Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Make a Ghost Window Cling

I love making crafts in the classroom.  Kid artwork is the best!  I love any type of craft but holiday crafts are my favorite.  For Halloween, my favorite craft is a Ghost Window Cling.  These are so simple to make!
  • Bottled Glue that dries white (One bottle will last around 4-5 ghosts.)
  • Googly Eyes
  • Wax Paper
  • Pencil
1.  Gather your materials.

2.  Tear off a square of wax paper.

3.  On the wax paper, draw an outline of a ghost with a pencil. For photograph purposes, I traced the pencil with a Sharpie marker.  I recommend not doing this as the marker will stick to the glue.

4.  Go over the outline of the ghost with glue.

5.  Fill the ghost in with glue.  After a few minutes, check to make sure there are no holes you need to fill in.  In the classroom, it is best for the teacher to do this!

6.  Drop Googly Eyes into the glue.

7.  Let it sit for 24-36 hours.  The exact amount of time will depend on the size of the ghost, amount of glue used, and air.  You will be able to tell when the ghost is dry by its appearance.

8.  Peel the ghost off the wax paper carefully.

Ta-da! You now have a Ghost Window Cling!  If you have trouble getting the ghost to stick to a window, wet the window and/or ghost with a damp paper towel.  Then, try sticking the ghost window cling to the window again.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Plus One Math Lesson and Activity

I do quite a bit of work with students who need interventions.  Recently, one group has been working on fact recall, specifically plus one facts.  To reinforce these facts, I did this lesson and activity with them.  It could be adapted to fit other math facts as well.

  • Large Die
  • Bag of 7 Unifix Cubes (all of the same color except one)
  • Bell or any sound device
  • Bag of Brach's Mellowcreme Autumn Mix Candy (anything will work - plastic manipulatives can be used instead of candy; candy/manipulatives can also be changed according to the season)
  • Plus One Game Boards
  • Two Regular Dice
  • Bag of Chips (for each student)

1.  Have students sit in a circle with you.  Then, give each student a bag of 7 Unifix Cubes.  6 Unifix Cubes should be of the same color.  The 7th Unifix Cube should be a different color.

2.  Ask students to look at and count their Unifix Cubes.

3.  After students have counted their Unifix Cubes, ask them to look at others' bags.  What do they notice?

4.  Now, have students remove their Unifix Cubes from their bags and place them on top of their bag.

5.  Explain to students they will each have a turn to roll the big die.  Then, give a student the big die.

6.  Whatever the big die lands on, students will need to count out that amount of Unifix Cubes and stack them together.

7.  Ask students to add the different colored Unifix Cube to the top of the stack of Unifix Cubes.

8.  Together as a class, count the same colored cubes.  Stop before counting the different colored Unifix Cube.  Ring the bell/any sound device.  This should signal students to add the "plus one" in their heads.

9.  Ask students what the number rolled on the die plus one is.

10.  Repeat this with each student in the group circle.  If a student doesn't add correctly or shouts out the answer, have the class repeat the problem. More practice never hurt anyone! :-)

11.  After everyone has had a turn, have students go back to their seats. 

12.  Give each child a plate or napkin (if using food), along with 6 Candy Corn pieces and 1 Pumpkin piece.  Tell students not to touch their food/manipulatives.

13.  Repeat the process from earlier with the food/manipualtives.  Call on a student to roll the big die.  Students count out this amount of Candy Corn pieces.  Once they reach the number, ring the bell/sound device.  Have students add the pumpkin piece and plus one in their heads.  Ask students for the answer.

14. Repeat this as needed.  When finished, students may eat their candy!

Follow-Up Practice/Center Activity:
This is an activity for either partners or groups.  In a group setting, this would be a perfect activity for an assistant or volunteer to preside over. 

1. Give each student a Plus One Game Board and a bag of chips. (This game is from K-5 Math Teaching Resources, a wonderful math resource website!  They have taken the Common Core Standards and created games/activities for each Standard.  If you haven't already, make sure to check it out!)

2. Everyone will share two dice.  Students will count together.  When the number is reached, the teacher rings the bell/sound device.  Students add plus one in their heads.  Students find this number on their board (once!) and mark it with a chip.  Repeat until a winner has been declared.  You can have students play for a win by row or whole board.

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!