A very heartfelt “Thank You” goes out to our class room parents, Mrs. Holloway and Mrs. Knicklebein. Together they planned a fun and creative class party. A party in the pre-kindergarten classroom consists of three or four stations: an art project, a game, a story, and sometimes a snack if time allows for four groups. We rotate all of the students through the stations at 8-10 minute intervals.
Though it might seem a bit rushed, it is much more calming for the children to have direct access to a grown up in a small group with specific goals in mind. Whole group activities generally don’t go as well as one would hope on a day where routines have changed.
After our party, we joined the rest of the school in a sing-a-long and a parade.
Although our Halloween inspired classroom store has been open for over a week, it only just occurred to our students that the venue really should have a name. Following Pre-K tradition, an assortment of name ideas were collected on Monday’s Morning Message.
Voting for favorites in Pre-K can be kind of tricky. Often, they’ll vote multiple times and not necessarily for their own favorites. Naturally, this activity lends itself to modeling and practicing. We suggest that the children sit quietly for a moment as they listen to the list of choices. We offer, “Tell yourself in your mind, like talking inside your head, which store name you like the most. Keep it there in your brain so you will be ready to vote for your favorite.”
(One of our goals here is to explicitly model and practice consciously using an inner voice to process a decision. This is not something four and five-year-olds regularly do.)
Next, we give each child one small stone. This stone represents their vote. Since each child has only one, the system helps the children visualize and physically practice the one-to-one correspondence inherent in voting. The list of options is read aloud one last time and each child turns in their rock to cast their preference. The students count each option’s results as they are collected. We also model and provide guided practice with the one-to-one correspondence involved in counting the votes. Sometimes, we purposefully slow down or pause counting to model what happens when we don’t assign one number to every object. At first, children typically keep reciting the counting numbers regardless of the number of objects present. After much practice, though, they are keen to our trickery and pause their counting right along with us.
Tallies are used on the original list. We choose to use traditional, basic tallies without the cross-over at five. This early in the year, we’d rather they noticed that each line represents one object instead of puzzling over why one line is crooked.
When all votes are collected an tallied, we have a final vote between the top two contenders.
As you can see, The Haunted Halloween Store held and obvious victory. Now, on to re-stocking the shelves!
In the spirit of Halloween, we read the story There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat by Lucille Colandro and then did a journal entry about some other Halloween items the little old lady might eat. These were their answers…
With Halloween approaching jack-o-lanterns, witches, monsters and ghosts have been making an appearance in oral tales at lunch. The hubbub has caused a rash of curiosity about all things spooky, creepy, and silly.
Following this wisp of thought, we began to chart theme specific activities for each area of the room. This is an ongoing project and we expect the children to add ideas as inspiration hits. Below you will find the main areas of the classroom, each with ideas for connecting them to our Halloween study.
- The Store
- spooky toys
- Halloween pictures
- creepy animals
- The House
- spooky house
- cob webs
- dress in costumes
- The Office
- Halloween office
- books of spooky stuff
- decorating center
- make nightmares
- The Workshop
- make spooky toys
- haunted house
- build candy collectors
- Fancy Nancy Restaurant
- spooky hot dogs
- witchie stews
- make icky menus
- The Studio
- paint bats
- make slime
- make scary faces
- have a laboratory
- make potions
- make costumes
The first project of the bunch included plastering the doors with a multitude of jack-o-lanterns.
Next came the decision to enclose the loft, or “The House”, in spider webs.
Both of these projects required fine motor skill coordination, planning, and cooperating. Language skills were bolstered while we discussed shapes, strategies for creating shapes, ideas for web placement, and conflict resolution. Polite words were practiced when waiting to talk to someone else, asking for help from a teacher or friend and when explaining/listening to others’ visions.
So far the other classroom areas are a bit low on Halloween cheer, but we’ll just have to see what comes tomorrow. Sparks of ideas are flying everywhere right now, so it could be anything…
Book writing has become especially popular in Pre-K. You might have noticed the small, stapled pages coming home recently. These little blank books are available for the children to use whenever inspiration hits. Today, of course, the theme was centered around creepy tales.
You’ll notice that most of the books that come home are filled with pictures at this time of the year. When the children are writing, we are nearby encouraging them to tell us about their story. We also might suggest that the child could use some letters to help remember the story. In the Fall, most children prefer to stick to a picture book style, sans words. As we progress towards Spring, you’ll notice many more letters and words appearing in their tales.
[***A very special thank you goes out to one of our Room Parents who prepared a large pile of these well-loved, blank books.***]
On Wednesday, October 31st WTN will be celebrating Halloween. Our class has scheduled a room party beginning at 1:15. The Room Parents have planned many spooky activities for our little masqueraders. Following the party, parents and family members are invited to attend the annual WTN Halloween Parade.
Our all school parade begins at 2:00. The students gather in the multipurpose room and then exit through the main front door of that building. We will walk along the winding sidewalk around the front of the main building and down the playground sidewalk. When the Pre-K reaches the PK porch, we will go inside, get our backpacks and be ready to go home. Parents are welcome to stand anywhere along the parade route to take pictures and watch the costume brigade. After the parade, parents can meet us outside by the porch.
What a day we had yesterday! So much to do and see!
Our first special of the day was transformed into “The Haunted Art Show” by Mrs. Allan and Mr. Cooper. (Don’t worry, Moms and Dads and Grandmas! I went over and checked it out first to test the “fear factor”.) In honor of this month of creepiness, the children in all of the grades have been drawing skeletons in art class. For yesterday’s festivities, the hallway displaying these bony masterpieces was lit with a black light and lined with silly riddles.
In the multipurpose room, there were three stations set up along the ooey-gooey body parts theme. The children worked with their fourth grade buddies to find items and answer questions found in a scavenger hunt brochure. One table held books from the library about our brain, the hearts, and the workings of our skeletal system. Another area housed a spooky set of feely boxes. The children wore rubber gloves, blindly felt the contents of the boxes, and had to decide whether they thought the box contained teeth (dry pasta shells), arteries (cooked spaghetti), a heart (some sort of meat???? [I’m guessing here.]), or eyeballs (the ubiquitous grape). The groups were also sent on a hunt for hidden band-aids placed throughout the entire viewing area. Fun was had by all and happily there were no tears once everyone realized that it really wasn’t that spooky, after all.
After our lunch, we began to prepare for our long-awaited party. Mrs. Pless and I (along with a few room parents) quickly dressed all 14 children. Some we may have invented new costume arrangements for, but all were happy to be dressed either way. Our room parents quickly and adeptly transformed our room while we put the final touches on wardrobe changes. Four activities occurred simultaneously for the next 45 minutes. At table number one, children created their own Spooky Halloween sticker design and picture. A second area boasted a large pumpkin pinata. The third activity tested our throwing (and aiming!) skills as we tossed rings onto two witch hats. The final frenetic center involved mummifying our friends via bath tissue.
Once all of the children had completed all of the above and eaten their fill of yummy home-made snacks, we set off for the parade. On the way, we saw the costumes of all of the WTN children. Though it could have been a very hectic day, the children were amazingly patient and relaxed even in their excitement. Hopefully, all of you had wonderful evenings as well!