Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book of the Week: The Pumpkin Patch

In my speech room, we've been continuing the fall theme with pumpkin activities.  This week's book is “The Pumpkin Patch (Robin Hill School) ” written by Margaret McNamara.  This is a Level 1 Ready-to-Read book.  I love using Level 1 and Level 2 books in therapy!  Typically in these books, there’s just enough language without making it too complicated – great for kids with auditory and listening comprehension difficulties! 

On to “The Pumpkin Patch!”  The book tells the story of Mrs. Connor’s first grade class and their field trip to the pumpkin patch.  The main character is a girl named Katie who has a goal of finding the “perfect pumpkin.”  When the students get back to the bus, they all have different types of pumpkins –  big, tall, round, and very, very small (Katie’s pumpkin).  When she discovers that her pumpkin is so very small, she decides that is must not be “perfect.”  When she got home, her dad showed her that it was perfect for making a pumpkin pie. 

When I introduce the book to my students, I tell them that the story is about a trip to a pumpkin patch and I ask if any of them has ever been to a pumpkin patch.  Then I show them pictures that I had taken on a field trip several years ago.   Fortunately for me, my field trip experience was remarkably similar to the one in the book J  It never ceases to amaze me, but when I use “real” pictures, they are the highlight of my sessions!   I cannot believe the amount of language they induce!  ("I went on a tractor that was red!" "I picked a big pumpkin from the pumpkin patch" "I never got to go on a bus like that before!"). 

At this point, I read the story and ask comprehension questions (How did Katie’s class get to the pumpkin patch?  Did Katie find the biggest pumpkin in the patch?, etc.).   We discuss the different types of pumpkins that Katie and her classmates picked.  Then I bring out my pumpkin patch:

I found different images of pumpkins on Google images and printed them out.  I (very hurriedly) put together this sad little pumpkin patch (2 sheets of large brown construction paper taped together, grass and vines drawn to create rows).  Then I attached my pumpkins to the patch with Velcro.  I had the students then describe each pumpkin in the patch.  We then worked on receptive comprehension and/or expressive use of descriptions.  Each student took a turn to (1) pick a pumpkin based on my description of it, or (2) pick a pumpkin and describe it to me. 

Vocabulary I got from the lesson:  pumpkin, pumpkin patch, vine, stem, tractor, tall, short, round, oval, angry, sad, happy, silly, bumpy, sparkly, shiny, stripes, polka-dots, light, heavy, etc.  I don't have the Expanding Expression Tool, but I'm thinking the pumpkins might work well with it!

You can grab a copy of the pumpkins I used here.  Let me know what you think! :)

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