Fall Favorites Blog Hop {pumpkin lattes, spooky pointers, pumpkin week, family art, and more!}

I'm excited to be part of this K-2 Blog Hop with some fabulous teacher bloggers!  I'll be completely honest, fall isn't my favorite time of the year simply because I love summer too much!  I'm a beach girl and I love spending time in the ocean as long as possible!  Luckily, it's almost November and it still feels like summer {it was 90 today}.  Here in California, leaves don't tell me the season is changing, the yummy pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cream cheese muffins do.  I love anything pumpkin, whether it be in a muffin, bread, a shake, or in my coffee.  It's just too good!

  I also love doing lots of ELA, math, and art activities that are related to the fall.  
We work on sight words a lot!  I try to change it up with fun activities.  Included in my Halloween and Fall pack of High Frequency Activities are:
-Various Rainbow Spelling
-Read the Room 
-Magazine activity
-Printing activity
-Writing activity
-"Spin It...Write It" game board {perfect for a center}
-Stamp activity

We also do tons of activities during Pumpkin Week.  It's a great review of collecting data, graphing, estimation, and place value. I include a fun family art project during pumpkin week as well.  I blogged about it this week {2 blog posts in one week is a record for me people}!  Each month, we do a new family art project.  It's a time for families to spend time together creating something awesome!
Are these not the most precious little pumpkins you've ever seen!

If you follow any of my social media, you know I love photo props.  I created a Halloween and Fall sign for kiddos to hold up.  Word to the wise: Take the photos further away so the entire sign shows up #oops
You can read more about the signs and props as well as grab the sign freebie here!
I love our little Frankensteins and Bride of Frankensteins.  I just copied the templates on construction paper and my 2nd graders assembled it themselves during Fun Friday.  One little guy was so dang excited he made sure to let me know that it was the best Fun Friday EVER!  I hung them up on twine to give our class a Halloween feel.  But, this week I realized that it's Red Ribbon Week next week.  So...I moved them to our window and created a poster that says "Frankly, don't do drugs!" or something like that.  A parent volunteer will call the kiddos back to our pod to paint the sign with water colors.  Make sure you follow my Instagram to see how it turns out on Monday!

To celebrate pumpkin latte season, all of my fall items are 20% off this weekend only!
We just finished a week of identifying syllables {not an easy task}.  I want to give my kiddos extra practice that's also fun!  With Halloween just next week, this will be perfect.  Students have to sort the syllables in the correct column.  Then, they'll record them on the recording sheet.  We've been practicing putting a hyphen to separate each syllable, so my students will be doing that as well.  Grab this freebie and let me know how you like it.  Make sure to follow my TpT store because I'll be sending another freebie next month for all of my sweet TpT followers!

Continue through the blog hop to snag more freebies.  Just click on the photo to head to my Vegas roomie's awesome blog!

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How do you celebrate Pumpkin Week?

It's tough to cram everything in with Common Core so I do my best to incorporate math, science, social studies, and holidays all in one nice little package.  Pumpkin Week has always been a class favorite, so I do it every year.  I revamp it each year as my kiddos change and standards switch around.
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 I sent an e mail out to parents asking for the following things: a pumpkin to be delivered on Monday, a parent to carve the pumpkin Monday morning, and a parent to wash and bake the seeds.  Luckily I have amazing parent volunteers this year and they gladly volunteered.  Don't fret if you don't have parent support, I've done this several years on my own.  
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 The Friday before Pumpkin week, I put up a simple graph.  My kiddos made a bar graph by writing their name in the correct column of the item they wanted.  They chose from a jack-o-lantern, a Frankenstein, and a spider.  Students chose their favorite throughout the day, when they finished an assignment early.  At the end of the day, we analyzed the data.  Frankie the Frankenstein won by 3 votes.  My friends were excited because we just finished the most adorable Frankenstein art project that afternoon.  If you know me, you know I thrive on efficiency.  Instead of passing out each paper that goes with this book, I just stapled all of the pages together so my kiddos has a cute book! 

After the class voted, I set the timer for 5 minutes and students polled 10 friends and made a bar graph.  They answered the graphing questions on their own.  At the end of the lesson, we compared our data.  We finished our graphing data a few weeks ago, so this made for a fun review!
On Monday morning, students came up and lifted up the pumpkin.  They wrote down their adjectives to describe the pumpkin.  I like to use the sentence frame: "This pumpkin is so ________."
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 When students were done, our class momma came into carve the pumpkin.  Students gathered around her with so much excitement!  I put some Halloween music from Pandora on and checked their adjectives while the momma took over.
 Each little pumpkin got to stick their hand inside to feel the pumpkin.  When each student finished, they came and washed my hands at the sink.  While they were in line, we came up with adjectives to describe what they felt and smelled.

I let our momma continue carving while students went back to their seats and estimated!  On the second day, I brought in a scale so we could weigh it.  But first, I had a few BRAVE volunteers weigh themselves first.  It was a great way compare the weight of the pumpkin with a 7 year old.  We weighed the pumpkin {15 lbs} and recorded our results.
 On the 3rd day, we counted the pumpkin seeds.  I learned the hard way that count seeds one-by-one is very similar to nail on a chalkboard.  Coming from someone who avoids counting by ones on the hundreds chart, this task use to be torture.  Last year, we decided to count out 10 seeds and put them on the chart paper and circled it with a marker. We grabbed similar handfuls and did the same thing until there were no seeds left.  I love that my students were in charge!
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After we counted, we wrote the number different ways.  Did I mention that we had about 320 seeds. Now do you see why counting by ones could drive me crazy?  We're finishing up our place value unit so this activity was perfect.

We also asked 10 friends when they thought the pumpkin would decompose.  We discussed what this meant and compared our pumpkin to other things in our lives that decompose.  For the rest of the week, we'd meet each morning and record our observations.  We made a chart {see above} that listed the day and what the pumpkin looked, felt, and smelled like.

We just finished Day 3 and it's starting to smell a bit funky.  By the end of the day tomorrow, I bet our pumpkin's new home will be outside!

Some tips:
Utilize parent support if possible
Put the pumpkin on a cookie tray because it will leak...GROSS
Have fun!

family art, pumpkin art

Each month, we do a Family Art Project.  I send the project home and students decorate with their families. I have never had trouble with students turning their art back in, even when I was at a Title I school.  If you have friends who don't have support at home, you can leave supplies out in your class and let them work on it when they are finished with their other work.

If you want to use this packet in your class, just click on the image below!

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Do you use Photo Props in your class?

I'm a fan of makeshift photo booths for any occasion!  I like to think that a a costume or photo props liven any party!  Everyone rolls their eyes when they see the props but once they're in front of the camera, they have a blast...trust me!

Using the Photo Booth app on your Mac is THE funniest thing, especially with your girlfriends!  If you try it in your class, use the alien setting, it makes for awesome and creative stories!

As fun as costumes can be, I'm pretty sure my Admin. wouldn't be a huge fun so I've resorted to fun props and signs for special occasions.  They make for lots of giggles, great parent gifts, and serve as wonderful inspiration for writing.
This little freebie was a hit this year.  I left it outside of my classroom door on the first day of school and parents took photos of their kiddos while holding up the sign. 

I taught a combo last year, so I made these number signs as props. I also bought several colorful pairs of sunglasses from Target's Dollar Spot and took this same photo with my students.  I used the photo for our class writing wall.

This year, I'm teaching a straight second so only one number was needed.  Can I get an amen?!?!
Target has great thematic photo prop kits for all of the holidays.  This Christmas one was a huge hit at our class holiday party.  I had an awesome parent who set up a backdrop and took photos of the class.  I had leftover props from my annual ugly sweater party!
On the 100th day of school, we had fun using our Christmas props and the Aging App to inspire our 100th day writing.
Target also had fun St. Patty's Day props which were used to inspire our leprechaun writing inspired by Erica Bohrer.
Target does it again with cute bunny ears and more for Easter.  We used these photos for an easy peasy parent gift {framed photo with popsicle sticks}.
So...let's have some fun with Halloween!  I snagged some Halloween headbands from the Dollar Spot at Target and we went crazy!  Even the boys took part in wearing the headbands!
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                                                easy teaching tools, miss kindergarten, teachers pay teachers

You can grab a selection of October-themed {Melonheadz }signs for free!  Tag me in your photos, I'd love to see them!
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What do you do with those School Teacher Photos you get every year?

I was so excited to get a free packet of school photos during my 1st year of teaching.  Like I did when I was 10, I sent them to all of my relatives.  But then, the 2nd year came around.  Did my family really need another photo of my in a dorky teacher pose?  Probably not, but was I going to send them out anyways, HECK YES!
By the third year, the charm was wearing off.  Why wasn't grandma changing out my photos anymore?  Ok people, I can take a hint!  As a teacher, we find a purpose for just about everything.  I looked at my drawer of photos and was beside myself.  A collage of my teaching photos makes no sense...plus, it's pretty vain. Rather than making a collage of ME, I decided I'd add them to our class Treasure Box.  Vain...sounds like it, but I promise there was a method to this craziness.  When I told the kids about it, they were thrilled.  I didn't think it was a big deal, but it WAS!
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I thought it was silly, my colleagues thought I was absolutely ridiculous.  But I promise you, they were the first prizes to go.  Looking back, I adored my teachers and would have done anything to have a picture of them or my class to share with my friends and family, so it made sense.  I received an e-mail from a mom a few years after implementing this little tradition of mine.  Her family moved back to Mexico and she wanted to let me know that her daughter still has the picture of me hanging in her bedroom.  That truly touched my heart and I realized that this "vain" idea meant a lot to all of my special friends in my class.  I'll endure the friendly laughter from my teacher friends as long as my kids are happy!
In case you were wondering, I went with the 3rd pose for the yearbook!

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I'm part of a Collaborative Blog: The Primary Pack {Plus a Blog Hop}

I am so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to work behind the scenes with the fabulous bloggers of The Primary Pack!  We are collaborating to bring you a rainbow of ideas!  Make sure you follow along to grab a bunch of colorful freebies, as well as enter our giveaway with $300 worth of prizes!
Hi! I'm Kristen blogging from Easy Teaching Tools.  I just started my 9th year teaching primary kiddos.  I've taught full-day Kinder, 1st grade, a 1/2 combo, and now 2nd grade.  I taught on the south shore of O'ahu and in Southern California.  I'm also a Reading Specialist and have a passion for analyzing data and coming up with a game plan.  People think it's nuts, but I love it!

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When I'm not teaching, I love getting together with my bloggy friends.  It's amazing how much fun we have and I'm thankful that I've got a great group of girls all over!
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Do you recognize some of these ROCK STARS {Ramona Recommends, Teacher to the Core, A Teachable Teacher, and more}???
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The Las Vegas TpT meet up that I hosted with Courtney from Ramona Recommends.  Do you spy The Brown Bag Teacher and A Modern Teacher?

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A fun day in Old Town San Diego with Molly from Lessons with Laughter, Vicky from Traditions, Laughter, and Happily Ever After, Jen from Sparkling in 2nd, Peggy from Primary Flourish, Kellie from Learning with Mrs. Little, and Sandy from Soaring into Second.

As for everything else non-teaching related, I love sleeping in, catching up on horrible reality shows, and traveling the world.  I've been to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Maldives, Australia, Tahiti, Thailand, Cabo, the Bahamas and a few others!
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I'm also a firm-believer that jumping photos are the BEST kind!

Doesn't everyone bring a moving van to their classroom?

My students from last year agree!

I have always loved teaching but I really loved creating things for my classroom.  This was before I knew about cute clip art and fonts.  Once I found TpT, I was hooked!  When I make time, I love creating Handwriting without Tears paper and Thematic ELA and Math centers for my kiddos!  

To celebrate our new collaborative adventure, The Primary Pack is hosting a giveaway with tons of fabulous prizes!

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway AND here's my "colorful" freebie!  Just click on the image!

 Hop along to meet our other bright bloggers and to grab a rainbow of freebies!