Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bats & Halloween Tales

I am so sad Halloween is over. I LOVE it. I think next year I may start in September so I can fit more fun in! I am not kidding. I didn't get to spiders and they are WAY more interesting than apples. Although you can't taste spiders and I am a fan of anything involving food. Hmm...a decision for another day.  Here is what we did finish this week.

Just like last year, we read Spookley the Square Pumpkin and made our own unique pumpkins. We have been learning about describing words so we also wrote about them including adjectives.

A student immediately spoke up to say that Spookley is actually a cube and not a square. I was smiling to myself that he remembered our geometry unit from a few weeks ago but my grin grew by a mile when I realized that the speaker was a student that is NEVER with me. Seriously, this boy is on his own planet most of the time and I am constantly having to repeat directions or redirect him. It is little moments like that that make teaching worthwhile.

Since I am trying to incorporate the Common Core this year, I beefed up our bat unit with more informative reading and writing.
We started by recording what we already knew about bats.
The students wrote down facts on their circle map as we read a nonfiction text.

We shared out on a class anchor chart afterwards. Then students circled and numbered three facts on their circle map that they would like to write about. I walked them through completing a planning sheet like this. I can't deal with managing all the colored strips of Step Up so I use a flow map version.
Writing always looks better on paper that has been cutesified {yes, that is a word :-) }
The students did a great job! I was going to make a craft to go with it but Teri beat me to it and hers are always adorable! So you can grab your cute bat template from A Cupcake For the Teacher.
Of course some just had to make theirs vampire bats!
 We are learning about adjectives so we used a bubble map to describe bats.

We have been practicing telling the difference between fiction and nonfiction a lot! One great tip I have is this: When we get back from the library I ask the kids to hold up their book if it is fiction and then do the same for nonfiction. This is a way for the students to practice sorting, it gives you an assessment as to who is still confused, and it is interesting to learn the students' reading habits. This is a cute and glue we did as a more formal assessment. I had the actual books out in the front of the room in case the kids needed to refresh their memory.
I made this double bubble to address  CCSS RI1.9 Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic.
 I put all this into a packet called Bats Informative Reading & Writing for only $3 on TpT in case you want to save it for next year. 
I know it is late, but would you still like to win one for next year? If so, you can enter below and I'll pick a winner on Saturday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Halloween in the middle of the week was crazy, huh?  Six of the staff dressed up as Where's Waldo/Wenda with me but we forgot to take a picture! I basically looked like this: {Okay, add a few more pounds but you get the drift.}

During the parade my firsties kept saying, " Mrs. B, that teacher is dressed like you! Hey, there is another one!"  It was pretty funny. My parade story isn't quite as dramatic as last year, but when the teacher lap was done I came back to find my class all out of their seats chanting, "Go Mrs. Bates! Go, Mrs. Bates!" Seriously? Is it something I do? I guess I do joke around with them, etc.. Oh well. Everybody is happy and learning so I guess it is all good.

Then it was time for Round 2 at home. My hubbie and 2 boys like to make our house spooky. It never fails that we end up making some little kids scared to the point of crying. Here are pics in the daytime but imagine fog and creaky, howling, screeching sounds...
The ghost kids really freak people out!

I didn't get the grave with the arm coming out in the picture.

We have had SF Giants fever around here so my 10 year old made the panda at the end in honor of Pablo Sandoval. My kooky husband made the dual personality. :-)
And 4 days later....
California and Jack do not get along too well.

 To round out my crazy week we had Fall Festival last night. From 5:30-9 there are carnival games, cake walk, food, etc and the teachers always sign-up to do a shift. I ended up helping a lot at the glow booth which got a lot of visitors. It is a nice community event and I feel like a rock star because families current and past constantly wave or hug {yes, I am a hugger} or want to stop and say hi.

We have half days this week and conferences in the afternoon. Should make for another exhausting week! I am taking my 10 year old son Quinn to get his cast off between conferences on Monday (remember he broke his elbow?) My husband can't take him and was going to make him wait two extra days. Quinn has been such a trooper with his cast, not complaining at all, so when he sweetly asked if maybe I could somehow take him to get it off on time since it was getting itchy, I rearranged my schedule. I only had to ask 2 parents and they were super nice about it.

Alrighty, I have to get off this blog and go finish my report cards. I usually have them all done and printed by now but I've turned into Last Minute Lucy this year! I hope you are making use of my labels on the sidebar to look ahead for ideas because clearly I am not doing a good job posting them early. Sorry peeps! I hope to get back to my organized self sometime soon. I'd love to hear from you if you have a second to leave a comment.



  1. This is great! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs tomorrow. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

  2. Oh Jenn we couldn't agree more! There's so much good stuff in October. We have parent conferences stuck in the middle of our month so it cuts into our fun time and we can't cram everything in that we want to :( Good luck on your conferences!
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  3. Oh, Jenn, your ideas are FANTASTIC!
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a flowchart for Step Up. FANTASTIC.
    And the nonfiction vs fiction? BRILLIANT.
    You rock!

  4. notch post! You students are blessed to have an outgoing and creative teacher!