Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I dressed up my pup as a mummy. His shirt says "I <3 my mummy." He did some tricks for some treats!
Often during morning meeting when we share-I talk about my dog. Some of the children have taken interest in what Brian does. I took this video of some tricks I've been teaching him. If they are interested-you can show your child the video. I promised in class that I would post a video of Brian on my blog!

Today, we culminated our pumpkin study as well as celebrating Halloween by painting the small pumpkins donated by J.A's mom! I was hoping the paint would dry by the end of the day for the students to take home but several of them were still a bit wet so we decided to give out the pumpkins tomorrow!
Thank you to O.B's mom who brought in roasted pumpkin seeds for the class to try. This is a great jumping off point because tomorrow I will be introducing the five senses!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's been one hectic weekend so far! As I am typing, the snow is falling quite heavily outside! I hope this isn't an indicator for an early winter! Our class had another fun Friday with special guests coming in to work with our class on jack-o-lanterns! Thank you to T.S' dad, O.B's mom and J.A's mom for coming in and working with our class! Every one go to work with a parent or me or Ms. Kacey on creating a jack-o-lantern. We talked in small groups about what kind of face we would like. Some parents brought in sketches to have the students look through and choose and some asked for ideas on how the students wanted the face to look. There was plenty of rich discussion about the process of creating jack-o-lanterns as well as lots of vocabulary about pumpkins, facial features, feelings and shapes. Every child was given the chance to pull out the insides of the pumpkins. I encouraged the class to use their senses and smell the pumpkin and touch the pumpkin. Some students said it was "icky" while other students said it was "cool." After the jack-o-lanterns were completed, they were all placed on a table for the class to view and talk about. It was a wonderful experience for the whole class! They enjoyed working together as well as having family involvement in the classroom. Also, our class is all ready for Halloween with not just 1 but 4 jack-o-lanterns around our room! Here are some photos from Friday:
G.P holds up a sketch to see which one she likes
O.B's mom shows her group the insides of the pumpkin, J.C feels the stem
O.B's mom shows every one the inside of the pumpkin
G.S scooping out the insides
K.M and T.S work together to scoop out the insides of the pumpkin
K.W and A.R help out too!
J.A's mom's group uses a big spoon to scoop out the seeds
J.A, his mom and A.R look inside
J.A's mom cuts out the face the group drew

T.S' dad using a hand saw to cut out the face (T.S was especially proud of his dad's tools)
I begin carving the top of the pumpkin as J.M, G.A and T.W watch on
A view of the class working on the jack-o-lanterns
We talk about the face
A.R, D.K and J.A finish up the jack-o-lantern. They each drew a part of the face

G.S holds up the mouth
G.P holds up a part of the pumpkin
K.M, T.S, A.R and K.W examine the pumpkin cutouts!

Ms. Kacey cuts out the mouth of the jack-o-lantern
J.A's mom with O.S, J.A, A.R and D.K with the jack-o-lantern they created
A.R, K.W, K.M and T.S with the pumpkin they created
Ms. Kacey and I with X.I, J.M, T.W, A.K, and G.A with the pumpkin we worked on. (Hi D.K! He wanted to be in the photo too!)
The completed jack-o-lanterns on display
With the lights off

Tonight, my husband and I carved out our own jack-o-lanterns. Usually, we do one together (this usually means I think of an idea, he draws it and carves it out) but this year I was really inspired to do my own! I wanted to make one of my dog, Brian.

This one's my husband's:

I finally filled up the memory card on my digital camera! I have over 900 photos taken! Let me know if you ever want the full-sized version of a photo you see on my blog-I will happily sent it over via email! :)

Monday is Halloween. School policy does not allow costumes in school so please make sure that your child does NOT come to school in costume or bring one to school. We will be painting the smaller sized pumpkins that J.A's mom donated. Each student will paint one and get to take it home!
We will have a mini celebration during snack time!
I end with this photo of my dog, Brian playing in the snow. He blends in with the snow if I don't put a sweater and booties on him!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkins in the snow

I can't believe its snowing in October! I knew it would be colder in Albany from what I'm used to but I was definitely not expecting snow! As I'm typing, it's still falling! I bet many of the students will want to talk about this new weather development tomorrow!

While the weather has been keeping us indoors, we have been doing lots of pumpkin related activities! I introduced the pan balance to the class today and we all had fun comparing weights of pumpkins and gourds. We made predictions about which would be heavier and talked about how one side of the pan balance will drop if the object is heavy. When we compared the veggies, a lot of students said the bigger one would be heavier. We also compared two similar-looking gourds and many of us predicted that it would be the same weight-one gourd was actually heavier!
Special thanks to X.I's mom for donating more gourds to our collection!
The pumpkins, gourds and pan balance
O.B places the pumpkin on the pan balance

A.R places the pie pumpkin on the other side of the balance

G.S places a gourd on the pan balance
D.K and J.C talk about their noticings
G.P places the gourd on the pan balance

To everyone's surprise, these gourds did not weigh the same.
Our class wore their chefs' hats once again today! We all made pumpkin pancakes for our snack! We followed this recipe. I read the recipe out loud while we followed each step. We learned about measuring and we counted each teaspoon or cup that was placed into our batter. I also passed around the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for every one to smell! Here is a short slideshow of some photos taken:

Tomorrow, parents will be coming in to be working with the class in small groups on creating a jack-o-lantern! Thank you to A.K and D.K's parents for donating large pumpkins! It's also picture day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our pumpkin patch

Our class is becoming a pumpkin patch! Several students mentioned throughout the day how our class is a pumpkin patch especially with all the small pumpkins or gourds displayed across the windowsills. Special thanks to all the parents donating the large pumpkins! It's great for everyone to see that pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes. Tomorrow, we will compare the weights of some of the pumpkins!

The word wall in our classroom is a great tool we use daily. Every child's name is posted with their photos along with words we are learning. Today, we added the word pumpkin. I have been letting the class lead in where to place new words. Every one agreed that pumpkin belonged under the letter P.

Today, in art center, students sketched out what they will paint on their small pumpkins on Monday. We talked about different shapes and parts of the face.
In the math center, students counted pumpkin seeds on pumpkin number cards! I worked with students on using one to one correspondence when counting! This is a good skill to work on at home too! When counting objects, encourage your child to use their finger to touch the object!
In science center, students looked closely at the different pumpkins and read literature about pumpkins!

Tomorrow, we will all work together on cooking pumpkin pancakes.  I am excited for all the measuring and mixing every one will get an opportunity to do!

I apologize if my blog posts from now until Thanksgiving may be posted later in the evening or some nights not at all--I'm currently working on compiling and analyzing student data so I can work with small groups on focused skills. Reports cards are also coming up soon! There's not enough hours in the day!

Reminder: This Friday is picture day. Picture day forms were sent home in every child's folder. Please let me know if you need another form.