Pumpkin Decorating Contest

I must say I work with some very creative people!  Our Parent-Teacher program came up with a great fundraiser. Each classroom was given a pumpkin and asked to decorate it but the only rule was to not carve it.The pumpkins were put on display in the front hall and students & parents could vote on their favorite pumpkin by paying $1. The winning classroom earns pizza party and the teacher wins a free 1/2 day off from school! Here are some of the pumpkins that were on display...

The Little Young Class That Isn't Afraid of Anything!

Several years ago our school was fortunate enough to receive a very large art grant. Some of the money was used to bring in different types of artists. My absolute favorite was Mrs. Kathleen also known as The Puppet Lady. One of the activities she did with the kids was to read the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and had the kids help retell the story using props. They absolutely loved it!  My coworkers and I did several days of scarecrows and finished it up with this book and decided to make our very own and much smaller version of the scarecrow and this is what we came up with...

 Ok now say it with me…”THAT IS SO ADORABLE!” One of my kindergarten friends has a toddler that is always dressed so cute and she brought in some of his hand-me downs. They are so cute and are the perfect size for our PVC frame! (I completely forgot to bring him a hat so I just used a pirate hat from my dress up center.)
Here is the frame we started with. My handy man husband only spent $6 on the PVC pipes & elbow pieces (easy to take apart for storage.) He also drilled a hole in the bottom of my pumpkin bucket so that it fit perfectly on the frame.

Night Creatures

I absolutely love teaching in the month of October! The fall season & Halloween "symbols" really lend themselves to incorporating nonfiction into our curriculum....and I'm pretty sure everyone knows by now that I LOVE teaching with nonfiction. Just like every other kindergarten teacher, we did a unit on Nocturnal Animals (owls, bats, raccoons, fireflies, coyotes, etc).

This simple book was an awesome nonfiction book to introduce animals that are active at night.
As much as I would love to lead you to believe that I did the following bulletin board, I cannot take any credit for it. My amazing assistant, Mrs. Lively put the board together using the little ones' work and some of the questions we asked and answered during our nocturnal unit.
I am trying desperately to enlarge the pictures below so you can read the interesting facts to go with each critter but I'm not having much luck: (
The coyotes were die cuts put onto a background that was made using artist pastels (chalk) and then blended together using a tissue or their fingers. 
The owls were colored with regular crayons and then we painted over the top of it using a watered down blue paint to create a Crayon Resist effect.
I modified this raccoon pattern from a paper bag craft I found in a Mailbox magazine years ago.


I left the bat out of this picture but we found it very interesting to find out why bats hang upside down. Did you know that their feet aren't made for standing? That was an interesting fact we discovered after reading Stellaluna and comparing & contrasting bats & birds.
After reading The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle, the kids made fingerprint fireflies in a jar using 3D yellow, iridescent puffy paint. Mrs. Lively took a piece of scrap laminating film to cover the "jar" to give it shiney "jar like" appearance but you can't really tell in the picture
This has by far been my favorite unit yet!  This week we will be learning about Scarecrows, Skeletons, and Spiders. I've got a feeling that it will be another fun week of learning!

Traffic Report

I thought I would interupt my awesome fall break to share a quick activity that we did with our transportation unit! Keep reading to grab your freebie below!
As a culminating activity for our Transportation unit, we took the kids outside and sat them on our walking track next to the road. The kids then graphed the colors of the cars, trucks, and other vehicles that passed by. The kids absolutely loved it! The people that drove by no doubt heard the kids scream "it's another white one" or "here comes a red one!" 

After we had a "winning" color on our graphs, we took our papers inside and analyzed our data (fancy Common Core Curriculum words for counting each color and writing how many.) The kids also enjoyed comparing their graphs with their classmates. and talking about why they thought there were not very many pink, purple, or orange cars and what color car their parents drove.
We had planned to also graph the vehicles by type on the following day but rain kept us inside.
Grab your free copy of the Traffic Report graphing page here!
Just a week ago, I said the shameful words of a teacher...."I'm not really ready for a week off from school!" Then came the last few days before the break and I was quickly eating my words! Pancake & Pajama Day, field trip to the Pumpkin Patch, report card testing, and trying to get my lesson plans done for after the break....I definately earned my week off those last few days!  My class is just precious and I have missed them so much but spending a few days on a sunny beach while it was rainy, cold, and dreary back at home has given me a boost to keep me going until Christmas Thanksgiving break!  I will now resume my fall break!