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!

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)

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!

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.

art · story

Dot Day

Today is Dot Day! It is a day to celebrate children finding that connection between creativity and confidence. It is also about how one person can make a big change in the life of a child. Let’s help every child learn to make their own mark on the world… even if it is only a dot.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

my picture is dot-ish!

Now it is time to make your dot! Will you paint a dot? Will you draw a dot? Or make paper dots? Will you make a dot out of dots? Or a dot without dots? Will your dot be big or small? Will you make one dot or hundreds of today? That is the thing we need to understand… there is NO write way to make a dot… there is just your way to make a dot!

Want to hear and share more about how we can encourage children to see their work as powerful and important. How another person can help everyone see the importance of their creative exploration? Check out the other two books in Reynold’s trilogy and even hear Reynold’s talk about how the book came to be.

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds

Click here to hear Peter Reynolds talk about how The Dot came to be.

Find more ways to connect to International Dot Day

art · story · teaching thoughts

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do Book

Yesterday we started our topic of “I Can Try New Things” based on the book by David Parker. Today I have another book for you to share with your kiddo about trying new things. The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires. Lou thinks she can do anything until her friends want to climb a tree, but she has never climbed a tree before. Finally Lou decided to give it a try, but… well things don’t always work out the first time. But, Lou realizes she can’t climb… well not YET anyway.

The concept of not yet is very empowering for children. It helps them see that even if they struggle doesn’t mean they will NEVER do it. So here is today’s project. We will draw three sets of illustrations. I would not have your child write, but focus more on the conversation that goes with the illustrations.

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  • In the top row, have your child think about something they could not do when they were younger, but then can do now.
  • In the middle row, draw about something that they couldn’t do before but they are getting better at doing now.
  • In the bottom row, illustrate something that you are still working on learning and show what it will look like when you succeed!