Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pumpkin Day Activities for the Classroom

Halloween is still a few weeks away, but I want to go ahead and share with you a favorite activity of mine.  It's never too early to start planning!
Several years ago, I started doing a "Pumpkin Day"  in the classroom instead of celebrating Halloween point on.  The students have always had a blast and never noticed any difference.  It's a great way to incorporate the season into curriculum but still keep it friendly, not scary.
For Pumpkin Day, I ask parents to donate pumpkins and pumpkin foods.  On Halloween, or a day near it, I set up several stations involving pumpkins in the classroom.  The stations have a cross-curricular focus and touch upon topics such as writing, adjectives, counting, estimating, circumference, reading, science, and more.  The class is split into small groups that rotate through the stations.  The stations are ran by teachers and parent volunteers. 
I set up some stations in my dining room to give you an idea of how they look when put together!

Description Station - Students describe a pumpkin.  There are several activities included in the book for students to complete at this station.

Circumference Station - Students estimate and measure the circumference of a pumpkin.

Float or Sink? Station - Students create and test a hypothesis on whether or not pumpkins will float or sink.

Students have their own Pumpkin Day book that they take with them to each station.  The book is a way to record their work and thinking. 

At the conclusion of the day, students participate in a class graphing activity about favorite pumpkin foods.  Also included in the day/week are lessons about the pumpkin life cycle and parts of a pumpkin.
It's a relatively easy and fun way to incorporate the season into the classroom and curriculum!
Here's a look at photos from previous years:




I've put together a packet that includes the stations, a parent letter, graphing sheets and printables, student book, a fluency sheet and student reader, graphic organizers, and more.
Here's a look at what is included:
-Unit Instructions
-Parent Letters (3 versions with variations in food list)
-Taste-testing Graphing Sheet (3 versions with variations in food list)
-What Was Your Favorite Pumpkin Food Item? Whole Class, Large Graphing Graphics for Anchor Chart/Bulletin Board (Title and Individual Food Graphics)
-Station Explanations/Instructions Sheet
-Station Posters (Description Station, Weighing Station, Circumference Station, Tasting Station, Float or Sink? Station, Candle Station, Story Station, Counting Station or Estimation Station, Carving Station)
-My Pumpkin Day Student Booklet (For students to carry to stations - 20 pages to choose from)
-All About Pumpkins Fluency Sheet for Advanced Readers
-Pumpkin Labeling Sheet (2 variations - one with word list, one without)
-Thinking Maps:
*Pumpkins Can, Have, Are
*Jack-o-Lanterns Can, Have, Are
*Pumpkins Bubble Map
*Jack-o-Lanterns Bubble Map
*Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns Double Bubble Map
*The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin Flow Map
*Parts of a Pumpkin Brace Map
*Pumpkin Circle Map
*Jack-o-Lantern Circle Map
*Pumpkins and Oranges Venn Diagram
-The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin Emergent Reader
-The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin Cut and Paste Sheet
-The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin Poster Cards
-Pumpkin Technology Links
-Pumpkin Book Suggestions
What fun things do you do for Halloween/October?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall Freebies

I can't believe that Fall will be arriving this week.  This year has FLOWN by.  It blows my mind that we are almost three months into the school year.  Wow.   Anyhow, here is a FREE packet containing resources for any Fall/Autumn Unit.  I hope some of you might be able to use these ideas with your kiddos this week!

Challenging Addition/Subtraction Worksheet

Autumn Acrostic Poem

Fall Fluency Sheet

Fall Book Writing Activity
-Fall Book Writing Activity
-Fall Bubble Map
-Fall Book Writing Activity Bubble Map
-Fall Fluency Sheet
-Fall ABC Order Sheet
-Fall Fill-in-the-Blank Sheet
-Autumn Acrostic Poem Sheet
-Fall Math/Addition and Subtraction Challenge Sheet
-Fall Technology Links and Book Suggestions
If you're in need of any Johnny Appleseed ideas, check out my Johnny Appleseed Unit here!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To Lesson

I want to share a simple lesson with you on Comparing Numbers.  There are several different ways to teach this skill.  One of the most popular ways is to use the "Alligator eats the bigger number" method.  With any lesson though, there will be some students who need to learn a skill a different way.  This particular method would be great for students who need a more hands-on approach to learning.

1.Display two, 2-digit numbers on a board.

2. Begin by having students look at the tens and ones place in the two numbers. 

3. If the tens place is different, have them underline the tens place.  If it is the same, have them underline the ones place.

4. Depending on which is underlined, have students compare the numbers in either the tens or ones place.

5. Tell students that each number will receive some dots.

6. The greater number will receive two dots because it is the greater number.  The lesser number will only receive one dot because it is the smaller number.

7. Students should draw the dots beside each number.

8. Then, have students connect the dots.  If students follow the rules, it should be a error-proof way to make sure they draw the symbols in the correct direction.

9. Have students practice this several times but present the problem in different ways such as drawing symbols, comparing numbers without symbols, and using base ten blocks.

A fun follow-up activity is to have students practice this in a center.

Center Materials Needed Per Student:
  • Number Cards (available below)
  • Recording Sheet (available below)
  • 3 Chips (You can get the ones I used here, but any chip/circle counter will work.)
  • 2 Pieces of Yarn
1. Place several number cards in a center.

2. Students will draw two cards and write the numbers on the lines on the recording sheet.

3. Then, students will use chips and yarn to create and connect the dots.  The greater number will receive two dots/chips, while the smaller number will only receive one dot/chip.  Once the dots/chips are placed, students will connect them with the pieces of yarn. 

4. Once students have physically made the symbol, they will draw it on their recording sheet using the connecting the dots system.

I've put together a *FREE* packet you can use to create the center.  It includes 2 & 3-digit number cards and a recording sheet.