Week of November 30, 2015
This week was full of various “harvest” activities focusing on pumpkins and sweet potatoes. At Morning Meeting we learned two new songs, “Ring Around the Pumpkin” and “In My Garden.” In “Ring Around the Pumpkin” (which follows the tune of “Ring Around the Rosie,) we moved in different ways (running, jumping, tip-toeing, etc.) around the “pumpkin.” We acted out various steps of growing pumpkins in the song “In My Garden” and even tried out two different “pumpkin” yoga poses.
The children shared their ideas of what they know about pumpkins (you can make soup, pie, and jack-o-lanterns) before reading Pumpkins by Ken Robbins. Other books we read this week included Harvest by Kris Waldherr, Plant to Seed by Bonnie Christensen, and Red Are the Apples by Marc Harshen and Cheryl Ryan.
On Tuesday, we made Pumpkin Soup. Some children helped pick out the seeds and scoop out the “guts” before I cut it up. They all enjoyed taking turns adding ingredients and were eager to see what would happen. They weren’t so eager to try it when they saw the mushy orange-ish/brown-ish pumpkin pieces after it had cooked on the stove. Watching it grind up in the blender was exciting, but only two friends were brave enough to try it. It was better than our vegetable soup, but it did need a little more seasoning. We’ll keep trying!
On Friday, we made Sweet Potato Bread which was a big hit. Again, the children enjoyed mashing up the sweet potatoes and mixing together all the ingredients. We were greeted to a lovely smell when we came inside from outdoor play. It was hard to let the bread cool, but it was worth the wait. The bread was such a hit that we’re going to make it again this week.
A few children chose to draw the pumpkin I brought it for our pumpkin soup and a few others participated in an activity that was intended to be a measuring activity but morphed into something else. As a group, we measured the length and height of the pumpkin using unifix cubes and color cubes. When given the opportunity to measure a pumpkin I had drawn and copied on paper, the children chose instead to color the pumpkins (in quite an array of colors!) and then cut them out. It was a motivating activity of their own invention that spread throughout the group and throughout the classroom. And without realizing it, they had a fun way to practice their cutting skills.
Play in the Pretend Play area this week was enhanced by the addition of a few pie crust boxes, a can of pumpkin, a bottle of vanilla, a table cloth, and a few cookbooks. I’m not sure if you know this, but your children are quite good at setting a lovely table! They donned aprons, handed out menus (cookbooks), perused the pictures and recipes, took orders in notebooks, cooked up and ate delicious meals, and even “cleaned” up afterwards.
In Music Class we’ve been singing a song called “Chop, Chop, Chippity Chop” about cutting up vegetables and putting them in the pot to make soup. We’ve been singing that song in the classroom as well and decided to make our own pots of vegetable soup out of construction paper. After cutting strips of colored construction paper and glueing it in their black pots, they “wrote” a list of the ingredients in their soup. These pots of soup and recipes will soon be displayed in the classroom.
We will continue to think about harvest foods and holiday food traditions this week. We’ll bake more Sweet Potato Bread and at least one other recipe this week. If you have a special holiday food tradition that you’d like to share with the group, please let me know and we’ll figure out how to make it happen in these next two weeks.