Pumpkins and
Spiders Unit
Shared Reading:
The Big Toe by June Mesler and
Joy Cowley
Focus Poetry:
"Bones" by Ferne
Journal Topics:
*Draw a pumpkin growing on a vine.
*Draw a jack o' lantern.
*Draw something bigger than a pumpkin.
*Draw a haunted house..... what would be inside it?
*Draw a spider.
Center Ideas:
fine motor: perforate a spider outline and a pumpkin shape,  scribble art bat

writing: "Spiders can ....."

art: pumpkin or jack o'lantern mosaic

reading: reading chains (We borrowed this idea from Mrs. Scott who teaches 1st
grade)- students make black and orange paper chains, writing a known word or letter on
each link.  Then they read them to a peer.  They LOVED this..... most kept working on
these during their spare time!
In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting

Inside a House That is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierra
*After reading these books, we discuss what was in the houses. We make a list,
labeling each thing as "fact" or "fantasy".  Then each child receives a black house
cut-out.  He/she illustrates the house using white chalk, toothpicks, cotton, etc.
making it "haunted".  After illustrating, each child completes/attaches a "In a haunted
house, I can see..." page.

In a Dark, Dark Wood illustrations by Christine Ross  
*The first time we read this story in the dark, using a flashlight to illuminate each
word.  It quickly becomes a favorite, especially using the flashlight in the reading
center.  We create a class book
In a Dark, Dark School ( each table illustrates a page
"In a dark, dark school, hallway, classroom, closet, box, etc. there was a .......").

Dem Bones by Bob Barner

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
We use the clothing from the book to recreate the tale.  Children work together to
create a scarecrow, labeling the clothing with text from the book:
"a shirt that went
shake, shake," "pants that went wiggle, wiggle," etc.

Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell

Rotten Ralph's Halloween Howl by Jack Gantos
*Students create their own Rotten Ralph masks and act out the rotten things he did in
the story.  Then they complete/illustrate the sentence starter:
I think Ralph was most
rotten when he ....

Shake Dem Halloween Bones by W. Nikola-Lisa

The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
*We created a list of "Pumpkin Investigations":
1. How many creases does the pumpkin have?
2. How much does the pumpkin weigh?
3. How many seeds does it have?
4  Will the pumpkin float or sink?
5. What is inside the pumpkin?
6  Are pumpkins mostly full or mostly empty?
We do lots of estimation charts- one for each question.  Then we investigate to find
the true answer.  Gail Gibbons' book is a great source of information.
We finally open the pumpkin to see what's inside.  Then we pass around the pumpkin
to let each student grab a handful of strings and seeds.  Seeds are sorted from strings.
On a pumpkin-shaped chart, we write words describing pumpkins; external
descriptors are written outside the pumpkin outline, internal descriptors are written
inside the outline.  Each student is given a pumpkin booklet, made of 2 orange die-cut
pumpkin shapes.
On the front is a label:
(Name) knows pumpkins outside...
On the inside is a label: and inside.
Students write/copy descriptive words on the outside and inside of their booklets.
They can add seeds and orange/yellow yarn on the inside, too.

The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll

On Halloween Night by Ferida Wolff and Dolores Kozielski

Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
*Students sequence 8 picture cards (seeds, sprout, leaves, vines, small green
pumkin, large orange pumpkin, pumpkin cut from vine, jack o'lanter/pupmkin pie) on a
sentence strip.  We also
sing "In My Garden".

Seven Little Monsters by Maurice Sendak

Spiders are Animals: Concept Science by Judith Holloway
Mighty Spiders by Fay Robinson
*Students create their own construction paper spiders; using 2 body parts, 8 legs,
pairs of eyes (usually 8), etc.  Then students will complete the sentence starter:
Spiders have....  and attach it to their spiders.

Clifford's First Halloween by Norman Bridwell

The Trouble With Mom by Babette Cole

Dare You Go Into the Forest (Golden Books)

The Skeleton Inside You by Phillip Balestino
*Students can create a Q-tip skeleton on black paper.

Bat Child's Haunted House by Mercer Mayer

Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan and Jan Berenstain

My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures,  
Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things
by Judith Viorst

Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
*Complete a "book talk" on this story, charting Puzzles / Patterns.

Halloween by Gail Gibbons

The Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey

One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer

Boris and the Monsters by Elain MacMann Willoughby

The Pumpkin Man by Judith Moffatt

Alice Nizzy Nazzy by Tony Johnson

Knock, Knock (This is one of those teacher-made books..... we're not sure who the
original author is)
*This is the text of the book:
Knock, knock.
Sounds like more
trick-or-treaters at my door.
I open the door and what do I see?

page 1: One frightful Frankenstein
page 2: Two messy mummies
page 3: Three black bats
page 4: Four scary spiders
page 5: Five giggling ghosts
We brainstorm what other "trick-or-treaters" might come to the door. Students
complete their own "Knock, Knock" book, illustrating one "trick-or-treater" on page
one, two on page two, etc..
*We sort and graph Harvest Candy (2 different kinds of candy corn and candy pumpkins).
*We estimated then counted the number of creases on our pumpkins.
*We weighed our class pumpkin after recording everyone's estimates.
*We sort seeds from strings after scooping everything out of our class pumpkin.  Everyone
makes "piles of 10" so we can count (by 10's) how many seeds were in the pumpkin.
*We use Halloween confetti (the plastic kind) to create patterns on felt.  Handling the
confetti is great for those pincer-grip muscles.
Science/Social Studies:
*We predicted whether or not our pumpkin would float.  Then we tested it in our
classroom sink.  A lively discussion ensued!
*We completed the
AIMS "Spinning Ghosts" project.  Each student predicted which ghost
(ghost with paper clip; ghost without paper clip; ghost with arms folded forward; ghost
with 1 arm to the front, 1 arm to the back, and a paper clip) would spin.  Then we created
our ghosts (using blackline masters), stood on our chairs, and dropped them!  We glued
our ghosts to the prediction chart so we could see everyone's thinking.  Of course, this
was after we performed the experiment several times..... for "accurate" results.
*Each child planted 6 pumpkins seeds in a baggie with dirt and water.  They sprout
quickly and the children are always amazed at how the bag "create their own rain" to
keep the soil moist.
Along Came a Spider                 
Spiders Home Page
Farmer Ken's Fun and Games    
Pumpkin Nook
Pumpkin Potpourri                    
Pumpkin Unit
Another Pumpkin Unit               
Pumpkin Patch                         
Wotch Fun Page
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Poem         
October Links
Debbie's Unit Factory October Links      
Kindergarten Is Just Batty