Five for Friday: Pumpkins and Bats and Spiders...Oh MY!

Oh how I LOVE October! I love that the weather is beginning to cool (for us that means temps in the 80s.) I love that my little firsties are starting figure out routines and build independence. And I love that we can start focusing our learning around some favorite nonfiction topics. For us, that means we get to learn all about pumpkins, bats and spiders!

I linked up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky Party. I thought I'd share five of our fave October-related activities!

We started out the month learning all about pumpkins and then moved on to bats and spiders. I began each week with an anchor chart. I like to review their "schema" (prior knowledge), and we record that on the charts. Then, as we read and learn new facts, we add those to the chart. The kids LOVE using sticky notes for their facts!

For our hallway bulletin board, we combined a little art and writing. I always try to have some kind of writing on our bulletin board, and this project from the fab Reagan Tunstall fit the bill. They turned out AMAZING!

One of the kinder classes at my school created this bulletin board, and I am absolutely obsessed with it! First, The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is one of my favorite Halloween books, and this idea is just too precious! Each kiddo created their own part of the pumpkin. It turned out so cute!
Since we were exploring so much nonfiction text, I thought it was a good time to introduce nonfiction text features. **Quick tip- When I do my monthly book order, I try and find nonfiction or thematic books for 100 points or less. I order 6 copies to use with my reading groups. I love tying their reading to our monthly themes!**

We have been studying spiders, so I focused our text feature learning around spider books. We first did a quick "noticing chart." I didn't snap a pic of this one. On day 2, I prepped by copying examples from a few spider books and magazines. I read through the texts, and as the kids noticed features, I glued them to the anchor chart.

I then passed out 2-3 spider books to each table group. (I basically cleaned out our school library.) I gave them a checklist to use while they searched for features in the books. They worked with partners and had so much fun! I loved hearing their discussions.

You can grab the recording sheet here!
 (Fonts by Cara Carroll and Kimberly Geswein and border by Krista Wallden.)
One of my team's favorite Halloween projects is jack-o-lanterns! We have the kiddos bring in their own jars. This year, I had one volunteer for each table. We were able to knock it out in 45 minutes! Prep is KEY, so I had tables ready to go while the kids were at specials. Each table had butcher paper for easy clean-up. The eyes, noses and mouths were cut my parents ahead of time and kept in separate baggies. Each child had their own brush and the table shared the tissue paper and the glue/water mixture. (It's just a 1/2&1/2 mixture.)

I demonstrated the process ahead of time and showed them how to add a little glue/water to one section and press down you tissue paper.

This is the final product! I also mod-podge it after it's all said and done and send it home with a tealight candle.

Finally, we have been teaching partners of 10, and Ashley and I created some SPOOKTACULAR TEN math activities. This bundle includes games, printables, and interactive journal pages! You can grab it for FREE on our facebook page!
(The freebie tab is on the side. You cannot access it from a mobile device.)

Don't forget to enter our 1500 IG Follower Giveaway! You can win over 25 awesome products from some of our blogging buddies!!

Thanks for checking in! Head on back to Doodle Bugs to check out the other blogs that linked up!

We Heart Teaching
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Monday Made-It (and a FREEBIE!)

Hi there! I'm linking up with the fab Tara of 4th Grade Frolics for this month's Monday Made It! I have a  few "made-its" that I've been saving up... but it looks like I may have deleted some of the how-to parts. I am CONSTANTLY running out of memory on my stinkin' i-phone, so I guess I got a little carried away with deleting pics to free up space. I'll try and explain as we go.

Looking to add something new to your word work? Kids LOVE anything seasonal. Why not use Halloween erasers (or other manipulatives) on your play-doh mats? For this month, I simply printed my play-doh mats on orange cardstock and replaced our play-doh with these Halloween erasers from the Target Dollar Spot. The kids will love it! Looking for sight word mats? You can grab mine for FREE from my TPT store. (Be sure to leave some feedback while there!) :)

My kiddos this year are super-talkative, so a few weeks ago I had to pull out the big guns: Quiet Monsters. I had pics of the creation process, but those were deleted. To make these sweeties, I hot-glued googly eyes and foam hearts (the feet) to the little fuzzies. Voila! You have a quiet monster.

These babies arrived mysteriously to our front office with a  letter to my class stating that they'd like to live with us. Sadly, their little ears are super-sensitive, so we have to work quietly. In the mornings, as the kids come in, I pass out a quiet monster to those who are working quietly on their morning journals. If they are not following directions regarding noise level throughout the day, they can lose their quiet monster. Simple, yet effective!

Finally, I just had to show my little chair project! Everyone on my team has these super-cute chairs. I just can't bring myself to spend the money on a chair for my classroom, but I just couldn't take this ugly maroon chair ANYMORE! I found some fabric that I'd used to cover a table a few years ago and went to work. This was the easiest DIY project I've ever done.

For the top, I just pressed the fabric into the back using a flathead screwdriver. This was the hardest part, but a little muscle was all it took. For the bottom, I just pulled the fabric tight and stapled to the bottom. Easy-peasy! This chair is SO.MUCH.BETTER.

That's it for now! Let me know what you think, and head back to 4th Grade Frolics to check out some more made-its!

We Heart Teaching
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October Currently

Yay! I'm still awake, and Farley just posted her October Currently linky! I've been wanting to link up for awhile, so I'm taking the plunge.  I'll keep it short and sweet because...well, I'm tired!

1. This weekend is one of my faves of the year: ACL! For those of you not from Texas (or the Austin area), ACL is the Austin City Limits Music Festival. My husband and I love going (although we share very different music tastes), and this year, one of my all-time favorite bands will be there: The Avett Brothers. I plan on being front and center, so I've been listening to them non-stop in preparation. Can't wait!

2. I'm loving reading with my little monkey this year. He's in 1st grade (2 classes down), and they've officially started reading homework this week. He's a beginning reader, but I love seeing his progress and hearing him read with expression. Melts my heart!

3. Thinking: I'm a major procrastinator, and I hate making sub plans. I'll be out Friday for ACL, and those darn plans are hanging over my head!

4. Wanting: Did I mention I'm a procrastinator? I desperately need to finish up my 2nd 5-a-day math bundle, but I keep finding other stuff to do. Anyone else have that issue?

5. Needing to wash my hair. Enough said.

6. Trick or Treat?! Why TREAT of course! Especially for you, I'm putting my Short Vowel CVC Word Work Bundle  and my Word Work: Vowel Teams, Digraphs, & Diphthongs Bundle ON SALE through the weekend! Check 'em out!

Happy OCTOBER! Now head on back to Farley and check out some other great blogs!

We Heart Teaching
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