1st Grade Halloween Ideas

Happy Friday! Who is in the mood for a few tricks and treats? I have tons of great crafts, recipes, and lesson ideas for you so sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Now I'm going to be honest....Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I'm a big scaredy baby. I do not like haunted houses, scary movies, or spooky anything really. Maybe I just had to go to too many haunted houses when I was little but the thought of all the blood and gore does not appeal to me. I was definitely the kid that wanted to dress up like a bride (until the monster stole my veil!) or something else cute.

Although I'm not big into the scary side of things, I do enjoy celebrating first grade style with my students. In my classroom this means tons of bat, spider, and pumpkin lessons/projects all month long! This week we focused on bats by reading Stellaluna and a variety of other fiction and nonfiction books. We also welcomed a new (low maintenance) class pet into our family. Students decided to call her Stellaluna, although several boys still insist that her name is Batman.No judgements.

During math time we let loose with our Before & After Bats (number sequencing). My firsties still need some practice ordering numbers so what better way than with bats. They chose one number card to place in the middle of the bat and then wrote the number that came before and after. For my students who needed a challenge I had them find 10 less or 10 more than the number.

 I used some of the leftover bat cards to write simple subtraction facts on. Some of my students loooooove to add even when they see the minus sign so this week we used plastic bats and had them fly away (gently tossed to the side) as we were solving equations or subtraction word problems.

Another math center this week was "Whoooo" has 10? Catch this owl themed freebie to practice ways to make 10 with your own students. Students can play go fish, memory, matching, or use the cards during whole group movement activities.

Next week is going to be spider week (eww). I found some awesomely creepy plastic spiders to use as props during math and writing which I am excited for. My Fun Friday activity during this unit is usually to make spider cracker sandwiches. Students spread peanut butter on two crackers to create a sandwich. They then add pretzel stick legs and M&M eyes (stuck on with peanut butter). This year we have to avoid peanuts like the plague in my room so I am still modifying the plan in my head....maybe chocolate frosting on vanilla cookies?

Last thought of the night....the following equation is true correct? (It's almost Halloween, candy is a given...plus they do almost count as fruit right?) These are my two all time favorite candies! Growing up my sister and I used to pour all of our candy on the floor when we got home from Trick-or-Treating and began the long process of bartering and rationing the goods. Ahhhh, the good old days!

I hope you found some new Halloween inspired math ideas. Happy Halloween teacher friends!

Apple Week

So I know I missed the boat on Apple Week in honor of Johnny Appleseed's birthday, but I still wanted my kids to enjoy the fall season. This past week we took a break (finally) from ABC books and read tons of informational books on Apples. We first created circle maps in writing with our background knowledge. I then modeled how to turn those ideas into simple sentences. Our writing standard has been Common Core 1.W.2- writing informational pieces on a topic with supporting details. I had tons of leftover scraps from die-cutting apples so I decided to turn them into Apple Books. Students used these books to publish their ideas on the topic. They came out so cute! Who knew such a simple cover would inspire my young writers.

I also added some apple napkin books to my writing center for independent use this season. Simply staple blank (or lined) paper inside of any decorative napkin for a quick book. My students use the cover as inspiration and can write whatever they choose inside based on the topic. For example, students could write an apple poem, recipe for applesauce, narrative about a trip apple picking, informational piece on the life cycle of an apple, etc.  

I add different covers throughout the year based on seasonal needs and topics we are covering. I also  make sure to have other high interest covers for year round use (sports, princess, pirates). Dollar stores are great places to find these or the clearance section at the end of a season.
In addition to reading and writing about apples all week, we incorporated apples into our math lessons too. I love being able to use a theme to enhance our standards. I glued some word problems on to apple die-cuts which instantly made math more interesting :)
I also cut out large tens-frames for each set of students in my class. Pairs were given 10 red apples and 10 green apples to use while solving addition, subtraction, and unknown addend word problems. I don't know about your kids but mine seem to still have trouble with unknowns! The manipulatives really helped. I called out problems like "I used 4 red apples in my pie. Then I added some more green ones. Altogether I used 9 apples in my pie. How many were green?" Students then placed 4 red on the tens-frame and added green apples until they reached a total of 10.
To go along with the theme I created a quick Apple Addition and Scarecrow Subtraction Sorting activity. Students first look at the numbers to decide if addition or subtraction is necessary to help make the equation true. I'm not gonna lie...this was a struggle for my kiddos. Now let me just clarify, we had introduced addition and subtraction at this point. I also met with small groups to introduce the center before releasing them to play on their own. Of course their confusion over addition and subtraction had to be during my first formal observation of the year...gold star teacher right here huh? They always want to add as soon as they hear two numbers! Eventually (when they slowed down and paid attention) they were successful. I am hoping that by continuing activities like this one they will pay more attention to the numbers used. Are the numbers getting bigger or smaller? Does subtraction make sense if we are ending up with more than we began with?

Click the picture below to download a free copy of your own.
After writing in the plus or minus sign with dry erase markers, students circle the apple basket for addition or scarecrow for subtraction. I couldn't help but have two little baskets for them to sort them into next. They recorded their answers and met with me to discuss.
 To end the week we had an apple tasting event. Students tried apples, caramel dip, apple pie, apple muffins, apple cider, and apple juice. We talked about how each item was made and what we had learned about it during the week. I wasn't able to take a ton of pictures (up to my elbows in apples) but the kids had a blast.
We had time for a quickie poll before they had to leave for the day about their favorite item. I revised it to make it slightly less scribbly and will use the image during our math warm up routine when introducing graphing this week.
Well that about sums up our apple week. What other activities did you try with apples this year?