Sunday, November 10, 2013

Halloween Week

Our classroom got very spooky this week! And by spooky, I mean very fun and hands on.

We started off our Hallo-week by visiting local seniors complexes in our neighborhood. The children were asked to dress up so we could do a parade for the residents. After our parade the children sang "5 little Pumpkins" for their audience, and together we read the book Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler. The seniors were so thankful for the children sharing their song, book, and adorable costumes that they gave the children candy to take home.

Back in the class, the children enjoyed some Halloween theme games and toys.

Sensory bins are really easy to make, and a lot of fun. They are also full of development opportunities. In our Halloween sensory bin we had black beans, orange lentils, spoons for gathering and pouring, cups and pumpkins for collecting and filling, and various themed items such as pumpkins, bugs and skeletons.
There are lots of various senses being used in this sensory bin, such as the sounds of pouring and mixing the beans, the satisfying sensory of touching and feeling dry beans, and of course the fun of all the creativity when we watch what we can do with our beans and the tools.

Making pumpkin faces
Math can be easily incorporated into our pumpkin theme. The children were offered various shapes to enjoy making different faces for our laminated pumpkin. We could explore feelings, offering our pumpkin emotions such as happy, sad, silly, scary or surprised. It is important to offer children lots of opportunities to explore emotions, especially when they can put emotions onto others. Young children are very egocentric, which means they are preoccupation with one's own internal world. By helping children identify others feelings, it creates a way to still make it about them ("how do you think the pumpkin is feeling?") and yet identify that like themselves, others have feelings and we need to acknowledge this. This way, when in a situation of conflict with others it reminds them to identify how the other person is feeling. I scaffold the enjoyment of being silly with the pumpkin making various faces by asking "why is the pumpkin happy? What could we do to make the pumpkin laugh?" or "why is the pumpkins face sad? What would you do to make the pumpkin smile." Offering young children LOTS of exposure to this play creates quick thinkers in real conflicts.


Because we did our seniors walk on Monday, we only did one craft this week. Sometimes I do a craft per day, sometimes two! But occasionally, its okay to not do a craft on a busy day.

Our craft was aimed to be mess free to save the children's costumes.
In a box we added small pumpkins, black paper and white paint. We put on the lid and began to SHAKE!!!!
This craft is always a hit, and is great for following directions and remembering prepositions. We use the pumpkins to roll around remembering to go back and forth, up and down and forward and backwards.   It's also great for turn taking because we do one child's craft at a time.

Once done we have lots of white lines.

After the web has been made from shaking the box around we add our cute plastic spider.

In class we, we also carved pumpkins.
The children listed off shapes to make the eyes and nose, and then an emotion so we knew what kind of mouth to cut.

I carved the pumpkin and gutted it so the children could help me pull out the seeds.

Some children were fearless, and got right into the pumpkin with their hands. Others used gloves or spoons.
When we were lucky enough to have children who would gut it by hand, we discussed some of the sensory the inside of a pumpkin provides. The seeds are "slippery", the pulp is "squishy" and "slimy" and the inside felt "wet."

Our M/W/F AM was happy

Our M/W/F PM was scary

Our T/Th was scared

Celebration Center

Each year I use carving the pumpkin a learning opportunity to explain to the Christian program children that we are like pumpkins for God. We use the charming story book The pumpkin patch parable by Liz Curtis Higgs, and then as we carve our own pumpkin I go step by step to explain how we are like this pumpkin. God chooses us! He then removes the yucky pulp from us, which is our bad thoughts and choices, and invites room for happy decisions and opportunities. We talk about saving the seeds, because seeds are good. They bring new, new life, new choices, and new experiences. As we carve the pumpkins eyes, I remind the children that although we can't use our eyes to see God, we know he's there so we use our eyes to see signs of God. We see crosses, and see new friends to share God's love with, and we see the wonderful miracles God gave us on Earth such as the trees, and the animals. As we carve the nose we talk about how we also can not see our own breath but it is there - just like God. If we breath out our nose, and put our hands up we can feel ourselves breathing from our nose and we can feel God inside of our hearts, and in our presence. 
I talk about the smile we can give the pumpkin, because we smile when we think of how fortunate we are to have God in our lives, and how much good God gives us to be happy. Of course as you can see, we don't always choose the happy pumpkin face but that's okay too because God wants us to feel various feelings to remember how to keep him in our lives such as praying when we are scared.
Lastly, we add the candle, which is the light God gives us when we invite God and Jesus into our lives. We glow with love, acceptance, and joy when we have God in our lives. 
Ms Asha

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