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 · 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!

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!

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!

math · story · teachers pay teacher · topic

Count the Room

This week we will discuss scarecrows! To start off the week, here is a favorite story: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro. Make sure you check out the live stream I did on Facebook on Friday. Click on the button below hear hear me read the story The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything!

Ok… onto math! This week lets work on a number sense, counting and number recognition activity…. count the room. Count the room can be done a few different ways…

The first way is to have cards around the room that show quantities of object, 1 scarecrow, 2 pumpkins, 3 hay bales etc. Then your child will find the cards around the room, count the quantity of items and record the number to practice numeral writing.

The second way is to have number cards around the room, then have your child fill in a ten frame(s) to show how many that number represents.

Suggested items to draw/print out to make the cards: scarecrow, pumpkin, leaf, apple, hay bale, candy corn, crow, squirrel, pinecone, sunflower, or any other fall items. Or you could do things with a scarecrow: shirt, pants, patches, hat, pole, straw, leaves, shoes, crows etc… you pick!

While it might seem that these are the same they are actually working on different skills. The first works on conservation of number, counting, and writing numerals. The second works on number recognition and number sense (how many a number means). These are both important and often over looked math skills! So… have fun with your kiddo doing this activity. I would suggest give him/her a clipboard or whiteboard to take around, it adds to the enjoyment level.

Count the Room-- Fall items

If you are looking for a quick way to set this up and have recording sheets, consider purchasing my Count the Room Fall Items kit at Teachers Pay Teachers. This kit costs $1.50 and contains number cards for both sets of activities as well as 3 different recording sheets!

STEAM · story · topic

Five Senses and Mr. Apple Head?

Today is fun Friday and we will wrap up our five senses activities. But, I do encourage you to come back to some of these activities from time to time and remember to always explore with your senses! Here is another great story to listen to My Five Senses by Aliki

Image may contain: text that says 'see a hear 0 Smell touch taste'

Today we are going to take the idea of Mr. Potato Head and transform it into a different item. Colby and I did this with the popcorn box in my Facebook live last Friday. So… pick something you want to draw, a fruit, a vegetable, a toy… whatever and give it the five senses. Make sure you go back and review the senses and the body part that is associated with the sense.

Now if you want to get creative and let your kiddo have fun… let him/her add the five senses to an actual item, such as my apple man below! I bet they will love this activity. I used toothpicks, but you could easily use scotch tape. Have fun, get creative and enjoy the learning process!

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no apples were injured in this activity but he did make a tasty snack after!

STEAM · story · writing

Five senses poetry

This week we will talk about the five senses. The five senses are your child’s main way to explore the world and the science of life!

Did you see my live stream on Friday, Sept 25? (part one and part two… sorry technical issues!) I introduced the topic of the five senses with popcorn with my son Colby! Listen to the story I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch and Taste it too!) by Rachel Isadora. Talk to your child about the five senses. Here is a poem to learn about the five senses too.

My sense are a part of me

A nose to smell and eyes to see

Ears to hear and hands to touch

A tongue to taste good foods and such

My senses are a part of me

Working in harmony

If you have a Mr. Potato Head, this is a great time to use this too… have your child add the attributes that show the different senses as you explore how we use the senses.

Now let’s explore one thing with our sense and write a 5 sense poem of our own! Have your child pick something he/she loves: a food, a location, an experience, a season, a holiday or whatever they choose. Just like at the end of the book above when they describe the pickle with all your senses you will do the same thing! You can either just type out a template OR have your child create a something and add the poem to the picture. I cut out an apple and wrote a poem about apples.

A trip to the apple orchard inspired that poem!

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
phonemic awareness · story · topic

The Forever Tree

As we continue to learn about trees, I wanted to find a story that talked about how what we can give trees and what trees can give us. I could have shared The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, but I figured I did not need to share this as it is such a traditional and well loved story.

Instead, I decided to share The Forever Tree by Donna Lucas and Teressa Surratt. In this story, humans and animals love the tree. A grandpa hung a swing on the tree for his granddaughter and the people and the animals used the the tree in harmony. In the spring the tree did not come back, it was ill. The animals worked with the humans to fix the tree. They created a treehouse for all to use and see. The tree was not the same, but it still was filled with love. — this story is based on a true story that took place in Wisconsin, USA

Take some time to today to appreciate the trees around you. What can you do to help the trees?

Today lets work on a phonemic awareness activity. Phonemic awareness is the understanding of how sounds work in words. It is done without looking at the letters, but focusing on the auditory composition of words.

Today you can teach your child the game “Oddball Out” (or pick a different name if you don’t like that one…) With this game, you will say three words that have something in common.

Start with focusing on beginning sounds such as:

  • clock, man, kite
  • fish, phone, mouse
  • drink, lunch, lady

Once that is mastered, moved onto rimes

  • cat, hat, man
  • book, read, look
  • bill, tap, clap

You then could try out ending sounds:

  • pen, fan, tag
  • rap, rug, tip
  • drum, tank, black

Do not feel like you have to master any or all of these skills in one try. Listening to and recognizing the phonemic differences is a developmental skill. Children who have stronger phonemic awareness become stronger readers… start working with your child on his/her oral understanding of how letter and sounds work… it will pay off!

art · STEAM · story

First Day of Fall Tree

Today is the official first day of autumn! So… let’s do a fun art project. A torn paper tree. But first. Read the book Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins. This book has beautiful photographs of various trees and their leaves in the autumn.

Why torn paper? Fine motor skills!! Children need to strengthen the muscles in their hands and especially their thumb, index and middle fingers to hold a pencil. But, they are also working on their wrist and forearm at the same time. All these muscles work together while writing, cutting and coloring. Check out these preschool fine motor milestones and red flags.

Materials needed:

  • large sheet for background
  • brown for the tree
  • red, yellow, orange, green — I usually give a 1/4 sheet of each of these colors
  • glue/glue stick

Note I did not say scissors! If you have scissors around they will use the scissors, soooo do not have them out at all! Show your child how to slowly tear the paper holding it with a pincer grip with both hands. Once they see that if you do it slowly and holding the paper closer to where you want to tear they will start to see the control they have over the tears. This is a great side by side project as they will watch how you tear and manipulate the paper!

Now encourage your child to make a fall tree. Remember there is no right way to do this project… there is just your child’s way, and that is ok! If they get stuck, go for a walk and find trees that are starting to change colors or google fall tree images.

story · topic

Last day of Summer?

Tomorrow is the start of fall. Often times we talk about it being a season based on the feel of the weather not the actual calendar date. I can remember many discussions I had in class where a child told me it was fall before the autumnal equinox because “But, my mom said it was fall because I’m back in school” or “But the leaves are changing colors” or “But I had to wear pants today”. Then I share the date the season actually begins and the reaction is pretty much WHAT?!?

So, today is the official last day of summer. The autumnal equinox this year is September 22 at 9:30am. That is the start of fall! (Look for some small changes to my blog at that time!)

Listen to the informational text A Tree for All Seasons by Robin Bernard and learn about how a maple tree changes through the seasons.

Have your child draw a picture to represent the changing seasons. I have shown two ways here: first show one tree through the season and the second shows one season per box. But, as I often say… just tell your child to draw a representation of the four seasons. They might pleasantly surprise you with their thinking!

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Want to practice reading about the seasons? I have a set of zine stories for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click here to find this set.