STEAM · story · topic

Beans to Chocolate!

For thinking Thursday today, we will learn about how chocolate is made! Beans to Chocolate by Lisa M. Herrington shows the process of taking cacao beans and transforming them into the chocolate we love. Where Does Chocolate Come From? From SciShow Kids Jessi and Squeeks talk about the process of transformation. Take a trip to a chocolate factory with KidVision.

Have your child draw and/or write out the steps they remember in the processes. This is about looking at things step by step. If they miss a major detail, ask questions.

story · topic · writing

Topic Tuesday- In My Backyard

Spring has finally sprung in my corner of the world, ok we have had lots of signs of spring, but the weather is finally cooperating. So this week we are going to focus on our own backyards. With the world still shut down to some degree, the backyard is a safe place to be.

In my backyard by Lori F.

In my backyard

I can be

Anything I want to be

I can ride in a spaceship

Up to the moon

I can set up a picnic

And eat mud pies with a spoon

I can roll in the grass

Or watch the clouds roll by

I can swing on my swing

And pretend I can fly

In my backyard

I can be

Anything I want to be

Take time today to let your child’s imagination run wild in the backyard. Have a picnic lunch. Lay down and look at the clouds, birds and see if you can find a plane.

Your backyard is an ecosystem. Can you find living and nonliving things? Can you find various types of plants and animals that make your backyard their home?

When you come back in, after you wash your hands, complete a writing assignment. You will notice that one sets your child up to write a narrative. The other sets your child up to write an expository text. Yes, children as young as 4/5 can write both, and enjoy it!

narrative writing activity…. What can you be in the backyard?
expository writing…. What do you see in your backyard ecosystem?

Sunday Topic- Frogs

Last we learned all about pond ecosystems, this week we will learn about frogs. The life cycle of a frog is a great way to show how animals metamorphosis, change over time. Children love learning about the fact that frogs are born as eggs in the water, are hatched into tadpoles, sprout legs as froglet and then again change into frog.

Monday math– frog jump addition

Topic Tuesday– life cycle of a frog project

Word Work Wednesday– write the room frogs and toads

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- rhyming

art · STEAM · topic · writing

Topic Tuesday- Pond Ecosystems

Today’s post is going be a bit of a rambled mess, but bear with me I’m trying to give you a variety of things you can do at home with your kiddo.

As mentioned on Sunday, an ecosystem is all living and nonliving items in an environment. Their existence is symbiotic in that they help each other live, survive and thrive!

This is a two step process. You can choose to just do that art part, or just do the chart… or do both. They also do NOT have to be done in one sitting or on one day. (read all the way to the end for a fun gross motor pond challenge)

pond illustration

art–Have your child craft a pond scene. Here are some ways to do this….

  • In my class we often do paper collage work. I provide the paper for the background and any other large colors they’d need, such as for this I would provide a large sheet of white, a half sheet of blue and a quarter sheet of green to each child. Then I have a milk crate filled with scraps. They pull papers out to do any and all items they want to add into the picture.
  • But since I’m home and don’t actually have construction paper here, I drew a pond picture. Use whatever medium your child enjoys using while drawing
  • You could also have your child paint, print pictures on a computer or even learn to do some photoshop work, with your help.
  • Want to challenge your child, have him/her label the items in the picture. Remember the different levels of writing and that is should not/will not be spelled in book spelling. Even getting just the beginning sound is great at this age!
T-chart of living and non-living

Learning to create charts, lists and other ways to organize and group information helps children put their new information into a manageable configuration…. plus they will learn to do this when they get into elementary school. When we do this at school, it is typically done whole group with the teacher doing all the writing. Providing illustrations helps connect to the printed words to the meaning (they don’t care if you can’t draw… the worse the illustration the better sometimes).

Create a “T-chart” to collect information on the living and non-living items you can find at a pond. You will have to get creative for the non-living, but there are quite a few.

story · topic

Sunday Topic– pond ecosystem

Before everything in the world was shut down, I had begun the set up for teaching about pond ecosystems. This is one of the preK standards in the state of PA. We already learned about bodies of water. Now we need to focus on ponds.

As I have mentioned in the past, when working with preK kiddos do not be afraid to use large/technical/scientific/mathematical and other terms…. they kids love them! So here we go… what is an ecosystem? An ecosystem is an environment and everything that exists there (living and nonliving). We learn about the fact that all the things that coexist in an ecosystem maintain a symbiotic relationship… they need each other to survive. Yes…. this is the way I teach. I do not expect my students to master the understanding of these terms, but they love to learn them and when they encounter the terms again they will be familiar with them.

Tune in on Tuesday for more about the pond ecosystem!

story · topic

Sunday Topic- Arachnids!

Before Easter, we did a week’s worth of activities based on insects. Often times people combine insects and arachnids into the category of bugs, but they are very different.

Children of this age LOVE to gain information about the world around them. They love learning scientific facts and big words. On Tuesday, we will dive deeper into these differences and show you ways to help your child categories this information.

  • Monday math- 3D shapes
  • Topic Tuesday- arachnid facts
  • Word work Wednesday- write the room
  • Phonemic Awareness Thursday- phoneme blending chant
story · topic

Sunday Topic- Weather

This week my kiddos are technically on spring break until Wednesday, but since everyone is stuck learning at home for the rest of the school year (at least where we live), I decided to do a full week of learning on my blog anyway.

The topic this week will be the weather. I should have done this last week as we had everything from sunny and in the 70s to thunder storms with tornado warning to snow… yep it’s April and we still get snow. I called it the week of all four seasons.

As I mentioned before, learning the four seasons is a typical preK skill. Spring is a great time to discuss weather as it is all over the place.

Keeping track of the daily weather is a great way to practice graphing, compare weather types and even look at weather around the world.

  • Math Monday- roll and color
  • Topic Tuesday- STEAM rain experiment
  • Word Word Wednesday- writing on aluminum foil weather words
  • Phonemic Awareness Thursday- compound words

Topic Sunday- Easter

Ok.. yep I slacked off and did not post a family activity yesterday. I actually had my sons do one on Friday, but then yesterday was super busy. We went to a local park for a bike ride/hike before the crowds. Then went and grabbed subs out at a favorite sub place, we are trying to support a few restaurants each weekend by doing take out. Then we worked in the yard until dinner which we ate later than normal. Today we were back out doing yard work and that is why this post is so late. So while I didn’t provide you with a family activity we were doing lots of family things here at my house.

Next week we will do a variety of Easter activities. Monday’s math will be candy graphing, topic Tuesday will be a direct drawing, Wednesday’s word work will be on environmental print, and Thursday phonemic awareness activity will be on sounding out words.

Here are some good Easter read alouds:


Sunday- Week topic: insects!

To continue with the topic of spring things… lets do a little bit of learning about insects this week. This week we will work on: math- symmetry, topic- what is an insect, word work- finishing a sentence starter, phonemic awareness- recognizing words that begin with the same sound… I’ll share the fun Friday and family Saturday thoughts later.

Here are some fun facts about insects:

There are so many wonderful stories and texts about insects.

story · Uncategorized

Blog Direction and Spring

I have been doing a bit of thinking about the flow or set up of this blog. I have decided to put a bit more form and structure to the blog which will allow you to see where we are going each week.

So this is my thinking: Each week I will focus on a specific topic (for my student’s families, this will match the topic I use in the lessons on dojo). I will use this topic as the direction for the daily activities.

Daily activity schedule:

  • Sunday- introduce new topic and suggest stories
  • Monday- math activity
  • Tuesday- topic/theme based activity
  • Wednesday- work work/writing
  • Thursday- phonemic awareness
  • Friday- fun activity
  • Saturday- family activity

I encourage you to read books based on the topic daily. Children enjoy listening to and learning from both fiction (make believe, made up, untrue… these are terms we use when describing what a fiction story is to children) and informational text (a book/story that teaches you information).

Many authors are doing read alouds at this time, youtube search read alouds, storyline online, and many other locations can be found for on-line read alouds.

Image result for hello spring

Spring is our theme for this week. Here are some read alouds for you

How Do You Know It’s Spring? (informational text)

The Thing About Spring (fiction story)

Welcome Back Spring (sing along book)

Spring is Here (fiction story)

Happy Equinox (scishow kids lesson on Earth’s rotations and why we have equinox)