Monday, November 16, 2015


October Weeks 3-4

Here's what we did the last few weeks of October!

Halloween Math

We measured and graphed our heights with jack-o-lanterns.

I found a jack-o-lantern on Google Images (similar here) and put it in a Word document to make this height chart. This was awesome counting practice, as we counted the pumpkins for every child. So we counted into the teens about 20 times.

Before we measured, each child guessed what their height would be. Then we recorded their actual heights. We also talked about most and fewest.

We covered these standards:
K.MD.2 Compare 2 Objects (Taller and Shorter)
K.MD.1 Describe Attributes (Height)

Pumpkin Shapes

We made jack-o-lanterns. Each child received a pumpkin template and a sheet of black paper with squares, rectangles, circles, and triangles. They chose which shapes to use, and could also draw and cut any other shape they chose.

When we were finished, we graphed the shapes we chose. There were more triangles used than expected so they didn't quite fit!

Here's the template I use for this.

Pumpkin Widths

We drew and cut paper pumpkins (no template here!) and measured the width with unifix cubes.  Then of course we graphed those measurements!

What's the Beginning Sound?

To throw in some phonics practice, we made a class book called, "Pumpkin, Pumpkin, what a Pumpkin!" using the first sound in each child's name. This book doesn't seem too interesting or exciting, but it becomes a well-worn favorite!

Making a Jack-O-Lantern

The local store donated a pumpkin to each Elementary class this year. Pumpkins cost about $30 here, so we are very thankful!

First, we took turns sawing off the top and removing the seeds.

We estimated the number of seeds in the pumpkin after we removed them.

Next, we glued the seeds to ten-frames, let them dry, and added them up.

We had 340 seeds! This was great practice for counting by 10's, and for seeing the situations in which being able to count by 10's might be useful!

Choosing our Pumpkin Face

Using the book Pumpkin Heads, the children formed teams of 3, chose the design they wished to make (or made up their own), and drew it onto a pumpkin template. We then numbered the designs and voted for our favorite.

Surprisingly, the children chose the design they genuinely liked the best, as opposed to just voting for their own team.

The winning team was allowed to draw and cut out the jack-o-lantern face.

Then the kids decided they wanted to paint it! The tempera eventually flaked off, making the pumpkin look a little creepy. But it was fun!

Go to this post to see how we celebrated Halloween.

Book List

These are our favorite pumpkin books!

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch by Megan Faulkner

Pumpkin Heads by Wendell Minor

Apples by Gail Gibbons

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons

Friday, November 13, 2015


October Weeks 1 - 2 

 A Cup of Caterpillars 


Watching caterpillars turn into butterflies is probably our favorite unit of the year! The other teachers, parents, and I are just as excited as the kids! We order our caterpillar cup from Insect Lore and it is well worth the $15. It takes just a few days to arrive in the mail.

We watch the teeny tiny caterpillars double their size each night, shed their skin and turn into chrysalides (above), and then emerge as butterflies, all within a couple of weeks.

Here is one of our butterflies drinking sugar water from soaked cotton balls. They also love slices of apples, oranges or bananas.

Letter C Caterpillars

We made caterpillars like these from 2 Posh Lil Divas Blog.

5 Little Caterpillars Book

We created a class book to go along with the fingerplay "5 Little Caterpillars." Pairs of students worked on a page with one line of the story. This was a great way to introduce the jobs of authors & illustrators.

These are the words to the book, adapted from a few different versions:

5 little caterpillars munching on a leaf.
1 little caterpillar takes a little sleep.
4 little caterpillars munch the leaf some more.
1 little caterpillar soon begins to snore.
3 little caterpillars munching on their snack.
1 little caterpillar takes a little nap.
2 little caterpillars munching in the sun.
1 little caterpillar says, "I'm done!"
1 little caterpillar munches and chews.
That little caterpillar takes a little snooze.
5 little caterpillars wake up with a cry.
I'm not a little caterpillar. I'm a great big butterfly!

Sequencing The Very Hungry Caterpillar

After reading and retelling The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle several times, the kids independently sequenced the events.

The colorful story cards can be found at DLTK.

Smallest to Biggest

We made BIG caterpillars. These look pretty goofy but are good ordering practice! This idea is from No Time for Flashcards.

Here is the template I use. I copy it onto colored construction paper.

Butterfly Headbands

To conclude the unit, we made symmetry butterfly wings. After applying the dots, we cut the wings out and attached them to sentence strips to turn them into hats!

This is the template I'll be using next year. The ones we used this time were just too big! The stickers are color coding labels, which are easy to find in the office supply section of any grocery/department store.

Counting Caterpillars

We read 10 Little Caterpillars (see the book list at the end of this post) and painted 10 little caterpillars!

The following day, we pasted 10 popsicle sticks and turned those into caterpillars using sequins and foam shapes.

Roll, Say, Color

We played a new math game with the butterfly life cycle! I found this for FREE by Lidia Barbosa on TpT.

Life Cycle Center

The block center was also a popular stop this week, since I added these butterfly life cycle figures from Safari Ltd! 

The butterflies are doing great, and the best part is that the kids are using the vocabulary words they've learned in context! They are even teaching their parents and visiting students words like "antennae" and "proboscis." They are experts!

We also watched a great video on the butterfly life cycle.

Book List

We read our favorite butterfly books!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell Sandved

Are You a Butterfly? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin, Jr.

What Do Insects Do? by Susan Canizares

Where Do Insects Live? by Susan Canizares