We have been having fun with pumpkins. We each got to paint a pumpkin and carefully place a stem at the top of our pumpkin. We could see that pumpkins are round, like a circle, so we first painted a circle and then carefully painted it in. We used orange, because pumpkins are the color orange. We also talked about the stem. We looked at a pumpkin and could see that the stem grows from the top of the pumpkin and it is brown.
We also had fun using our gross motor skills and improving our coordination by hammering nails into a pumpkin. We could choose what we wanted to use as our hammer (a wooden hammer, branch, or block) and got to work.
We also learned how to use the scale in our classroom. We learned that when one side of the scale is lower (closer to the ground) than the other, it means that side is heavier. We put a pumpkin on one side and then we each got a chance to choose what we wanted to put on the other side. We made a prediction about which item we thought would be heavier and then checked to see if our prediction was correct. We learned that pumpkin is heavier than a lot of the materials that we have in our classroom!
We also used our fine motor skills to roll pumpkins out of play dough. We took the play dough between our hands and gently pressed our palms around it while we rolled until it made a circle, just like a real pumpkin. We then took a small twig a stuck it in the top to be the stem.
We also played a game called pass the pumpkin. First, we all looked at a pumpkin and got to feel it while we brainstormed describing words all together. Then, Morah sang a song while we carefully passed the pumpkin around the circle. When Morah stopped singing, the child holding the pumpkin thought of a word to describe it. This helped us work on our descriptive language skills. Some of the pumpkin descriptions that we came up with were: it is orange, it is bumpy, there is a brown stem, the stem has white in the middle, it is heavy, it is small.
We also used pumpkin seeds to work on our one to one correspondence skills. We had real pumpkin seeds and had to put them onto paper pumpkins based on the number written on the pumpkin. This helps us to learn what numbers really mean.
We were also busy working on a special fall project. We made trees on paper using the materials that we collected on our nature walk. First, we looked at a picture of a tree. We saw the tree trunk, the branches, and the leaves. We noticed that the leaves were on the trees, and that some leaves were also on the ground. Then we chose a large twig and glued it onto our paper to be the tree trunk. We selected smaller twigs to be used as branches. We were careful about where we glued our branches, because we knew that branches grow from the tree trunk or from other branches, so we tried our hardest to make sure the branches were touching another part of the tree.
Then we used the leaves that we cut up last week as the leaves on our trees. We decided whether we wanted the leaves to be on the branches or on the ground and then glued them onto our tree.
We have also been learning about a special holiday that is coming up: Thanksgiving! We learned that on Thanksgiving, we think about the things in our lives that we are thankful for and we each thought about what we are thankful for. Then we drew a picture, and Morah wrote down our words on a piece of paper and hung our art on the wall in the classroom.
We also learned that on Thanksgiving, we gather with our families and have a special Thanksgiving feast, where we eat turkey, cornbread, cranberry sauce, pie, and other special foods. We made a special plate to take home. First, we mixed together ingredients to make homemade clay.
Then, we carefully rolled the clay and used a bowl to make a circle. Some friends used a knife to cut around the bowl, and others pressed the bowl down hard into the clay.
We waited for our plates to dry and then we carefully painted a small pumpkin in the middle. We started with an orange circle, filled it in, and then made a small brown stem on top.
After our pumpkin dried, we painted around the outside of our plate (with our pumpkins carefully covered up). When we were done painting the outside, we took off the paper and there was our pumpkin!
The last step was to add some nice stones for decoration. We carefully put glue around the edge of our plate and laid each stone down, careful not to cover our pumpkin. Making these plates helped us strengthen our fine motor skills, concentration, shape and color recognition.
While learning about Thanksgiving, we found out that at the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and Native Americans helped each other. We have been talking about doing mitzvahs (helping other people) and every day we do the special mitzvah of giving tzedekah for people who need help. We then got to paint our own tzedekah cans that we will be able to take home at our school’s Thanksgiving feast.
When we put our tzedakah in our tzedakah box every morning, we sing a special song. Here are the lyrics, so you can sing with your children at home 🙂
The coins go dropping one by one hurrah, hurrah
They drop into the tzedakah box hurrah, hurrah
When the box is full, we’ll be so glad
We’ll give to it people who may not have everything that they need hurrah, hurrah
We did a mitzvah!
Also in preparation for the feast, we made 6(!) loaves of cornbread. We measured, poured and mixed together the ingredients and can’t wait to taste the cornbread at the feast.
Even though we have been busy talking about fall and Thanksgiving, there are also opportunities for more learning. Some of our friends were wondering what would happen if we mixed colors together, so we decided to find out! First, Morah put two different colors in ziploc bags and we had a fun sensory experience squishing the bags to mix the colors. We learned that yellow and blue make green, red and blue make purple, and yellow and red make orange. We also practiced mixing using water with food coloring in it. We used our fine motor skills to pick up one color with droppers and put it into another cup with a different color.
We also had fun painting pictures with the purple, green and orange paint that we mixed ourselves.
We are noticing that some of our friends are getting sick and are coughing or sneezing. Since we do not want to get each other sick, we have been practicing catching our coughs and sneezes in our elbows. Please encourage us to practice this at home so that we become experts at keeping our germs safely away from our friends, food and toys.