In an effort to focus more on my little girls, I have created an Eric Carle unit study for Preschool! It’s a work in progress but it is also something that any mom or dad can do with their young kiddos, even in the evenings after work!
I love the concepts behind the Five in a Row curriculum but the book list is so limited! So I took that idea and used it to create some fun ideas using Eric Carle to start out with!
He has quite a few books and this could be done as semester study, unit study or just a fun way to spend a week with a good simple book.
This book is one of our favorites and my two year old went through a phase last year where the book had to be with her at all times!!! Which incidentally is why it is so worn. Oh well at least it’s well loved!
Any way… Panda Bear, Panda Bear is a great way to introduce conservation and endangered species to younger children because all of the animals are endangered species! It also has some great phonics sounds to play with (we like to exaggerate the sounds with each repetition!), great repetition (it makes it easy to come up with your own rhythmic story) as well as some astronomy (why is the moon a dreaming child?) or habitats (why is the eagle soaring or the sea turtle swimming?) or whatever your creativity allows. Perhaps you want to look at his artistic styling? For a young preschooler you can finger paint large pieces of paper with several shades of the same cot and then cut out the shapes. Or you could use tissue paper as a tactile way of understanding collages and color. You could use the book to talk about nouns and verbs. The possibilities are countless and there are far more than you could do in a single week.
The idea behind this unit is that you read each book everyday for a week and follow your reading with a discussion or project. Today we talked about endangered species, why they are endangered and what was special about each animal. We looked up pictures of the real animal, looked at a map of its natural habitat and found what they ate (I googled each animal for images and then looked at the Wikipedia entry for maps and food). Then when finished the girls drew a picture of their favorites. Jo loved the Bald Eagle and decorated him to be pretty (above). Ana liked the Spider Monkey and said they like to live in groups (below).
We will continue to read this everyday for the rest of the week and do activities to go along. Tomorrow we will make graphs to classify each animal and discuss what makes each kind different, Thursday and Friday we will watch a documentary on bald eagles and sea turtles (thanks to nova on Hulu!), we will make life cycle graphs and map out where the animals live (and if we have time or inclination we might even make dioramas of each habitat). It makes school fun for the girls and still allows me time to cater to everyone’s age ranges as well as chores!