Friday, 23 October 2015

How to 'do' Halloween in Year 2...

Hey guys, so… if you caught my periscope this afternoon they you will know that my blogging mojo has gone missing! 

I've searched and I've struggled to find it but rather than just giving up I've decided to try and win it back! 

I've taken matters into my own hands and 'forced' myself to blog tonight! 
It is a perfect opportunity to link-up for Five for Friday  with my favourite- Doodle Bugs Teaching 

This week has all been about Halloween in my classroom! 

Even though I teach Year 2 (1st Grade) I still incorporate many areas of continuous provision more commonly found in Foundation Stage units and I am a firm believer that play is an integral part of children's development.
Whilst we have to get our half term assessments done, I always like to add in some fun too! 

 This week has proven to me just how right this approach is….

I have adored my role-play area and so have the children. I had hay-bales left over from our Farm Shop role-play so I decided to mix the 'rural' look with the Halloween theme and create a pumpkin patch! Visually, it WOWed but beyond that…. it excited! 
I split some pumpkins open using a rolling pin (very therapeutic) and let the children explore the pumpkin 'guts'- they developed their own ideas such as counting out the seeds and discovering which pumpkin had the most. 

The children also came out with great comparative language when pulling the pumpkin apart 
and it was great to be a part of.
'This piece is very rough compared to the slimy, stringy piece' said one little girl as she ripped off a piece of the pumpkin flesh!
 Messy hands, slimy pumpkin pieces and 6 year olds= fantastic! 

I also placed a lovely odd and even sorting activity made by the lovely Brittany of Tickled Pink in Primary who was my very first SLANT box partner! 

It was a great hit! 

Even though I knew there would be very little opportunity to do formal Literacy lessons this week, I wanted to look at instructional writing with the class as, although the children had produced 2 sets of instructions for BIGwrites, we hadn't formally looked at them. 

I wanted to capture the children's attention and create a sense of mystery about the lesson to fit with the Halloween theme. Sure, I could of dressed up as a witch and taught in role but I decided to use the magic of technology to hook the learning this time.

In order to set the week up and discover what the children knew about instructions already I used the 'Morfo' app to create a witch. 
You can get this app for free in the iTunes App Store 
She sent us a message asking for our help- apparently her potion wasn't working and she wasn't sure she had written her instructions correctly. We took a look at them and decided they were not a good set of instructions at all! Leading on from this, in groups the children produced 'What makes a good set of instructions?' thought showers and fed back their ideas to produce a class poster for our Working Wall. 

With the help of this poster we fixed the witches instructions and then followed them.

 This was the truly magical part! 
The instructions were simple- only 3 ingredients- corn flower, food colouring and water…. 
any guesses yet? 

Her instruction made oobleck!

 Each child got to explore the outcome and their puzzled yet fascinated faces made my day! 

I loved this lesson- it was simple, straightforward and engaging!
 All things a Monday morning lesson should be and as a bonus- I knew straight away that my kiddies are experts at instructional writing and I  didn't need to dedicate much teaching time to the features. 

I then added the remaining oobleck to the Pumpkin Patch in a pumpkin bucket so they could continue to explore it independently. 
This drew out even more descriptive and comparative language…
'I prefer this to the pumpkin' said one little boy…'prefer'…. I nearly fell off my chair!! 

Had I not provided this independent exploration opportunity then I would NEVER had guessed this particular little one had such a sophisticated word in his vocabulary! Sad but true! 

This week we had interviews for our new Head Teacher and as part of it my class were being taught by the candidates. 
As I knew my day would be disrupted I didn't want to get my teeth sunk too deeply into a new mathematical concept so I decided to build upon our 2 times tables practise and explore doubling and halving. 

We doubled numbers using pumpkin stickers on a mat I had made. I differentiated this activity easily using dice. As soon as I saw children were confident doubling numbers 1-6, I gave them a dice with 2 digit numbers on to try- quick, easy and effective! 
Some of my little ones are beyond using objects and are really comfortable using the partitioning method to add so I saw this as an opportunity to build on their place value knowledge and teach them how to apply it to doubling too!

I created a new resource which we loved! 'Frankie says…' contains halving statement cards- some of which are true and some are false. The children have to use an appropriate method, for many of mine it was still using objects, to discover which applied to their card and sort them. 

I bagged some bargain mini Frankenstine's head basket- 6 for £1- and the children used these to share their starting numbers between. 

I put all of these activities out during our independent learning time too- I love watching those who may have found an activity a stretch be supported by their friends in a fun and relaxed learning activity. 

As we had recapped the features of instructions I thought it was a perfect opportunity for the children to independently explore and apply their instructional writing skills in a play situation. 

I turned my writing and exploration areas into a Potions Lab- I provided the children with objects, coloured water, sand and glitter, a cauldron and writing prompts. It was a massive hit and lots of fun! 
We love Finger Gym in our school to develop fine and gross motor skills and pencil grips- our Potions Lab asked the children to pick up small objects and use circular motions to stir their mixtures- perfect Finger Gym enhancement!  

Even our daily Finger Gym sessions were given a spooktacular make over! 

Apples and salad tongs…
 Picking up spooky table confetti and collecting in mini skeleton heads…
Using tweezers to remove spiders and ants from green jelly…
Adding and removing table confetti to create our own Halloween dough….
and combining our mathematical and fine motor skills to sort spiders with tweezers in the small world! 

It has been lots of fun in school this week- all topped off with spooky snacks, creepy costumes and ghoulish dancing! 

Take a look at our Halloween decorations…
How has your week been? 
Awesome I hope!

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