I love using themes to teach and this time of year, pumpkins are a great resource for teaching how to weigh, measure, estimate, count, identify distinguishing characteristics, and create art designing a Jack-o-lantern. I have taught students from birth through adults using “the real thing” as a source of language development. For many years, I worked as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. That experience, combined with teaching my own children, and public school students in Pre-K through 8th grade has shown me that best teaching practices include hands on, visual, repetition, and engaging instruction. When students are able to think about the results and come up with plans to make their ideas happen, they retain the information and better yet, they apply it in their own lives. I always had the goal of teaching and raising life long learners. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that I help people learn to think about what they are doing and apply that thinking to their personal lives. It’s not enough to memorize facts, I want students to enjoy learning, use their brains, and want to learn for themselves! There is a Pumpin News resource available for purchase that is an engaging way to use pumpkins as a theme for instruction and engaging learning. I have also had my students eat the pumpkin seeds after we soak, salt and roast them and draw their Jack-o-lantern design on the back of their page before we carve it. What is your favorite Jack-o-lantern design? Write and share it in the comments below!
Fall is such a wonderful time to be learning outside.
Enjoy this fun fall scavenger hunt idea:
Write a list of items you want to search for outside, on a small paper bag. Read the list over with your child. Go outside and check off the items as you find them. Sort and label the objects. Use the language to write a story about your experience. Count each of the items and talk about what makes them similar and different. Then, paint a scene inspired by what you did and use the materials to create a collage.
Enjoy learning and growing in The Great Outdoor Classroom!
This time of year can be so exciting because the leaves are starting to change colors (unless you live in the desert like I used to). I like to start thinking early about ways to help stay healthy throughout the holidays. One way I like to do that is to create some Indoor/Outdoor Fun activities. My children and I like to collect leaves, have races, create art, get our indoor video workouts ready for cold days, and take advantage of gorgeous hikes and walks on nice days. I am also really working with my Kindergartener to help her be a super reader. She sees her older brother enjoying all of his chapter books and she reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wants to be reading chapter books, too. To build her confidence (and boost her developmental reading skills), I have created some monthly chants. You can find the September sample downloadable FREE. The October Chant is now available for purchase, with a bonus illustrated and highlighted version to refer to for instruction. Children like to do actions to represent the words and the monthly pattern helps them to recognize words and build their vocabulary. The chart can also be referenced for writing. Write down what other ideas you would like to see for thematic content and check back often for new materials I am adding. Happy fall! However you are celebrating, I hope you are able to enjoy some Indoor/Outdoor Memory Making Fun! Fall parties with healthy snacks and crafts are a great alternative to an overload of super sweets. The chant can be used at one of the stations. Children enjoy weighing and measuring pumpkins, creating art using buttons and seeds, doing leaf rubbings, making paper tear pumpkins, designing masks, and more. Enjoy thinking outside of the candy wrappers this season.