Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Make a Jack o' Lantern

I love that it's finally getting cooler at night. It seems by the time Halloween comes, you finally need to wear a jacket at night.
This was going to be the first year my two year old carves a pumpkin and he was excited, I was excited...I was going to make sure it was an occasion. I picked the perfect pumpkins to match each person in my family, bought the carving tools, layed out the paper...we were ready to go. My husband and I carved off the top despite protests from my toddler, but he's used to hearing "No" by now. Pulled off the top and all I heard was "Ewwwww!" He wanted nothing to do with it. "It's scientific." I told him. Nope nothing. The last thing was to carve a face and once again he couldn't participate. So forget the traditional jack o' lanterns, I got out the paint and we went to town. He did the base coat on about 50% of them and loved sprinkling the glitter over the glue. When he woke up in the morning, I had added all the details and he was thrilled. The only thing that would have made it better is if one of the pumpkins was Spiderman. Oh, well.
I know many of you mommies that are homeschooling are probably carving pumpkins with the kiddos, so why not turn it into a "How To" paragraph. I teach my students how to write a paragraph by always starting with an outline, using transition words, and a picture with a few words (not a complete sentence).  They refer to the outline while writing their paragraph. If I were to do this with my first graders, I would tell them the four steps and complete the outline along with them, but it's up to you based on the age of your child.
Grab the writing freebie here.
Hope you have a fun and safe Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Diwali

  I have been swamped with one thing or another so it's been a while since I've posted. I went to a Daily 5 conference a few Saturdays ago...AMAZING! I've been redoing my literacy block ever since. I hope to start implementing the program this week. I'll report back and let you know how it goes.
We have a array of cultures in my classroom, so when of my mothers told me Diwali - The Festival of Lights was beginning and that she would love to come in and share, I was excited. I hopped on the internet to see what I could find out and quickly put together a PowerPoint with real photographs, so I could give the children an idea of what takes place during this five day celebration.
One ate traditional Indian cookies and my grade partner found a great video on YouTube of a traditional dance. It's a budget video (girl in her living room), but it's so easy to follow...honestly the kids loved it. I projected the video on my Elmo and we danced along. The mom that helped said she's never seen her son dance before that day.
Check it out.
We had 3 rangoli stations set up and just rotated the children through. A rangoli is a colorful design made on the floor near the entrance to a home to welcome guests. It is made with materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. First, we had a page with a rangoli pattern that the kids colored with markers (always a special occasion when I let them use markers). Grab your class the two freebies below.

Grab this freebie
Grab this freebie.
Second, I drew a rangoli pattern outside the front door and a large pattern outside my side slider the afternoon before. Rangoli patterns are placed outside homes to bring good luck and well wishes. I used white chalk and the pattern from the pages above. The kids used sidewalk chalk to color in the different sections. 

 The last station was with salt and flour dough and lentils. I had made the dough the night before and placed it into small baggies. I colored the water with food coloring prior to mixing it. This helped achieve the really vibrant colors I was looking for. The children used the lentils to make a symmetrical pattern. I think they came out fabulous. 

This group of first graders love art, which makes me happy since I do too. I think they came out beautifully. Happy Diwali!
I have also been using my fast finishers in my small groups lately. Parents find them easy to follow and the children always do better when they have a little guidance. I also use them when I need a little more reinforcement of a particular standard. Each page is interactive and based on a Common Core standard. 

Click to check out this package.

Enjoy you week.