A Yearly Plan for Science & Social Studies in Kindergarten

 

In this post, I will share with you my monthly themes for science and social studies for Kindergarten!  I recently received an email in which the teacher was asking me to share my long range plans for science and social studies, so I wrote them out quickly for her.  I always think that if one person has a question, there are probably many more with the same question, so I wanted to share it!  I’ll also link to some of the resources that I use.  Here’s her letter:

Hi there! I’m such a fan- I substitute taught in a Pre-K class in which your Alphabet songs made a HUGE impact (no exaggeration!). Now, I’m working with my grandsons at home and just got your DVD and a few small things for myself. SO excited!
I emailed Krissie, and she put me onto your fabulous guides for Kindergarten. They have made my planning so much easier. I;m grateful for the crazy amount of work you put into that! I had a question about social studies and science- do you have a plan for those in your Pre-K or Kinder classes? Do you go by core curriculum there, too, or by themes that you enhance yourself? Also- might you conceivably have a Bible pacing guide for these ages?
I definitely don’t want you to go out of your way, just wondered if you could point me in the right direction.
For all you do for so many little ones and the folks who care about them- thanks with all our hearts!
Alyson

Here is my response:

Hi, there!
I really don’t have a formal plan laid out for social studies and science, except that I usually do either one or the other- every other month.  I have listed it out below.  I can’t seem to fit in both on the same day very often, unless I’m doing full day rather than extended or half day.  (See a post with my usual Kindergarten schedules here.)
Heidi

Note:  There are a lot of “Singable Books” in this post that my kids always make and learn how to read.  You can get ALL of these “Singable Books” together on one disk at a huge discount ($10 for the WHOLE SET!) if you buy them all at once, but it costs a LOT more if you buy them one at a time.  Check it out if you think you might want two or more.

 

1.  August/September:  Back to School expectations, rules, and routines.  We begin our farm animal unit when kids have the rules down.
Resources:  Classroom Management DVD and printable Poster Set.

 

Wiggles Learns the Rules at School Book, Wiggles Learns How to Pay Attention, Wiggles’ First Day of School, Little Sittles Learns to Join In.   You can get all of these products and DVD or CD, too in a bundle by purchasing the Classroom Management Classroom Combo!

We read one of these Wiggles books nearly every day as a way of teaching and reviewing the procedures and rules.w
 

We usually also make our Shapes Singable Book in August or September.  The classic little book Round is a Pancake is also another project that we always do in Kindergarten at the beginning of the year.  Round is a Pancake is not “singable,” and it is a freebie on this blog post here!  Depending on how early in August the school year begins, there is often time to make the Rhyme Book as well. (See below.) I LOVE that one because working on just one page per day really helps drive home the concept of rhyme.  Plus, my little ones that struggle with rhyme usually wind up memorizing the rhyming pairs in the book, and that’s a real plus for them.  (It takes a while to prep because it’s a lift the flap book, so I prep this one in the summer.)

 

 

2.  October:  Farm animals and fall themes, Halloween.
We study the five animals included in my “Our School Farm” singable book, (the chick, pig, cow, sheep, and horse) and make each of the included crafts.  Check it out below!

 

We decorate our room with these art projects, and then when it’s time to change the bulletin boards, I have volunteers glue them into a book for the children to read and take home!  To study the animals, I read nonfiction books on each one, and/or show YouTube clips.  We also have a local petting zoo with a pony sweep visit our school so that the children can really meet the animals and spend time with each one!

Here is one of my bulletin boards with the children’s farm art projects from their Farm Singable Book. Isn’t it adorable? We got the sheep into a jeep, too, just for fun!
 

We have no restrictions on teaching Halloween themes at my school, so I have the kids make my little Halloween Song singable book.  We make one page a day for five days until we are finished!  You can take a look at the book and hear the song in the YouTube movie below!

 

 

3.  November:  Fall, Thanksgiving, family traditions.
In November, we make our Dinner’s Ready singable book to help the children learn the vocabulary of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. (This is helpful for my English language learners.)

 

We also start our Seasons Song and Singable Book, doing just the first page for fall.  We discuss the characteristics of fall, do one page for each season as the , and then at the end of the year I put all of the pages together into a book for each child.

 

 

4.  December:  Holiday Traditions Around the World and the Gingerbread Man!
Studying holiday traditions around the world is a fun thing to do, and we created a nice little, child-friendly booklet you can read your kids and they can color, too!  It’s just ten bucks. Can’t beat that, right?  The little ones only have to sit through just ONE page of explanations about the other cultures, and then there is a bright and colorful drawing to help illustrate it.  I also like to show them photos online via Google Earth, if we have time.  You can read more about it here, if you are interested!

Here is a sample page from my Holiday Traditions Around the World book.  Click here to find out more.
 

I also LOVE to put on our annual Gingerbread Man musical play each year, and read lots of versions of the story!  Click on the link to see the whole musical! My set of costumes are a bit too small for my second graders this year, so we couldn’t do it this time, but I am really hoping that next year I’ll be back in K!  My favorite version of the tale is the one I wrote that features school children putting on the play!  It even has a CD that comes with it that has ME reading the story!

 

 

5.  January:  Winter themes with ice/snow/crystal growing investigations.  Begin study of sea animals.
As soon as we get back from winter vacation, we begin working on our Let’s Build a Snowman Singable Book.  However, since we also need to squeeze in quite a few sea animals, sometimes we just do the last page of the book, and go straight to the Look Out, Fishies! book instead.  Our Kindergarten always visits the Aquarium of the Pacific at the beginning of February, so I like to teach them about as many of the sea creatures as possible before we go.

 

Just as with the Farm book, we decorate our room with these art projects, and then when it’s time to change the bulletin boards, I have volunteers glue them into a book for the children to read!  To study the animals, I read nonfiction books on each one, and/or show YouTube clips.  At this point in the year, I start saving the children’s books to display for Open House that comes at the end of May.

 

6.  February:  Complete study of sea animals; study Valentine’s Day and Presidents Days.

Believe it or not, I have NO singable book to work on in February, other than finishing the Look Out, Fishies book above!  There seem to be so many fun Valentine’s Day and President’s Day projects to do that I’ve never needed anything else, and so I never developed anything else.  You can find some good Valentine’s Day freebies on this post here and a patriotic craft here.  There are some good President’s Day activities here, too!

 

7.  March:  Weather, insects unit, leprechauns, and spring (beginning near end of March.)
In March, it always seems appropriate to study the changes in weather that lead up to spring!  We usually graph the weather changes, although the kids sometimes lose interest in it here in Southern California, where the weather is usually so temperate.  So we read books about it and watch YouTube movies!  We also do the spring page of our Seasons Book, which the sweet little girl is holding in the photo below.

 

I love bringing in caterpillars and letting the kids watch the life cycle as they turn into butterflies!  We also do that with ladybugs and sometimes even a praying mantis!  I have lots of little crafts that we do as we study the different insects, along with some nice flower projects that we make along with them, too!  You can find a free ant project here, and a free bee and a ladybug here.

 

And OF COURSE we MUST study St. Patrick’s Day!  We read lots of books and build leprechaun traps, too!  You can find the cute leprechaun project that you see below free here.

 

 

8.  April: Flowers, plants, hatching chicks, and starting to get ready for Mother’s Day and Open House theme (whatever it is!)

In April, we plant seeds and watch them grow.  We also learn about plants in general from nonfiction books.  I love to have the children make the flowers that are posted in the blog post with the leprechauns.

Flowers- Free patterns download from HeidiSongs
 

There’s a nice “Hatching Chick” project at this blog post, plus several fun ideas for Mother’s Day as well!

 

And hatching chicks in an incubator is wonderful fun!  I highly recommend it!  I have written out as many tips as I know of in this blog post here.

Chicks! - HeidiSongs
 

 

9.  May- Mother’s Day, zoo animals, and whatever else we are doing for Open House.

In May, we make a Mother’s Day gift and begin to study zoo animals, which is usually our theme for Open House.  (Open House is a night when the children’s families come to visit, and the classrooms are HIGHLY decorated!)  We make the animals from my Zoo Song Singable Book, and put them on the bulletin boards.  After Open House is over, then we put glue them into books for the children.

 

 

10.  June-  Summer, compare the four seasons. Learn about first grade expectations.

In June, we complete our study of the seasons and put our Season Book together!  It has the words to all of the seasons songs in it.  And there always seems to be so many things happening at the end of the school year, so we are never lacking for things to do!

 

I also started incorporating some really fun Science Centers in the last few years that I taught Kindergarten, and I’ll probably blog on those in the future.  I do a presentation on those sometimes at conferences.  If you want to really “pressure yourself” to do it all, it can be done.  But I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a brand new teacher!

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I hope that this has been helpful!  Sorry it is SO LONG!  Let me know if you have any questions!

– Heidi 🙂

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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.

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