Pumpkin, Pumpkin Extension Activity

At the end of September I blogged about the song Pumpkin, Pumpkin.  This song is great on so many levels.  It's got the mixer dance that I blogged about that I love to use as an opening activity for lessons as it gets the kids interacting with each other and building community.  (This works well for grades 1-3!).  It uses the pentatonic scale so it's accessible to read melodically for my third graders, who are always practicing reading pentatonic songs (as we prepare other rhythmic and melodic elements).  AND it uses the rhythm that I first present in third grade: tika-tika.  

Just to review, here's the song:



Here's a new activity that I tried this year with my 3rd graders and it was very successful.   At the Dollar Tree I found foam pumpkins.  On each pumpkin I wrote one phrase of the song and I made 9 sets (this allows the students to work in groups of 2-3).  I scattered the pumpkins all over the floor:
  

Their directions were to get into sets of 2-3 and sit along the perimeter of the room (classroom teachers love, reinforcing that math vocabulary, you know!).  Once everyone was seated, they were told that they had to gather pumpkins to create the solfa and rhythm for Pumpkin Pumpkin.  They were given one important rule: their group may only have four pumpkins in their possession at a time.  And I modeled this; for instance if Sally has 4 pumpkins how many pumpkins can John and Michael have?  Zero.  If Sally has 2 pumpkins and Michael has pumpkins, how many pumpkins can John have?  Zero.  If Sally has one pumpkin and Michael have one pumpkin, how many pumpkins can John have?  Two.)  I explained that if the four pumpkins they gather did not create the song, they would need to put the pumpkin(s) they don't need back into the "pumpkin patch" and get a different pumpkin.

Here's a couple pictures of the end result:


 I'm really happy with it for a few reasons:
  1. it got them working in small groups (2-3)
  2. it got them up and moving.  Let's face it, as Halloween gets closer, the candy-anticipation gets high and these kids need to get up and move!
  3. It challenged their problem solving skills.
  4. it was a great assessment, not only for rhythm (they were reading the song in small groups) but also for assessing the pentatone (the 2nd and 4th cards are the same rhythm, but not the same solfa)
We're off to a "Trunk or Treat" this afternoon, have a GREAT Pre-Halloween weekend everyone! :)


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