Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bread, Bread, Bread

This week our MWF classes had lots of experiences with bread. On Wednesday, I started out with the question, "What do people all over the world eat?" "Bread!" We read the book Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris with photographs by Ken Heyman.

After the book, we looked at many different kinds of bread. I had ciabatta, a baguette, corn and flour tortillas, pita bread, Italian bread, tandoori naan, an English muffin, a hamburger bun, croissants, dinner rolls and bagels. We talked about the shape, the weight, the color and feel of the bread. We also looked to see if the bread was flat or not. The basket of bread was available all day in the discovery center for the children to experience.

It is fun to introduce new foods to preschoolers. Okay, at school it is fun. They are often reluctant to try new foods but sometimes in a group are a little more adventurous. We tasted corn and flour tortillas, pita bread and bagels. We graphed what each child liked best and discussed the chart. We look at the chart and guess which has the most, we count and we use words like greater than, less than, least, most, zero and equal.

We looked at the tortillas and talked about how they were flat but the Italian bread was big (poofy was the term I think the kids used). What makes bread 'poof'? I showed them yeast in a bowl. I asked them, 'What does it look like?' They looked at it and smelled it. I explained yeast is what makes the bread rise. I added some sugar and told the children I was going to add some warm water. I asked them what they thought would happen. It will explode. It will make a mess. Lots and lots of fun answers. We added the water, waited and watched. Ask your child to tell you what happened.

Easy enough to do at home-you need a package of yeast, a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup warm water. I did it in a small bowl and the reaction was great. Extend this activity with your child by trying to add cold water. What happens? Eliminate the sugar. What happens?

On Friday, we made bread sticks. Each child was given a bread stick and made the first letter of their name. The bread stick letters were a huge hit. We used the canned Pillsbury refrigerated bread sticks. This would be a great way to reinforce letter and number recognition.

The children also dictated a story about bread. This helps the children with the sequence of events and review of any vocabulary learned during the lesson. Underlining the word 'bread' and picture clues will help your child read the story. Put it with your other stories and have your child 'read' it to you.

Want to share more bread experiences with your child? Go into the bakery section of your grocery store (better yet go to a real bakery) and the bread aisle. Look at all the different kinds of breads with your child. Talk about the shape, color, size and texture of the breads. Pick a bread to taste. The kids really liked the pita bread and most said they had never eaten pita bread. Make homemade bread??? Nah! Frozen bread dough is much easier. Get some frozen bread dough and watch it rise. This is making me hungry for fresh bread. I think I am going to buy some bread dough myself!!! I love the smell of baking bread in my house.

Every time you share an experience with your child, they are learning. Have some fun with bread in your house this weekend.

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