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!!

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!

No photo description available.
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