This is a guest blog post by Margaret Hufstedler, a veteran teacher of 28 years who has taught kindergarten for the past 22 years. She is an accomplished musician, the owner of Maggie’s Kinder Corner, and co-moderator of #TeacherFriends Chat every Tuesday on Twitter.
What’s not to love about this time of year? October is the perfect time to kick learning into high gear with an already inquisitive group of kindergarten students. They have a “built-in radar” for all things that fly, screech, roll and grow!
During this month, we have discussed how animals prepare for the coming winter months; the change of the season with its hues of gold, red, and orange; and decreasing hours of daylight that allow those true colors to reveal themselves. So much to cover in so little time!
This year, we are focused on nocturnal creatures like bats, owls and coyotes, all of which are indigenous to our S. Missouri Ozarks. We will be making a Compare/Contrast Graphic about the similarities and differences in owls and bats. We’ll also be giving them a test flight after designing and studying the way they fly via conservation videos. And to get our learning off to a great start, we’ll be reading two little readers that relay a simple set of facts about the two flying creatures.
Hameray has some amazing materials for STEM! Among them are these two gems that give students basic knowledge using real photographs of the animals. Students prefer books of this nature that give them a first-hand look at something they are deeply interested in. The books I use come from Hameray’s ZooZoo Animal World Series.
In addition to the Owl and Bat books, Hameray publishes a book about Coyotes, perfect for highlighting another well-known animal in the area my students live in. All of my students have heard the high-pitched barking of coyotes as they roam the hills and pastures hunting at night. This book really brings them to life!
If I had one piece of advice for teaching about animals during the month of October, it would be to focus on animals native to the area in which you live. You can also include traditional creatures of the night associated with the season, though. Students love it all!
Pumpkins are another highly engaging topic of study. This year is a very special year in my class because all of the pumpkins we will be using were grown on our farm just across the road from our home. Students will get to help carve them, decorate them, eat them, and the most fun of all…ROLL them! We will study how the size of pumpkins has a great deal to do with how far they will roll!!!
Here is a video of my music room/dining room with just part of the harvest! It was so warm during late September/early October that we had to keep the pumpkins inside! We had as many as 260+ pumpkins in there at one time!
I CAN’T WAIT to begin our Pumpkin and Bat activities! Just look at the cute “Nemo” stick-ons! They are the cutest!!! And just look at the realistic bats! I also have little bead necklace crafts for them to practice counting!