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Circle Time Presentation

Show them the cover of APPLES AND PUMPKINS and discuss that this is a book about a farm, the Comstock farm, and a little girl who went with her family to the farm and helped with the harvest. ReadAPPLES AND PUMPKINS, and at the end ask how the little girl helped with the harvest. Let the children tell about farms they have visited, or if they live on farms, have them talk about the crops theyharvest. Since the book is a short one, read it a second time, then dismiss the children from the circle by letting them tell which they like to eat, apple pie or pumpkin pie.


For Art: Sponge Painting With Fall Colors

What the children will learn-
To use a printing technique to show trees with fall colors

Materials you will need-

  • Red, orange, yellow and green tempera paints
  • scissors
  • sponges
  • margarine tubs and lids
  • construction paper or manilla paper

What to do-

  1. Cut the sponges into small pieces, about two inches.
  2. Pour each color paint into its own margarine tub.
  3. Place the lid to the margarine tub beside each tub of paint and place the piece of sponge on the lid.
  4. Using scraps of paper, let the children experiment with the sponge printing.
  5. Look again at the illustrations in APPLES AND PUMPKINS, calling particular attention to the scenes where the family is driving through the mountains and we can see the fall foliage on thehills.
  6. Ask the children to draw a fall scene and to decorate it with their sponge paints.

Something to think about-
Encourage the younger children to experiment with overlapping the sponge prints. The older children will think of a variety of ways to use the fallsponge painting, to look like leaves on a tree beside a house, leaves which have fallen onto the ground or fall foliage seen from a distance.


For Cooking And Snack Time: Little Pumpkin Pies

What the children will learn-
To roll pie crust

Materials you will need-

  • Pie crust dough, premixed or made from scratch
  • rolling pin
  • flour
  • waxed paper
  • biscuit cutter
  • muffin tins
  • shortening or vegetable oil
  • canned pumpkin pie filling
  • mixing bowl
  • large serving spoon
  • toaster oven
  • cookie sheet
  • glasses
  • milk

What to do-

  1. Demonstrate how to roll the pie crust dough by placing a sheet of waxed paper on the table, lightly flour it and roll flat with the rolling pin.
  2. Let the children roll the dough and each cut one circle with the biscuit cutter.
  3. Turn a muffin tin over with the bottom up and lightly grease with shortening or brush with vegetable oil.
  4. Show the children how to shape their circle of crust over the individual bottoms of the muffin tins.
  5. Place in a hot oven, 400 degrees, and brown. It only takes two or three minutes.
  6. Let the tiny pie crusts cool and remove from the muffin tins.
  7. Precook the pumpkin pie filling so that it has already thickened. Pour into a mixing bowl.
  8. Using a large serving spoon, let the children fill their pie crusts.
  9. Place the little pumpkin pies on a cookie sheet. Pop them back into the oven or microwave just long enough to warm the filling.
  10. Serve at snack time with cold milk.

Something to think about-
As an alternative, if you do not have cooking facilities, bake the pie crusts at home and let children fill them with butterscotch pudding the nextday.


For Music And Movement: "Old McComstock Had A Farm"

What the children will learn-
To sing about the animals they saw on the Comstock farm

Materials you will need-

  • None needed

What to do-

  1. Look through the illustrations of APPLES AND PUMPKINS and find all the animals on Mr. Comstock's farm. There's a cow, hen, baby chicks, rooster, geese and a turkey.
  2. Sing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" but change the farmer's name. Since this was the Comstock farm sing, "Old McComstock Had a Farm."
  3. Sing about the animals in the order in which they appear in the book.
  4. End the song with,

    Old McComstock had some apples
    With a crunch crunch here and a
    crunch crunch there.
    Here a'crunch, there a'crunch, every-
    where a crunch, crunch.
    Old McComstock had some apples.
    Yum, yum- yum, yum, yum
    (Raines, 1991).

Something to think about-
Write the words to the song on a large chart tablet or posterboard for the class's Big Book of Music.


For Science And Nature: Visit A Pumpkin Patch

What the children will learn-
To observe how pumpkins grow on vines

Materials you will need-

  • Parent volunteers
  • field trip permission forms
  • transportation

What to do-

  1. Make the arrangements ahead of time with the farm manager.
  2. Train the parent volunteers to help the children have a good experience. Talk about the observations you would like the children to make.
  3. Assign no more than two children per adult.
  4. When visiting the farm, select a pumpkin to bring back to the classroom for carving.

Something to think about-
If you do not have a pumpkin farm near you or a gardener who grows pumpkins, visit a nursery which sells pumpkins at Halloween.


For Science And Nature: What's Inside A Pumpkin?

What the children will learn-
To label the parts of the pumpkin

Materials you will need-

  • Pumpkin
  • large carving knife
  • smaller paring knives
  • large mixing bowl
  • smaller mixing bowls

What to do-

  1. Place the pumpkin on the science and nature display table.
  2. Encourage the children to try and lift it to see how heavy it is, but keep it over the table.
  3. Touch it and feel how cool it is, how smooth the skin is and how bumpy it is in places.
  4. Cut a large circle around the stem and remove the stem.
  5. Let the children examine the cap closely, touching the rough end of the stem, the sticky side of the inside of the pumpkin.
  6. Lift the seeds and membranes out of the center of the pumpkin and place in the large mixing bowl. Let the children touch the seeds and separate them from the membranes, placing the seeds insmaller mixing bowls.
  7. Either carve the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern or cut large wedges from the pumpkin for the children to look at more closely.
  8. Let the children cut off small slivers of pumpkin with the paring knife and taste the raw pumpkin.

Something to think about-
This experience is planned as a science activity for the children to learn about pumpkins, but you can also use the pumpkin meat and seeds forcooking as well. Take the meat from the center of the pumpkin and boil it until it is soft, add pumpkin pie seasonings and use for the fillings in the pumpkin pies served for snack. You can alsotoast the pumpkin seeds. Wash them, then place on a cookie sheet in a hot oven to toast.

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