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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween: Friend or Foe?

When I think about Halloween, I first get REALLY excited about pumpkins, mums, candy, and FINALLY getting to enjoy some cooler weather. With that said, this year I felt completely ripped off! I got a whopping 14 Trick-or-Treaters last night, the weather has been nothing shy of 80 degrees every day, my mums are pretty much dead corpses, and as far as the pumpkins are concerned...well, the pumpkins are ok...for now...

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Halloween in school.  I love reading Halloween themed books, talking about witches and scary creatures with the munchkins, and it of course kicks off the decorating season, but on the same token, it's the time of year where candy takes control over our little ones' brains!!!!  This year was no exception.  With Halloween being on a Thursday, it was quite the challenge Friday to get my friends up and motivated to learn for the entire day.  Leave it to construction paper and glue to save the day 45 minutes.

This week, we learned all about UNDERSTANDING CHARACTERS, while focusing on asking questions with the 5 Ws and 1 H.  Ok, understanding characters is something we will be constantly working on {traits}, but how hard is it to discuss the five Ws?!  At first you think, "Ok, we ask questions all the time while reading.  I don't need to spend five days on this..."  However, I quickly realized seven year olds have a hard time understanding WHAT questions are asking and the proper way to answer them. *This also come in handy while discussing word problems in math! Bigger bang for your buck I like to say :)

Here's a peak at some of the things we've done to keep our friends occupied during the candy trance:

Choose a Halloween costume for me to dress up as this year--I loved these!


They know how to get on my good side :)

We started off  the week reading some simple passages together as a class.  We discussed what each W meant and HOW to answer each type of question.  They totally loved Scardie {play on Goldie Locks}, and the fact she ate three bowls of eyeballs.  #yougottadowhatyougottado


Then we read one of my FAVORITE fall books, The Ugly Pumpkin!  This is actually more of a Thanksgiving book than Halloween, but I can never wait until November to read this one!  However, I can still keep up the cute little Squashes they are making until then. :)  


If you don't have this book in your classroom library, you are so missing out.  It's cute, sweet, and Ah-maze-ing for teaching character traits! 

After reading, we listed what the character was like on the outside and inside.  The way the character looked on the outside was very important to the story AND telling the different character traits the Ugly Pumpkin possessed.  *SPOILER ALERT: He's not a pumpkin...he's a SQUASH!
Click here to download
My sorry attempt at a squash...


Students used their Daily 5 Folders to help them list the trait that matched the characters words, actions, and thoughts.  Get it here!


The students brought in different types of squashes all week.  We had a nice little collection by Friday :)  When it comes to squashes, I say the uglier the better!


Students then chose a squash to transform themselves into!  They created a self portrait as THAT particular squash and listed character traits to describe THEM around it.  This was one of our Fun Friday Centers and are not quite finished yet.  I will say, the ones I saw are CRAZY cute! Can't wait to see and display our little Squash Patch!



Later in the Week we read/ watched, Room on the Broom here, another one of my favorites :) 


Students analyzed the characters to answer our 5Ws and one H questions, while listing character traits to describe the witch!  By the third day they were cake with choosing traits to describe a character's actions, thoughts, and words.



Day Four was a little more on their own.  We started with my cute little monster friend, Boo~Berry, and did some inferring with our question starters.  



We used WeGiveBooks.org to read, "Bump in the Night."  If you haven't had the joy of using this site yet, you are in for a real TREAT {no pun intended...}. It has thousands of book titles in the form of a BIG BOOK you can read from your smart, or white board with help from your students.  They can read the entire book to you!  It's great for increasing time in text!!


Of course, I had to let them make their OWN cutie patootie monster {while sneaking in some character traits in there of course}!  Let me just say, I LOVE seeing how creative seven year olds can get!  






To add the finishing touch on who, what, when, where, why, we learned what it meant to write a super, meaty, sandwich sentence using this template.  We first practiced together in our writing journals where students glued the template {we glued it on the back cover for easy reference}.  


We color coded our words as we wrote each part, which made it a little easier. 

Makes you wonder what's going through their little heads...



Next week, we're going to choose one of the sentence strips hanging around the room to illustrate!  I don't know about you, but my friends seem to think a stick figure will suffice as an illustration....nah...Mrs. P don't roll like that...

Ok, I have been wanting  dying to incorporate MUSTACHES into something, I don't know why, I just think they are ADORABLE {except on pretty ladies}.  As one of our Friday Centers, second graders made mustache questions we could ask ourselves while reading!  


They did this entire center unsupervised...I was across the room of course, but I did not even see this poster until it was done!  I was so impressed :)  





Horn Toot for the week goes out to my little nuggets for earning FIRST RUNNER UP in our school- wide poster contest for RED RIBBON WEEK!  Each student created a drug free themed app which we added to our giant paper iPad! They loved it. I loved it. Everybody Happy, Happy, Happy. 


Happy Christmas Thanksgiving Shopping!




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