art · story · topic

Jack O’Lantern Art

It’s Friday!! Did you have fun learning about pumpkins this week? You will have to let me know which activities you tried and which types you’d like to see more of in the weeks to come!

Today’s stories:

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell– Tim carved the best pumpkin and named him Jack. He puts the pumpkin out into the garden as it begins to rot. Tim watches Jack change over time. Watch to see what becomes of Jack over the days, weeks and months.

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson — in this informational text you follow the life cycle from seed to seed of a pumpkin. Story written in flowing and bouncy verse to match beautiful and vivid photographs.

Here is a fun song to learn and sing together.

Little Jack O’Lantern (sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Till somebody blew it out. (then blow out the “candle”)

Now let’s make a Jack O’Lantern!

For this activity in school I would typically give the children the option of drawing and cutting out their own pumpkin shape or using a tracer. At home, you can either let them create their own or trace something to make the basic shape (plate, bowl, or other roundish item).

  1. Determine if you want your pumpkin to be tall and skinny or short and plump.
  2. Trace/draw the outline of your pumpkin onto an orange sheet of paper… or make it a green pumpkin, or a white pumpkin… you pick!
  3. Does your pumpkin have a stem or is it a “stumpkin”?
  4. now cut out the pumpkin… only cut the outside (trust me say this as some will cut ALL the lines they drew!)
  5. Now design the face of your pumpkin.- you can either cut pieces out of yellow, white or black paper and glue it onto the pumpkin or cut the pieces out of the orange paper. I show the children how to bend the paper to start cutting into where you want the openings.
  6. Use markers or crayons to add the pumpkin lines, color in the steam, and add more details
  7. If you cut out the eyes, you can either leave them or back the pumpkin in yellow or black paper to see the depth.
STEAM · topic · writing

Pumpkins Can, Have, Need, Are

Today we will think about pumpkins! Today’s story is Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli. I hope you enjoy this story!

Today for our activity we will create a chart of facts about pumpkins. First, I encourage you to watch Dissect a Pumpkin from SciShow Kids. Watch Jessi and Squeeks learn more about pumpkins.

After learning a a bit more about pumpkins, lets chart some of our knowledge! In this example I created a four box page to collect information on what pumpkins can, have, need and are. You could also limit this to two or three concepts. The purpose of charts like this is to begin writing informative sentences: Pumpkins can rot. Pumpkins have seeds. Pumpkins need space to grow. Pumpkins are fruits.

In my Teachers Pay Teachers store, you will find a collection of Can, Are, Have charts for fall. In this kit, Fall Graphic Organizers, you will also find circle maps, writing pages and venn diagrams. Topics covered: apples, pumpkins, spiders, bats and owls.

phonemic awareness · word work

Word Family Pumpkins

Here are two more great Pumpkin stories: Christopher Pumpkin by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet and Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Both these stories talk about pumpkins that don’t quite fit in, but stand out all the same.

For Words Wednesday we will work on short “a” word families. Word families is a great way to work on sounding out words, for those ready for this skill, but it is also a great way to work on rhyming words. I will explain how you can alter these activities based on what skill your child is ready for at this time.

For the first activity, have your child draw 2-4 pumpkins on the page. Make sure they are big enough to draw inside. Label each pumpkin with an “a” word family (-ab, -ack, -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at). Brainstorm with your child words that could fit in that word family. I typically ask the children if they can come up with one on their own, if they can… go from there. If they can’t then I will give an example or two and then see if they get the concept and can move on. For children who are working on this skill strictly as a phonemic awareness skill, they will just draw pictures of the words. For children who are working on reading and writing these CVC, CVCC words, they will illustrate and write the word. Continue to do to the same for each pumpkin on your page.

The second activity is real vs nonsense words. Children love playing with nonsense words. They love to create words that just sound funny. So… why not play with nonsense words with word families. Pick a word family, see list above. Divide a sheet of paper in half, and write real words on one side and nonsense words on the other side. Now work the same concepts. Put different beginning sounds on to the rime and see if the word is real or nonsense. Using magnetic letter or other letter tiles helps with this skill as children often struggle to go through the alphabet to find more words. You can do this totally orally as a phonemic awareness skill or write it on paper as a phonics activity.

STEAM · story · topic

Pumpkin Life Cycle

Today we will focus on the life cycle of a pumpkin. Here are a few youtube links to help your child see this process.

It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall— a family plants a pumpkin patch and watches it grow from seed to jack o’lantern.

How Do Pumpkins Grow by Inspired by Kinder— an easy reader about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

A Pumpkin Grows by Scholastic— great visuals of a pumpkin life cycle

Time Lapse of pumpkin growing: a pumpkin life, pumpkin time lapse (up close)

So now you have seen how a pumpkin grows! Let’s put it down on paper.

Typical steps stages focused on: seed, sprout, vine, flower/blossom, green pumpkin, orange pumpkin

I made a paper pumpkin and drew the life cycle on the pumpkin. You can do this or vary it many different ways…

Have your child make a pumpkin and print out the stages having your child glue them in order on the pumpkin

Draw/color the steps on green leaves and glue them onto a green piece of yarn to represent a pumpkin vine

Draw/color out the steps and place them on a long strip of paper such as a sentence strip

Draw/color each of the steps on small pumpkins and make a pumpkin patch

Or any other representation you want!

game · math · topic

Pumpkin Bump Game

This week we will be looking at pumpkins! Who doesn’t like to learn about pumpkins? Here is a fun pumpkin story to listen to: Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. What would you do if you had too many pumpkins? Well listen to what Rebecca Estelle does with all the pumpkins she finds!

Today you are getting two stories… How Many Seeds in Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara. The children in Mr. Tiffin’s class learn about estimating, sizes, counting and more by counting the seeds in three different sized pumpkins.

Time for some pumpkin math! I encourage you to do some math/investigations with real pumpkins at home.

  • How much does your pumpkin weight? How much does it weigh after you take out the seeds and the pulp? After you carved it?
  • How many lines are on your pumpkin?
  • How tall is it?
  • What is the circumference of your pumpkin?
  • How many seeds are inside?
  • Will it sink or float? Does it sink or float after you took out the seeds and pulp?

Now lets play a game!

Bump is a fun dice game to play with kids. I will teach you how to play and then share how to easily alter the game to work on different skills.

I will show you the simplest version first. Create a gameboard, I drew pumpkins (sad looking pumpkins I admit!) for mine. On the gameboard write the numbers 1-6 since we will only use one die for this version. Each player needs 10 counters, transparent counters work best, but aren’t necessary.

Directions:

  • roll the die
  • put your marker on that number
  • next player rolls and they put their piece on that number
  • if you roll a number that the other player is covering, you can bump them off that space
  • if you roll a number that you are already covering you can double cover and lock the space.
  • First person to use all 10 counters wins!

Easy and Fun!

Variations on the game:

use two dice and add them together

use one die and have the children add one (I would write _____ +1= on the board and have the children put the die in the blank space to remember to add one

double roll one die but cover it’s double (roll 2 but cover 4, roll 3 but cover 6)

use three dice

older kids you can use the dice to multiply or practice place value… so many options!!

art · teachers pay teacher

Scarecrow Direct Drawings

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I love doing direct drawings with children. While I wholly see the value of open ended art projects and suggest them on a regular basis, there is much to be learned and gained by following along with direct drawings!

Art for Kid’s Hub has THREE different scarecrow drawings! Check them out here, here and here. While they are not the only direct drawing available on-line, I used their links with my classes often and even my pre-K kiddos could follow along with the drawing steps, with limited support! I love that he encourages the students to try and reminds them it is ok for all the final products to look different… it’s about having fun.

But, let’s talk through how to draw a scarecrow step by step together! Directions inspired by First and Kinder Blue SKies Scarecrow Direct drawing freebie

hold you paper vertically (tall)

In the middle of the page draw a large smile line

On top draw a flat rainbow line touching the tops of the smile line

from the ends, connect back to the smile line with slight curves

now draw the top of the hat, I like to open this up to let the children be creative. I point out where the line should start (where the smile and rainbow lines connect)

draw two parallel lines at the bottom of the smile line, making the neck

from the bottom of that, draw lines parallel with the bottom of the page all the way to the end of the page

below that draw two shorter parallel lines to make the arms

from the end of those lines, draw perpendicular lines going to the bottom of the page

Now for the fun!

Add eyes, nose, mouth (ears if wanted)

Add straw coming out from under the hat

Add a flower, patch or other embellishment to the hat

Don’t forget clothes!

When you are done drawing, go over all the lines in marker or crayon and create the coloring book lines… then color!

teachers pay teacher

October learning in my TPT store

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that I also have a store at Teachers Pay Teachers. Click here to visit my store!

I have put out some new fun kits that are perfect for the month of October! All kits are $3 or less! These are perfect for pre-K, kindergarten, and homeschool learning!

Magical Words-- CVC mystery words

Magical Words– Beginning Sounds Mystery CVC Words. There are 5 pages, one for each short vowel sound. Children will use the beginning sound from picture cues to make new CVC words. They then draw a picture of the new CVC word in the cauldron.

2D Shape Graphing with Shape Monster

2D shape graphing with Shape Monster. Included you will find four shape graphs. Shapes used in graph: square, rectangle, triangle, rhombus, trapezoid, hexagon

  • spin and graph
  • color and graph
  • find and graph
  • grab and graph
Shape Monster's 2d Lunch Time mini book

Shape Monster’s 2D Lunch Time Mini Book. This kit is a mini book in which the children will help Shape Monster find the shapes he wants to eat for lunch. Shape Monster describes each shapes attributes and tells you which color to color the wanted shapes on each page.

  • Red hexagons
  • Yellow trapezoids
  • Green circles
  • Blue squares
  • Purple triangles
  • Brown rhombuses

Count the Room Fall Items. Count the room is a fun active math activity. You put number or ten frame card around the room and the children need to find the cards and record the matching number or set to match the number on a recording sheet. Kit provides sets of 1-10 and 11-20

Non-Standard Measurement for Fall. Included you will find acorn “rulers” and fall images to measure. (scarecrow, maple leaf, gourd, oak leaf, fall tree, pumpkin, squirrel, apple, chipmunk) as well as two different style recording sheets.

Fall Predictable Pattern Stories. These are simple fall stories based on familiar story book patterns.

If you give a squirrel… book 1 has tree names and book 2 has leaf colors

Chipmunk, chipmunk what do you see… book one has item names, book 2 has item names and color words

story

The Scarecrow’s Hat

Today for Thinking Thursday, we will use the story The Scarecrow’s Hat by Ken Brown to see the roll of problems and solutions have in stories.

In the story, The Scarecrow’s Hat, chicken decides he really likes scarecrow’s hat. Scarecrow is willing to trade for a walking stick, but chicken does not have one. Follow along to see how one person’s problem is solved by another person.

Here are two examples of how you can work through the retelling of this story focusing on problems and solutions.

Create a story map. Have your child draw 7 boxes connected by arrows. In each box, draw a picture of the character you meet in the story starting with chicken. Under the picture write what that character needs and has to give. You will see as you work through the connection between the need of one character with the object the next one is willing to give away. Make sure to retell the story in total getting all the way back to chicken getting scarecrow’s hat.

Or, you could create a table of problem and solution. What problem does each character have? In this context I would encourage your child to see that the problem is NOT the missing item, but what the item would be used for. Scarecrow’s problem is he is tired of standing. The solution is to use badger’s walking stick to stand up. Badger’s problem is his door will not stay open. The solution is using crow’s ribbon to tie it open.

When we start talking in terms of problem and solution, using terms such as character, setting, plot, author, illustrator, etc… we are setting the children up with facts and knowledge that will help them in later grades.

Want to extend the challenge?? Have your child write their own story in a similar context… I want ____ but I don’t have ____. So and so has _____ that I need, but they need ____ etc. until you loop back around to everyone getting what they need!

phonemic awareness

Key to the Code– phoneme blending

Today for Words Wednesday we are going to work on some phonemic awareness, the understanding of how sounds (phonemes) work in words.

The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry– this is the story of a very unique friendship. A baby crow finds itself cold and lost until a kindly scarecrow helps.

Lets use some of the images in this story to work the Key to the Code game. Provide your child with 5-10 keys, real or ones made of paper.

Tell your child that you are going to tell him/her a word in secret code! The key to unlock the code is to blend the sounds together. For example you would say /b/ /ir/ /d/ and your child will say bird. If your child gets the word correctly with little to no support, they get to take a key. When all the keys are collect, switch roles.

Few tips!

Start by play I-spy style… you can use images from the story– bird (/b/ /ir/ /d/), hat (/h/ /a/ /t/), crow (/c/ /r/ /ow/), hay, (/h/ /ay/). The key to this format is having the visual for your child to refer back … so if you do not want to use the pictures from the story, then pick items around you book, apple, etc…

Choose words with two or three phonemes to begin with, then move onto longer words.

Say the sounds with a distinct break to start. They do not get the word, then say the sounds a bit faster to see if they are able to make the connections.

If your child is doing awesome with this skill… then move onto longer words! You can also transition to having your child write the word as they sound it out to make the phonics connection as well! (remember at this age the goal is to get all the sounds but they might miss some and not know the correct phonics skill yet– they may write cro for crow or brd for bird…. this is fine)

art · story · teaching thoughts

Scarecrow!

Today we will continue our topic of Scarecrows! Here is another great story: Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant.

After listening to to this or another scarecrow story, lets do a scarecrow project!

But first… let me talk a bit about arts and crafts. Often times, teachers and parents provide all the parts and pieces of a project and then have the students put the project together step by step… this is not art, this is a lesson on following directions. While this is important too, it is not allowing your child to be creative. Some projects you can provide a piece to, but provide it in the form of a tracer and then still let your child choose how to manipulate that tracer.

When we give children materials and ideas, but then let them take it in their own direction… this is art. This is allowing your child’s creative nature to take over the project.

Ok… onto our scarecrow project. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paper Bag Scarecrow Head:
    • provide paper bag– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools (crayons, markers, colored pencils…) etc.
    • Help your child fill the bag with newspaper or plastic bags.
    • Then tie off the top of the bag.
    • Let your child have fun!
  • Paper Bag Scarecrow Puppet:
    • provide paper bag– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • show your child how the bag will be the mouth of the scarecrow
    • Let your child have fun!
  • Paper Plate Scarecrow Head:
    • provide paper plate– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • let your child have fun!
  • Construction Paper Scarecrow:
    • provide construction paper– other items you can use: googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • let your child have fun
  • Just Draw a Scarecrow!

So many ways to engage in scarecrow fun… your child’s imagination is the limit to the possibilities … so that means they are endless. Remember if your child is struggling, do not do it for them… show them, explain to them, provide examples, provide encouragement, ask questions (how else could you) … they need to know that you believe they are capable!