October Class Booooo(ks) and some Spooktacular fun!

This has been a crazy, whirl wind kind of week!
 I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's amazing linky party to share a little bit about what we have been up to! 

I LOVE creating books with my class. They are a great way to help students learn conventions of reading and writing, practice writing skills, phonemic awareness, fluency, and sight words. Plus, students love creating them and they are always a favorite in the classroom library! 

This first book came from Kinder Kim's Going A Little Batty pack. I saw the idea on her blog and had to scoop up the product ASAP! 

We have been working on alliteration this week and many of my students have been having a hard time isolating the beginning sound of each word. 

This book was great practice for just that!

for privacy reasons I had to put that bat over their sweet little faces but you have to imagine how ADORABLE these turned out with their face on the bat head.

they wanted to read this book over and over and found seeing themselves as a bat HILARIOUS!
This week we read this cute Little Critter Halloween book:

The story has all of Little Critters friends dressed up in their Halloween costumes but when you open the flap, the friend removes their mask and he sees who it really is. 

After each page my students started saying, "That's not a ghost, it's (characters name). This gave me an idea for our own class book!

Since Wednesday was an early dismissal day, we had pumpkin day and the kids all got to wear their Halloween costumes. I snapped a few pictures of them in their costumes and whipped up some pages for the book: 

I left blanks so students could practice a few of the sight words we have been working on 

and write their own name.

They all looked so cute in their costumes!! How much do you love all these squishy fake muscles?!? lol

Now, I am ALL for kids being creative and making their own illustrations (and trust me, they do their fair share of that) but there is something  special to them about seeing their face in a book. They thought it was especially hilarious to see their face on a bat body or dressed up in a Halloween costume!

My goal this year is to write 1 class book a week. I want to write at least 22 class books so that at the end of the year, each child can pick a class book to take home as a special memento of our year together!

You can see the other class book we made this month here.

Babbling Abby posted the cutest Halloween Costume Crafty  on tpt and I could not wait to make it with my students!

since I already had pictures of them in their costumes (and they really wanted to take their page from the class book home but their mean teacher wouldn't let them) I used their pictures instead of having them draw one.

You fold a piece of paper accordion style so the Boo! pops out.

They were quick and easy to make on a crazy Friday before Halloween and I think they turned out really cute!!

Of course it wouldn't be Halloween without a "Jack-o-Lantern experiment." 

We mixed green food coloring, baking soda, and vinegar inside our jack-o-lantern and watched him spew all over the place (as the children SCREAMED in delight - good thing we did this outside ;)

Today was "glow day" at school. Students got to wear all sorts of glow in the dark accessories, we played glow in the dark ring toss, painted glow in the dark pictures with glow paint, and made glow slime:

You can find the recipe here

I would have taken more pictures of today but here is what most of our day looked like:

I even joined in on the fun with some glow bracelets and light up glasses.

I hope everyone has a happy Halloween weekend!!

Pumpkin STEAM activities for October

 As any teacher knows, October to many kids = one thing, HALLOWEEN!  As the month goes on, anticipation builds and the kids get more and more excited about costumes and candy and less and less focused on what you are trying to teach. These past few weeks I have been tying pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and anything Halloween-y into our lessons to help focus all of that excitement into learning!

With so many Science, Engineering, Art, and Math activities, it has been Pumpkin Mania in our classroom!

We read 5 Little Pumpkins 
(click the cover to get the book)

and wrote our own counting book using Bingo Dotters! We love these.

Some students made 5 little pumpkins just like the book

Some made a few more

and some made a LOT more!

In art we made our own paper jack-o-lanterns

During "science Friday" we always have STEAM workstations after our science experiment. Last week, I put out a bag of Pumpkin Spice marshmallows, a box of toothpicks, and gave my little engineers the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild! 

It always amazes me the things they come up with when given only a few directions:

- "Don't put these in your mouth, they have germs from people's hands." 
- "Be very careful with the toothpicks, they are sharp."
-"Create any kind of structure you want."

Yup, I think that pretty much covers my directions ;) 

We described the outside of our small baking pumpkin, determined if pumpkins sink or float, and then carved out the pulp and seeds to describe what was inside.

We read about the life cycle of a pumpkin
(click the cover to get the book)


made life cycle bracelets (white for the seed, yellow for the flower, green for the green pumpkin, and orange for the orange pumpkin)

and filled our small pumpkin up with dirt, replaced a few of it's seeds, and placed it in the window in hopes that our own pumpkin plant would grow!

We practiced voting and comparing more and less this week by deciding how our classroom jack-o-lantern should look

And used our 5 senses to try all sorts of yummy pumpkin flavored treats (inspired by The First Grade Parade)

Not the prettiest graph I have every made but the kids got the basic concept lol

I have definitely gotten my pumpkin fix over the last 2 weeks!

Looking for even more hands-on activities to use this month? Check out the Halloween Math Centers that we use all month long!

Halloween Math Centers

Activities for Family Literacy Night (Plus a FREEBIE!)

At our school, each year we host a family literacy night during the week of the book fair. Each teacher chooses a story and then picks 1 or 2 quick literacy activities that relate to the story for students to do. We have tables set up in the hallway and students can go from table to table with their families doing whichever activities they choose. 

Each I year a pick the same book. It's an oldie but a goodie, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."

Here is an example of my little set up, inside my classroom. 

I have the story (of course) and my little stuffed mouse. Although my mouse is wearing red overalls? Maybe he is a knockoff ;)

For my activities, I have this cookie memory game

I drew chocolate chips (aka brown blobs) on one side of brown construction paper circles and glued letters on the other side. Students play this like the traditional memory game, flipping over 2 cookies at a time, saying the letter, and trying to find a match. 

Although I chose to put letters on these cookies so I would have a higher and lower activity, you could put letters and letter sounds, sight words, or even a vocabulary word from the story and a picture of the word for students who are reading. The possibilities are endless! 

 My other activity was play-doh stamping vocabulary words from the story. 

Play-doh stamps are always a big hit in my classroom and the children at family literacy night seemed to love the stamping words just as much as my students! I was fortunate enough to get my stamps through a literacy project funded by Donors Choose. You can find the stamps through Lakeshore here.

I have been using the same vocabulary cards for 4 or 5 years now and I cannot find the source ANYWHERE! I searched high and low for them and still came up empty handed :( 

Since I could only find the few cards I use during family literacy night and needed more picture cards to help retell the story in class, I created my own set of cards as a forever FREEBIE in my store. 

This set includes 15 different words from the story. You can click on the pictures above or click here to download a set of your own!

Do you have family literacy night at your school what kind of activities do you do? 

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