centers

Pizza Shop Dramatic Play

Pizza Shop Pretend Play

Kids love pizza! I created this Pretend Pizza Shop in our Dramatic Play Center for my little pizza eaters! My littles love to pretend to be Chef’s in the Pizza Shop. I love that they are working together, negotiating roles and role-playing. Another bonus to this Pizza Shop set is the students are writing up order forms and tickets as they play! Check out what we have in this Pretend Play Center:

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Some props I have included in this Pizza Shop:

  • Play Pizza (wooden Melissa & Doug and some plastic sets)

  • Pizza Cutters

  • Cups

  • Plates

  • Utensils

  • Child-sized aprons

  • Pizza pans

  • Pizza toppings (came with the Melissa & Doug set)

  • Pizza boxes (clean, new)

  • Parmesan Cheese container (cleaned)

  • Placemats

  • Tablecloth

  • Pizza Order Forms

  • Menus

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Want to create your own Pizza Shop?

4 Lesson Plans you Need for Your Play-Based Classroom

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Oh yes, Benjamin Franklin, you got it.

When we don’t plan out our intentions in our classroom, we can easily miss the mark. Being intentional and goal-driven when planning is the key to being successful. Ever feel like you are just picking up activities from here and there with no clear path of where or what you are doing?

You might need to get your plan on!

Here are the 4 Lesson Plans you NEED for your Play-Based Classroom (and a free printable)!

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#1 : Circle Time Preschool Lesson Plans

Circle Time isn’t always a time that teachers think to plan. But, without planning circle time, you might find that you aren’t sure what to focus and what you have focused on. Planning circle time is quite an in-depth process, so much so that I have a free webinar and a course developed to help teachers plan this time to be a successful as possible.

Here are some of my top tips:

  • Shake it up! Don’t let your circle time get boring… if circle time is boring, children are not engaged and learning isn’t happening. Don’t just do the same ol’ songs, and activities each day.

  • Consider what goals you are actually trying to meet with this time. Can you break those goals into two groups - core/everyday & add-in/just for a short time ? This may help you plan out what skills you might change out throughout the year.

  • Less is more at the beginning of the year. Plan only a quick and easy circle time at the beginning of the year to help students build stamina. Later in the year more things can be added.

#2: Whole Group Planning

I love whole group time! Our class comes to the carpet area and learns together as one whole group. To plan this I consider several different types of activities:

  • Read Aloud (each one of my whole group plans contains a read-aloud)

  • Activity or Game: this might be a sequence or re-telling activity based on the read aloud. Or, we might do a class game, song, movement activity or experiment.

Whole Group Planning Tips

  1. Consider the amount of time that your students can sit at the carpet before becoming restless and plan activities and read-alouds accordingly.

  2. Make sure your activity is engaging and involves student interactions. Students will quickly become bored with your activity if they are not contributing in a hands-on way.

#3: Small Group Planning

Small group time can be conducted many different ways. In our classroom, we have small group learning time during our free play center time. Doing it this way allows us to pull just a couple of students to work on skill specific activities or participate in a open-ended art invitation that is easier done with only a couple of students at a time. To plan this time, I consider several different options:

  • Open-ended art invitation: is there a process art invitation that I want to set up that needs teacher assistance?

  • STEM challenges: some STEM challenges require smaller groups and teacher assistance

  • Assessment: do I need to pull one student or a group of students to complete an assessment?

  • Skill-Based Activities and Games: after assessments there may be a students that need a little extra practice in a certain skill. I can take this time to work with those students in a fun and engaging way.

  • Name Writing: we do not do sign-in books (you can find out why here), so I take time individually with each student to learn the correct strokes needed to write their name.

#4: Center Activities Planning

Planning centers? In a play-based classroom, much of the focus is on learning through play in centers. So, we must carefully plan the things we want students to learn in these centers. To plan centers, I list out all my classroom centers and list any changes/additions being made to the center that week.

This does NOT mean that I completely change up a center- we still have ‘core’ materials in each center and what I add each week is in addition to these core materials. For example, our block center has core materials like blocks, cars, animals, etc. But, during our Dino unit I make sure to add toy dinosaurs and during our All About Me unit, I make sure to add blocks with student pictures added.

Here are some of the centers I plan and the changes I consider:

  • Art Center: stamps, stickers, stencils, paper shapes, foam shapes different painting materials, different canvas materials (different types of paper, foil, wax paper, etc.) based on our current theme or season.

  • Block Center: consider adding materials that students can build with or use as building accessories that reflects the current theme or season.

  • Science Center: we change up our science center every month - you can learn more about what we cover in my Science Center Kit.

  • Sensory Center: this center gets completely changed out based on the theme. For example, during our Winter unit, we use white rice, fake snow and polar animals. When we are in our Thanksgiving unit we use dry beans, craft feathers and little acorns.

  • Library Center: each theme we add a different set of books based on the theme. We also have a tub of ‘favorite’ books that children love to read over and over!

  • Math Center: we like to add familiar games that we have planned during small group into our math center for students to play independently. We also like to change out puzzles, manipulatives and tools.

  • ABC Center: we like to add any alphabet games we have played through the week. We also like to change out the manipulatives to keep it fresh.

  • Playdough Center: add/change cookie cutter, playdough tools and playdough mats

  • Drama Center: We ditched the ‘house’ area and re-create our drama center based on theme. Every drama center is created to encourage imaginary play, peer to peer relationships and each includes a writing component. You can read about some of our favorites: Winter Wonderland, Spaceship, Beach, Rainforest and Pumpkin Patch

  • Writing Center: add theme specific vocabulary cards and we change out writing center materials often to keep students engaged.

*Get the FREE Guide to Preschool Centers here!

Let’s lay it all out!

I have a FREE Preschool Planning Weekly Overview for you in the Resource Library!

 
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Preschool Art Center Storage

The art center has so many supplies.... crayons, glue, scissors, stencils, stickers, paper.... well, the list goes on and on!

In the past, I placed my art center materials in small organizers on top of the table.  But, with so many supplies taking up the table space, my students struggled to find enough room to spread out and create!  Plus, I hated the dis-organization of it all.  Yes, I had labels on most everything...but things just seemed to get thrown in the tubs and not organized during clean up time.

So, when I saw a rolling cart full of beautiful rainbow drawers at my local Sam's Club, I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for!  

Hey Art Center...get ready to get organized!
 

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Here is my new art center storage!  I love the organization of it all!  

My rolling cart has 10 drawers - so I did double up some supplies.  I also love that the drawers pull all the way out so students can take a drawer of supplies to the table if needed!  You can check out what is in each drawer in the list below...

So...I guess the real question is - does it stay organized?  

Well, at clean up time I find my students really trying to put the items in the correct drawer.  Since the drawers are clearly labeled and there is enough room for all supplies it makes it easy (and maybe kind of fun) to put things away.  Although, you can see in the photo above - the drawer with the small pieces to glue is a bit of a mess.  I've just had to let it go... sequins don't like to stay put.  I mean...they are in the drawer at least!

So, I would say this drawer full of art supplies has been a big benefit to our art center.  Not only has organization and clean up of supplies been more successful, but I love how my students have the whole table to create!

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RESOURCES:
Art Center Labels:  With all the labels seen above + an editable Adobe Reader file to add your own photos and wording!
Rolling Cart (similar to mine - affiliate link)
- List of Items in the drawers:
  1: paper
  2: scissors (regular and crazy)
  3: pieces to glue and sequins
  4: glue sticks and glue bottles
  5: markers
  6: crayons and colored pencils
  7: stamps and stamp pads
  8: dot paints
  9: stickers & paper punches
 10: stencils

*Note: We also have an easel in our art center where I bring in painting of various types.

I hope you are inspired to get your art center organized!