Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Stories

Hi All!

Some of my favorite fall read-alouds are about pumpkins. There are some really cute ones out there, too. It just makes me feel so happy and in the fall spirit to pull these out and put them on a shelf to read to my students.

Here are my most loved pumpkin stories, in no particular order.

 How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
Every year, no matter what grade I have taught, my students have dug the seeds and guts out of pumpkins and counted the seeds. It's always the best (and messiest) day! How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara is a wonderful book to read beforehand. It introduces the students to the idea of estimating and grouping the seeds by tens to count them. 

Here are my first graders making groups of ten to count their seeds.      
Just a tip: Always put down some type of paper so that you can just roll up the mess when you're finished. Makes clean up a jillion times easier. I promise!
 Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins
Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Dianne Ochiltree is a quick, fun read. Whenever I read this one, I always stop and allow the students to make predictions. They're usually right about what will happen, but they get so excited when I turn the page and they realize they were correct. Sometimes I copy pictures from the book (a scanner and color printer are great for this) and leave the pictures at a fall writing center. The students can choose a picture to write about. Some choices for writing prompts are:
  • write descriptively about what is happening in the picture
  • tell what will happen next
  • make up your own story about what is happening in the picture
  • write questions about the picture
 How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?
As long as we're talking about writing, How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor is a fabulous read aloud to discuss vocabulary such as immense, stupendous, and astronomical. It also encourages students to think creatively and imagine the possibilities of having an enormous pumpkin. I even have the CD version so that students can listen again at a listening center.
 How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? Writing Activity
This writing activity can be found on my TpT store, HERE, or by clicking the picture above. It includes:
  • primary lined paper with space for drawing
  • straight lined paper with space for drawing
  • straight lined paper
  • three sentence starters
  • story vocabulary cards
I like to put the sentence starters and vocabulary in a pocket chart to keep displayed while students are writing.
Chumpkin by Lisa Funari Willever is one of my all time favorite pumpkin stories. I like it because it rhymes and the illustrations are bright and colorful. Poor Chumpkin is so sad that none of the children at the pumpkin patch are picking him and he thinks its because he is too big. In this story, students need to have an understanding of picture clues and be able to interpret the text to figure out how Chumpkin is feeling. Because of this, I like to give my students a story map to complete after we read the story. It's a great way to practice retelling and to assess whether or not everyone followed along with the story.
 Pumpkin Story Map
This story map can really be used with any pumpkin story. You can find it in my TpT store by clicking the picture above, or HERE.
And finally, The Littlest Pumpkin by R.A. Herman.
I always read this story after Chumpkin because it is so similar. The difference is that it is about the smallest pumpkin in the patch instead of the biggest. This lends itself to a compare/contrast discussion. If you're feeling up to it, you can even whip out a Venn diagram and go at it. I'm sure you have one of those somewhere.

I really love pumpkin season! What are some of your favorite pumpkin stories?

Best Wishes!

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