I love using themes to teach and this time of year, pumpkins are a great resource for teaching how to weigh, measure, estimate, count, identify distinguishing characteristics, and create art designing a Jack-o-lantern. I have taught students from birth through adults using “the real thing” as a source of language development. For many years, I worked as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. That experience, combined with teaching my own children, and public school students in Pre-K through 8th grade has shown me that best teaching practices include hands on, visual, repetition, and engaging instruction. When students are able to think about the results and come up with plans to make their ideas happen, they retain the information and better yet, they apply it in their own lives. I always had the goal of teaching and raising life long learners. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that I help people learn to think about what they are doing and apply that thinking to their personal lives. It’s not enough to memorize facts, I want students to enjoy learning, use their brains, and want to learn for themselves! There is a Pumpin News resource available for purchase that is an engaging way to use pumpkins as a theme for instruction and engaging learning. I have also had my students eat the pumpkin seeds after we soak, salt and roast them and draw their Jack-o-lantern design on the back of their page before we carve it. What is your favorite Jack-o-lantern design? Write and share it in the comments below!