Painted Pumpkins make Awesome Art!



We are all having a great time with our Fall and Halloween themed activities at school these days.  It’s really helpful to tie learning to topics that the kids are excited about!  Yesterday and today we worked on ‘Pumpkins at Night’.  This was the first time I had done this project and the results were amazing.  I’m so proud of all the little artists in this class.

I promised the students that I would share these picture right away so that they can show them off at home!


I found the idea for this project on a great website dedicated to art for kids.  You can find the instructions here at Deep Space Sparkle.  There are some nice step by step images.

Materials Needed:

large (12×18) heavy weight paper

black oil pastel

red, yellow, blue tempera paints

white or yellow chalk

large black construction paper

paint brush


The Steps:

1.  Have students observe and discuss a real pumpkin.  Note the shape and the bumps and lines.

2.  Have students draw a large pumpkin.  We made ours by drawing an oval in the middle of the page and then two crescent shaped bumps on either side.

3.  Have students draw some leaves in the spaces left on the page.  Everything will be cut out so explain that placement does not matter.

4.  Paint the pumpkin.  This lesson focused on mixing colours so we painted our pumpkins yellow and then (without cleaning the brush :-O ) began to add some red and mixed it right on the page with the yellow we had already used.  With the tempera paint that we had, we found that you need to alternate adding more yellow, then more red and mixing it with long stroked that follow the shape of the pumpkin.

5.  Paint the leaves.  Follow the same process as the pumpkin but this time start with yellow and then add blue.

6.  Leave these out to dry (We let them dry overnight and finished the project the next day).

7.  Cut out the pumpkin and the leaves.

8.  Use a piece of chalk to add highlights to the pumpkin.

9.  Glue the pumpkin to a large piece of black construction paper.  We wanted to have a 3D effect so we glued some thick corrugated cardboard (you could try some cotton balls or scrapbooking double sided foam sticky squares) to the back of the pumpkin and then glued the pumpkin to the construction paper.

10.  Place and glue the leaves.  We placed some in front and some tucked behind the pumpkin.

11.  Use your chalk to add stars and a moon to the sky.  You can use your finger or kleenex to smudge the moon and stars.

Voila!  They are gorgeous and these photos don’t do them justice!

In this art lesson, students learned (reviewed) mixing colours.  We also talked about the word ‘highlight’.  Students learned about highlights on objects.  We also talked about the weight of an object and placement of objects on a page.

We had so many comments on these pumpkins from other teachers and students!  I think that every student felt very proud of themselves today! 

Math is Happening Here! And Visitors too!

We are now closing in on the end of Week 7!  I think everyone is starting to feel really good about all of our classroom routines and procedures and there is some amazing learning going on these days.

Mrs. Burley and I have decided to split the math curriculum this year.  I am focusing on Number and Operations.  This is just one strand but it is a very big one with a lot of outcomes.  Mrs. Burley will be focusing on Pattern and Relations, Shape and Space, and Statistics and Probability.  I feel very fortunate that we are able to split the curriculum in this way.  First of all, this means that the students will be working on Number and Operations all year long without stopping!  In my opinion, this is the best way for the students to achieve success in all of the Number Outcomes. 

Splitting the curriculum also also means that students will have a chance to be working on the other three strands throughout the year as well.  If there were only one of us, we would take short breaks in working on Number Outcomes to focus on the other outcomes for a few weeks at a time.  I’m very excited to see the progress that the students will make this year!

A quick explanation of the outcomes that the students have been working on in Math so far:

N1:  Say the number sequence, 1-100:

~ Count by 2, 5, and 10 (forward and backward)

~Count by 10’s using different starting points from 1 to 9

N3:  Describe order or retive position using oridinals (up to tenth)

N4:  Represent and describe numbers to 100 symbollically, pictorially and concretely

N5:  Compare and Order numbers up to 100

N6:  Estimate quatities to 100 using referents.

N8:  Demonstrate and explain the effect of adding zero.

PR1:  Demonstrate an understanding of repeating patterns (3-5 elements)

PR2:  Demonstrate and understanding of increasing patterns by:  describing, extending, comparing, creating using manipulatives, diagrams, sounds, and actions.

SS1:  Relate the number of the days to a week and the number of months to a year in a problem-solving context.

SP1: Gather and record data about self and others to answer questions.

Ways to Practice at Home:

It is really simple to set up little games to practice and reinforce what the students are learning in school. 

Right now we are working distinguishing currency.  Students are expected to know the value of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter.  They are also expected to represent and describe numbers up to 100.  So, a simple game at home would be to say a number between 1 and 100 and give your child a handful a change to work with.  Ask them to make the number in as many different ways as they can using coins.  For example:  To make the number 24 I could use 24 pennies, or two dimes and 4 pennies, or 1 dime and 2 nickels and 4 pennies, etc.

Students are also working on increasing patterns.  You can use household objects such as cutlery while setting the table to make patterns.  You can also make sound patterns by clapping or using animal noises!

This week was very exciting for the students.  We had our first special visitors come to perform a concert.  Donna and Andy performed on Monday for the students.  We are really enjoyed the show and we even had a few STARS in our classroom who were invited up on stage!

Thanks Donna and Andy for the Great Show!




Listen to Reading at Home and School


Are you looking for a quick reference list of great websites that you can use for Listen to Reading in the classroom?  Or some safe sites you can help your child access from home to practice their reading skills?  Check out this list: (Free Public Library Access to Tumblebooks)

My last post was about an activity we did using the book called, “The Rainbow Fish”.  One of my favorite Read Aloud sites actually has this story being read aloud. 


What is ‘Listen to Reading’ and Why Do We Do It?

Listen to Reading is part of the Daily Five Classroom Structure.  Listening to reading helps children to build fluency in their own reading.  It gives them a chance to hear a reader pause for punctuation, use expression and sometimes model ‘think alouds’.  And guess what…the kids love it!  Isn’t that right at the top of our goals…fostering a love of reading?!

*I’m always looking for more great sites that I can add to my list.  If you like this list, please let me know.  If you have more to share, please do that too!

Rainbow Fish for Anti-Bullying Week

I don’t know how I have made it this long in teaching without ever having heard of the book, “The Rainbow Fish” before!  It’s a great little Read Aloud for Elementary.  The message of friendship and giving makes it a perfect story for Anti-Bullying Week. 



In Elementary, I think that keeping the focus on ‘how to be a good’ friend is more fitting than focusing on the negative.  We talk about bullying, but we focus on being a good friend and being friendly.

This past week I read “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister.  I love this story!  And so did the kids!  We did this Read Aloud as a lead into an Art activity.  After reading the story, the kids all made their own version of the Rainbow Fish. 


Of course, I had to add a little cross curricular connection to the lesson.  So we talked about what type of patterns we could make with the scales of the Rainbow Fish.  I brought in an example that I made and one that my ‘little helper at home’ made as well. 

I used a scrap booking punch to make the circles for the kids.  I used aluminum foil for the ‘shiny’ scale.