Sunday, November 15, 2015

Halloween Recap!

Hey everyone! I can't believe how fast the year is going! I blinked and October just flew! I probably should have been posting as it went, but with parent teacher conferences, progress reports, field trips, and school scheduled functions, I got a little behind. But I'm back and ready to do an October recap. Here are my top 5 favorite things we did last month! :)
#1: Reading Comprehension and Story Development: Below you can see my second graders holding up their Jack O'lanterns in front of one of my favorite October projects, "Our Halloween characters!"

How are cute are they!? I just love this picture! 

During October, we worked a lot on the development of character. We read fun October stories, analyzed how characters are described, and how they can change as a story progresses. 

Students created Halloween characters using paper, scissors, and glue. (no drawing or pencils allowed! Just cutting!) Then, they have to describe their character using proper organization and structure. We share them as a class and hang them on our Second grade writing wall! They each turn out so unique and different! 
 We then read the book, "Too Many Pumpkins" by Linda White and discuss the character of Rebecca Estelle. We talked about how her feelings towards pumpkins changed over the course of the story and we mapped out the evidence from the story that shows this change. We also wrote about what we would do with too many pumpkins and create Jack o'lanterns, just like Rebecca Estelle, to hang in the classroom windows for our Halloween Carnival.
#2: Math Manipulatives: This month we also used tons of fun manipulatives from the Dollar Store and Party City to make Math and 3 digit addition more exciting! 3 digit numbers are written on eyeballs, witch fingers, and gravestone cards to create engaging ways to compare, order, and add 3 digit numbers. 
Here you can see the kids using the eyeballs and grooves in our school benches to order the eyeballs from least to greatest. You can also see the kids using the witch fingers to add together on whiteboards and the gravestone addition problems in a fun Halloween cup to solve 3 digit addition with no regrouping. 

Manipulatives make strengthening concepts that much easier! They are naturally more engaging and fun. There is so much you can do with them! Here are some other ways we used them this month! 
  • We used the cards to play a scoot game to review 3 digit addition with no regrouping.
  • We used the eyeballs to practice greater than and less than symbols. 
  • We used the witch fingers to practice adding more than two addends.
  • We hid the eyeballs around the classroom and went on a scavenger hunt to create Math problems. 
  • We even combined the app, Doceri, to create instructional videos using our manipulatives to explain how to solve 3 digit addition problems.
Here you can see the eyeballs being used to compare and order numbers at a Math station!

#3. Quotation Marks with Candy Corn: What is one of the most exciting parts about Halloween? Well... the candy of course. In October as part of our study on characters, we learn about dialogue and use candy corn to learn about quotation marks! 

Students pick a scary Halloween character to say something. We write our sentences on strips and glue the candy down. We then create silly stories about visiting a Haunted House. In the story, Halloween characters talk to the author. We focus on the importance of differentiating what words we use, so as to make our story more interesting. You can find this activity here if you want to try it next year with your kiddos! 
#4 Halloween Technology: As a Blended Learning teacher, I am constantly trying to use technology in the classroom with my kiddos to help transform their learning, build deeper connections, and apply their understanding.  

During October, we used Doodle Buddy Stamps to help solve Halloween Word Problems. Below is a video I took of two of my students solving a repeated addition problem about spiders and their webs. You can see how they used the stamps to create a visualization of their thought process. They then created their own word problems! 

Here is an example of one of the problems they created! 

We also used the app, Chatterpix, to create Monster stories that outline what a Monster likes to do on Halloween. Students used clay to create silly monsters. They then wrote a script from their monster's perspective and used chatterpix to make them talk. 

We likewise used another app called Pic Collage, to create collages that show some of the fun Halloween stuff we did in class in October! 

#5 Dress up: Ok, so the last and final favorite for the month isn't so much a classroom activity but I loved it anyways! My primary staff dressed up as Jurassic Park for Halloween! Some of us dressed as escaped dinosaurs, while others dressed as the tourists being chased! I just love Halloween! We had such an awesome time!