Saturday, October 22, 2011

Purposeful Work in Preschool

This year I am delighted to have the preschool three and four year old classes visiting my room. They are coming to do whole group and individual work on the computers. It's going to be an exciting new look at student learning from my perspective. I want to begin tracking our projects.

Finding Resources
The classroom teacher and I began thinking about the types of learning that the PreK3 students are doing in class. They are working on colors and shapes. I searched using Google's Advanced Search. My search terms were preschool shapes because I wanted both the word preschool and shapes on the page I would find. Under the File Type drop down list, I selected Shockwave Flash (.swf). A few hits down the list I came across an adorable game called Purpy's Shapes.

Here is an interesting aside: When I searched using the Advanced Search option and chose the link, I only get the game filling the whole browser screen. If I go directly to the web page, I still get the game, but it is surrounded by advertising. This makes the web page so much better for preschool children.

Once I knew that Sheppard Software had a great game, I went directly to their web site to investigate other flash games for preschool. I found Bloople's Colors

Whole Group Work - PreK3
The classroom teacher and I introduced the activity on the interactive whiteboard. We read the words on the screen and taught the children how to use the pen to select and drag items on the screen. They enjoyed the activity. I told the students we would work on my "big computer" this week and that they would return to work on the "little computers" next week. We started with Bloople's Colors.

Individual Work - PreK3
When the students returned, they learned how to sit on their bottoms on the chairs with wheels. I had them all raise their left hand and explained that they would need to press the left side of the mouse (the same side they had raised their hand) to make the mouse work. Most students had no problem. About a quarter of the three year old students needed extra help. To make life simple, I went to those computers and disabled the secondary mouse button. They will build those skills over the course of the year.

Whole Group Work - PreK4
The four year old students were working on patterns. Rather than using Kid Pix or Tux Paint to build patterns, I decided to use Kidspiration. The screen is much less cluttered and I felt they would be more likely to concentrate on the task rather than trying to draw.

As a whole group, I taught the students one step at a time how to use the Kidspiration program through increasingly more difficult patterns. I have the entire lesson on my lesson wiki.

Individual Work - PreK4
We followed up the group work one week later with individual work on the lab computers. The only thing I forgot to do was switch the icons to the bottom of the page to match the set up I used on the interactive whiteboard. They adapted quickly and had so much fun with their patterns.

Next Steps
It looks like the PreK3 and PreK4 students and teachers are enjoying their work in the computer lab. I will post more ideas as we continue through the year. I'm so excited to work with this age group!


  1. Wow, Preschool. How many kids do you have at a time? I have trouble keeping up with the 14 Kindergarten students sometimes. I did some shape things with Kindergarten last year & found some cute online games - you can see them at - June 1st & 2nd.

  2. Thanks for the link, Vicky. I am seeing the preschool with the teacher and her aide on request. The biggest group we had was 19 students.

  3. Hi!
    My name is Heather and I work for Worth Ave. Group. We’re currently holding a contest for K-12 teachers to win grants for their schools, and iPads or iPods for their classrooms. If you’re interested in participating, feel free to email me or visit the link I’ve posted below.
    Have a great day!

  4. Thank you Heather. I will certainly take advantage of your link.