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Compiled By: Editor

Various October themes

themes..long and jabbery!
Posted by: teachingranny

I taught first grade for 6 years. I always loved October! The first week my theme was always SIGNS of FALL-We take nature walks then do interactive writing about what we saw. We read the book I Went Walking as a jump off for our own class book...We went walking. What did you see? We saw_______.Each child gets to tell and receives help to write one page in a class made big book, which was later illustrated by that child during centers.We make leaf texture rubbings and spatter paint a T-shirt. Then I write a sentence frame..and let them make their own sentence and illustrate.ex..My t-shirt has _______leaves.(orange ,brown,red,etc.)We make a torn paper collage picture of a fall tree on black paper.VERY pretty! Math is fun..." Lanaya has 3 green leaves in her hand. Devin, get two leaves and bring them to her. Let's all count the leaves. Oh, 5 leaves,right. How many more could we get to make that 10?"Practice would be a ditto sheet with leaves to add,numbers beside them. When finished ,students color leaves in fall colors.I use other Fall items like count the haystacks,squirrels, acorns etc. Mercy! I need to stop! Oh wait can't stop 'til I tell you....
I don't want to bore you, but here is more ..... For the 2nd week of October-
Black Cat, Black Bat, I see you! (I combine bats and cats. It's a real hit with the kids!We have tons of fun learning abot about bats and the color theme is black and orange that week.)
3rd week of October- Fire safety this month!
Pumkin unit- Lots of fun. This week in science we do a sink or float unit cuz pumpkins float! We learn to tally as we take votes on whether each item will sink or float. Math-We measure and record on each pumpkin the circumference. We estimate the number of seeds in a small pumpkin and record them on a chart. Then we count them by tens.(We will save them and plant in late spring)And of course we write and read about pumpkins!AND eat homemade pumpkin pie!
4th week of October-Scarecrows and Haystacks. Come as a scarecrow day,estimate, record and count the straws in Mrs.________'s "haystack' made from peanut butter, powdered sugar, a bit of water and chinese noodles for the straws.Each child makes their own smaller haystack(ummm!) after we sequence the steps a few times in a pocket chart.When I taught second grade we liked to write about 'The Day the Scarecrows Came to Class'..but I'm thinking it would be more fun to make a class written Big Book.
In November, I start with my 'Candy Corn" unit(Lots of great ways to hone math skills!Estimating ,recording,adding ,subtracting,counting by 5s and 10s etc.)followed by a two week Pilgrims and the MayFlower/Pilgims and the First Americans.
In December, 1st week is Jingle Bells!(A bell unit, and we also experiment with sound in water glasses, read and learn the poem " Five little Jingle Bells ", the song Jingle Bells and gobs of winter poems for read alouds!)2nd week is our Rudolph unit. We visit a lot of Christmas websites.I run off the Rudolph story in a book format for each student and the kids learn to read it by singing it . They illustrate the book.....ADORABLE!Everyday we talk and write about acceptance and believing in yourself, relating it to Rudolph.I am allowed to show the video, which is a great springboard for our discussion. We discuss and write about needs and wants and what is really important.Many of my students don't get very many toys so we talk about seeing the cousins, the fun of family ,etc.The 3rd week is our "Traditions unit'...Hannukah,The Nativity, Santa, Christmas,stockings(we each bring an old sock and start filling it daily with treats to take home when we get our break)the sentence frame was' We put ____ in our stockings today!' We enjoy songs, stories, discussions, and writing about the tree trimming, wooden shoes,watch the ballet The Nutcracker,make a parade mural(Look! Here Comes the parade! What do you see? I see________!) We make fudge(short u, sequencing, liquid to a solid..). and other Christmas treats as well as gifts for the parents. The gift is usually made using magnets and then we continue magnet study in our science unit that week.December is wild and crazy..and exhausting , but I LOVE it! By now their journals are full of what's happening in the classroom. They've had plenty to write about! I take them home to read over the holidays. WHAT A TREAT!Better stop!I am WAY too Jabbery today!

edible craft!
Posted by: Laura


I LOVE how teaching becomes more fun in October. I enjoy exposing my kids to other cultures, so we do Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) from Mexico and other Latin American countries. The kids love making this edible "tombstone" craft, and it would be appropriate for Halloween too!

box of graham crackers
package of fudge covered square graham crackers
mellocreme pumpkins
bag of caramels (cubes)
shredded coconut (died green)
can of chocolate frosting

Use a graham cracker sheet as a base. "Glue" one fudge covered cracker (standing up perpendicular) on the plain graham cracker using chocolate frosting. Prop the "tombstone" up from the back using a caramel cube. "Glue" down a mellowcreme pumpkin at the base of the front of the tombstone using more icing. Smear a little extra icing in the front of the tombstone and sprinkle the green coconut on top. They are really cute once they're assembled, and it's funny to see how some students can't wait to devour their creation, while others preserve theirs like it's a true work of art!

Posted by: stephanie a.

I love Halloween! This year I've put up a background...night sky, green field, and told the kids, during their free choice time, to feel free to add to our Halloween creation. Each day it grows with student made jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and other unidentifiable creatures...including what I think are flying rabbits (oh well!). Some students decided to write little (and I mean verrry short) stories to accompany the pictures. They are very proud of their evolving bulletin board.

October BB
Posted by: gel2981

I use a scarecrow in the middle of the BB and put pumpkins around it--entitled something like - Welcome to Our Pumpkin Patch- then the students cut out pumpkins to put around it. Then in my art center, they make jack-o-lanterns by choosing a pumpkin shape (tall and skinny or fat and round) and choosing eyes, mouths, stems, noses, etc to create their own jack-o-lantern. All the pieces are different and the jack-o-lanterns turn out different and so cute! Hope this helps!

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pumpkin display
Posted by: Donna

Just finished this project with my kindergarten which they enjoyed. First we bubble mapped how a pumpkin felt, looked, etc on the outside. Then we gave students a bag of shell macaroni which we dyed orange. After it dried we glued shells on an orange pumpkin shape. Then we cut the pumpkin and did a bubble map which described inside. We then colored a shape which depicted inside of pumpkin. Orange on outside area and yellow inside. We glued on pumpkin seeds and yellow yarn. We mounted the two projects on construction paper and hung in hall with our bubble maps. It took several days but it looks great. This idea comes from a Mailbox Craftbook for October. It can be purchased from

Curly Tailed Cat Mobiles
Posted by: sj

1. 8 x 12 black construction paper
2. lid from small can of coffee for circle patterns which will become the head, hips, and tail of the cat
3. 4" square of green paper, from which pointed-end ovals will be cut for the eyes
4. white crayon for outlinine on the black paper
5. scissors & glue
6. Fold a piece of construction paper so that you have made two long, tall triangles. Cut others from tag paper to use for patterns for the cat body
1. Trace around the lid four times so that you have four black circles. Trace around the triangle tag paper pattern once to have a tall triangular body, Glue on of the circles on the top of the tall triangle, forming the head. Cut another circle in half and glue each half to the sides of the triangle to form hips of the cat. For the fourth circle, begin cutting about 1/4 " from the edge, spiraling in until you reach the middle and have created a coil out of the circle. Glue the center part of the coil to the backside of the cat between the hips and you have a long, curly tail for the cat. Now you are ready to cut freehanded (or teacher can make tag patterns) for the ears and green eyes. Punch a hole in the top of the head and hang the curly-tailed cates around the room from the light fixtures. They're really cute and liven up the room with an October theme.

October Bulletin board
Posted by: Nan

I just put up a bb with bats flying around titled We're Batty Over Reading (not original but my artwork was) I made the bats from black con. paper and glued on white eyes with black pupils that looked googly. White background/black border. I have some pictures of my students (4th graders) reading with their reading buddies(kg) that I am placing all around the board. SO CUTE!

October Board
Posted by: First Grade Teacher

Here a few ideas I used in first grade that you could adapt to 2nd grade.

The first idea I did was have a parent volunteer paint one foot of a child with white paint and then stamp iton black paper. When it dries turn the foot upside down and add two eyes and it's a ghost! Then we wrote, Some people may be afraid of a ghost, but it is ________that scares me most. Students then fill in the blank with what scares them. In 2nd grade you could start with the poem and then add a short story about what scares them.

The other thing I did was gave students an orange piece of paper and they painted a black tree trunk on it. Then I gave them a watered down glob of black paint right at the top of their tree trunk. Students then use a straw to blow the glob of paint and turn it into a bunch of spooky tree branches. I always show them a sample, and they turn out so much better. We then wrote, I hid behind a spooky tree, I saw a _________, but it didn't see me. Again you could have students add a story to this if you wanted them to write more.

costume idea
Posted by: chris

Here's a really simple one: scarecrow. Wear old clothes, and an old hat. Stuff some raffia (from the craft store, it looks like straw)in the pockets. Putting it in your sleeves is itchy - voice of experience here. You can "paint" on a face using everyday makeup: make ^ shapes above your eyebrows, expand your mouth with an exaggerated "smile". Throw some patches on the clothes, if you want.
What about a farmer, farmer's wife or a harvest maid (a la mother nature). For the last one, just wear a long dress or skirt, put a wreath of fall leaves/flowers in your hair & carry a basket of fruit & veggies. These can be fake or, better yet, real. Pass them out to the kids!
Simply dress in the colors of autumn: gold, orange & a touch of brown. Add a wreath of leaves your hair & say you're a tree or autumn leaves.
Can you sew or know someone who does? What about making one of those "seasonal" vests you can simply cut out & sew together. Some of our veteran teachers have many of these that they have collected over the years.
Remember, for costumes on a budget, your local resale shop is a god-send. You can sometimes find actual costumes this time of year, or find reasonable priced items of clothing that you wouldn't wear, EXCEPT as a costume. Sometimes you can find some really nice stuff, too! (Great for a new teacher on a budget!)You may even be able to find a pair of bib overalls for the farmer or scarecrow outfit! I have often also seen those "seasonal" vests at resale places.
I love to dress-up. I showed up at work as the scullery maid version of Cinderella (not often seen)when we wraped up our fairy tale unit. When we finished our desert unit I was a bedouin, in a long white dress, embroidered white blouse, lots of rings & braclets, including a "bell" ankle braclet that jingled all day as I walked! When we had "twin day" I made identical "chiffon" scarfs for all the team members & we all wore basic black pants & shirts. Each of us wore the scarf as we wanted: a hair bow, a belt, or around our neck. The kids LOVED all of it!
I know it's long,'ll get you started!
Have fun!