Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum!"

Hi Everyone!

We are back at it... preschool!  This year I am taking on a different approach to my preschool curriculum.  Well, at least I'm going to give it a good effort.  I wrote a class called, "The Five Day Read" as I am an approved trainer in my county through our Resource and Referral Agency.  What that means basically is I'm training other child care providers to give them new ideas, insights and educate them to be better child care providers.  Did I say I love doing this?  Well I love teaching and it doesn't matter if they are 2 years old or 62 years old.  I simply love teaching!  Anyways... back to the point... I wrote a class teaching providers how to take a book and turn it into a week long learning process for the children that they care for.  The class was fun putting together and I decided why not give it a try myself... so that is what I'm doing, at least for the time being.  We will see if I resort back to my normal curriculum later in the year when things start piling up.

Another big change... 5 children out of the 8 (some were part time because I can only have 6 children ~just want to make that clear) have left this year for a new adventure.... Kindergarten.  I really miss those children but I hope they are having many wonderful success in their new schools.  That means... well I have openings that I would really, really love to fill (daycare fairy fillers where are you?)  and my group dynamic has changed.  I've gone from mostly pre-kinders to early preschoolers.  What does that mean you ask?  Curriculum change... we have had to make it simplier and more on a early preschoolers level... so that is what to expect from my blog this year unless (and do I pray) my group changes again with new children... and then I have no idea what my curriculum will become.

Moving forward... my first week of preschool was filled with activities based around the book "Chrysanthemum".

Here is some of the fun we had with this book!

Letter Cc:
We had to learn a letter... so I picked "Cc" for Chrysanthemum.  And of course, if you have been following my blog you know a letter Cc book is in order! 

 This is the cover of the Letter Cc book.  We dot markered in the letter Cc.
We then matched upper case and lower case Cc and then did a Cc sort.
 We used the dot markers to dot all the letter Cc's we found on this page.

 We put a three piece Cc puzzle (with a template under the puzzle for the
younger children to place the pieces easier) and then traced letter Cc.

I forgot to take a picture of the page where we colored the Cc's by looking
at the color word and another page where we did a pre-writing activity and
colored the candies with a Cc.  It's all in my downloadable book for you to
enjoy (see below)!
We found and colored the Cc's in each row and then matched pictures
that began with /c/ sound at the bottom.

 We talked about the pictures that began with the /c/ sound and found
the one that was different.  This was hard so I will be making this a little
easier for my crew and build.
 And we traced the letter Cc's for the last page.
We also did this letter Cc page because... well... I went a little crazy each day
and had way more material than we had time... so I made it longer than it was
originally planned for.  You can find this page here.

You can download my Letter Cc Book here.

Morning Meeting:
I've decided to change "circle time" to our "morning meeting" time.  Pretty much a change of words.  I will be writing a separate post sometime in the near future about what we do during our morning meeting... but today I just wanted to explain our morning message part of our morning meeting.  I love doing a morning message and am not sure why it has taken me this long to incorporate it into our routine.  I try to make it a meaningful learning opportunity for the children.  Here is a sample of one of our messages...
As you can see from the above picture I use my white board to write the message.  We are learning about the letter Cc so we did activities that revolve around Cc by circling Cc's, using vegetables to graph that begin with Cc... but we also shared what we like to eat.  So that is the morning message and in my lesson plan there is one for each of the four days I planned for Chrysanthemum which you will be able to download below.
Shared Reading:
We always start our preschool time doing something with the book we are reading.  In my plans you will see how I did that (again you can download them below).  We talk about the book, make predictions, take picture walks, read-read-and read, we use companion poems/stories, and we build from the book.  I actually found this book a little long for my current children so after the first read I would adlib a lot of the text to keep their interest. 
One of my favorite activities during our shared reading was the "always use kind words -wrinkled heart" activity.  I found this activity here and I posted it up in our room so we can use the teaching idea when ever needed.  Basically what happens is you read the story and each time the children hear someone not using kind words they wrinkle the heart.  When you are finished reading the book you try to smooth out the heart but the heart doesn't look the same because it has been hurt by unkind words.  The point is the emphasize how hurtful words can break a heart.  We then put band-aids of kind words onto the heart... I threw both kind and unkind words so the children would have to think about what kind of words are.  Here is our heart...
We did many activities and games during whole group and small group times.  Here is a sampling of what we did.
We used bottle caps and templates to practice spelling our names.
We decorated our names with glitter under very close supervision.
We set up an experiment to see what the word wilt means.  We watched flowers wilt
because we didn't take care of them (or be nice to them).  We made predictions and each
day of our unit we checked them to see if any of the predictions were right.
We played a game I made called "How many petals go on the flower?"  The children
would pick a number, identify the number, and put the right number of petals on the flower.
Just so you know I glued the sheet to a large manila envelope so I could store the pieces
inside the envelope.  I made the petals from fun foam (so you will have to do that if you
download the game).  I laminated the pieces and envelope.  When you laminate the
envelope have it in the open position and use a straight edge to cut through the lamination along
the line where the envelope opens.  You can download this activity here.
 We sorted flowers and things that are not flowers.  Again I used a manila envelope
the same way as above.  You can download this here.

 We talked about what they were able to do when they were a baby and what they
can do now.  We read "All By Myself" by Mercer Mayer.  We drew self portraits and
dictated responses "I can ______ all by myself."

We talked about how a diaper works by predicting and experimenting.  They
were amazed at how much water a diaper will hold.

 We did a roll and mark (we used bear counters) baby grid that I got here.
We sorted babies vs. not babies which you can download here.
 I got this idea from here in her free downloadable booklet.  These are heart Chrysanthemum's.
This is how my children used their hearts to make Chrysanthemum.
 I found this here (same as the heart Chrysanthemum's) that I shrunk down and
added a few other things to the page.
 We made Chrysanthemum puppets that I found in my files.
This is our pockets for Chrysanthemum.  They count the objects and put it in the right
pocket.  To make this glue around the outer edge (notice I left a bigger edge) and laminate.
Take your straight edge and cut the pocket open. You can download this here.
 We waterpainted a chrysanthemum. I found this coloring sheet here.
We also did this dot marker flower garden that you can find here.
We did not get to everything... but I loved this activity and it is included in my plans.  Making a flower with the petals having a letter of your name.  You can find out about this
activity here.
I also made a Nice vs. Not Nice things to do with friends sort.  You can download it here.
You can download my whole lesson plan here.

Activity Learning Box:
I put many of the activities we did throughout the lesson into my activity learning boxes for the children to review after we were done with the book.  Here is what I did... 
 My activity learning boxes look like this...
I put the flower sort...
The how many petals game...
And the baby sort and placed them on top of the learning boxes.  You can download all
of these above (earlier in my post). 
Inside the drawers you will find...
 Chrysanthemum's pockets...
 Baby grid game...
Pages with their names so they can decorate them...
Bottle cap name spelling...
 Flower petal number game (you can download here)...
And a magnet sheet (you can download here).

Hope you enjoyed our "Chrysanthemum" unit!  I would love to hear if you use any or all of this unit... and I would love to link
your blog post to this page.
Next "5 Day Read" is "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom"... hope you will stop back!


  1. I never thought of doing a unit on chrysanthemums. I am going to download your unit and try it next week. I am excited to do something different! I also love Kevin Heneks books.

  2. I love that you used chrysanthemums for the letter C - very original & FUN! Your baby grid activity looks like a lot of fun too! Thanks for sharing & linking up at TGIF! Have a great week!
    Beth =-)

  3. We do a five day book theme too. We alternate years.. one year we base everything on the alphabet. Next year (this one) we based it on childhood classics!

  4. A five day read program is really good
    Really useful for Kids.
    Great job.