Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pumpkin Fun! Informational Writing!

When I saw that I was teaching Informational writing in October I thought that it would be fun to learn all about pumpkins and then write informational paragraphs about what we learned.  I figured we would do an art project with it too, we need something new in the hall and since this will be pumpkins it can stay up all month!

This week we are focusing on the fact that a informational paragraphs have topic sentences that state the main idea an that they have supporting details that tell more about the main idea and are written in the writers own words.

We did this activity to start off.  I put up two different paragraphs cut apart into sentences.  I mixed them up and had the students determine which sentence was the main idea or topic sentence.  We then made sure that all of the supporting details actually supported our main idea and also made sure that we put the supporting details in a good order. 

This is what it looked like when we got finished:

After this activity I had the students get out their whiteboards and write the sentence, Halloween is fun.  I told them that this was their topic sentence and that they needed to write at least 3 supporting detail sentences.

At different times over the course of the week we also did this same activity with the following sentences:

It is October.
It is almost Winter.
It is Fall.

The students have done a really good job with their paragraphs so far!

After learning about the topic sentence and supporting details of a paragraph I put up 5 pumpkins with categories on them.  We reviewed sequencing a little bit and I asked my students to think about what order they would put these 5 things in if they were going to write all about pumpkins.  We came up with this order:

Student Then glued those 5 categories onto the five tabs o their flip booklet in the same order.  One of my girls asked if she could "draw a setting around her pumpkin".  I let the kids decorate their flip books  little bit and they had a lot of fun.  Some of them turned out really cute! 

These booklets (each student has their own) are where I had the students keep track of all the different information that we were learning about pumpkins this week.  As we learned information we decided which category to put it under.  This way when the students were ready to write their informational paragraphs they already had their information organized and easy to access.    

We also wrote question that we have about pumpkins and put them under the corresponding categories so that we could make sure to answer the questions that the students had throughout the week. 

I found this video via Pinterest that we watched to learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin (how it grows).  I had the students just watch the video the first time.  I played it twice more after that and let the students write notes in their flip book about how a pumpkin grows.  Since their is no voice in the video, I read the words to my students as we watched.  


In addition to this video we read some books to get some information on pumpkins.  Here is a look at the books we read, I loved them all and they all had great information.  I just got them from the public library.

You can't learn about pumpkins without actually bringing a pumpkin in, especially when they are so easy to get a hold of this time of the year.

We learned some things from the books about what pumpkins are like on the inside and outside, but there is nothing like the real thing. 

Here is the pumpkin I brought in:

Students got to feel the outside and record adjectives for the outside in their flip books.  Then came the fun part!  While the kids where at recess (luckily  am not n duty this week) I cut the top open.  When they got back.  I pulled the top off under the document camera so they all cold see.  Each table group got a plate of pulp and seeds so they could feel it and describe it.

After the pulp was thrown away and the seeds were saved so that we can bake them and describe what they taste like, it was baby wipes for everyone!  They then wrote adjectives for the pulp and seeds in their flip books under the section "What is the inside like?" 

We made an anchor chart with all the adjectives we came up with about the outside and inside of our pumpkin.  They came up with some pretty good ones!  I reminded the students that using these words in their writing will give the reader a better mental picture of what they are talking about, it will also make their writing more interesting.

We learned some interesting facts about pumpkins.  I found information on the following websites 

I put the information into a book using the app Scribble Press on my i-pad.  I read the book to them and they loved it! 

At the end, after we have learned all about pumpkins and written our paragraphs about them, we will do a pumpkin art project.  The writing together with the are will go in the hall!

Here is a picture of the art project:

To do this The students will draw their pumpkin and their grass on a white piece of paper.  They will then use watered down Elmer's glue and spread it over their pumpkin and grass and then stick squares of tissue paper on it until it is covered.  It is o.k. if their tissue paper goes over the line of where they drew because they will be able to see through the tissue paper to cut.  When the glue has dried and the tissue paper is on they can cut out their pumpkin and grass.  They will then use double sided tape to attach the grass and pumpkin to the black paper.  A little more Elmer's glue for the eyes and a sharpie for the mouth.  We are about to have some really great writing and some really cute pumpkins in the hallway!

Happy Pumpkin Season!


  1. Awesome ideas! I have never seen that youtube video before... it's great!

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