One of my favorite units to teach (yes, I know, I say that about all the units) is the farm. I realized that I've never written here about that, although we usually do some really fun things. Due to our shortened school year this year, our unit was really cut short. I thought I would share some of the things we did this year, as well as in years past.
Over the years, I've gotten many of my great ideas and activities from other great teachers who have very generously shared their ideas on their websites and blogs. Pre-K Pages is a great website and I've gotten several wonderful farm themed ideas there. I make the "OINK! Game" with cards for literacy and for math.
I loved the Folded Barn on Pre-K Pages, and use that with a mini daily activity that I do. Each day, I post a simple "how to draw a ..." farm animal with 3 or 4 easy steps using basic shapes. It's mostly about the fine motor practice and following directions. The barn is a cute way to collectively display the "mini activities".
This barn displays a horse, pig, cow and duck (just in case you needed a little interpretation).
We are really working on fine motor skills at this point in the year, and need lots of practice tracing and cutting. The pigs on the bulletin board at the beginning of this post were a great way to help the kids practice those skills without realizing it.( I could have simply traced the shapes, and photocopied it on color paper for the kids to cut out, but they would miss out on the tracing skills.) They traced coffee can lids to make the shapes for the pigs.
After they cut out the circles, it's fun to see how they put them together.
They really come out cute, however they are assembled.
We made the chicks on that bulletin board out of loops of yellow paper.
We try to change the learning environment often, and add theme materials whenever possible. In our dramatic play area, we converted our "box" to a barn to house our stick ponies. I made stick ponies for years out of small mop handles and paper and they would always be destroyed within a couple of days. I finally found these cute stick ponies at the Dollar Tree.
I pulled out every farm animal toy I could find for the children to explore and play with.
In our flannelboard center, I have pieces available for The Little Red Hen, Old MacDonald, as well as this wonderful set with 100+ pieces of farm felts.
I added a small set of farm stencils to our writing and art centers, and smiled to myself when the kids discovered this farm themed stencil in our alphabet stencils.
Last year, this was a longer unit and near the end of the year, our writing skills were coming along nicely. We wrote this lovely class story about the farm. Looking at this story now, many months later, I can tell which stories we'd recently read (Click, Clack Moo, Duck On a Bike, Mrs. Wishy Washy) just by the details they'd written in the story. I am beaming with pride as I look back and see how this groups writing skills developed and progressed. I am so excited to see what this new group envisions when we become more skilled at writing stories.
Once Upon a Farmby Mrs. Ayn's Pre-K 2Once day on the farm, there was a pig, a horsey, a cow, and a goat. They were all in a big corral. The duck was on a bike. The animals tried to ride a skateboard. Then, they wanted to ride on the tractor. The farmer came and told them to come inside to take a bath. After the bath, they ate cookies, pizza and milk and crawled under their electric blankets. The End
We of course read lots of great farm themed books, act like farm animals with visors and puppets, and act out familiar stories like Mrs. Wishy Washy. We sing lots of fun farm songs. One of our favorites is "Down On The Farm" on the Simple Songs For Preschool cd from Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool. It's a great cd with easy to learn and easy to sing songs. Get your copy by clicking the links above.
"Mrs. Ayn's Pre-K
had a farm...
And on that farm
They had some fun,
E-I-E-I- O! "
I'm having difficulty with the Amazon widget again, but hope to come back and post some of our favorite farm reads soon!