I'm Dreaming Of The Great Pumpkin
(Sung to: I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas)

I'm dreaming of the Great Pumpkin
Just like I do this time each year
When he brings nice toys to good girls and boys
Who wait for him to appear.

I'm dreaming of the Great Pumpkin
With every pumpkin card I write.
May your jack-o-lanterns burn bright
When the Great Pumpkin visits you tonight.
~Source unknown~
Pumpkin Puppets~ A great activity to use to teach about feelings and expressions.

Cut out pumpkins from construction paper.  Make the mouth and eyes represent moods expressed in the poem.  Attach a craft stick to each pumpkin.  Hold up one puppet at a time as the rhyme is said.  The kids will enjoy imitating the expressions with their voices.  Number the back of each puppet in order (or write the name of each expression).

Here is a pumpkin who's happy

Here is a pumpkin who

Here is a pumpkin who's sleepy

Here is a pumpkin who

Here is a pumpkin who's angry

Here is a pumpkin who's

Here is a pumpkin who's noisy

Here is a pumpkin who's

As an additional activity, the children could make their own pumpkin puppets and draw the facial expressions with crayons or markers.

I cut two large circles for a BIG pumpkin and glue the sides together so I have pocket inside.  Then, I decorate the face with circle eyes, nose, mouth and stem.  I do the same with the other shape pumpkins...the square has all square facial features, the triangle has all triangle shaped facial features and the rectangle has all rectangle shaped facial features.

Each day we review one of the shapes and sing these songs to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell"
A circle's like a ball,
A circle's like a ball,
round and round it never stops
A circles like a ball.

I cut different colored circle shapes and tape them around the room.  I choose one child at a time to find a hidden circle.  When found the child has to tell us the color of the circle and tell us where the circle was (language skills and positional words)  Ex.  I have a yellow circle.  I found it on the wall under the coat rack, etc.)  The child then drops the circle in the pocket of the big circle jack-o-lantern.

We do the same for the other shapes on other days.  Here are the songs...all sung to "The Farmer in the Dell"

A square is like a box
A square is like a box
It has 4 sides
They are the same
A square is like a box.

A rectangle has four sides
A rectangle has four sides
2 sides long and two sides short
A rectangle has 4 sides.

A triangle has 3 sides
A triangle has 3 sides
Up the mountain
Down and back
A triangle has 3 sides

When all shapes have been reviewed, I lay several of the different shapes on the floor and hide a construction paper pumpkin under one of the shapes.  Students take turns throwing a bean bag on a shape they recognize.  If they name the shape and color correctly they get to pick up the shape and see if they find the hidden pumpkin.  The student that finds the hidden pumpkin gets to hide it for the next game!
A good story starter for this activity is the book
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
This is the tale of two mice who unknowingly are growing the same pumpkin.  One wants to use it to compete in the town's pumpkin contest and the other wants to carve it into a jack-o-lantern.   Several emotions are expressed while they happily grow the pumpkin and then surprisingly discover the other has had a part in taking care of the pumpkin.  The story has a happy ending when their Big Pumpkin wins the contest and they carve it into a jack-o-lantern for the town to enjoy on Halloween night.  If you'd like to preview this book, click on the book which will take you to to October Library.
October Library
~~Pumpkin Math~~
I usually ask parents for any pumpkin donations they'd like to provide for our pumpkin unit. We
do the following activities with our pumpkins:

~~Sort the pumpkins by size, shape, stem or no stem

~Pattern the pumpkins by size, shape,
stem or no stem

~Scoop the seeds out of 5 pumpkins
(one pumpkin is placed on each of my 5 tables) and the children sort them into groups of 10.  (I have them put the groups of ten in tiny cups.)
I set the timer for about 5-7 minutes and then we stop.  We put the cups on a tray and then count the cups by tens.

~Estimate and then measure the circumference of our largest and smallest pumpkin with yarn. 

~Estimate and then weigh our 3 largest pumpkins on a bathroom scale and record the results with drawings and numbers in our math journals.

~~Pumpkin Science~~

Scoop out the seeds from your pumpkin and place a lit candle in the pumpkin.  Have the students hypothesize by drawing a picture of what they think will happen.  (You could also graph their predictions.)

The candle will go out almost immediately when the oxygen inside the mouth is used up.

Next, carve out the mouth and have the students predict what will happen, and see if the candle stays lit.

Last, carve the eyes and nose and watch your jack-o-lantern glow brightly!
~~Center Ideas~~

I purchased 12 little ,orange, plastic jack-o-lantern candy holders (party favors) at a craft store for 99 cents and used a permanent marker to write a number from 1 to 12 on the inside bottom of each holder.

Idea 1~~Number order:The students practice lining up the jack-o-lanterns in order from 1-5 one week and 1-10 the next week and then 1-12 the third week. 

Idea 2~~Number order and counting sets: I purchased a bag of candy corn and put the candy in a plastic bag.  The students order the pumpkins from 1-10 and then drop in the right number of candies in each jack-o-lantern.  When I check their work they get a piece of candy corn (from my desk, not the center)  and a pumpkin sticker.  With my kids I have found that it works best to have them count candies from 1-5 the first week, 1-10 the next week.

Idea 3~~Sorting Skills: I also purchase 12 little  COLORED (green, yellow, purple, orange)  jack-o-lantern candy holders for $2.00 at Target.  I bought a bag of little Halloween candies with green, yellow, orange and purple wrappers.  The students can sort the candies by COLOR into the correct colored candy holder.  Skittles would work well also.

Idea 4~~Patterning by color: The colored plastic jack-o-lanterns can also be used in a patterning center.  I made up jack-o-lantern patterning cards, colored and laminated them, and put them in the box with the colored jack-o-lanterns.
The kids love these simple centers!
~Pumpkin Seed Snack~

Scoop out the seeds from your pumpkin, roast them and let your students enjoy a pumpkin
seed snack.

2 cups of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil pumpkin seed in about a quart of water for 10 minutes.
3. Drain the seeds and toss them in melted butter.
4.  Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet or roasting pan.
5.  Roast the seeds for about 30 min. (Make sure you stir and toss them while they bake)

  I give each child a pre-cut pumpkin shape with two triangle eyes--no other facial features.

On a huge piece of paper I wrote "Counting Pumpkin Eyes"
Each child brough their pumpin to the chart and we glued them in rows of 5.  As each child added their pumpkin I wrote the number underneath their pumpkin.
22,24,26,28,30, etc.

This made a great seasonal display in our classroom and gave
us the opportunity to talk about number patterns and counting.
Pumpkin Wonderland
(Sung to: Winter Wonderland)

Screech owls hoot, are you list-nin?
'Neath the moon, all is glist-nin'_
A real scary sight, we're happy tonight,
Waitin' in a pumpkin wonderland.

In the patch were waitin' for Great Pumpkin,
We've been waiting for this night all year.
For we've tried to be nice to everybody
And to grow a pumkin patch that is sincere.

Later on, while were eating
What we got trick-or-treating,
We'll share all are sacks of Halloween snacks,
Waiting in a pumpkin wonderland.

~Source unknown~
The Little Orange House

The Little Orange House (One of many versions!)

A storytelling Activity

Needed: Scissors and a large piece of orange paper

Once upon a time a very small witch was walking in the woods. The cold wind was blowing the dry leaves all around her. The little witch was frantically searching for a house for the winter. She could not find one. Suddenly a piece of Orange paper, blown by the wind landed at her feet. She picked it up. The little witch looked closely at the paper and then she said, "I shall make myself a little house from this piece of orange paper." She folded the paper in half. Then she took her scissors (she always carried a pair in her pocket) and cut off the two corners to make a roof. (Cut the construction paper as the story indicates). "This will do just fine," she said as she looked at her new house. "But I will need a door." With her scissors she cut a door. Since witches always wear pointed hats, she cut a special door. (Cut a rectangle shape with one end pointed up more towards the bottom of the folded edge.) The little witch walked through the door into the little orange house. It was very dark inside. She quickly hurried back out. "I will need to make windows to let in the light," said the little witch. She cut a front and back window. (Cut a square shape in the top middle of the paper opposite end of the paper than the door. Cut through both sides of the paper.) Oh, it was a very fine looking house. Her very own little house with a roof, a door, and windows was all finished. But just as the little witch started to go inside for the winter, she saw a tiny ghost floating down the wind swept path. As the tiny ghost came to a stop near the little house, the little witch saw that she was crying. "Why are you crying?" asked the little witch. The tiny ghost stopped crying and answered, "It is cold and windy. It is getting dark. And I have no place to spend the winter." "You may spend the winter with me in my new house," said the kind little witch. "Oh, thank you, " the happy tiny ghost said as she peeked in through the window. "This is a very nice house." "First," said the witch, "I will need to make you a little door of your very own." She took her scissors again and began to cut. She cut a very tiny door. (Cut a triangle on the folded edge of the paper between the big door and the window. Make the longer part of the triangle point up) The two happy new friends went inside. The tiny ghost went in the very little door, and the little witch went through her own special door. All winter long they lived happily together inside the little orange house. If you want to see inside their little orange house, just open your piece of paper and Surprise! The kids really love to see that the house is really a jack o lantern! They'll want to hear this story again and again.

~*~This wonderful book idea comes from my internet friend Dee Dee.  She is a kindergarten teacher at Polk Elementary in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  This book idea goes well with the Pumpkin Puppets Activity listed above.  Thanks for sharing your ideas Dee Dee!~*~
I make a class book with my children called Jack-O-Faces. It goes like this:

Page  1.    Here is Jacko happy
            2.    Here is Jacko sad
            3.    Here is Jacko sleepy
            4.    Here is Jacko mad.
            5.    Here is Jacko is pieces small,
            6.    But in a pie, he's best of all!

I prepare books (with copy paper, foldered and stapled) that have the text already written at the bottom of the page.  The chidren are given precut pumpkin shapes (about one a day) to glue into their books and the children then illustrate the faces.  Of course, I give them a lesson in drawing a mad, sleepy, etc. face.  On the 5 th page, the children cut up the pumpkin  and glue randomly on the page and then  and the last page, I give each child a picture of a pie to color.   The children seem to love the activity and they call all "read" the book.  I like the fact that activities like this give the children something to take home and read to mom or siblings.
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