Five years ago was the beginning of a changing lens on Hallowe’en for Christy and I at school. Our school hallways are traditionally decorated, and a grotesque figure in the main foyer one year upset a Kindergarten child. She refused to walk past it, and we had to shield her view to usher her into the library which was our destination. We’ve never forgotten that incident and it continues to shape much of what we do today.
Outside of school, the children have lots to be excited about on Hallowe’en. The idea of dressing up as your favourite character and collecting candy is very appealing. But Hallowe’en has become noticeably scarier over the years, with more gore and hints of creepiness evident in costumes and commercial decorations. We struggle every year as we try to focus on the best and most appropriate parts of Hallowe’en for our young students in the classroom.
Reconciling a calm, self-regulated learning environment and Hallowe’en has required some thoughtful planning and reflection on our part.
We’ve added some beautiful orange fairy lights along some of our bulletin boards. With the cloudy days being a little darker, the lights are warm and welcoming. We’ve actually just been enjoying looking at the lights and listening to a little Charlie Brown jazz music. (True story: as I was hanging up the lights during lunch, one of my students asked, “Mrs. Daudlin, why are you putting up Christmas lights already?” While I was pondering my response, another student replied, “Oh, those are for Hallowe’en. She’s going to put up rainbow lights at Christmas.” How cute is that?)
We’re putting up far less Hallowe’en “stuff” on our walls.
Instead, we brainstormed some familiar Hallowe’en vocabulary and created a Hallowe’en word bank with pictures and labels to support the children in their drawing and writing.
We’ll be learning about the life cycle of the pumpkin and the names of the various stages.
And we’re providing more opportunities for oral language as we sing Hallowe’en songs and chant poems.
We’ve created some fabulous Hallowe’en themed art to decorate our classrooms.
We drew and coloured our beautiful monthly self-portraits. We love looking back at the growth in maturity as the children’s drawings of themselves become more sophisticated over the school year.
Deep Space Sparkle Pumpkins. We introduced warm colour mixing with red, yellow and orange on pumpkins we had drawn with white pastel. We mixed the paint right on the paper. Then we were inspired by a photo of some pumpkin art from our Principal. We found ourselves cutting out our pumpkins to mount on black paper, then added painted paper stems, leaves and grass. We’ve hung them up quilt style, and next week, we will add the Jack-o-lantern features for some Hallowe’en fun. These are our favourite kinds of art projects as we love creating the anticipation for completion. We will have taken three weeks from start to finish, and our children are learning the valuable lessons of patience, perseverance and delayed gratification.
Hallowe’en Wreaths. Our wreaths are in progress as we make them with our Grade 7 Buddies. Each Big and Little Buddy pair use tracers to trace and cut out the four shapes of pumpkin, bat, moon and ghost. These are decorated simply with crayons, and glued onto a wreath shape. Bows and stickers are the final details to complete our sweet project.
Of course a holiday post from us would not be complete without a booklist. Here’s the best of what we’re reading to the Kindergarten for Hallowe’en.
- Franklin’s Hallowe’en (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
- The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin (Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Egielski)
- Harriet’s Hallowe’en Candy (Nancy Carlson)
- Ten Little Beasties (Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley)
- Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Jill Esbaum)
- A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Megan Faulkner and Adam Krawesky)
- The Pumpkin Book (Gail Gibbons)
- It’s Pumpkin Time (Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern)
- The Littlest Pumpkin (R.A. Herman and Betina Ogden)
- Little Goblins Ten (Pamela Jane and Jane Manning)
- The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
- From Seed to Pumpkin (Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale)
- 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Janet Schulman and Linda Davick)
- Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler)
- One Spooky Night (Kate Stone)
- Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White and Megan Lloyd)
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd)
- The Pumpkin Blanket (Deborah Turney Zagwyn)
One of the benefits of a simpler Hallowe’en has been to downsize our decorations. We’ll be making the drive to the Salvation Army this weekend.
This Week in Our Room: October 19-22, 2015
This week we learned the correct formation for the letter “E.” As we are brainstorming ideas, segmenting words and labelling our pictures, the children are solidifying the sound/symbol relationship of each of the alphabet letters.
In Math, we’ve been creating AB, AAB, and ABC patterns using manipulatives during our Math rotations. This week we represented our learning by choosing a pattern and creating a patterned frame around our name.
Our school watched our first Cultural Event, “Marimba Muzuva” on Wednesday. We were delighted with the children’s audience behaviour; they sat politely and listened for almost an hour in a very hot gym. The children were able to enjoy some of the songs, stories and dances of Zimbabwe and participated with clapping, chanting and dancing with the rest of the student population. Thank you very much to our RPAC for sponsoring this event.
It’s a Professional Day tomorrow and students are not in session. We are attending the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative Leadership Roundtable tomorrow, “Building School Capacity to Support Student Success: Creating Quality Learning Environments Through a Self-Regulation Lens.” We look forward to learning more about creating the best self-regulated learning environment we can for our students.
Library Day is Monday for Division 15, and Tuesday for Division 16. Please return your Library Book so you may borrow a new one.
Our classes are starting to catch colds and coughs and some children have had fevers. It’s probably a good time to review the use of Kleenex, hand washing and coughing into your elbow at home again with your child. If your children are sick, please keep them at home. We know the children want to come to school but they simply do not have the stamina and energy required for the full day. As their parents, you can and should make that decision for them. The children need to stay at home, and come back to school rested and in good health.
Next Wednesday we are holding our annual Hallowe’en Centres party for our children, from 9-10:30. The children do not need to dress up in their costumes, but they may certainly wear their Hallowe’en t-shirts, black and orange, headpieces and jewelry. They will be very busy participating in Hallowe’en themed activities!
All next week Ridgeview will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the “We Scare Hunger” Campaign, sponsored by our Grade 7 Me to We team. Please send the donations to our classroom and your children will deliver them to the collection area in the main hallway.
Friday, October 30, is another great Ridgeview tradition: Our annual Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly. All students are invited to dress up in their Hallowe’en costumes. Please remember not to send in any items that resemble weapons. Our Principal will lead our costumed students through our hallowed hallways as we make our way to the gym for a fun assembly of Safety Information, songs and stories. This will take place from 9:15-10:00.