Pumpkin Unit Study

by Amy Griffin

Amy Griffin has over a decade of experience working with children in an educational setting, many of those years specifically teaching kindergarten. Ms. Griffin has her own website at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/5059/index.html if you would like to check it out.

Books:

The Vanishing Pumpkin
The Big Pumpkin
The Pumpkin House
The Biggest Pumpkin
One is One
It’s Pumpkin Time
Bear’s Bargain
Apples and Pumpkins
Pumpkin, Pumpkin
The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything
Seed Song


Poems/Songs:

Pumpkin Song

(tune: Have you ever seen a lassie?)
Have you ever seen a pumpkin, a pumpkin a pumpkin?
Have you ever seen a pumpkin, that grows on a vine?
A round one, a tall one, a bumpy one, a squashed one.
Have you ever seen a pumpkin, that grows on a vine?


Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Pumpkin, pumpkin
sitting on a wall
Pumpkin, pumpkin
tip and fall
pumpkin, pumpkin
rolling down the street
Pumpkin, pumpkin
Good to eat!


A Pumpkin Seed

A pumpkin seed’s a little thing
When it’s planted in the spring
But, oh, the fun it can bring.


At Halloween it turns into
A pumpkin pie for me and you
Or jack-l-lantern that says
BOO!


Pumpkin Song

(tune: I’m a Little Teapot)
I’m a little pumpkin
Orange and round
Here is my stem
There is the ground
When I get all cut up,
Don’t you shout!
Just open me up
And scoop me out!


We are Pumpkins

(tune: Mary had a little lamb)
We are pumpkins, big and round
big and round, big and round
We are pumpkins, big and round
Seated on the ground.


Mr. Pumpkin

(tune: Where is thumbkin)
Mr. Pumpkin, Mr. Pumpkin
Round and fat
Round and fat.
Harvest time is coming
Harvest time is coming
Yum, yum, yum.
That is that!


Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
First one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late!”
Second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
Third one said, “But we don’t care!”
Fourth one said,” Let’s run and run and run!”
Fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
Ooooooooooh went the wind
Out went the light
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!


Activities:

1. I always get a gigantic pumpkin and a collection of a variety of gourds from the local apple orchard.

2. We make a booklet in the shape of a pumpkin and do science experiments such as, estimate and then measure the circumference of the pumpkin, does and pumpkin sink/float, weigh a pumpkin, etc.

3. We take a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

4. We do an LEA class story about our trip to the patch.

5. Paper bag pumpkins- have student color or paint white lunch bag orange, draw a face, stuff with paper, tie with green yarn. Can display them like a pumpkin patch.

6. Compare pumpkins to apples.

7. I make sequence cards with the lifecycle of a pumpkin on it.

8. Talk about a pumpkin being a fruit and from the gourd family.

9. Paper Plate Pumpkin-have student color or paint a paper plate orange, make a face on it.

10. We always carve a pumpkin and make it into a jack o lantern. Plant some of the seeds, bake some of the seeds and eat, and soak some of the seed over night and observe the embryo with a magnifying glass.

11. I have a “Sets of Seed” sheet from a Fall theme book. The students glue the # of seeds on it that it says to do.

12. Predict and find out what two colors make orange

13. You can make a pumpkin to eat with orange slices and a green M and M.

14. Make a jack o lantern out of your children's thumbs.

Letter Recognition:

Pictures and Words: This activity comes from a conference I attended called “Success In Reading and Writing”. You staple/tape a picture on a piece of chart paper. I usually choose a picture based on my theme. Have the children look at the picture and tell you what they see. You label what they see while echo spelling the words. This is great for vocabulary, letter recognition, and sounds. Later in the year, I give the sounds and they have to tell me the letters to make the word. Sometimes, I even have them practice printing the letters on paper or chalkboards with me.

I have stations set up in the morning for the students to work at after they have done the morning activity. The stations rotate from table to table where the students sit. Each child visits one station a day. Stations vary depending on what theme we are working on. Some include the housekeeping station, listening station, and blocks. I also have various art activities and stations based on the theme. I try to base my stations on the MIT. Here's a link for more information on the MIT.
http://www.galstar.com/~davii/mi.htm

Book Groups: I usually begin book groups near the end of October. I have multiple copies of trade books on their level. On Mondays, each child has a choice of which book he/she wants. So the groups are not by ability but interest. Depending on the class size I might have 4-5 different books offered. I try to have books to go with our theme. When everyone has picked a book, they get in the book groups and practice reading the books. I walk around the room listening to the groups read. On Fridays, each group reads to the class. The students take the books home each day in special cloth bookbags to practice with their parents.

Letter Charts: This is an activity that comes from “Success in Reading and Writing”. I have a piece of chart paper with a picture of something that begins with the letter I am teaching. I pick a letter that has something to do with the theme we are working on. I ask what letter the picture begins with and then show the children how to print the capital and lower case letter on the chart paper. Then the students think of other things that begin with the letter and I try to draw the pictures and label the picture(we also echo spell as I label). I usually spend two days on each letter and do many other activities with the letter.

Journal: I always have the children journal in the conclusion of the lesson so they can use everything they have learned throughout the day in their writings. I usually have them write about the theme we are working on. After a child has journaled they come to me individually and read me what they have written. Some write independently, some need help sounding out words, and some just write random letters all depending on what stage they are at. Journaling shows just how much a student knows about letters, sounds, words, and sentences.

Alphabet Discovery Bottles: I use the 1 liter water bottles for each letter of the alphabet. Everytime I introduce a new letter, I have the students bring in things from home that start with that letter and fit into the bottle. I do not add liquid in the bottles, so we can use the items in the bottles for sorting. This project helps get the parents involved at home. The children loved this!


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