I am sure many of you are familiar with this fun project – I saw it at a conference many years ago. After I cut out the dip at the top of 2 plates for each child, they paint the entire plates orange – a bit messy but fun! Then I staple the 2 plates together and staple a heavy duty piece of green yarn near the top of one side. As we learn about the cycle of the pumpkin the children add one piece each day – the seed, the vine, the flower, the little pumpkin (green), the big pumpkin, and then they paint a jack o lantern face on one side. As we retell the cycle we show the pumpkin side until the very end. Sometimes I have the children put a big orange pumpkin on the string, sometimes we just use the plain side of the pumpkin for the big pumpkin. The children love doing this and it is great reinforcement for cycles. There are many choices of great books to go with this.
You could do this project in one day, but we add one piece each day – that gives lots of time to reinforce the cycle. Along with this project we made a book. The words were in the pocket chart and we reread them every day.
I used this title because we also learned a song to go along with this. I love using so many modalities for children with different interests and strengths.
The song is to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb – we act out hand motions that go with it.
Do you know how pumpkins grow
Do you know how pumpkins grow
In my garden?
First I’ll plant a pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed
First I’ll plant a pumpkin seed in my garden.
Rest of the verses:
Then the vine and leaves will grow …
Then the blossoms will appear …
Then the little pumpkins grow …
At last the pumpkins will turn orange …
Then I’ll carve a funny face, funny face, funny face.
Then I’ll carve a funny face on my pumpkin.
Depending on the group of children I have each year, and how many sight words I have introduced – I often change this text to read “I can see the seed.” If I have not introduced I and can yet, I use this simpler text and spend that week reinforcing the word see. I make a point of introducing the word THE very early in the year. I’ll be sharing more sight word things.
For this seed page I just had the children color the page brown for dirt and stick on 2 white stickers. If I was not doing the pumpkin project already using real pumpkin seeds I probably would glue those on.
It is really fun if you can bring in a pumpkin growing on the vine with a blossom still attached so they can see it all. If you can’t bring one in you could photograph one showing all the parts. Of course there are many books too.
On this page I already had a clipart picture of a pumpkin and the children used the warming tray (meant to keep buffet foods warm) and peeled crayons to color it. This is a really fun technique if you haven’t tried it! You can often find warming trays at garage sales. The crayon melts quickly and dries really fast – it looks like paint. Of course you could just cut out or draw a pumpkin too.
Our school had an Ellison die cut machine – I precut the pumpkins and the kids put yellow paper behind the eye and mouth shapes. You probably noticed that I included picture cues to help the children read the text as well as to help them be sure they are working on the correct page. I almost always give the children a book that is stapled together to start with, sometimes they put a project on the wrong page if they don’t have a reminder picture.