Sunday, October 26, 2014

The pumpkins are coming! The pumpkins are coming!

Ok, so I think I may be the only person on the planet that gets THIS excited about pumpkins. I know, I'm silly, but for's the little things in life you just gotta enjoy and for me it's PUMPKINS! (Really I love all my units of study from now until the end of the year, but this is the start of it and I'm just SO EXCITED I COULD BURST!)

My kiddos covered the life cycle of a pumpkin for this past week and boy did they do GREAT at it! I have to put a disclaimer out there...I HAVE THE BEST BUNCH OF KIDDOS EVER and they make my job super easy and fun. We started off with the plant unit last week to kind of lead into this unit (I totally planned it that way! No really, I did!) and that helped when we got to the different stages of the pumpkin life cycle.

We started the week with a big chart paper and some pictures from a pumpkin mini unit I downloaded from Mrs. Ricca's TPT store here! For my advanced students (who are working on blending and reading) they helped me spell out different words as we worked through our chart.

After we put the life cycle in order and filled in our chart, I taught the kiddos our life cycle song with the motions. (I wish I had video but alas...I did not think ahead!) It's to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.

The seed becomes a sprout.
The seed becomes a sprout.
Hi ho did you know...
The seed becomes a sprout!

(repeat tune with each life stage)

The sprout becomes the vine.
The vine becomes a flower.
The flower becomes a pumpkin.

Hand motions:
Seed = fist with all fingers curled into palm
sprout = pointer finger extended like counting the number 1
vine = make a flat "shelf" with arm and hand all straight and parallel to the ground
flower = extend fingers like counting 5 or giving a high five
pumpkin = both hands in front of you pretending to hold a pumpkin (or a ball)

My motions were all created on the spot last year, but they worked for me so I reused them. If you have better ideas I would LOVE to hear them. I'm all for cute motions to help the kiddos learn.

Tuesday we did our pumpkin craft. OH MAN! Be prepared for the cuteness that my kiddos created!! (I think I'm biased, but meh I'm allowed.) I cut 6 pumpkin shapes for each kid in my class out ff orange construction paper. I then passed out a sheet with all the stages on it so the kids could cut them out. Before we did anything, we sang the song again so the kids could remember what we had focused on the day before. I hung the completed big poster up on my white board and then we began the craft. Now, I was VERY specific with my kids. Even down to asking them to find specific colored crayons and hold them up, so I could keep everyone on the same step and the same page. Once we colored everything I had them cut them out and glue each step on to the middle of one of their pumpkins.

From here, I planned to have the kiddos glue the pumpkins together...but we were using liquid glue which takes FOREVER to dry so instead I had the kiddos fold their pumpkins in half and I went around and stapled them to make our 3-D pumpkin!

 Adorable right!? Well I hole punched them and hung them from the ceiling above each kiddo.

 Tuesday we "read" through the pumpkin life cycle book that came with this mini unit and the kids got to color the pictures and take the book home. Thursday I planned on giving the kids a sentence strip and the stages again and then we would put the whole project together step by step, to really help them understand the stages...but on a hunch...I handed them all the materials and said "Ok guys...I wanna see what you know. Can you color these the correct colors and then put them in the right order??" I did leave the big poster up on the white board, but all I did was walk around and monitor to see if they really understood everything. I am proud to say...ALL BUT 2 OF MY KIDDOS DID THE PROJECT 100% ON THEIR OWN AND 100% CORRECTLY!!

I nearly squealed when I looked at them to see if there were enough of them correct to put up on the board. Out of 17 kiddos 15 did it perfect (granted some put them in order from right to left instead of left to right, or the pictures are upside down...but hey THEY'RE 4! That's really good for that age, with little to no direction!)
Here are the finished products!

What a great way to end! Like I said, I had planned on doing this activity together and then having them do it on their own on Friday, but rather than go back and rehash I let them come up with their own way to tell me about the pumpkin life cycles. A lot of them just sang the song I taught them, but one little boy (a little guy that is working on reading and blending already) actually came up with full body motions for the song. He curled up fetal position on the floor for seed, stuck his arm up into the air for sprout, Stuck both arms in front of him for vine, stood in star position for flower and tried to make himself a big ball by touching his toes for pumpkin. Oh my goodness, it was adorable. (Again, I wish I had video, but alas...not thinking ahead again!)

I can't wait to start our "Halloween" unit with our Pumpkin Olympics on Friday! We have some pumpkin math planned and some pumpkin science! Oh man. I'm so excited!!!

I hope everyone is having a blast in their class as well. 

And always remember: Every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,
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