I love the fall season. I love wearing boots, cozy sweaters and the feel of the chilly air on my skin. Unfortunately, we are having a major heatwave here in Los Angeles and I have yet to experience some of my favorites. But in the spirit of the fall season, we read the story Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington in my first grade class. We looked at images of pumpkin patches and also how other parts of the country experience the fall season. This pumpkin unit is a also a nice segue to our next unit of study in science, weather and the seasons. What I really appreciate about this book is that it is short and sweet. The images are beautiful and held my students’ attention. It also provides facts on how pumpkins grow. After we read this story I asked them what activities we could do. They eagerly offered making Jack o’lanterns, visiting a pumpkin patch, learning more about pumpkins and eating pumpkin pie. The copy that I have of Pumpkin Pumpkin is part of our old reading series. It has pictures of real life pumpkins and this fun poem:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late.”
The second one said,”There are witches in the air.”
The third one said,”But I don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
Ooh-ooh went the wind and out went the light,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
(I’ve linked a really cute video that goes with this poem.)
So cute to hear my little first graders sing their hearts out. We also read informational books and found kid friendly websites to research pumpkin facts. Our amazing school librarian, Mrs. Fernandez helped me find this informational text, The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons. I explained to the students that we were researching and gathering information to help us write informative paragraphs on pumpkins. We also did a quick activity on the life cycle of the pumpkin. In the coming days we will use the sequencing cards to write about it.
Incidentally, our school has a solid writing program in place, Get Ahead Writing, that is implemented by all teachers throughout the grade levels. So when I told the students we were going to create a shared plan, many of them were familiar with this important step. (Big shout out to the K team!) The students then devised their own plans to write informational pieces.
This was also the first time my first graders went through the entire writing process (plan/brainstorm, write, edit, revise & publish). Let me be honest, it was not an easy feat. However, I know from previous experience that as their reading and writing skills develop, the easier and smoother the writing process will be. Here are some of the “published” writing pieces.
I will be bringing real pumpkins to the class so those who are not familiar with them have the opportunity to touch, feel and investigate this amazing fruit. And for those of you who think pumpkins are a vegetable – it’s a fruit!