Saturday, March 1, 2014

PreK Week 26: America

Week 26 for Pre-K was the week following the Monday of President’s Day, which we had off. I figured this week was the perfect time to not only talk about the President and his job, but also our country of America in general. Since I don’t have the kids for the 4th of July, this was really the only time I had to focus on the American flag, our country, and American symbols.


On Tuesday, our first day back, we talked in general about the United States, and looked at the American Flag. One of my boys was certain that it was the Captain America flag (because it’s on Captain America’s shield), and refused to think any other way. I was filled with pride the next week when he pointed to an American flag on my coffee mug and said, “Look Ms. Spears! An America flag!”  Success!!!

That morning, we talked about how America is the country that we live in, and every country has a flag. I showed the kids what the American flag looks like, and asked if they could find an American flag anywhere in the room. To their surprise, an American flag had been hanging by the door all year! For the rest of the day, the kids loved pointing out all of the flags they could find in the school.  We read the book “The American Flag: An American Symbol”, and we also learned the pledge of allegiance.

For our flag crafts on Tuesday, we did a whole lot of handprint/footprint painting activities at once. What a busy, messy day! At one center, we made individual handprint American flags by painting the kids hands like an American flag and stamping it down on paper. The idea from had little white star stickers on the blue part, but I couldn’t find these stickers anywhere.

At another center, we made a class Handprint and Footprint American flag from Katie’s Krazy Savings To do this, we used white poster board, blue handprints for the stars, and red footprints for the stripes.  It turned out super cute, but it was a lot of work trying to get 13 Pre-K kids to paint with their hands and feet without getting the classroom (and myself) covered in paint!

On Wednesday, we focused on Presidents, and talked about how the President of the United States is the leader of our country, kind of like the boss. We learned how there were lots and lots of presidents, but we mainly focused on two: Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. In the morning, I read the book “A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln”, which was a little above their understanding so I kind of had to paraphrase. We saw how he had a beard and top hat and lived in a log cabin a long, long time ago before even their grandma and grandpa were born. We then made a Popsicle Stick Log Cabin just like Abe Lincoln’s (from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife:  

We also made Abraham Lincoln masks by cutting out the inside of a paper plate, sponge painting on a beard, gluing on a hat, and taking adorable pictures!

At the end of the day, I told the kids that our president right now is Barack Obama, and I read a book about him called “President Barack Obama”. I don’t know if the kids just liked saying his name, but when I asked them on Friday if they could remember any presidents that we talked about, they all came up with ‘OBAMA!’  Even a few weeks later they were still yelling ‘OBAMA!’ at each other during breakfast.

On Thursday, we focused on the Statue of Liberty, and talked about how it was a big gift from France (we had talked about France during our around-the-world unit a few weeks earlier). The kids loved imagining opening such a big gift!  I read a book called “Liberty’s Journey”, which was the cutest book about the Statue of Liberty leaving her perch and wandering the country ‘from sea to shining sea’ to see all that she stood for. We also read “The Statue of Liberty: An American Symbol”.

For our art project that day, the kids made a Statue of Liberty Hat and Crown.  To make the hat, they just practiced their cutting skills by cutting on a zig-zag line that I drew for them. We stapled the hat around their heads. For the torch, they glued a piece of green construction paper around a toilet paper tube and added some green tissue paper. These also made really cute pictures!!!

At the end of the day, we read a book that I just can’t find the title to… but it was an amazing book! It was a pop-up book that had all the lyrics to “America the Beautiful”, and had pop-up pictures of all the American sights to go with it. It was gorgeous!!

On Friday, we focused on the Bald Eagle as an American Symbol. I read the book “Bald Eagle” and “The Bald Eagle: An American Symbol”. We talked about how the eagle is a big bird that flies up in the sky, free, just like we are free in our country.  I had one boy raise his hand and say “Yeah but bald eagles have big claws and they come down and try to get your head and they can hurt you with their beak and their big claws.”  Uh… yeah. That was one of those moments when I was just speechless. I think I replied with “You are so right… Bald Eagles are birds of prey which means they look for things to eat on the ground, but you’re so big and strong that there’s no way a Bald Eagle could eat you!”

Disaster… averted.  This kid knows more about bald eagles than most Pre-Kers, but he also LOVES being called strong.

For our craft that day, we made Toilet Tube Bald Eagles by gluing pre-cut paper on a toilet paper roll. We used the kids’ handprints for the wings, and they are so cute flying around our bulletin board!!

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