Pumpkins in October are a common site, but usually they are the grinning and sneering type that wait on front porches for Halloween night. But this fall students at Gobles Elementary School turned pumpkins into well-known characters from stories they are reading in class, thanks to a generous donation from Harvest Moon Farm.
When kindergarten teacher Suzie Stambek found out about the donation of pumpkins, she invited her colleagues to get their creative juices going for an October celebration of reading and literacy. The result, pumpkins decorated as characters from stories read in class that line school display cases.
"As teachers the fall can be such a busy time," Stambek said. "We're all so busy analyzing data, giving assessments, and creating interventions, that it can be easy to forget about the creativity and fun of teaching, and our kids need that, too. The pumpkins were a way to celebrate reading in the fall, instead of just during March (reading month). Reading and the fun of learning should be part of what we celebrate all year."
During the Halloween festival held at school, magician Alan Kazam told students that working with bullies doesn't take magic, but rather that all kids need to treat everyone well, and to always talk to an adult if problems come up with a bully at school or on the bus. During his show he made bunnies magically appear in the hand of one student, and he made a drawing seemingly come to life and talk, but it was all a fun way to talk to students about how they act and how they should treat others.
"Magicians never give away their secrets," he told his enthusiastic audience. "But when it comes to bullies we never keep secrets. We always tell an adult who can help you or others fix the situation."
It's all part of the magic of autumn in our elementary school in Gobles.