Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 16!

Do you know that there are children who have never touched the icky guts of a pumpkin before? Who do not know what that smells like? Who might think that there is one really great big seed in the whole thing?

It is heartbreaking to think that all of the simple pleasures and things that we did in school so many years ago are now exceptional opportunities to learn for our students! What that means is, if you do not provide these activities in school, they might miss it entirely because pumpkins are not inexpensive. Parents will buy a costume and a plastic pumpkin and send their child out there to collect their loot. Purchasing a real pumpkin, carving it as a family activity, actually roasting the pumpkin seeds to eat them? Often that only happens if teachers do it.

I recommend this book, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin, by Margaret MacNamara to use as a basis for Pumpkin Day in your classroom. On Pumpkin Day (not to be confused with a Halloween Party) all reading, math, science, writing, science, and craft activities center around the mighty pumpkin! In this book, a teacher is helping the class to figure out some answers to questions that they have about pumpkins. You can figure them out right along with them in your real classroom!

My recommendations for you include: enlist help from parents ahead of time, and make sure you collect everything you will need: big scooping spoons, big bowls to put the pulp in, pumpkin cutting knives (for the adults). You need 2 big pumpkins (with 2 adults in charge) to handle a classroom of children. Give each adult a list of the children's names to call up one by one. That way, they don't keep asking, "when is it my turn?" Don't forget the plastic tablecloths for the pumpkin tables!

Have a great self-directed pumpkin art activity for them to do at their seats while they are waiting. In another corner you could have a parent reading a new Halloween story.A fun writing activity is to pretend that you are the last pumpkin left in the pumpkin patch, and it is getting late. What happens to you?

When the children are interacting with the pumpkin, they should have their math notebooks with them to write down how many creases are on the pumpkin, etc. 

I  take the seeds home to bake them in a little bit of oil with some
salt. It is worthwhile to get to taste something new. Then you can graph "Do you like roasted pumpkin seeds or not?" More math! 

For tons of free printables plus further ideas to help round out your activities, check out my October Ideas board on Pinterest. The link is up there on the right!

Happy Reading!  Till Next Time, Nancy

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