Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sample 'I' Unit for Preschoolers

Based on a lot of questions I got from our Reader Questions post, I have been trying to really demonstrate how I determine our content & develop our objectives for preschool.  I recently shared with you a unit we did back in March on the letter 's'.  In that post, I admitted that I was an ambitious planner.  I really go down a rabbit trail every. single. time.  Today I want to follow that post up with another typical unit to demonstrate how I create our curriculum for our preschoolers.  The unit I'm going to share with you today is the letter 'i' that we did back in April.Sample I Unit- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
I find with my kids, at this age of cognitive development, if we have all of our objectives with a similar theme (like the letter 'i'), we get a lot of reinforcement from various avenues & concepts click better.  For us right now, and I realize that this could change tomorrow, I pick a letter for every 2 weeks.  The letter I select is not in alphabetical order.  I pick a letter that will get a lot of exposure at that time (ex: in the fall we did 'F' & 'P' because we would see "fall" and "pumpkins" a lot and get a lot of practice. At Christmas we did 'J' for "Jesus".  At Easter we did 'E'...you get the idea).  I selected the letter 'i' during the spring because I thought it would be a great time to talk about insects.

For each unit of letters, each child has a book unit that will some how tie back to the letter, and then I will select bible stories, science activities, life skills, math concepts, fine motor skills, & language arts objectives that go with that letter.  I try to enhance our learning of letters/numbers in every category to really reinforce what we're learning, but also expand areas for learning & discussion.  This is what we learned with the letter 'i':

Each child has their own Book Unit to work on with each letter. For the letter 'i' I selected books with a similar theme but with different levels of difficulty.  Ellis' unit was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," while Dutch's unit was "James and the Giant Peach."  Both texts discussed insects so that was a great underlying theme to tie in the letter 'i'.

For "James and the Giant Peach," Dutch mostly worked on handwriting, sequencing, sorting, & counting.  I mainly wanted to focus on comprehension with him as we read the book.  After we finished, I let him watch the movie, & I was thrilled when he started noticing that the movie did not follow the book. #thebookisalwaysbetterDSC_0075DSC_0078DSC_0077DSC_0076
Admittedly, Ellis' book unit, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," was so much easier than Dutch's book unit, but he still really enjoyed the activities that I had for Ellis for the unit.  For "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," we used Toothbrush Phonics, worked on patterns with insect erasers, threading with wooden apple & wooden cheese, counting with pom poms with fine motor tools, story sticks (which were really fun with all of the different foods in the story), caterpillar gear toy for color matching, sorted items into healthy vs. not healthy (found here), counting with clips, matching cards for Ellis (and I used the same cards to play Memory with Dutch), & the days of the week.  I also shared earlier the FREE insect caterpillar cards that we used for handwriting, counting, & fine motor.  We were able to cover a lot of content with just that one book.DSC_0051DSC_0057DSC_0059DSC_0060DSC_0062DSC_0064DSC_0065DSC_0070DSC_0071DSC_0073DSC_0147
Just the nature of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" led to great science discussions on the lifespan & stages of an insect's life.  We made life cycle hats for insects and even charted the 4 stages of a caterpillar's life. DSC_0069DSC_0252
One of the games I made for Dutch was the Alphabet Fly Game.  I got him some fun fly swatters & I printed off cards with flies on them.  Each fly had either an uppercase or a lower case letter on it.  I would call out the phonetic of a letter and Dutch would have to "swat" the uppercase & lowercase letter that made that sound.  This was an excellent game for energy as well as letter recognition & phonics.DSC_0470DSC_0016
We also played Bug Bingo.  Each space on the bingo card was a different insect.  I would call out an insect, & the kids would used their insect erasers as cover pieces.  Ellis was a HUGE fan of this game.DSC_0117DSC_0120
To practice graphing, I put the insect cards from our bug bingo into a cube & the kids took turns rolling the cube like a dice.  For every roll they would put their insect erasers on the insect they rolled. They loved waiting to see which insect "won".DSC_0067
A big part of our family is our alma mater, considering that is where the Mr. and I met.  We were the yellow jackets, so of course I couldn't resist the opportunity to talk about yellow jackets & bees.  For this we learned about the different types of bees, worked on handwriting (found here), count clip cards, and even visited a bee hive! How cute is my little bee keeper?!20180503_102133DSC_0098 (2)DSC_0255
For whatever reason, my kids really like to find things.  So one of the things we do often, is I send them to the school room while I hide stuff in the living room.  For the letter 'i' I hid number cards.  Not only did they have to find all of the numbers, but they had to put them in order on the ledge of the fireplace.  Dutch adores helping Ellis get the numbers in the correct sequence.DSC_0061DSC_0256
Using the insect erasers & ice trays we practiced patterns.  I also gave the kids a magnifying class to explore the different parts of the insect.  For Ellis, I gave her a circle tray and got her to sort all of the insect erasers.DSC_0058DSC_0008DSC_0087
A huge competent of this unit for the letter 'i' was science. We looked at insects under our microscope & microscope slides, but we also grew butterflies from caterpillars (caterpillars & habitat).  This was such a fun activity that the entire family got involved in & excited about.DSC_0082DSC_0095DSC_0114
DSC_0017DSC_0023DSC_0030DSC_0033For an art project, the kids painted the back of an egg carton to look like a caterpillar.  I think I remember doing this when I was in preschool.DSC_0231DSC_0235
To get creative with our do-a-dot sheets, I used lady bugs & bees as insects to practice numbers, letters, & matching.DSC_0068
Another fun way to work on number recognition & counting was by using our Insect Jar.  The kids would draw a card with a number on it, & then put the corresponding number of insects in the jar. (found here)DSC_0110
Here are some of the books we focused on, outside of our book units for the letter 'i'.
Okay, phew, there it is.  Two separate examples of units that we completed with each letter, the letter 'i' & the letter 's'.
I really do hope this helps if you are looking for something to do with your preschooler or if you're just interested.

Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post.  We just really like these products.
xoxo Darby

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