Every year I had to make so many difficult decisions about what to teach. Of course I was responsible for the district Kindergarten curriculum, which was based on State Benchmarks, which were developed from National Standards; but I had choices about HOW to teach that curriculum. In Kindergarten much of the curriculum can be taught or reinforced through lots of different units. I always tried to integrate math and language arts into our science and social studies units, and I loved to spend time on topics that my children were interested in. But from year to year I switched off some units, and lengthened or shortened some, depending on lots of specific factors. Some years I spent quite a lot of time on Fire Safety and Fire prevention, other years I just hit the main points. Rachel is already planning her fall units, and asked for some ideas – so here goes!
I usually began a unit by thinking through what I wanted the children to learn, and came up with 5-6 important ideas. For Fire Safety, like lots of other units – I loved to introduce these facts with a puppet. You could use a bear puppet who might come and tell about his “cousin” Smokey the Bear, or a dog puppet – talking about Dalmatians and how they are sometimes called Fire Dogs. A puppet is always an effective way to share information with young children. You might want to make a fire hat from a red foam sheet or construction paper – I will include some simple patterns that you could resize on a copy machine to fit your puppet.
Your puppet might bring along a backpack or something to hold pictures of things like a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher, a fire engine, or telephone to call 911. If you ever come across tiny replicas of these things that would be even better! I found these cute pictures online:
You could even turn these into stick puppets. Here is a suggestion of things you could tell children about them:
You might like to make Fireman Fingerpuppets. You could use one to share information, then when the children make one you could encourage them to talk abou fire safety too!
Here is a book about Fire Safety that I made.
Some years our local fire department would bring a fire truck to school, occasionally we took a field trip to a fire station. Even when we didn’t have a chance to see a fire fighter in person I would talk about the protective clothing they wore, and how their face might be covered, and the noise of the air tanks.
I included the main points I wanted my class to remember in this book. Through the unit we would discuss and read about lots of other elements of fire prevention, but these were my main focus. I sent home a note telling parents we were discussing fire safety and encouraging them to make a family plan, and find a safe meeting place.
I read a fun suggestion to take a piece of roll paper and have the class color it to look like smoke. Then 2 adults could hold the edges of the paper and the children could crawl under it – as a reminder that they need to stay low to breathe more easily.
We would practice Stop, Drop and Roll. I made flames from orange, yellow and red felt glued together. I put a flame on a child’s clothing and they had to demonstrate this technique. They loved it!
Here is a copy of this book:
I put tiny picture cues on most pages to help the children figure out what the page says. You might want to do this entire book at one time, or just one page a day. Here are the clipart pictures I used:
You could simplify this a bit by just gluing on pictures instead of cutting and pasting the tree, door, etc.
Dramatic play was a very important part of my classroom – I already shared our Fire Safety play but here are a few pictures.
I cut off a length of an old garden hose. These children are sitting on “Benchley” as a fire engine – other times it was a car, plane, train, etc.
I gave a full description under the Play heading on my blog, but the fire hydrant was a gas pump covered with paper. The burning building was a magnet board – the kids drew an apartment or office building and I taped it over the magnet board. Then I put magnets on felt flames. They could pretend to put out the fire and remove the flames.
Here are some song ideas – I did not make these up, but I am not sure where they originated, sorry!
I found this website
- http://www.do2learn.com/games/songs/firesafetysong/song.htmand it contained this song, including pictures. If you go to the site you can click to hear the music, but I found it works pretty well to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.
Here is another idea that someone shared with me – near the end of your unit, set up a maze using tables, chairs and classroom props. You could give children the choice of being blindfolded, to simulate not being able to see in heavy smoke. The children would crawl on their hands and knees through the obstacle course and then you could have a designated “safe” place in the classroom that they would run to, to meet up with the rest of the class.
Here is one version of the story of Smokey the Bear.
If you choose to talk about Smokey, or use a bear puppet, you might want to try this activity. Each child could hold a simple bear shape with a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other. You could read scenarios like these and the children show whether it would make Smokey happy or sad.
Here are more craft ideas that I have accumulated in my files:
Each child only needs one hat.
Here is a 2 page template to be taped together to make a fire fighter hat large enough for your kids to wear.
Here are a couple of books I found online.
Here is a cut and paste fire truck
- Sesame Street
- Stop, drop, roll