Friday, October 31, 2014

Painting Pumpkins

If you've been following my blog this past year, you might know that my school makes a BIG deal about Halloween.

In preparation, we decided to paint some pumpkins with our 5th and 6th grade buddies.

We got these little pumpkins for about $1.50/each from the local produce shop.

Then, we gave the kids paint and let their imaginations go wild! It was great to see how differently each child painted their pumpkin. We had some scary faces, cool graphic designs, and even some landscape scenes! We ended up keeping the pumpkins inside of our classroom for some fun Halloween decor.

After the kids were done painting, we gave them a special "seasonal" snack. Who doesn't love some spiced cider and ginger-snap cookies on a crisp fall day?

I wanted to decorate the classroom for Halloween, but not go crazy, so I decided the easiest thing to do would be to make a candy corn banner!

I simply took some paper plates and painted a circle of orange and yellow on each one, like so:

Then, I cut each paper plate in half, and then cut each half into three wedges (looks like candy corn, no?):

After that, I punched holes in each "candy corn" and threaded string through for hanging. Viola!

Of course, I had to wear some fun Halloween attire! I love candy corn (if you couldn't already tell from my classroom decorations), so these socks were the perfect fit!

I hope everyone has a super and safe Halloween! Tonight, I am looking forward to snuggling up with some popcorn and watching Halloween (with a blanket to cover my eyes at the scary parts!). What are your Halloween plans?  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to School Night

First of all, let me just apologize for being very MIA for the past couple of weeks!

The school year really has been go-go-go since the very first day, I've barely had any time to update everyone on what's been going on in my classroom! Plus, with the fall Jewish holidays, my husband and I have hardly spent any down-time at home as we have been driving to visit family almost every weekend!

I have to say, I am SO loving my new group. 2nd/3rd mixed age is where it's at! Developmentally, it just works a whole lot better than a 3rd/4th mixed age.

A couple of weeks ago, we had Back to School night. I am always a little anxious before the evening begins, but this year I felt very confident. The other 2/3 teacher and I have been collaborating all summer, and we got the OK from our principal to conduct BTSN together. It was fabulous! We had all of the parents from both groups in the gym for our presentation on curriculum, and then invited families to come to their child's classroom for the last 20 minutes of the night to see what their kids have been up to!

We gave families a packet of information about our curriculum, including an outline of our reading/language arts program, the NCTM standards that is the basis for our math program, and a print-out of my curriculum report from last year. Even though last year I taught a different grade level, I feel that allowing parents to see my curriculum report gives them a better idea of what I like to teach and how I like to teach it!

We started out playing this game with the whole group to show the parents how we have started to get to know each other in our class communities. Each segment of the beach ball has a question written on it. Whatever section your right thumb is touching when the ball is passed to you is the question you respond to! Questions included:

- What are you most looking forward to this year?
- Tell us something fun you did during the summer.
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What is your favorite animal? Why?
- What is your favorite food?

When parents came into our classroom at the end of the night, they were so impressed with our self-portraits. This year, we are starting math with geometry (more on that soon!), so children created self-portraits using only geometric shapes. In connection with understanding shapes and patterns, children also only used 3 colors. The results were amazing! I loved hanging them up for the families to see!

In Back to School night tradition, I had my students write notes to their parents about all of the things they would like their families to see when they came into the classroom. Some highlights that many kids included in the letters were their portraits, our loft, and our library area!

By the way, how do you like the new furniture? Snazzy, right? 

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