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Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Week!!

We've had a busy week in 2nd grade this week!

We had Pumpkin Week Monday through Thursday and then went on a field trip today.  So...this teacher is T.I.R.E.D but satisfied with all of the fun and learning we had this week!

We started the Pumpkin Week fun last Friday.  We had an Early Release day so families could enjoy the NC State Fair without pulling their child from school, so after we finished up some things from our Spider unit, we "planted" pumpkin seeds to germinate.  The kids were so excited to see what would happen to their seeds.   We ended up having quite a few to germinate, so they got to take their seeds home yesterday to plant and try to grow a pumpkin.

I forgot to take "after" pictures, but here is a video clip of some excited kiddos checking out their seeds Wednesday morning - 5 days after "planting".

We did all of our pumpkin fun at the beginning of this week focused in Language Arts.

We kicked Monday off with a nonfiction book called Pumpkin Circle about the life cycle of a Pumpkin.  The photographs in this book are awesome.

After reading Pumpkin Circle, we did an activity with Main Idea - a concept we did before track-out back in September - so it was time to cycle back to it again to jog their memory.  They did a good job coming up with the main idea and finding details to support the main idea.

On Monday we also did a KWL about pumpkins as well as using adjectives to describe pumpkins by size, color, shape, and texture.  It was a full 40 minutes of Language Arts on Monday -we were almost late to specials!

On Tuesday we read a book with one of my favorite characters - Splat the Cat!
We read Splat the Cat and the Pumpkin Picking Plan to talk about author's purpose.

Obviously Rob Scotton writes all of his books to entertain his readers, but I made them come up with some details from the book as to what was entertaining.  We brainstormed together and worked on writing our details as a class.  Then they got to color (their favorite part) and put their pumpkin together!

Wednesday we read one other pumpkin fiction book called Pumpkin Town and retold the story using Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then.

We worked on the top chart together retelling the story.  I have used SWBST with some of my reading groups, but not everyone had used this retelling strategy before, so there was a good bit of guidance with them helping me fill in the boxes.  Then, I gave them time to transfer the information from the chart to their retelling paragraph.  Maybe this strategy will stick, but I'm sure I'll have to keep going back to it.

I only wish I had had time to read all of the pumpkin books I had - we had so much going on there wasn't time to touch even half of them unfortunately.  Note to self for next year - gotta read more of them :)

During our excel intervention time this week, we had a pumpkin twist - seems only right!
We made life cycle of a pumpkin flip books!

We did read a couple books with one of my groups that covered the life cycle a little more in addition the Pumpkin Circle we had read on Monday.  Most of my kids didn't know about the Green Pumpkin stage.

Then, came Thursday - the day - Pumpkin Day!

After a couple of assessments we had to complete, we finished our Pumpkin Diagrams that we started on Wednesday.  We have been talking about diagram and labels a lot recently between spiders and now pumpkins.  While they colored, I set up our Pumpkin Taste Test snack!

Mixed review on this picture of the inside of the pumpkin I had taken for them last weekend - some said "eeewww" and some said "cool!".  I love how it looks, so I'm with the "cool!" kids on this one!

I wish I hadn't been so busy passing out snack, doing our graphing, and dealing with a fire drill (of course!) to take pictures of all our pumpkin food.

Because we were doing some graphing of our favorite pumpkin treats, I made my kids take at least one taste of the following so they could pick their favorite:
Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Pie
Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Swirl Bread
Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

The favorite was the swirl bread.  I have quite a few picky eaters this year, plus 7 and 8 year olds haven't all acquired a taste for pumpkin quite yet, but they loved this bread!

Then I let them choose if they wanted to try the following:
Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts (MY FAVE!!!)
Apples with Pumpkin Fluff (most just wanted the apples - okay - more fluff for me!)
Keebler Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripe Cookies

Needless to say - they had tons of sugar - which probably explains part of their hyper-ness that came later in the day - I should have known better.  We also made pumpkin hats with facts about pumpkins - I let them loose on this one, no guidance at all - so it was interesting to read their facts!

After lunch, we became scientists and mathematicians!  We covered our tables and pulled out our pumpkins.  A couple had rotted, so I was glad I had extras so that each table could have one.

For each activity, they would estimate and then actually measure/count.

So we started by estimating the height of their pumpkins using unifix cubes, tens sticks, as well as inches.  Then they got to use the tools to measure.  We haven't covered measurement this year, so considering that, they did well with this activity.

I LOVED how this table decided to measure the height of their pumpkin with the unifix cubes - I hadn't thought about going across to make sure that they had the height right.

We also measured the circumference of our pumpkins and talked about the right tool to measure around the pumpkin - and guess who forgot to bring the right tool to school?!?!  This teacher!  So, we modified and I pulled some old Christmas curling ribbon out of the closet, they worked together to measure around the pumpkin, and then cut it, and then we laid it up against a yardstick (or 2!) to find their circumference.

After measuring the height and circumference, we moved on to weighing our pumpkins.  Unfortunately, but fortunately, the scale I ordered to weigh our pumpkins did arrive in time (it came today - ugh!).  BUT, since our school nurse is directly across the hall and she has a doctor's office scale in her room, she was nice enough to let us pull it in the hall to weigh our pumpkins and it actually turned out better!  So Nurse Sami for the win!!
After each group weighed their pumpkin we ranked them from lightest to heaviest.  Two groups were tied at 11 pounds, followed by an 19 pounder, and our biggest pumpkin at 22 pounds!

We then did a quick Sink or Float experiment with a big storage box full of water and one of the pumpkins.  Almost all of them thought it would sink, so it ended up being a good lesson about how the inside is hollow and the air keeps it from sinking below the surface.

Then, came the most time consuming, and loud part of our afternoon - cutting the pumpkins open and counting all the seeds.  As I carved each table's pumpkin open, I talked to them about strategies for counting their seeds.  They were going to put them in groups of ten, circle the ten, and then move on. That would help them when it came time for counting.

"YUCK!  Pumpkin guts!"

"This feels awesome!"


And the counting begins...

By the time it was all said and done, this table came in at the winner with 583 seeds!  Of course, it was the 22 pound pumpkin too!

Little tip for you - as I was helping this last group count their seeds, to make sure that we didn't count a group twice, as I helped them count, we moved 10 groups of 10 seeds into piles of 100.  Then once we had all the groups grouped and counted, it was easy to count the hundreds, tens, and ones.  Goes back to place value - wish I had thought of it WAY earlier to help the other groups count their seeds!

And that was our pumpkin week and day!

Did I get to everything I wanted to do?

Did I get to everything I made for my Punkin' Day unit?
Not even close!

Did my kids have fun?

Did my kids learning something?

And those last two are what matters most.  At the end of every special day like this, I always go "Why am I doing this to myself?"  But then I have to think about these two last questions.  If they learned something and they had fun, then it was worth it - messy floors and all.  Seeing their excitement this week over something has simple as sprouting pumpkin seeds made me realize why I went into teaching.  They were exploring something new and that was so exciting for them and me.

Where did I get all of these activities for Pumpkin Week from you ask?
You can find them in my It's Punkin' Day unit in my TPT Store!

Now I'm off to finish some updates to my Grinch Day unit, enjoy some Friday night shows, and hit the sack!  Big football game tomorrow and looking forward to that extra hour of sleep tomorrow night!

Have a great weekend y'all!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gearing Up for November!

Hello friends!  I'm back!  I can't believe it has been a month since I last blogged.  In that time, I went to Disneyland with my dad for a week and then enjoyed my second week of track-out at home enjoying sleeping in a little later, working on some fun projects, and doing a little shopping.
I've been back at school for 2 weeks and we are gearing up for Pumpkin Week this week!  My kids did the class "YAY!" on Friday when I told them this coming week was going to be Pumpkin Week!

But, with the final days of October looming, it's time to start gearing up for November!  I've been working hard to get some of my Thanksgiving products updated, plus some new ones!

First, I updated my November "Party Like a Pilgrim" math centers.  Last school year, I began creating monthly math centers.  As the year progressed, I got better at it, design and content wise, so this year, it was time to go back and revamp some of the early sets.

Come the holidays, I am all about reading holiday-specific books, but I also need to be able to keep my kids accountable for their learning and applying reading skills and strategies we have learned.  These activities are perfect for those short, holiday weeks where they kids are wired and antsy.  
This year, I added a new book to this set - The Great Thanksgiving Escape.  All of the books included in the set, I have gotten from Scholastic Reading Club in previous years.  If they are not available from Scholastic anymore, you can find them pretty cheaply on Amazon.

The Great Turkey Escape
The Amazing Turkey Rescue
The Silly Turkey Party

One is a Feast for a Mouse
'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

Who Will Carve the Turkey this Thanksgiving?
The Great Thanksgiving Escape

After updates - it was time for some new Thanksgiving goodies!  I have fallen in love with making writing craftivities - that's for sure!  This Gobble Up! set includes 6 crafts plus writing prompts for each (some duplicates), and once assembled, the character that is made looks like it is holding the student's writing, wit the exception of the Mayflower craft.  These are perfect bulletin board activities!

Mayflower Boy and Girl

Native American Boy and Girl

Mayflower and Turkey

I think my favorite is the googly-eyed turkey, but I also love the Pilgrim and Native American ones too!  I can't decide which ones I want to use for my bulletin board for November. 

Speaking of my November bulletin math, we have finished double-digit addition, and just started double-digit subtraction with regrouping this past week.  So I'm thinking the first week of November is a perfect time to work on a review of both skills!  So I made this cute Recipe for Regrouping double-digit addition and subtraction activity that ended up as a forever freebie in my TPT store!

Students have to use the picture code at the top to write, and then solve the problem.  3 addition and 3 subtraction, all with regrouping.  I'm thinking I'm going to pair this with one of the crafts from my Gobble Up! set for my bulletin board.

And last, but not least, I created It's a Pilgrim Party - 5 ELA and 5 Math centers for Thanksgiving - these are also perfect for those short holiday weeks - keep the kids moving around the room and learning at the same time!

ELA skills include grammar, facts/opinions, parts of speech, ABC order, and phonics (making words from a word)

Math skills include double digit addition (with and without regrouping), place value, word problems, money, and telling time

The holidays will be here before you know it!  Our state fair finished up today, and with that the holidays just roll right in and don't stop!  Halloween, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas!  2 months till Christmas - that means its an acceptable amount of time to start listening to Christmas music right?!?! 

I'm already working on updates and new things for December!  I'll be back at the end of November to share with you what we will be up to in December.  Hopefully I'll be back before then with other stuff too!

Have a great week y'all!