It’s that time of year again when classrooms are a buzz about pumpkin patches, corn maizes, harvest time and seeds. I have a real live pumpkin experience going on along the front walk across the street. A cool mom allowed her little boy to plant some pumpkin seeds and the vine has taken over her front bushes! What a great learning experience to watch the fuzzy green ball at the end of the flower grow into a pumpkin.
Since I have several children on my caseload with word-finding difficulties, I am always on the lookout for books that use and enrich curriculum vocabulary. I ask teachers for a list of their vocabulary by subject and search the library for appropriate books. I also use these books to build vocabulary, talk about activities in sequence (carving a pumpkin or drying the seeds), and work on oral comprehension and answering wh-questions.
I wanted to share my pumpkin stash with you all:
“Life Cycle of a Pumpkin” by Fridell and Walsh Each page is illustrated with a photograph of a step in the cycle from seed, seedling, vine, flower, pollination, growing, ripening, and harvest. What I like about it for a language lesson:
- simple, short bits of information for each step
- informative close-up photos for description
- new vocabulary words in bold (vine, tendrils, seed, wither, pollen, etc)
- a few simple facts on each page
“The Pumpkin Book” by Gail Gibbons gives bite-sized details of the growth cycle of pumpkins with delightful illustrations but also includes:
- the special role pumpkins played in the first Thanksgiving
- the origin of Halloween
- how to properly carve a pumpkin which would illustrate a nice sequencing activity
- how to dry seeds
“Pumpkins” by Burckhardt is the simplest of the group with 2 or 3 sentences per page and photo illustrations.
“The Pumpkin Patch” by King is again a nice amount of information for early elementary aged children and can be modified for preschool.
- again, simple, informative bits of information
- illustrated with photographs
- fun facts like farmers’ seeds are coated with pink powder to keep insects from eating them–makes for a good listening activity!