Author Archive for Anna S.

Teaching About Community in a Preschool Classroom

It can be difficult to explain what a community is to a preschool classroom.  Community helpers are often included in preschool themes, but the overall community is frequently overlooked.  Here are some great resources for teaching children about living in a community– sharing, cleaning up after ourselves, being kind to others, and of course: the community helpers that keep us safe, and our community running.

Books

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David Gets in Trouble by David ShannonThis book, part of Shannon’s David series helps children to understand that actions have consequences.  The funny story and creative drawings will keep children drawn in. This story teaches children that they need to think about the things they do and admit when they have made a mistake.

Stone Soup by Heather ForestThis clever story has been told serveral times by several different authors, however the story never gets old.  A hungry stranger tells some people in the village that he can make a pot of soup out of some water and stones.  As word spreads and curiosity grows, the entire town works together to find everything the stranger suggests to be added into the soup.  The result is a delicious pot of soup that the entire town worked together to create.  This book is fantastic for teaching the value of teamwork and sharing.

The Subway Sparrow by Leyla TorresThe subway Sparrow is a wonderful book about a sparrow that gets stuck on a subway car in new york city.  The passengers on the subway– all different backgrounds and ethnicities– work together to save the sparrow.  Torres created a book with great illustrations and an even better message.  A community has to work together to accomplish it’s goals.

Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margaret CuylerMrs. Ruler’s has some unusual tendencies.   She always speaks in rhyme and she disciplines her students by making them complete kind acts for one another.  The students love being kind to each other so much that they start completing as many acts of kindness as they can!  The fun rhyming in the story will draw children in and the story aptly teaches the importance of looking out for others.

Career Day  by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy RockwellThis book features a classroom career day.  Each student explains to the class what their parent or guardian does for a living.  The book covers a variety of job and careers making it extremely useful for teaching about community helpers.

Resources for Children

Barney’s Clean-Up GameHelp Barney clean up!  Can you put the objects in the right container?

Who’s at The Door? Identify the correct community helper based on a given clue!

The Litterbug BlastKeep the community clean by cleaning up the litter before it builds up and covers the town!

Dora and the Thankful Old Troll Help Dora the Explorer cheer up the troll! Can you get him to say thank you?

Create a BadgeCreate your own firefighter badge!

Resources for Teachers

Everything Preschool Community Helpers ThemeThis site contains games, books, songs, activities, crafts and more– all about community helpers!

Dora’s Clean Room Activity PackThese printables can be handed out as a book or in sections to help children learn about putting their things away.

Teaching Social Studies in PreschoolThis site has a great section on teaching about community, community helpers, and saftey.

Songs for Teaching This page contains songs about jobs, hygiene, getting dressed, cleaning up, and being part of a community!

Shadows

The Virginia Standards of Learning include shadows in the kindergarten science curriculum.  In kindergarten students are expected to learn that shadows occur by blocking light.  Shadows can be fun to learn about and play with.  Here are some great resources I found to help students learn about shadows!

Books

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Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow written by Ann Tompert, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

This is a fun book for children to read!  Woodchuck bets Rabbit his hat that Rabbit will not be able to escape his shadow.  Rabbit spends all day trying to get away, but has no luck.  It is not until night falls and the moon moves behind a cloud that Rabbits shadow disappears and he wins the bet!

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Shadows and Relections written and illustrated by Tana Hoban

Tana Hoban uses a series of photographs to allow children to explore shadows and reflections.  The beautiful photographs will provoke both discussion and questions from young children.

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What Makes a Shadow? written by Clyde Roberta Bulla, illustrated by June Otani

This book is part of the Lets-Read-and-Find-Out series by Harper Collins.  It is written for kindergarten aged children, so it is right on their comprehension level.   What Makes a Shadow? teaches children how shadows are made and even goes into an explanation of night and day.

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Guess Whose Shadow? written by Stephen R. Swinburne

Stephen Swilburnes’ book of photographs show children that everything has a shadow.  The book invites children to guess what made the shadow, with the answer given on the next page!

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Light: Shadows, Mirrors, and Rainbows  written by Natalie M. Rosinsky, illustrated by Sheree Boyd

This book is part of the Amazing Science series by Picture Window Books.  This is written as a science concept book, but it is written clearly and concisely on the kindergarten level.  This book not only discusses shadows but light as a whole, making it a great addition to any units on light.

Interactive Student Resources

  • Tigger’s Shadow Shapes- Match objects to their shadows!
  • Blue’s Clues’ Shadows– Help Blue figure out what the shadow belongs to!
  • My Shadow– An interactive ebook of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “My Shadow”
  • Shadows– A simple shadow interactive to help children understand how light can effect a shadows size.
  • Sun, Light, and Shadows– This game allows children to experiment with light to make shadows bigger or smaller, sharper or dimmer, or change the location of the shadow, all by altering the light source!

Additional Resources

  • Hand Shadow Puppets– Great shadow puppets to teach to your class!
  • Preschool Shadow Theme– While intended for a slightly younger audience, many of these resources can be used in a kindergarten classroom to teach about shadows!
  • PEEP and the Big Wide World– This site contains links to four different videos about shadows.  Many of the videos give fun  suggestions for activities.  This site also contains printouts to send home to get parents involved with the learning!
  • SteveSongs fun Shadow Song:

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Early Childhood Shapes

The following resources are great for using with younger children to help them understand shapes.  These books, websites, and resources will help with shape recognition, visual discrimination, as well as matching and sorting shapes.

Books about shapes

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes written and illustrated by Tana Hoban

Each page contains a fantastic photograph of an everyday life setting, however when you look closer each page is full of shapes!  Doors are shaped like rectangles, the supports on phone towers form triangles and tambourines form circles.  Tana Hoban’s book of photographs helps teach children to find shapes in the world around them.

Color Zoo written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Each page of Ehlert’s book contains a different zoo animal and each zoo animal is made out of a series of cut-out shapes.  As you turn the pages one shape is removed and a new animal is revealed.  The bright colors and unique designs of the pictures will keep children interested and involved.

The Secret Birthday Message written and illustrated by Eric Carle

When Tim wakes up on the morning of his birthday to find a secret message reading:

“When the [semi-circle] comes up, look for the biggest [star].  Below it you’ll see a[n oval]. Behind that is the [triangle]. Go in. Look up through [zigzags] walk straight ahead to a [rectangle]. Open it.  You will see a [rectangle]. Climb through it.  That’s will you will find your birthday gift!”

Tim has to figure out the clues in order to find his birthday present.

Ship Shapes written by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Siobhan Bell

This book is about the shapes on the sea.  The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  Every page is quilted,not drawn, giving it a different feel than other shape books.  Better yet, each page is filled with shapes!  It covers the basic shapes: circle, square, triangle and rectangle as well as star, semi circle, diamond, crescent, and oval.

Circus Shapes written by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by Edward Miller

This book helps you find shapes within a circus.  It introduces squares, triangles, rectangles and circles.  What makes this book excellent for teaching shapes it that it goes beyond the standard square, triangle, rectangle, and circle.  On the pages where shapes are introduced, the bottom left page depicts examples of that shape in various sizes and rotations.

Resources for Children

Resources for Parents and Teachers