Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Jumping for Jj

We always talk about the letter Jj the week of Halloween, because it is just the right time to make our jack-o-lantern!

First we had to decide what kind of face to give our jack-o-lantern.  The kiddos suggested shapes for each feature, and then we voted.  We had a tie for eye shape: circle and triangle, so we had one eye of each shape.  We voted for a circle nose, scarey mouth, and no eyebrows.
 Ms. Paula cut the top off the pumpkin, and showed us the inside.  Everyone was encouraged to help get the guts out.  Ooey-gooey!  Most of the children enjoyed digging inside the pumpkin and pulling out seeds, but a few balked at touching the "guts". 
Here is our finished jack-o-lantern!  Ms. Paula toasted the seeds with a little salt, and we tried those for snack.  Just over half the children liked them! We also made a jack-o-lantern on our upper-case J craft.

Another day we talked about jewels and jewelry.  We put on bracelets, necklaces, rings and clip-on earrings, and jumped in our jewelry, joyfully.   We glued jewels onto our lower case j craft to follow up.  We really like the jewels!

We learned the nursery rhyme, Jack Be Nimble, and took turns jumping over a pretend candlestick.  Everyone made a page for our class book about it, using our own names and adding the color of our candlesticks.  I found the idea at http://saylorslog.blogspot.com/search/label/nursery%20rhymes.  Our book is already a favorite to read together, and the children jumped over imaginary candlesticks all week long.

 We read a lot more Halloween books, including some about how pumpkins grow.  Here's the bracelet we made to help us remember the pumpkin life cycle.  I modified the idea from an activity we did at the Botanic Research Institute of Texas' story time last month.   First we put a real pumpkin seed on a pipe cleaner (Ms. Paula made a hole in it ahead of time).  We added a foam leaf, then a flower-shaped yellow bead.  Right underneath the "flower" we put a tiny green bead, to represent the tiny baby pumpkin that grows from the base of the flower.  We added another green bead that was a little bigger, because pumpkins grow and grow.  They turn yellow and then orange, so we added beads to represent that, and finally a larger orange bead to represent the ripe pumpkin.  Guess what is inside the ripe pumpkin?  Seeds!  Our bracelets go around and around, just like the life cycle of a pumpkin plant.

Our art project this week was painting.  We mixed yellow, red and orange paints to cover our paper, and will cut out a large pumpkin shape from it, then the children will cut black paper shapes to make their own jack-o-lantern.  We'll finish this project on Monday.  I got the idea here.

The highlight of the week was definitely our Halloween party.  Many parents and siblings joined us- yeah!  We ate cupcakes with chocolate eyeballs on them, then showed off our costumes to each other.  The photos of each child in their costume will make another class book, with simple repetitive text; "_______ was _______ for Halloween."  As they read the book, the children will practice reading the names of their friends, and because the text is repeated, they can all be successful "reading" the book. 

 After lots of photos in our costumes, we went out to play in the backyard, and made our first big leaf pile.  As you can see, we ran and jumped and played in the leaves for an hour!  Thank you to the parents who helped rake the leaves for us - we LOVED it!

Jj has definitely been a joyful letter!

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