Friday, October 8, 2010

Preschool - Fall Theme

I scheduled this week in the hopes that it would actually look like fall outside.  No such luck.  So we're going to have to make do!

Day 1: What is Fall?

First we talked about Fall also being called Autumn, and then why we call it Fall (because the leaves fall off the trees).  We talked about ways you can tell it's fall: cooler weather, leaves falling, birds flying south, animals gathering food, etc.

We read the book I Know It's Autumn.

And then sang the song It's Autumn Time.

Then read the book Fall Is Not Easy.

I also wanted to read the book Count Down to Fall, but it didn't come in in time.

Then it was science experiment time.  We had a collection of acorns, and I had him sort them into piles of caps and no caps.  We had a little worksheet from our science book that he marked them on and drew how many in each group.  Then we put them in water to see how many would sink or float and marked and drew them on the worksheet too.  You're also supposed to plant them afterwards, but I didn't think my parents would want random tree sprouts in their front yard.

And then time for failed art projects!  The idea is to melt fall-colored crayon shavings between two pieces of wax paper and then cut leaf shapes out of it.  Like so.  But come to find out that different brands of crayons have different melting points, some which appear to be above the boiling point.  So we ended up with lumpy, not very well stuck together wax paper with crayon bits inside.  I salvaged what I could from it and cut out some leaves to hang in the window.

(Do you like our lovely cement window-well view?)

But this really ended up being a mom project that Alex just watched.  If it had gone well I would probably have let him trace the leaves and cut them out, but there were too many crayon bits going everywhere.  Oh well.

We were also going to go on a fall walk to gather leaves for our next day of school, but the weather outside was frightful, so we scratched that.  That is why I always plan more than I think I'll need because something always goes wrong!

Day 2: Trees and Leaves

We started today with the book Fletcher and The Falling Leaves.

Then we sang "The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown," to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus."  The other verses are "The leaves on the trees come tumbling down," and "The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish, all through the Fall."

While I was walking this morning I gathered up a big pile of fall leaves off the ground.  I tried to get as many different kinds and colors as I could because our next activity was leaf sorting.  I cut out four different colored leaves out of construction paper - red, yellow, green, and orange (though brown would have been better, I didn't have that color) - and four different shapes - smooth edged, toothed, lobed, and toothed and lobed together (like a maple leaf).  I put the shapes below a whiteboard and we sorted and counted by color first.

We used tally marks so he could learn a new way of counting.

Then we sorted them by shape.

This activity actually spanned over the morning and then after lunch because someone had a breakdown during the middle of it all, and it wasn't me.

Then we took a closer look at one of the leaves to see its veins.  We talked about what they were for and how they bring food to the leaf.

Then to better learn the parts of a leaf we made a leaf book (pattern from our science book).  It's made with a pocket in the back and see-through pages in the middle.  You trace a different part of the leaf on each page so that as you turn the pages each part shows up and is labeled and at the end the whole leaf is put together.  Then you keep the real leaf that you traced in the pocket in the back.  It's kind of hard to explain, but here's some pictures:

Then we read the book Leaf Man.

This book is full of beautiful pictures all made from leaves.

We waited for Ella to come home so the kids could make their own leaf men together.  Alex didn't want to glue anything down so he could try all different combinations, but Ella got right down to business.  Here's hers:

Fun stuff!

(On the day in between school days I gave Alex this fall color by number to do.)

Day 3: What Do Animals and People Do In The Fall?

I'm going to rearrange the order of things we did when telling it here on the blog because after we'd finished our school for the day I wish I had done things in a slightly different order.  So this is how our day would have looked if perfect:

We started by looking at pictures of bears, squirrels, birds, and rabbits and talking about the different things they do to get ready for winter (eat a lot, hoard food, fly south, change fur color, etc.).  Then we talked about the different things people do to get ready for winter (harvest crops, clean out gardens, get out winter clothes, rake leaves, etc.)

Then in my imaginary perfect world we read the book It's Fall!

This book does a great job of cover all the things everyone, both animal and human, do in the fall.  And the pictures are all cut paper and look pretty cool.

Then we read the book Leaves.

It kind of had a similar idea of the book above, Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, where an animal is confused when the leaves start falling from the trees, but this one describes the bear finding a den and hibernating, so I went with it anyways.

Next we talked about what might happen if you didn't prepare for the winter, and we followed that up by reading The Ant and The Grasshopper.

It's based on an Aesop fable, but it's been redone and set in China.  We found China on the map before reading it, and afterwards talked about what happened to the grasshopper after the story ends, since it ends kind of abruptly before you really witness the consequences of not preparing (aka, he dies).

Then we finished up by doing a migration maze.  I just found a freebie maze online and added some geese up top and the compass points at the bottom.  Here it is if you'd like it:

And that finished our day and our week.  It was kind of a quickie school day, but by Friday those are the kind I need.  Have a great weekend!


Amy said...

I love all the books you post - I'll have to get on the library website and request some of them.

Andrea said...

That looked like fun. I like the tally marks and the leaf organization! You are such a cool mom!