Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkin Day! What a fun end to a week filled of learning about pumpkins! Luckily, I’m blessed to teach at a school where the parents are really involved and eager to help, and that made our Pumpkin Day run SO smoothly!! I had 4 parent volunteers come in and each parent brought in a pumpkin, spoons, carving knives, a bowl, and paper towels. We covered the tables with orange butcher paper and each parent took a group of 4 kids {which is why I got to walk around and take pics of our fun day!} Each of the kids was given a Pumpkin Math & Science Booklet to complete and the parents did an AWESOME job of working with the kids!!

First up…estimating the circumference of their pumpkin. The parents talked about estimating & circumference and then helped the kids cut a piece of yarn to measure.


Next…estimating the lines on the pumpkin. Once the kids made their estimates, the parents helped keep track of the counting.


Time for a sink or float activity! Most of the kids hypothesized that the pumpkin would sink. Did you know they float?! This was an awesome opportunity for the parents to talk about making a hypothesis and testing it to see if it was right! The kids were FLOORED that their pumpkins floated!!


After the floating experiment, the kids got to use a scale to see how much their pumpkin weighed. The parents had the kids weigh themselves also to see how their weight compared to the weight of a pumpkin. I also heard a few groups talk about how many pumpkins it would take to equal their own weight… FUN!


Finally it was time to estimate & count the number of seeds in their pumpkins. This was their favorite part! Each group carved open their pumpkin and spooned out the seeds. The kids counted the seeds by groups of 10. Some of them talked about skip counting by 2’s & 5’s but decided that it would be faster to count by 10’s. Woo hoo!



The kids circled each group of 10 to make counting easier. The final counts were impressive!!


One of the sweet moms collected all the pumpkin seeds and took them home to roast. Come Monday our class will be dining on roasted pumpkin seeds! YUM!!!

Finally it was time to carve their pumpkins. It was fun to see how different each group carved theirs…they all got to vote on what they wanted!! And of course, the parents that brought in the pumpkins got to take theirs home for Halloween :)



Such a fun way to end the week!! And the kids learned so much!!! I love Pumpkin Day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Fun For Everyone!

Such a FUN week!!! I absolutely LOVE this time of year!!! We had a pumpkin themed week and we learned SO much!! We started the week out with a pumpkin shaped KWL that the kids helped me fill out. They are SO into non-fiction and loved helping me fill out the “What we Learned” part of the pumpkin :) {No pics…BOO!!}

We were working on sequencing this week, so I put a little sequencing activity in the pocket chart & they had to sequence the life cycle of a pumpkin. They loved it! I found the real life pumpkin photos HERE & they matched them to sentences that I typed up on the computer. After they matched the pics to the words & sequenced the steps, I had them finish a little life cycle sequencing project I found HERE.


For writing, the kids got to create PUMPKIN acrostic poems, make a list of Halloween words, write a friendly letter to a jack o’lantern, and create a flow map of “The Pumpkin Book” by Gail Gibbons. {Their friendly letters were SO dang cute!!}


My FAVORITE activity is one I’ve been doing for years! I just beefed it up for my kiddos and they were in LOVE!! We talked about using our 5 senses…minus the sense of taste…to observe the outside and inside of a pumpkin. As each kiddo took a turn observing the outside of the pumpkin, I had him/her give me an adjective to describe their observation. {This was PERFECT for reinforcing the concept of adjectives!!} We created a word web and I wrote down all of the adjectives for the outside of the pumpkin in green. Then we did the same thing for the inside of the pumpkin. I cut it open and had the kids dig in and give me an adjective for what they felt/saw/smelled. Then I wrote those words on the web in red.



I cleaned off the pumpkin seeds and set them aside for this next activity. I read this story by Loreen Leedy…


AWESOME book for introducing the concept of similes!!! Clever as a fox ;)

We talked about similes and then I had the kids use the adjectives from our pumpkin word web for a follow-up writing activity. I know similes are a tricky concept, but they were SO into it!! And I was SO impressed with what they wrote!! I cut out a pumpkin template and stapled two together. On the top template, I had the kids choose a green word from the word web to create a simile about the outside of the pumpkin. {One of my kids said, “Pumpkins are as bruised as a rotten banana.”}


On the inside template, I had the kids choose a red word from the word web to create a simile about the inside of a pumpkin. {One of my kids wrote, “Pumpkins are as slimy as jello.”} Then I had the kids take the clean pumpkin seeds and yellow{ish} yarn to glue to the inside template {to represent what the inside of the pumpkin looks like.} I love, love, LOVE this activity!!


We used the same pumpkin from our adjective activity for a little lesson on voting {one of our objectives}. What a PERFECT time to talk about voting with all these elections going on!! We read this story…


And then we voted on the way we would carve our pumpkin. I gave them a selection of “candidates” for eyes, nose, and mouth.


Yes…quite a bit from which to choose!! HA!! But they loved it!! I gave each of the kids a ballot…


And sent them to the “voting booth”!! {My closet :)} I set up a chair, a ballot box, a clipboard, pencils, and the voting chart {eyes, nose, mouth}. While they were in the voting booth, they had to use the chart to make their choices and then slip their ballot into the ballot box. Once all the ballots were in, I tallied them up to reveal our winners…


We actually had a tie between a triangle and circle shaped nose. It was a great time to talk about tiebreakers and then we voted between the two choices. In the end, we ended up with a triangle nose! Here’s what our jack o’lantern looked like when it was all said and done…


EEEEKS! A little scary :) No worries. He didn’t last long. We chopped him up and threw him in a big container and sealed it shut. Now he’s in pieces and we’re conducting a decay/decompose science experiment. Stay tuned for more on that next week!!

Math “Board” Games

When I taught Kindergarten, one of the girls on my team made these one-to-one correspondence math games for the kids. We kept them in our math tubs pretty much all year long because they were great for the kids to play when they were finished with their work, plus they were great for reinforcing rote counting and one-to-one correspondence. To kick it up a notch and make it “First Grade friendly”, I made a little addition/subtraction game out of similar game “boards”. The kids LOVE these games!!

I have the kids play with a partner and both players get a matching game board, a set of {seasonal} counters, a stack of plus/minus & number cards, and a placemat for the cards. To start the game, each player rolls the die and moves ahead that many spaces. After both players have rolled the die once, the players choose a card from the plus/minus stack & another card from the # stack. Looking at the symbol, players determine whether to move ahead {add} or go back {minus} the number of spaces that was drawn. If a bigger number is drawn than the number of spaces they can move back, I tell them to place the cards at the bottom of the pile and draw again. I also included a “Back to Start” & a “Lose a Turn” card just to mix it up a bit ;) The player who gets to “finish” first is the winner!



I have a few little friends who are still working on one-to-one correspondence, so I’ll have those babies take a game board, roll a die, and cover up that many spaces on the board. Works for everyone! mathgames4

Mystery Words

This week was a chunk week review for us, so I made up a little activity that would get the kids thinking about word families & popcorn words. I took a couple of lunch bags and filled them with letter tiles. In one bag, I included the letters contained in all of our popcorn words {to date}. In the other bag, I included all the vowels & word endings to the chunks we’ve learned thus far, plus a few additional letters. The kids had to pick a bag and use the tiles inside to make words. I told them to read the room if they had trouble figuring out what words to make. {We’ve got our chunk charts & popcorn words ALL over the room, so I knew they wouldn’t have too much trouble ;)} They also had to record the words they made on a separate recording sheet. This is definitely an activity I’ll keep recycling throughout the year! It really got them thinking and it was so fun to see what words they made! One of my sweeties spelled my youngest son’s name and was SO proud of herself :) Hey…whatever works!! Love it!




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I See The Moon & The Moon Sees Me!

We’ve been learning a little about the moon and the kids are loving it! One of our objectives is to observe changes over a period of time, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for the kids to observe the changes in the appearance of the moon! We made this a class project and the kids are just TOO excited!

Each night, a different kiddo gets to take home the class “Moon Bag”. {I used yellow fabric & stitch witchery for the moon, a fabric marker for the lettering, and glittery puff paint to outline the moon and make the stars :)}


Inside the bag is a book about the moon {from the library}, our class moon log, white crayons, white chalk, & hairspray {to seal the chalk}.


Each night a different kiddo is responsible for taking home the Moon Bag. The kiddo who takes it home gets to be our official class Moon Watcher for the night. They were SO excited about it and can’t wait for their turn! Using a white crayon or chalk, the kids will draw the moon {the shape they observe}.



I drew the first three nights worth of moons in our notebook so that the kids {& their parents} would have an example. Since there are plenty of nights that we don’t see the moon in the sky, I told the kids to draw what they observe {stars, clouds, etc.} When the Moon Bag comes back to school the following day, we look at this website together to see what the moon would have looked like if they would have seen it in the sky. The first two kids that took home the Moon Bag never saw the moon :(

The notebook is filled with black construction paper, a letter to the parents, and a checklist. We’ll observe the moon for a full month so that we can talk about the changes it goes through in a full cycle. Then I’ll put the Moon Log in the Investigation Station for the kids to revisit!

Moon Log

A Couple of Math Things…

This is a CRAZY week!! Our schedule is a little off and we’re planning a FUN “Pumpkin Day” on Friday, so I set out a fewer number of math tubs this week. Here are just a couple of things that we’re working on…


Greater than/less than candy jars. Each piece of candy is programmed with a number {1-50}. There is also a set of number cards {1-50}. The kids have to pick a number card and then sort the candy into the corresponding candy jars. This was just a little review that they’ve really loved! I’ll definitely keep this in my "when I’m finished…” tubs for them to revisit :)



Here’s just another little addition/subtraction sort, kinda like the one we did last week with the jack o’lanterns…just a different format :) I let the kids use candy corn for counters with the higher numbers! Loved it!!

pumpkin sorting

Can’t wait to share our “Pumpkin Day” on Friday with you!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Skeleton Hiccups

For a little reader’s response fun, we read this book…


SO darling! And then we got to problem solving. The kids had to write using the prompt, “I would get rid of a skeleton’s hiccups by…”. Their answers were pretty dang cute! I drew the skeleton face & hips and had a mom cut them out. Then the kids decided how the rest of the skeleton would look! LOVE IT!! My favorite part is how different each of them look. Too dang cute!


This might be one of my most favorite writing activities of the year…I’m just sayin’. I’ve done this for the last 7 years and I always look forward to it!! And the kids love it, too!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where’s My Mummy?

We had our annual Fall Book Fair a couple of weeks ago and there was the most darling little book on the shelves…


Now, this book has probably been around for a while, but it’s the first time I saw it. One of my sweeties from class bought it for me and I! SUCH a cute story! {And it’s since become a favorite of my two boys, too!} I immediately knew I wanted to use this story for a writing activity and here’s what we did…


For a reader’s response, I had the kids use the sentence prompt, “When I get scared, my mummy…”, and they had to write about something that their Mommy does to help them when they’re scared {text to self connection}. Using the backside of a paper plate, the kids glued on a black rectangle, an orange set of eyes, and then tore big pieces of white construction paper for the bandages. Loved this reader’s response!


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