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October 12, 2015

Pump, Pump, Pumpkin Up

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Over the last few years, autumn has become the season of pumpkin-flavored everything. My favorite is a pumpkin muffin with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee, but I also love pumpkin bisque. (If you haven’t tried it, you really should!) Speaking of things you should try, these seasonal pumpkin activities are sure to spice up your classroom with some October fun.

    Family Pumpkins
    One of the first reading comprehension concepts that we tackle each school year is understanding the vocabulary word "character," and being able to identify the main character in each story. I send home a letter to each family at the beginning of October with the directions to have their child identify a favorite book character and then as a family create that character with a pumpkin. The pumpkin can be large or small, real or fake, and yellow or orange.

    Duckling PumpkinClark the Shark Pumpkin Pete the Cat Pumpkin

     

    Pigeon Pumpkin PIggie PumpkinLion King Pumpkin

    Lightening McQueen Pumpkin Max PumpkinBatman Pumpkin

    Multiple-Lesson Pumpkins

    1. Each year I buy four to five pumpkins for my classroom. Each is fairly similar in size, but I make sure that some are a little larger and some are a little smaller.

    2. The class makes predictions about which pumpkins will have the most seeds inside.

    3. A week or so before Halloween, I invite parent volunteers in to help me as we cut open the pumpkins.

    4. The class divides into groups. There is a parent volunteer with each group of four to five students.

    5. Hunter digging inI cut around the stem and pull the top off. Then the kids dig in and get all the pumpkin seeds out. They love this part because it’s messy and disgusting.

    6. Each group puts their seeds in a big zippered plastic bag with their names on the outside. I bring the bags home and get the seeds as clean as possible.

    7. The next day, each group reassembles and uses a hundreds board to count the number of seeds from their pumpkins.

    8. We then determine which pumpkin had the most seeds and compare that to our predictions.

    9. The group then designs a jack-o'-lantern. They are given directions that they need to use at least one of each of the two-dimensional shapes that we have learned by this point.

    10. After the group sketches out their design, they use markers to draw their jack-o'-lantern on their group's pumpkin.

    11. Each group shares their jack-o'-lantern with the class and describes how they used each of the two-dimensional shapes to make a face.

    Group 3's PumpkinGroup 2's pumpkin

    I hope you have fun doing these activities with your students. If you prefer to go a different route during this time, please check out my post from last year showing you how to have a rollicking good time with An Un-Halloween Celebration.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Pinterest and Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

    Over the last few years, autumn has become the season of pumpkin-flavored everything. My favorite is a pumpkin muffin with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee, but I also love pumpkin bisque. (If you haven’t tried it, you really should!) Speaking of things you should try, these seasonal pumpkin activities are sure to spice up your classroom with some October fun.

    Family Pumpkins
    One of the first reading comprehension concepts that we tackle each school year is understanding the vocabulary word "character," and being able to identify the main character in each story. I send home a letter to each family at the beginning of October with the directions to have their child identify a favorite book character and then as a family create that character with a pumpkin. The pumpkin can be large or small, real or fake, and yellow or orange.

    Duckling PumpkinClark the Shark Pumpkin Pete the Cat Pumpkin

     

    Pigeon Pumpkin PIggie PumpkinLion King Pumpkin

    Lightening McQueen Pumpkin Max PumpkinBatman Pumpkin

    Multiple-Lesson Pumpkins

    1. Each year I buy four to five pumpkins for my classroom. Each is fairly similar in size, but I make sure that some are a little larger and some are a little smaller.

    2. The class makes predictions about which pumpkins will have the most seeds inside.

    3. A week or so before Halloween, I invite parent volunteers in to help me as we cut open the pumpkins.

    4. The class divides into groups. There is a parent volunteer with each group of four to five students.

    5. Hunter digging inI cut around the stem and pull the top off. Then the kids dig in and get all the pumpkin seeds out. They love this part because it’s messy and disgusting.

    6. Each group puts their seeds in a big zippered plastic bag with their names on the outside. I bring the bags home and get the seeds as clean as possible.

    7. The next day, each group reassembles and uses a hundreds board to count the number of seeds from their pumpkins.

    8. We then determine which pumpkin had the most seeds and compare that to our predictions.

    9. The group then designs a jack-o'-lantern. They are given directions that they need to use at least one of each of the two-dimensional shapes that we have learned by this point.

    10. After the group sketches out their design, they use markers to draw their jack-o'-lantern on their group's pumpkin.

    11. Each group shares their jack-o'-lantern with the class and describes how they used each of the two-dimensional shapes to make a face.

    Group 3's PumpkinGroup 2's pumpkin

    I hope you have fun doing these activities with your students. If you prefer to go a different route during this time, please check out my post from last year showing you how to have a rollicking good time with An Un-Halloween Celebration.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Pinterest and Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

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