Today I invite you take a peak into Jill’s 3 Year Classroom. Even if you are teaching your child at home, you are going love Jill’s simple ideas for using the 3 Year Curriculum.
Jill: I love the ABCJesusLovesMe curriculum! The 2nd Edition updates have made it even easier to teach and plan cohesively for all the classes in our preschool. Each day is guided by a daily schedule, but we spend extra time the first week focusing on learning routines.
Our learning day begins with a combined chapel for all ages. This includes a short devotional and each class’s Bible Song of the Week.
Book of the Week
From there we walk to our classroom and read the Book of the Week each day. Week 1’s book is Barnyard Dance and students had so much fun dancing like the animals! On Tuesday, we picture walked through the book and discussed the name of each animal and the sound it makes. Then I read the book and modeled the movement suggested on each page. On Wednesday, we focused on vocabulary as we discussed the meaning of each action word and the children again acted out each movement. On Thursday, the children acted out the book as I read. For connection, we read another farm-themed book.
Morning Meeting packs in a lot of learning pieces. Because of a 3-year-old’s limited focus, I try to keep it as interactive as possible, providing plenty of movement opportunities. On the wall in front of the children, I post the Shape, Number, Color, and Letter of the Week posters. Posters are included in the 3 Year Workbook. I also include a Calendar and Weather Pocket Chart, Word Pocket Chart (for names), Yes/No columns, and a Bible Visual (available in the 3 Year Workbook or Bible Activity Workbook). To help me remember the Memory Verse, Bible Song, and Poem, I bind the cards with a binder ring and place them on a hook (available in the 3 Year Workbook, Poem Cards, and Bible Song Cards).
We open with prayer, Bible verse practice, and signing or dancing to the Bible song.
Academic Learning in Circle Time
I introduce the Color and Number of the Week on Day 1, leaving the Shape and Number of the Week introduction for Day 2.
After the introduction of the Color of the Week, we sing the Color Song and discover who is wearing clothing with the color. Each week we add to our class construction-paper caterpillar to hang on the wall. After talking about the Number of the Week, each child comes to the front of the class to trace with his/her finger the Number Poster that I hold. Then we count to the number and do an activity ___ times (e.g. jump 2 times, twirl 3 times). This week’s Number is 0, which is always hard for children to understand. But we are laying a foundation of learning, so I know they will get it.
The letter is introduced on Day 2 with the phonic chant and formation chant (included in the Lesson Plans). Once again each child finger-traces the letter on the poster I am holding. On Day 3, I give each child their name printed on a strip of paper. As a class we decide if each name has an “A” or “a,” and then hang the name in the “Yes” or “No” column based on our decision.
Morning Meeting time ends with the Poem of the Week (Baa Baa Black Sheep) and a quick look at the calendar to discuss what day it is, what tomorrow will be, what yesterday was, and rote count up to today’s day of the month. We also discuss the weather.
Whole Group Learning
On Wednesday I removed the Aa Posters from the sleeves and then assisted each child in tracing their letter with a glue bottle while saying the formation chant. While waiting their turn, the children looked at small farm animal pictures laid on the table. Once the glue was on the page, each child placed their chosen animals on the glue. The posters were hung on the wall to further discuss the letter “Aa.”
On Thursday I hung a long piece of butcher paper on the wall for the students to color with a black crayon. While half of the students colored on the paper, the rest colored their Number “0” Poster at the table putting “0” items on the poster. Then, they switched places.
Next are Learning Opportunities (aka Learning Centers). Some of the centers are based on the students’ interests, while some are curriculum themed based. Beyond the standard classroom centers like kitchen and sensory boxes, this week’s centers include barns and farm animals, play dough, and wooden letter blocks to find the letters “A” and “a.”
For Bible time we gather at a magnet board created with a painted 2×3′ oil drip pan hung on the wall. Instead of flannelgraph characters, we build the Bible story using printed clipart that contain magnets on the backs of each. On Day 1, I introduce the story using the ABCJesusLovesMe Interactive Bible Story with the magnetic pieces. Then we sing the Bible song and practice the memory verse. On Day 2 we review the story using the magnet pieces and answer the comprehension questions. To review on the next day, I read the story from The Bible App Storybook Bible (by YouVersion). For interactive learning, I hung each child’s Bible worksheet on top of the butcher paper we colored on. I created black watercolor paint by mixing a little regular paint and water for everyone to vertical paint together.
Weekly Teachable Moments
Throughout the week, I audibly spell each child’s name while writing it on his/her papers. I also spell and point to each letter in the children’s names written at their cubbies as they place their belongings each morning.
At snack time, and sometimes after I have finished my lunch, I read additional books from our theme (e.g. farm animals) while they finish eating. Other times, I start conversations about the theme or we look for the Color of the Week in what everyone is eating.
A special teachable moment became available when we found a frog family on the playground. We watched and discussed the frogs and then helped them hop outside the playground fence.
Heidi: That is the word that kept echoing in my mind as I read through Jill’s first week with her 3-year-old students. Whether in a home or classroom…so simple. So much learning. So fun. Thank you, Jill, for sharing your first week using the 3 Year Curriculum and for sharing these fun pictures!
What idea from Jill can you implement into your home or classroom?
Discover more in this series on Intentional Learning with the ABCJesusLovesMe Curriculum
1. Combining the 1 and 3 Year Curricula
2. How to Use the 5 Year Curriculum
3. How to Use the 3 Year Curriculum in a Preschool Classroom
4. Intentional Learning with the 2 Year Curriculum