Autumn-themed lessons, activities, and classroom resources that cover a variety of subjects and appeal to different learning styles
Turn the calendar months of autumn into the perfect time of year to
teach map and globe skills. -Nanette L. Avery, Miami, FL
Fresh pumpkins of any size, black marker, ruler, colored paper, scissors, and all-purpose glue
HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Teach students the properties of a globe, such as longitude, latitude, hemispheres, continents, oceans, and more. Instruct them to use black marker and a ruler to draw lines of longitude and latitude, then mark the degrees, on the pumpkin.
2. Next, have students cut out the continents from colored paper and glue them to the pumpkin.
3. Students can finish by finding on the globe the places they are studying in social studies class.
Don't Waste That Pumpkin!
1. Write poems with pumpkin themes and hang them together in a "poem pumpkin patch."
2. Teach a lesson on circumference by having students measure and compare their pumpkins.
3. Investigate the density of a pumpkin by testing whether it will sink or float in a pail of water.
4. For a quick math activity, invite students to estimate and then count their pumpkin's number of seeds.
Math Leaf Banners
This simple decoration invites fall into the classroom and reinforces basic math practice. -Laura Kaesshaefer, Philadelphia, PA
Leaves, colorful stock or construction paper, scissors, glue, black marker, hole punch, ribbon.
HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Begin by taking students on a nature walk. Encourage them to collect fallen leaves and compare their shapes, sizes, and colors.
2. Once you have returned to the classroom, ask students to trace the leaves they collected onto colorful paper.
3. Next, cut the leaf shapes out and write a basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem and answer on one side.
4. To finish, string the paper leaves together on a long piece of ribbon, and hang in the classroom.
More Leaf Ideas
- For a math activity, have students sort the leaves they collected by color (red, yellow, green, brown) and graph the quantities.
- Make a harvest wreath by cutting out the center of a paper plate and gluing leaves along the outside.
- Make leaf rubbings by placing a piece of paper over a leaf and lightly coloring over it with the flat side of a crayon.
- Teach students a quick lesson in photosynthesis and discuss how important sunlight is to plants.
Teacher Help Line
"Help! My second graders have the end-of-day wiggles. When 2 p.m. rolls around, they won't sit still. They can't focus on a lesson or keep their hands to themselves."
Get Up and Move. Sounds like some sensory input is needed! Time for some hokey-pokey! -Sharon Parnell-Dowell, Stillwater, OK
Lower the Volume. Sounds like you need quiet time and they need movement time. Get a huge poster full of sign language words and the sign language alphabet. Have them practice signing to each other for the last few minutes of the day! -Michelle Corey Brown, Greer, SC
Make Them Laugh. I have an energetic class, so I take a break and pose multiple-choice questions, which they have to answer in a funny way. For example, if students think the answer is A, they must make a monkey sound, if it is B, bark like a dog, C, meow like a cat, and so on. -Amy Hughes Flynn, Philadelphia, PA
Grab a Good Book. Even my wiggliest student will sit still for a great book. -Karen Aven Gibson, Houston, TX
Re-Work the Schedule. Is changing the time you have PE an option? If you've drawn the short straw and have gym before lunch, you might want to swap at least once a week with a teacher with a later time. -Marguerite Morgan, Vallejo, CA
Have a question? Post it! Facebook.com/scholasticteachers
Take a Trip to... Outer Space!
Teacher Rissa Zimmerman (pictured below), from Dix Hills, New York, took her second-grade class to their district's science learning center for a day of interactive learning. The students participated in activities that combined the scientific inquiry with hands-on exploration. They engaged in lessons in magnetism, the water cycle, weather, space, and simple machines. Students explored magnetic force fields through observing and feeling the force field of bar magnets. To learn more about the water cycle, students explored evaporation and condensation and saw these phases in action. To end a full day of learning, students went inside a model of a shuttle similar to those that traveled to the moon!
Simple experiments you can do at a science learning center:
- Experiment with simple machines by learning the mechanics of pulleys, levers, and inclined planes.
- Build a hovercraft with a helium balloon.
- Learn about the changing direction of water by interrupting and manipulating water flow.
Tech Talk: Apps
We know you love your smartphone. Bring students in on the handheld fun with these quick learning activities.
I have students create a playlist of songs that the protagonist of a novel we are reading would have on an iPod. They show how the song matches the character's traits, plot, theme, or mood in a certain chapter. It's a lot of fun! -Taryn Hall, Spokane, WA
Weather Around the World
My students use a world atlas to add cities to the weather app on the iPod Touch. Then, they look up the weather in those cities, graph the temperatures, and compare them with ours. -Caitlin Sweeney, Philadelphia, PA
My students use a flashcard app to practice multiplication facts. I keep track of their progress on a huge bulletin board decked out in text lingo. Those who have their own iPod touches are downloading the app to practice on their own! -Kirsten Grube, Cattaraugus, NY
The Sub Tub
I have a substitute survival kit, or "Sub Tub," which contains a class roster, students' photos, books, worksheets, center procedures, discipline instructions, games my students like, and anything else a substitute might need! -Nancy Barlow, Ridgefield, CT