Saturday, July 14, 2012

planning question????

I am looking for some guidance here.  What better place to find the answer than blogland :)
So here's the deal.. I have purchased almost 1000 items from TpT (seriously! - teachers out there rock!) anywho, I am thinking about the first week of school.  With all my new stuff, where should I start?  I teach prek kids (special ed/reg ed inclusion ages 3-5) and I have total flexibility/control with planning/curriculum.  I have a bunch of back to school units (Julie lee, Deanna Jump, Rachelle Rosenblit, and a bunch of others).  I also have a bunch of name studies/activities, a ton of brown bear, chicka chicka boom boom and pete the cat stuff.
Part of me think go with names - BUT - will it make as much of an impression if they don't know their letters at all (very common!).  Do I start with Brown Bear/Pete to focus on colors (while integrating other stuff) than move on from there?
So many choices!  I cant imagine spending one week on a theme as I have seen on other blogs.
Thanks in advance for your input :)


  1. I'm in your same situation. I have total freedom AND this is my first year teaching! I'll be stalking this post to see what others say!

  2. Connie,

    I am also a pre-k teacher and was in your exact same situation last year. It was the first year the school had a pre-k program and I was given complete control over curriculum. A majority of the children coming into my class were children who predominantly (some exclusively) spoke Spanish at home. I found that by starting the year with name activities not only helped the children learn each others names but was a great motivator. There isn't a word young children are more interested in than their names. Even though many came in with little to no knowledge of letters, connecting the introduction to the alphabet into name activities was a huge success. The first or second week of school I do a name study for each student (three - four throughout each day) and by the end of the week the kids are making connections between their names. i.e. "That's the same letter from my name!"

    Because so many kids come in without prior knowledge of letters, I fill the first few weeks of school with exposure to letters through the name studies, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and different alphabet songs and games. I feel like the more connections the children can make to letters at the beginning of the year the better. By the third week of school I move into a Body Parts, Staying Healthy, and Five Senses theme and integrate a lot of connections into colors (through Pete the Cat and Brown Bear) during this time too.

    Through trial and error, that's what I found works best for me at the beginning of the year. Hope that helped!

    Peace, Love, Pre-K

    1. Thanks for the info.
      I have been teaching 16 years, but each year I try to change it up a bit (and seriously, I can not even remeber last years' first day!) I want to incorporate sooo much of what I see/buy, but want to make smart choices about what I use with my kids. Hmmmm, lots to plan/think about.

  3. oh my goodness.... what an honor to see my name in the same sentence as Deanna and Julie!! I hope you love the unit :)


    1. You're a riot!! I should buy a "membership" to you - I buy just about everything you make!!
      I LOVE your stuff. I'm super excited about your monthly pocket charts and books - its in my cart right now!

  4. Ok, I love all of those books and unit ideas too. Last year I started with the book "Miss Bindergarten Goes to Kindergarten." I liked this because I used it to start with the students' names. All of the names in the book rhymes, so then we talk about the names in the class. From there I went to colors (brown bear), then to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which would be the end of September, so hopefully they would have more letters down. I would love to hear on what you decide on! :)

    Apples and ABC's

  5. I teach Pre-K as well, this will be my 4th year. Many of my students have never been in a school setting before, so the first week is getting them acclamated to the school environment. I do a lot of reading of different books, singing a lot of Dr. Jean songs, and get them comfortable to school. Towards the end of the first week I start to introduce Chicka Chicka and Brown Bear. I focus on names during our Morning Meeting time, and then during small groups do Brown Bear. I spend about 2 weeks on Brown Bear - covering 1 color per day. With my students I have found that they do not know many (if any) colors when they start school, so spending a lot of time on it is important. After colors, we move to Chicka Chicka - again spending about 1-2 weeks on names, letters, how names look, etc. I don't expect that they know the letters - just that they become familiar that there are symbols that represent sounds that we make when we speak and what we see when we look at books. We spend a lot of time on rules and procedures. I normally introduce 1 center per day: computers, library, housekeeping, blocks, math, Smart Board (new this year). I feel that it is important that they know the rules and expectations for each center and can demonstrate how to participate in each center in the right manner. It takes time to find out what works and what doesn't. Don't be afraid to just use trial and error. Good luck!