Pumpkins, Pumkins, and More Pumpkins

My Exchange Teacher, Kristin, has pushed me in a lot of ways this semester. Having her in my room has been awesome. Not only is she a huge help when I am fumbling through teaching a lesson or when I need something copied or laminated, but she has pushed me into becoming a better teacher. Anyone who knows anything about me knows how much of a neat freak I am. Anyone who knows me as a teacher knows that I am a physco about the cleanliness of my classroom and the high expectations I have for my students. I don’t think it is a bad thing that I want an organized and clean classroom. I actually think it is more beneficial for my students. It teaches them how to be responsible for their things.

Kristin knows this about me and supports me 100% in my craziness (at least I think she does!). But this is the area I feel she has really pushed me. She has given me some really fun lesson ideas involving lots of mess. I usually look at her and politely shake my head no.

When making plans for the week of Halloween she told me about a lesson she did in her classroom with pumpkins. Each table got a pumpkin and scraped out all the seeds and sorted them into groups of 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. “No, Kristin, that is way too messy for me, I don’t think I could do that.” She graciously took my answer of no and we moved on. But then I realized it’s not about me or my clean classroom. Let’s let these kiddos have some fun. We spend so much time doing boring lessons in preparation for another CSCOPE test (if you don’t know what a CSCOPE test is…you don’t wanna know) that they never get a chance to have FUN! So I did it. Kristin won. So the day before Halloween, Kristin spent the entire day in my room and we had some Halloween fun! We started the lesson reading How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?  by Margaret McNamara.

Then the kids broke off into their table groups. Each table had a different sized pumpkin. They started digging away. The kids at a table had to decide together what they wanted to group their seeds by. Each table had a manila sheet of paper that the placed their groups on and circled them for easy counting.

Here we are in our cute Halloween Aprons. I thought my mom was ridiculous for giving these to me, but they did come in handy!

A week or two before this lesson, we did an adjective lesson with a pumpkin. This time we just had one pumpkin that we shared as a class. We sat on the floor and went through all 5 senses. We talked about what it looked like then cut it open to talk about what it sounded like, smelt like, felt like, and even tasted like…eww!! A couple of them did venture to lick the seed, but that’s all I let them do.  Their faces were priceless. After we went through all of the senses they wrote a paper about a pumpkin and then decorated a foam pumpkin with marker (bad idea, don’t do it! The marker never dries and it gets all over your fingers).

Their papers and pumpkins hung outside on our wall well into December when I finally made the time to take them down.

Our month of pumpkins was a reminder that it is okay to be messy…and it was actually fun!!!Kristin is currently working on getting me to use glitter…I said “No way!!!” to that one…maybe one day?I had plans of posting lots of pictures but they all have the kids faces. I will do better at taking pictures without their faces so y’all can see a little in-class-action.

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