Sunday, September 26, 2010

Missing Pumpkin

One of my favorite lessons was designed to help a kindergarten-second grade class generate questions and improve their writing skills. We called it our "Missing Pumpkin Mystery."

For a week or so in October we had a pumpkin on display in our classroom. We were gearing up for the day we would scoop the insides out, count the seeds and carve it.

This particular group of students really needed to work on generating questions and using descriptive words within their writing. So some of the school staff helped me stage the "Missing Pumpkin Mystery."

One day after their specials period (art, music, phys ed, etc) the pumpkin was missing from the classroom. Once they noticed it, we decided on a plan of action to get our pumpkin back.

The first thing we did was to make "Wanted" posters for our pumpkin. The students took a brown paper grocery bag and drew a picture of our pumpkin on it. They then had to write three statements describing our pumpkin so "others would know if they saw OUR pumpkin."

We then decided to report our missing pumpkin to our principal to see if he could help us. (I had given him, the media specialist, our cafeteria assistant and our day time custodian their scripts so they would lead us to the next person to help us find the pumpkin.)

The children had to explain what happened, ask their questions and then describe out pumpkin to each person. The principal suggested we ask the media specialist "because he saw a lot of pumpkins in the media center." She suggested we ask the cafeteria assistant because "maybe they needed it to make pumpkin pie." The cafeteria assistant suggested we ask the custodian "because he sees the whole school make cleans up all the messes." As it turns out, the custodian "put it in our refrigerator because he was afraid it would get rotten."

We had great fun with this activity and it provided the kids with a real reason to use the skills I wanted them to practice.


Patrick Black said...

SUCH A FUN ACTIVITY! wow, I love how you got everyone involved, and all the skills you worked on! This sounds like so much fun, I think I'll have to try it!

Michelle_special_ed_teacher said...

Thanks, Patrick! It WAS such fun!!! I think perhaps the students didn't even notice they were really "working" because they were so caught up in the process.

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