Building block blueprints

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Literacy extension activities promote a love of reading, help build new vocabulary and set a foundation for future learning

Anytime I read a story that my students seem to connect well with, I try to extend the concepts into other content areas of my classroom.  Sometimes, I have planned ahead and just assume, from prior experience, that my students will enjoy the book and other times I work on the fly (plan as we go along).

Introducing a Story

As I previously shared with you, we read the children’s book “Changes, Changes” by Pat Hutchins in our circle time and this was one of those “on the fly” activities we did to extend the reading into our day. You can view more about this book and our circle time activities that went with this book by clicking here: Building Block Literacy and Story Telling...

Building New Vocabulary

Since we were reading about blocks, our new word of the day (in PreK) was the word “block.”  As we often do, we illustrate our words through our artwork. Today we used our blocks to create a blueprint of blocks…

Designing Blueprints

To create our blueprint, the children selected several blocks to trace around with a pencil. They were shown how they could start by placing the blocks on the paper first to create their block structure and then start tracing. However, most of the children chose just to trace the blocks without giving much thought to what they might be building on their paper. Children need to be able to interpret the process in a way that makes sense to them or in a way that interests them so we kept the process open to doing things their own way…

Enhancing Fine Motor Skills

Tracing blocks can be challenging for small hands.  It takes practice to hold the block in place, hold a pencil, and trace around the edges all at the same time…

Once the pre-k children got the hang of tracing around the blocks and were ready to move on, then the children had the choice to trace over their lines again with a permanent marker or they could skip this step and just begin painting their block tracings…

Each child chose the path they preferred…

Adding to their Design

Some traced again with the permanent marker (this is something we have done before) then painted their shapes and others went right to painting…

I think that just the process of tracing was the most important part of this project but I am sure my students will tell you that the painting was the most fun part of the process.  The children were each given four colors of paint and they could mix the colors to create more color if they wanted more colors…

Mixing Colors

And most of them did mix the paint colors. They just mixed their colors on a paper towel…

Every Blueprint is Unique

In the end, we had a broad range of final results from the quite colorful and abstract block blueprint…

To the more specifically designed block blueprint..

Even Miss Abby and I decided to try our own hand at this process. This is Miss Abby’s blueprint…

And this is mine…

The children were quite interested in watching Miss Abby make her block blueprint – no one seemed all that interested in mine!

I thought they all turned out quite beautiful…


Available on Amazon

Links to Grow on

Builders from Brick by Brick

Literacy in the Block Corner from Childhood 101

Stages of Block Play from Fairy Dust Teaching

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Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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