

Links to Grow On!

Scholastic’s Let’s Find Out – K Version

Scholastic’s My Big World – Preschool/PreK Version

Elephant ToothPaste : More with Weekly Readers

Another Look at Scholastic’s My Big World

 

 

The value of a paper plate pumpkin

There is something so simple yet rewarding about making paper plate pumpkins.  I know, because I sat down with my class and made my own paper plate pumpkin and found the process to be quite relaxing, creative, and fun…

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

Being an avid blog reader, I see some of the most amazing and even elaborate ideas that I would just love to share with the children in my classroom. But then I realize that sometimes, what my students need from me is the opportunity to make something simple…

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

We do quite a bit of art but most of the time it is focused on design, color mixing, or some kind of new tool or process that the children can explore but when I asked my students “Who wants to make a paper plate pumpkin”  Every hand shot up in the air…

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

Although the process was simple, I will explain this part….

The paint is a mixture of orange washable tempera paint with a puddle of glue mixed in. This lets the children add a stem or or other paper features without having to wait for the paint to dry. Because the paint has glue mixed in, the pieces stick on nicely when the paint dries. Adding the glue to the paint also gives the paint a nice, thick and smooth texture that is somewhat shiny when wet and very pleasing to paint with…

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

As the children went to work creating their pumpkin, they used lots of descriptive words to describe what kind of pumpkin they were going to make. Like, “I am making a mean pumpkin.” or “My pumpkin has one square eye.” Or the children shared stories about going to the pumpkin patch to pick their own pumpkin and making a jack-o-lantern with mom or dad…

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

Some of the children chose to tear the construction paper into pieces and others chose to cut the paper with a pair of scissors. While the children cut or tore paper, they would ask me questions along the way about how to make a triangle which gave me the opportunity to give them tips on cutting different shapes….

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

Because the children already understood what a pumpkin was and had a good idea of how to make a pumpkin face, they spent more time in conversation with each other during the process and spent much more time focusing on the basic fine motor skill of cutting or tearing paper…

The value of a paper plate pumpkin by Teach Preschool

If you are like me and for some reason you are worried that making a paper plate pumpkin wouldn’t be “process oriented” enough then think again. I suppose if you cut out all the pieces for the children and insisted that the pumpkin must have triangle eyes, then the focus on process would be lost along the way. But if you are giving the children ample freedom to explore the process in their own way then making a paper plate pumpkin can add just as much value to the skill building process as one of those elaborate ideas floating around on Pinterest.

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

Pumpkin Suncatchers by Here Come the Girls

Tape Resist Pumpkins by Sew Sprout Play

By | October 18th, 2013|Categories: Halloween, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

Pumpkin seed play dough

I have already shared with you our pumpkin seed soup but our pumpkin seed play didn’t stop there. The children also enjoyed spending time playing with pumpkin seed play dough…

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

At  the table, the children found four tubs of pumpkin seeds with plastic cups and spoons.  The children jumped right in and began their play by scooping, feeling, and exploring the seeds…

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

The children were loving the process as it was but then one of my parents showed up and gave us some beautiful orange homemade play dough that  would be a fun addition to our pumpkin seed sensory tubs…

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

The children were free to explore the seeds and the orange play dough any way they wished but since we had started off our morning circle by talking about and exploring real pumpkins, the combination of the two materials naturally invited the children to make their own pumpkins…

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

So the children pushed the pumpkin seeds into the orange play dough to make their own “real” pumpkins…

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

It was actually quite interesting because once the seeds began to get folded into the orange play dough, it looked very much like the children had scooped out the pulp and seeds of a real pumpkin…

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

And later in the day, that is exactly what we did only the insides of our real pumpkins were much more ooey and gooey!

Pumpkin Seed Playdough by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | October 13th, 2013|Categories: Halloween, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Pumpkin seed soup

Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds are so awesome to explore during the fall. In our classroom, we just finished an entire week on exploring pumpkins and pumpkin seeds and making pumpkin seed soup in the water table is one of the many fun ways we explored our pumpkin seeds…

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

The ingredients for pumpkin soup include orange water, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie spice…

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

When the children arrived to our water play area, they found the ingredients all set out with ladles and cups so they could get right to work mixing and serving up their soup….

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

The children started right away by adding the orange water to our clear water…

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

And lots of pumpkin seeds were mixed in with the orange “broth” along the way…

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

And as the children played in the water table, the smell of the pumpkin spice filled the water play area and our soup smelled yummy…

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

The children continued to play in the pumpkin seed water table all throughout our time in the outdoor classroom…

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

Pumpkin seed soup invited my students to use many skills that will one day be a part of their real daily life experiences including mixing, stirring, pouring, estimating, straining, and all the while communicating and collaborating with one another.

Pumpkin Seed Soup by Teach Preschool

 

Available on Amazon

By | October 5th, 2013|Categories: Sensory Play|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

Preschool pumpkin play

Over the years, Deborah has shared many, many fun pumpkin activities on Teach Preschool.  Today, we are highlighting a few of our very favorite ways to play with pumpkins…

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

Many preschools will take a trip to a pumpkin patch to begin their pumpkin units.  Since we aren’t able to visit a real-life pumpkin patch, we have created our very own pumpkin patch at preschool

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

Any time we introduce pumpkins, we begin by exploring the whole pumpkin.  Circle time is the perfect time to examine a pumpkin and all of it’s characteristics.  On this occasion, we discussed the life cycle of a pumpkin

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

Next we can explore the concept of how pumpkins grow on vines with a hands-on board game

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

We also love to cut open pumpkins to examine the insides.  Did you know that you can dye pumpkin seeds, just like pasta or rice…

Preschool pumpkin play

Our children love any opportunity to play with playdough.  See how we used play dough to create these not-so-scary jack-0-lanterns

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

Last year we fully exhausted our real life pumpkin exploration by scooping out their guts, painting the outsides, and then finally using hammers to pound golf tees into them…

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

Of course anytime we explore an object such as pumpkins, we try to find other ways to play that we think the children may find interesting.  Our children always love when we offer magnet play, so it was no wonder they had so much fun with these magnetic pumpkin cans

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

And finally, no unit on pumpkins would be complete without some art.  We created these fun pumpkin exploration cups for a unique, multi-sensory art experience…

Preschool pumpkin play by Teach Preschool

Now it’s Your Turn!  What pumpkin activities do you and your children love?

Scroll on down and join in the Fall Linky fun!!

Discover and Explore

Discover and Explore: Fall!

Upcoming Themes:

Currently open – Pumpkins

October 2- Community Helpers

October 9- Halloween

October- Dinosaur and Fossil Fun

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you’d like, grab a button for your post — we love to share and want to find lots of great activities to highlight for you!

The linky will remain open for one week. Then all five co-hosts will feature activities in a separate post the Friday after the linky closes. All featured posts will be shared on the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board.  (Be sure to follow so you don’t miss any features!)

The Discover & Explore Team

KC Edventures  **  Buggy and Buddy **  Fantastic Fun & Learning **  Twodaloo

and me!



By | September 25th, 2013|Categories: Discover and Explore|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Pppppp is for pumpkin painting, pouring, pounding, and playdough play

We have been doing lots of pumpkin exploration and our latest exploration includes pumpkin painting, pouring, pounding and playdough play….

Pumpkin Painting

We used the same pumpkins over several days for all of our play. We started with painting pumpkins on the first day…

The children found pumpkins and paint sitting out on one of our tables in the outdoor classroom.  We had gathered plenty of pumpkins for the purpose of exploration rather than to be used as a “take-home” type deal so the children were given lots of latitude to paint the pumpkins any way they wished…

The children painted all sides of the pumpkins. Some of the children painted faces but others preferred to paint designs or to explore a little color mixing on the pumpkins…

Gradually, more and more pumpkins made their way over to the painting table until every pumpkin had been beautiful decorated with paint…

Pumpkin Pounding

We used the same pumpkins (but on a different day) to explore pumpkin pounding…

These kids were crazy over pumpkin pounding – I mean they loved it! Absolutely loved it…

The children had to wear goggles if they wanted to pound the golf tees in the pumpkins and they had to wait until there was an open spot in order to take a turn.  But we had many other things in the classroom going on so the children did very well waiting for a spot to open up. Well, we did have to do a little negotiating along the way, but it was all worthwhile and everyone had plenty of time to take a turn at pumpkin pounding…

So what do you do once you have all of those golf tees in a pumpkin?  Hmmm, we have yet to figure that out but if we can’t pull them out then we will figure out something..

Pumpkin Playdough

On another day, we decorated our pumpkins with playdough…

Almost all of our store bought playdough colors are all mixed together now so we used it for one last time adding eyes, nose, mouth, ears and any other feature the children liked to our pumpkins…

The children kept adding to the pumpkins or taking the playdough off and starting over…

Pumpkin Pouring

Our pumpkin water play didn’t include the use of real pumpkins but instead we used our water bottles and our pumpkin water (red and yellow water mixed together)….

It is getting pretty cold outside now so this will be one of our last days for outdoor water play…

So the children mixed up the yellow and orange water to make pumpkin water and then enjoyed a little pumpkin water pouring…

Available on Amazon

PS.  For those of you viewing this post by email…

Did you know that if you click on the title of your email it will take you to the actual blog post?  Be sure to stop on by the blog sometime and look around!

By | October 16th, 2012|Categories: motor skills, Outdoor Play|Tags: , , , , , |12 Comments

Exploring the life cycle of a pumpkin

We spent several days taking a closer look at pumpkins.  One of the stories we read to the children was the book titled, “Apples and Pumpkins” by Anne Rockwell…

This book took us on an enlightening journey through both an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch…

To introduce the children to the life cycle of a pumpkin, Mrs. Courtney introduced the stages of growth of a pumpkin to the children using a real pumpkin seed, seedling, vine, flower, green pumpkin and pumpkin she brought from home…

The different stages of the pumpkin sparked lots of conversation with our students and invited the children to tell their own stories of their experiences visiting a pumpkin patch or growing pumpkins at their own homes…

Then the children passed the different parts of the pumpkin plant around the circle…

As the children passed around the fully grown pumpkin, they discovered that it was very heavy…

We followed up our discussion on the life cycle of a pumpkin plant by planting our own pumpkin seeds in a plastic bag…

The children dipped a cotton ball in water then squeezed the water out so the cotton ball would be wet but not dripping wet…

Then the children placed the cotton ball in a baggy and picked a seed out of the pumpkin to place inside their baggie too…

Once the seed and damp cotton ball was in the baggie, the baggie was sealed and taped up in our window to see what will happen next…

We don’t know if our seed will grow or not but as we observe the seeds over the next few weeks, our discussion on pumpkins will continue to come up and create additional opportunities to ask and answer questions about the growth of a pumpkin…

Available on Amazon

Links to grow on

Don’t have a real pumpkin you can explore?  Then check out these Life Cycle Cards (pdf) from Montessori For Everyone!

By | October 13th, 2012|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Pumpkin head discovery bottles

We read the wonderful children’s book titled “Pumpkin Heads” by Wendell Minor. This is a beautifully illustrated book with easy to read print that shares different pumpkins faces one might find in obvious and unusual places…

The children loved this book and it sparked some wonderful conversation and vocabulary words about emotions, pumpkins, pumpkin patch, and more. After we finished reading the book, I invited the children to show me their happy, sad, surprised, mad, scared, and silly faces…

Then the children were off to make their own pumpkin head discovery bottles…

To make the pumpkin head discovery bottles, we used a little silver glitter, some orange food color, water, and a few drops of glycerin (which I am not sure if the glycerin is really necessary).

Each child started by drawing a pumpkin face on their empty water bottle…

Then the children put a little bit of food color and glycerin in the bottom of their bottles…

And then the children filled up their bottles with water and finished up by adding some glitter on top of the water…

Then the children put the lid back onto their bottles and shook their bottles until all the ingredients were mixed together…

I hot glued the lids onto the bottles for the children so they could take them home without spilling them…

And although the bottles looked great as is, I did something I almost never do – I added a length of green yarn around the “stem” of the pumpkin heads as a finishing touch instead of having the children do it.  We kind of ran out of time…

We set the pumpkin heads up by our light table so the children can explore them another tomorrow.  And then the children will take their pumpkin heads home…

Simpy Beautiful!

Available on Amazon

PS…

The plastic water bottles we collected and used are called Aqua Pod!  They do not have a label on them that leave a sticky residue which is wonderful. They are not super thick but we love them and have been using them for lots of different activities which I will be sharing soon!  These bottles are available at grocery stores like Marsh and Meijer.

Exploring pumpkin seeds in the preschool classroom

Pumpkin seeds are a wonderful resource for sensory, math, art, and play. We cut open two pumpkins last week and I saved the pumpkin seeds from both of them…

The children discovered that the inside of a pumpkin is very slimy and the seeds are slippery and wet…

I separated all the pumpkin seeds out from the slimy pumpkin guts and then I colored the seeds (later in the day) with a tiny bit of vinegar and food color.  I am not so sure I would have needed to add the vinegar but it worked fine for me. I was given the idea of coloring the pumpkin seeds by Erica on my Teach Preschool on Facebook page. You can see Erica’s pictures here.

I spread the seeds out on some paper and let them sit over night. The next day, they were still a little wet so I baked them at a very low temperature (200 degrees) for a few minutes (about 15) until they were nice and dry. Then I brought them back to school…

The children explored the seeds with their hands…

They used cups to scoop and pour pumpkin seeds…

Then we set out cut-up brown paper bags from the grocery store to use as our canvas for seed mosaics…

The children squeezed out glue on their paper and then added pumpkin seeds on top of the glue…

Every child made their own unique design with the pumpkin seeds…

For this activity, I told the children they would need to make puddles with the glue instead of just lines so that the pumpkin seeds would have plenty of glue to stick too…

The next time I share this activity with the children, I will set out heavier paper like cardboard because I discovered if you bend the paper after the seeds dry on the glue – the seeds tended to pop off the paper…

After making their mosaics, the children used the remaining seeds to make pumpkin seed exploration bottles…

Some of the children filled the bottles all the way to the top and others added orange construction paper to their bottle too…

And yes, we had pumpkins seeds all over the table and floor by the time we finished. Here are our finished pumpkin seed exploration bottles…

And here are some of our completed pumpkin seed mosaics…

By | October 22nd, 2011|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , , |20 Comments

We made paper plate pumpkin pies in preschool

Today, our whole classroom smelled like pumpkin spice as the children made their own paper plate “pumpkin pies!” It was wonderful…

The children started by painting their white paper plates with orange paint.  I mixed a little glue in the paint to make it a little sticky but not much glue really…

After the children painted on the orange paint, then they sprinkled some pumpkin spice on their paint…

I didn’t limit how much pumpkin spice they could use – I bought plenty so they could have some fun with it.  Some of the children sprinkled on just a little and decided they were done but others really went to town and added a lot of pumpkin spice…

We made apple pies last year using red paint and cinnamon (thanks to Kristin over at Preschool Daze) so this year, I thought it would be fun to change it up and make pumpkin pies instead…

It made our room smell delicious!

Linked up with…
Photobucket

By | October 19th, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , |12 Comments