Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Halloween! (Gg, 4, Pentagon)

The theme for the 9th week of the school year and last week of October was "Happy Halloween". I CAN NOT believe it's already Halloween! We continued our Letter of the Week study, with the letter G. This week we also focused on the pentagon shape, and we kept going on our number study with the number 4!

We got to the end of the month which means that we finished our pattern on the calendar for the month, and comparing the weather in October this year, to last year.

We celebrated a birthday this week. Yum!

This week we readDuck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
                                        Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margret and HA Rey
                                        What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
                                        Mouse's First Halloween by Lauren Thompson
                                        Scaredy-Cat Splat by Rob Scotton

Our question of the week was "What is your favorite candy?"

The shape of the week: pentagon was fun to talk about. At our morning meetings, we would talk about the shape and things in real life that are pentagons. We also practiced drawing octagons in the air, and counted the sides. The children worked on their fine motor skills and shape recognition by finding pentagons. I made this sheet myself based on recognition sheets that we have already done.

For our song this week we sang "This is a Pentagon", I couldn't find a song that I liked, so I wrote one like others that we sing to the tune of "frere jacques"
"This is a Pentagon, this is a Pentagon.
How can you tell? How can you tell?
It has five sides that are the same size,
it's a pentagon, it's a pentagon."

For the number of the week: 4 we started off by counting to four and backward from four. The kids had no problem with this one. ;) The kids also practiced writing the number and word for four.

In some papers in my room I found a random number page like this from, so I made my own for the number 4. The children had to practice writing the number and then color in that number of squares. What a great way to really introduce graphing and what a great way for them to work on their one-to-one correspondence.

For our theme "Happy Halloween", we focused more this week on Pumpkin themed activities than Halloween, although we did take some time to make some pretty cool spider webs!

We learned the chant "Five Little Pumpkins".
Five little pumpkins Sitting on a gate, (Hold up all 5 fingers)
The first one said, “Oh, my, it’s getting late!” (Point to wrist like checking the time)

The second one said, “There are witches in the air!” (Point up and across, like pointing to the witches flying)
The third one said,“But we don’t care!” (Shake head like saying “no”)
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!” (Move arms like you’re running)
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!” (A big smile and punch up in the air)
OOOOOOOH, went the wind, and OUT went the light (Clap on “out”)
And the five little pumpkins (Hold up five fingers again) 

Rolled out of sight. (Roll hands, one over the other)

We cleaned out and carved our class's large pumpkin. The kids were a big help getting out all the seeds and pulp. Then they even helped me separate out the seeds so that we could roast them. (TIP: before baking, boil in SUPER salty water for about 20 minutes or until they turn a bit grayish. This allows the salt to really get in the seed, which makes them all the more delicious. Drain and dry a bit, then coat in a little bit of butter/olive or grapeseed oil and bake at 350 checking often for browning and doneness. SO yummy!)  We wanted a silly happy face.
We also roasted pumpkin seeds and enjoyed them at a lunchtime. The trick to get them perfect? Before baking, boil in EXTREMELY salty water for about 20 minutes... perfection!

Each child in the class got a small pumpkin to paint however they wanted.

We cut the top off of a pumpkin and filled it with dirt so that we could grow pumpkin vines. We did this last year and it turned out so great! Hands down my favorite thing of last year.  Check out how it all went here! Unfortunately, due to some circumstances, our pumpkin did not make it. I am very sad.

I cut a small pumpkin in half so that the class could see the cross-section. We examined the different parts of the inside of the pumpkin. Then the children colored a diagram of it.

We had a nice little celebration on Halloween at our lunchtime. My class's parents really went all out with these treats! The best part is... the bunnies got to celebrate too!

The letter of the week: G activities that we worked on this were were Great! I created envelope games for each letter of the alphabet. I adapted them from activities from Mailbox Letter of the Week projects, both book one and two. The children had to plant the "G" plants in Goat's Garden. All the other letters? Not in this farm!

We played "Goose Egg on the Loose". A variation of hot potato with a plastic egg!

The kids practiced recognizing the letter g. I let them choose if they wanted to color grapes, or clouds for the goose. =]

The book Sounds Like fun, Phonemic Awareness has great phonics activities for the alphabet. For the letter G, the children have to cut out and glue the words that "Begin like Goat". Together we talked about the beginning sounds of the words, and then they work on their fine motor cutting skills.

The children turned a capital letter G into a grasshopper. I got the idea from the book Alphabet and Counting from Twin Sister Productions. They give tips for how to make it a glue and paste projects, but I like to give them crayons and the challenge to add the parts of the animal to the letter. It opens up room for more conversation about the shape of the letter AND the features of the animal.

We practice and work on our handwriting for each letter as well. The Original Summer Bridge Activities, for PreK-K has great handwriting practice sheets. The kids trace and write the letters and then have a little phonics practice at the bottom.

As we work through the alphabet, the children will make projects to go on the wall. It's a very fun way for the class to see the alphabet in a new way. This week we used dot paint to make bunches of grapes!

We made a list of "g" colors (gorilla, goldfish, goat and giraffe) and "g" colors (grey, green and gold). The children each got to pick what combination they wanted to draw for what we turned into a "G"reat Animals class book!

Each child has a journal that they write in every week. When we focus on a letter, they write for that letter. On shorter weeks and during our review later in the year, they write to the theme. This is such a great way to get children excited about writing and reading. I start the children out by tracing, and once they are comfortable and controlling the crayon well, they move onto copying.

I made a cube of cardboard and glued pictures of "G" things one each side. The children say "Goldfish, goldfish,  what do I see.... I see a ____ looking at me!" They roll the cube and fill in the blank. This idea came from a Mailbox activity book, and let me tell you, it was a hit!! They loved it!

During the week we made a list of words that begin with the letter G. Here is what we thought of!

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