Monday, April 30, 2012

Going to the JUNGLE

I am a thematic teacher at heart! I envy pre-k settings in which they have more time to investigate topics that the kids are interested in. However, I am finding ways to link our curriculum to our thematic units and still find time for some exploration within the topics.  My usual approach to a thematic study starts off simple the first week. I tend to focus on the environment and "little extras" around them room more than anything at this point.  

Some fun jungle themed pointers in our reading/big book centers!

Aren't these the cutest super reader glasses?!? From Target...I love Target!  During this first week I also put out jungle floor puzzles, jungle stencils and of course ....jungle animals in the block area.

After the basic thematic touches are put into place I link many of my literacy and math centers to our topic.  In order to keep my sanity I don't always link every activity to the topic. I do continue to put out literacy/math activities that are simply focused on a skill and not a theme.  Ms. W, my student teacher, is doing a great job of creating some jungle themed center activities this week!  Here's a peek at a few that were introduced today.

Jungle themed books (using window clings) in the writing center.  

Another writing center book...

Sticker jungle math stories.

I love these cubes! I have two sets that I took from my kids' toy closet now that they are older. One set is for sentence building and the other set matches beginning sounds to pictures. These would be easy to make with unifix cubes and I've seen labels put on Duplo blocks as well. 

Our reading series focuses on this big book this week.  Here is  a color word/jungle item matching activity for the chart center.

Another sentence building activity. This one features photos of jungle animals. 

Usually by the second week of the project we've read several books (fiction and non-fiction) and have watched informational videos on our topic. Now we are ready to begin digging deeper into the topic.  If their interest continues this is when we generate a list of things we know and want to know about the topic. This is also when a lot of the amazing art and writing projects seem to take place.  If they are losing interest I try to tie up the project quickly with a final activity such as a mural or class story. You can take a look here to see how we tied up our ocean unit with our sea creature mural. 

I can't wait to see how our jungle theme progresses over the next couple of weeks! This will be our last unit of the school year and one I know they can dig deep into. Stay tuned for upcoming projects.....      Have a wonderful week!
                                                Mrs. M

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