read alouds

How I kept my sanity on Halloween Day!

I knew going into Halloween Day that it's just best to give into the fact that the kids are going to be crazy! So, I may have packed our day full of so much fun that even one of my kids said, "We don't do stuff like this until the last day of school!!" **SCORE** You know it's a fun day when you get a comment like that. ;) What she didn't realize though, was that she was still learning important skills & concepts! :)

We tried to begin our day with morning work as usual and they just wanted to talk about trick-or-treat - so talk we did and we put that morning work away. Then, we headed off to kindergarten to meet our reading buddies for the first time! Each month we are going to get together with our kindergarten buddy to read books together. So, we decided for our first meet and greet that it would be perfect to do a little spider craft!

The kids had total freedom to create their adorable spiders using paint. Then, the third graders helped them fill in their blanks on their writing activity.

After we finished, we headed back to the classroom and we only had a little bit of time left before it was recess. So, I used 'Write, Rotate, Repeat' from One Lesson at a Time.' It was a sanity saver and the kids loved it. I pulled up spooky music from Pandora, played music for 35 seconds, stopped the music and then the kids switched. The kids loved it and they got a lot of great practice at answering questions using complete thoughts!

Then, in the afternoon we practiced using our estimation skills with pumpkins!
I created this chart to help get us going.

Then, I set one pumpkin on each table in the classroom for a total of 7 pumpkins!

The kids were SO EXCITED when they came into the room!!
We started our lesson by reviewing what estimation actually was!

Then, I sent the students off in their groups and we discussed how we can estimate the circumference of the pumpkin (talked about what that meant too)!!

The students wrote their estimation on a sticky note and placed it on the chart.
Then, the students measured the pumpkin after we discussed the best place to measure and strategies to make sure each person in the group measured the pumpkin correctly as well. Students used a black marker to mark their pumpkin so that they knew each person in their group would measure in the exact spot to ensure they all got the same measurement. We were checking for accuracy! ;)

After students got their measurements they wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to the chart. We compared our estimation to the exact measurement and came up with additional strategies that we could have used to come up with better estimations.

Then, we estimated the weight of the pumpkins by picking them up and discussing our thoughts with groups members. After we estimated we put our sticky note on our chart. Then, we TRIED to weigh just a pumpkin on a scale and well... that didn't quite work... (on purpose)... so, I put it on the students. I said, "Now, the scale says it can only weight something that is over 20 pounds. What should we do?" The kids looks at me like I had lost my mind and I just let them sit there for a minute and ponder. Sometimes it's good for students to feel clueless... it makes them dig deep and think. After 2-3 minute a boy spoke up and said, we need to find something that weigh over 20 pounds. Then, another one said - "I weight over 20 pounds!" So, I guided them to come up with a solution. "How can we use your weight to help us find the weight of the pumpkin?" We've been working on subtraction and finding the difference and one of the kids said, "OH, if we weigh ourselves first and then weight the pumpkin we can see how much more weight was added!" YEP!...took a little bit of time and critical thinking... but, we got it! 

So, here it is...

Then, we wrote down our subtraction problem and found the weight of the pumpkin.
Many of the students weighed 65.5 pounds and since we are not adding decimals, we also used our rounding skills to round up or round down! ;) 

After this we counted the vertical lines on the pumpkins and one student let us in on a little secret - seeds grow on the vertical lines...!!

After we counted our vertical lines, we used what we knew about seeds growing on the lines to help us estimate how many seeds were inside the pumpkin. We wrote down our estimations and ripped the pumpkin apart! I cut three/four lines down the sides of the pumpkins so they could rip it which allowed them all to dig in!

That's what we got messy. Students had to separate and count their seeds to see how close we were to our estimations.

They used so many great strategies to count their seeds!! We would share our strategies throughout our counting session! Then, it turned into... how many strategies can we use to count and find the total. Such a great learning opportunity! Why can't math be like this everyday?

After all of this pumpkin fun, we compared our estimations to the exact number of seeds and let's just say... we all were a few 100+ off! :)

After our pumpkin fun, we cleaned up and then it was time for a short movie and some WITCH FINGERS! I saw this recipe on HGTV and I was bound and determined to do it! So, I spend my whole Thursday night baking... 2 separate times. I am not a very good baker... so, it took me two attempts...

 If you ever do this... don't use frozen cookies dough... you've got to use the 'real' stuff! 
Betty Crocker to the rescue!

All you need to make these is: almond slices, sugar cookie dough (that you mix) and raspberry preserves.

 I hope you had a wonderful Halloween! Happy Saturday!


  1. What a fun but meaningful day :)

  2. Way to go! Having a great Halloween Day takes lots of preparation and good ideas ... you nailed it! (LOL, no pun intended with the cookies!)