Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Day in Kindergarten!

Yesterday was such a fun day in our kindergarten classroom. In celebration of our fall science unit, we devoted an entire day to the study of pumpkins. We thoroughly enjoyed apple day in September so I knew my students would love pumpkin day, too! Instead of doing our normal math or workshop blocks, we did lots of pumpkin-themed activities.

I love doing this activity whole group with my class. I've made the mistake in the past of buying too many pumpkins to do this with, so we could never finish counting all the seeds!

For our float or sink experiment, all of the students made a prediction first. Then we plopped the pumpkin into a medium-sized tub filled with water. Spoiler alert: it floats!

Since we haven't started officially learning about measurement or estimating, their guesses of how many cubes tall our pumpkin was were hilarious. We got anywhere from 3 to 100. This was actually a great lesson on how to line up the tool to the ends of what you are measuring. We had to remember to include the stem!

Maybe one of my favorite parts of pumpkin math was comparing the weight of the pumpkin to something else. Each student held the pumpkin and told what they thought it was as heavy as. Car, cow, little brother, table...we finally settled on our pumpkin being as heavy as the teacher chair! This may or may not have resulted in Ms. Hodges showing off her muscles and holding each up in the air with one hand...

Then came the cutting and scooping! I was SHOCKED at how many of my students this year have never seen the inside of a pumpkin. One word was repeated over and over: GROSS! But surprisingly enough most of them jumped right into the scoop I gave them to start counting the seeds. Easiest tip ever: Use an ice cream scoop, scoop out some of the pumpkin guts, then plop it down between two students. Have them partner up to count the seeds!

Once we started counting, I realized that we needed some organization. What better time than to introduce ten frames! They used them well! Then we (I) counted all of the ten frames and leftovers. We ended up having 459 seeds (minus the few left in the pumpkin that I didn't scoop out, shh!).

And finally, we made our pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern! I let a few students come up and draw the face, then I cut it out. They were enthralled. I don't think an earthquake could have distracted them from watching me carve!

Later in the day, we read It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall. It's such a cute story about a brother and sister who plant a pumpkin patch. It was a great way to review the pumpkin life cycle. Then we showed what we know with this great activity by Ashley at One Sharp Bunch! She has an awesome, FREE bundle that you can check out by clicking here!

To finish our day, we enjoyed making pumpkin pie in a cup! We had been reading all about pumpkins for two weeks and have been talking about how delicious pumpkin pie might be but were disappointed that we didn't have an oven in our classroom. This delicious treat was the perfect solution!

Here's how to make it:

I hope pumpkin day in your classroom is as much fun as ours was! Enjoy!

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Fun! (And a Freebie!)

Today was a fun but exhausting day in our kindergarten classroom! We spent the entire day celebrating Hispanic traditions and culture. Hispanic Heritage month is September 15th-October 15th, so we devoted the day to a full celebration! Our school has held school-wide events for the past two Fridays after school including a movie night with traditional Latin food and a grade-level soccer tournament. We have really enjoyed the fun activities and all of the learning we've done!

I love any opportunity to cook with my students, and today we made corn tortillas from scratch! We used a VERY basic recipe to feed 25 students, 3 teachers, and 3 office managers/principals. We even had a bit of dough leftover! Here is how we did it:

I will warn you, it took us about 30 solid minutes of mixing, rolling, and cooking to have all 25+ tortillas ready to enjoy. But the students were SO ENGAGED. Each student came up to the bowl. got a big pinch of dough, and rolled out their tortilla. I helped them smash it between the wax paper and roll it, then I cooked it while they watched on the document camera. The anticipation was palpable!

And although I prefer my local Cafe Rio's tortillas over these, my students thought these were the BEST EVER. They even said, "You should have a cooking show, Ms. Hodges!" So watch out for me on Food Network, guys. :)

To wrap up our time with our tortillas before moving on to making our own maracas out of paper plates and flowers out of tissue paper, we listened to a great story called Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Greenfield Thong. It is a great shape review and ties into lots of things we've been studying during Hispanic Heritage month. You can enjoy a read aloud of the book below:

And to go with our activity, a freebie! I hope your students enjoy learning about and making tortillas in your classroom, we sure did! (Click HERE or on the image below to download)

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