I LOVE doing pumpkin projects. I do believe it has to do with the fact that my grandparents grew pumpkins for years and I spent my early childhood in the Pumpkin Hut during pumpkin season. I don't remember much of harvest time, being so young I was mostly entertained and kept out of the way. I do remember kitties, community, LOTS of pumpkins and AWESOME decorations on the farm. Most of the city I grew up in bought their pumpkins at the Novak Pumpkin Patch. In fact, people still stop by from time to time and knock on my Grandma's door asking about the pumpkin patch. Being so far from family, pumpkins always make me feel close to them - so I try and do pumpkin projects with all my grade levels. (A plus with doing pumpkins and NOT Halloween is that ALL students can participate!)
I was trying to figure out a project for my 5th graders that would be engaging and more than just drawing a pumpkin. Then BAM it hit me. We will do a colorful background, then draw a pumpkin from a zoomed-in, unique angle on a piece of transparency!!! PERFECT!
Off I went designing a lesson and guiding my students. So, first we started with the background. I didn't tell them what they were going to be used for because I didn't want them to try and plan an orange pumpkin section. I wanted them to be free and full of color. I really wanted to use tempra paint, but my order wasn't in yet - so we used oil pastels, chalk pastels, and water color.
I had the students divide their paper with different types of lines using oil pastel. Then they colored in sections of their paper with chalk pastel. Last, but not least, students used either plain water or water color and 'painted' over their chalk. Students that used watercolor over their chalk had beautiful BOLD, BRIGHT colors. Students that used plain water were still beautiful, but less bright.
After their background was done we talked about using view finders (two "L" shaped papers to make a frame that is adjustable). I had about six pictures of pumpkins from different angles - I had students use their view finders to find a unique composition on one of the pumpkins. Now, I realize that using REAL pumpkins would have been better - but pumpkins are expensive and I would have needed at least 8 - wasn't in the budget. Any how, so students drew their compositions on a piece of printer paper. I showed them how to draw as simple line drawing - looking on their pumpkin and where it starts in the frames, find that spot on the paper, then crawl along the line like an ant and draw as you go. I told them their eyes should be always moving - it will look weird to start. I showed them to occasionally stop and make sure they are in the right spot on their paper as they are in their frame. Next, add the stem - I tried to stress to draw what they see NOT what they know. Many students came to me with beautiful drawings and these really odd stems in strange places. Quite often these students would look at me and say, "I don't like it. It looks weird." I would take them to their picture and show them that their brain knows the stem is at the top of the pumpkin but in your picture the stem actually is in the middle of your pumpkin and just the tip of the stem pokes out off the top. Most of the kids you could hear the light bulb go on and they totally understood, a few still had trouble seeing instead of 'knowing'.
When students were happy with their pencil drawing I handed them a clear transparency and a sharpie. Students traced their work - dark lines are thick and light lines are thin. Some students chose to add simple lines in the background to help their pumpkin stand out.