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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Life as a Pumpkin

Writing from the point of view of a personified object is a wonderful exercise in creativity and voice.  My students had a great time becoming pumpkin seeds in my class one day.  We then talked about how their lives would turn out.  How would it feel to be be planted?  Under-watered?  Over-watered?  What would it be like to see the sun again as they sprouted?  Would it be fun to be a flower?  And of course, what would their pumpkin life be like?  (And END like?!)

I did this across my schools, from grades 1-6, modifying the assignment depending on the level of the class.  Enjoy these stories of pumpkin life!

Pumpkin: The Autobiography
By Kevin (4th grade)
     I started my life in a bag with my family. Wow, that was a bit squished.  One day I heard I was being “bought”. Was that bad or good? I had no idea. I decided to wait and find out.

     After a while in something called a “car,” someone opened our bag, and sunshine flooded my eyes. A little boy called Michael picked me up, and using his hands, dug a small hole, put me in, and covered me up with soil. Suddenly, the sunlight was gone but on the bright side, I was surrounded by soft, warm soil.

      Then I got watered for the first time! I drank and drank and drank some more! When I finally drank enough, I tried to strike up a conversation with my brother next to me in the dirt. He said he wanted to be a jack-o-lantern, whatever that was. Since there was nothing else to do, I settled down and went to sleep.

     When I woke up, I was in sunshine for some reason. I looked down, and suddenly realized that I was poking above the ground by just a tiny bit, and I had tiny little arms and legs! Later that day I got watered again and then fell asleep.

     After waking up again, I was a nice large vine as big as a small cat. I was so happy with how fast I was growing that I fell asleep without even noticing I was sleepy! When I awoke, I realized I was a flower! What was this? A trick? I was super annoyed. I’m no girl by the way, so you can imagine how mad I was. I fell asleep feeling very frustrated.

      After a couple of days and getting watered again I finally turned into a pumpkin, even though I was green. I decided to think about what I wanted to do with my life that day. I decided I wanted to be a pumpkin pie because I heard from my brother that everybody loved them and wanted to meet them or something. I also heard they were really sweet, but I didn’t know if that meant being eaten or fun to be with. I didn’t even know how he knew all of this.

     The next day I saw somebody mixing something called “fertilizer” with water, and they gave it to me! Were they trying to poison me? What was this? I cautiously took a tiny sip. It tasted really good! I tasted so good I slurped it all up in almost ten seconds. I drifted off to sleep contentedly.

     That night I had my first and last prediction dream. I dreamt that I had been carved, and my innards had been taken out so the other part of me could be made into pumpkin pie. Michael (the little boy who planted me) put me in an oven and did all of that stuff to make me into pie! It was weird to feel that the seed part of me was in a different place than the other part of me was. Then they put the pie part of me on their table and I thought I was meeting someone really famous because everybody was really excited.  However, when someone took out a knife and cut me (ow!) I suddenly realized they weren’t meeting me! They were eating me! Right then my dream ended.

     Was I the oracle? Was this true? I wanted to find out more! I guessed I would have to find out. Then I looked down, and realized I was orange! Yes!  So that “fertilizer” was good for me after all. That’s when I heard the screaming. At one moment, at least twenty different first-graders came running out of the house carrying knives! Were they going to kill my family and me? We had all just turned into pumpkins! Please no! They charged my family and me. This was an embarrassing way to die. Then I heard the yelling. At least a dozen parents ran out of the house yelling at the kids to drop their knives and get away from us this time. Our saviors!

     The parents then separated the children into small groups, with one parent in each group. Suddenly I was grabbed from behind and hoisted into the air to be inspected by a bunch of first-graders. I was shocked to find that I was staring into a knife. Okay, maybe first-graders weren’t that bad after all. After doing a staring contest (I lost) they cut me off my vine and carried me away into Michael’s house. I was gradually starting to feel my life slipping away from me bit by bit. Little did I know that the real torture was up next.

      First they took part of my head off and scooped my innards out. Then they put part of me in a burning hot oven to bake me. If I was being made into a pumpkin pie, it hurt! Afterwards, they scraped me out of myself (weird right?) and poured me in a thing called a “crust”. Then they put me in the oven again to harden me up. They were killing me! Well, at least I was going to be eaten instead of being wasted.

      The guests are here now. I feel sorry for that turkey. Well now it’s my turn. I’m being carried to their table right now. At least my dream is sort of coming true. Hey, they’re spraying whipped cream on me right now! Wait! Are those my seeds? Are they using my seeds for more pumpkins? At least my family will go on generation after generation. Wait! Oh no! Part of me is getting separated with a knife! I’m on a fork! They’re eating me... Goodbye..........
                           The end
                              (of my happy/sad life)

My Pumpkin Life, by Jerry (3rd grade)

     I don't really remember anything of the beginning of my life except that I was born on a black thing called a road.  Cars came zipping by and once a car almost crashed into me, but instead it crashed into another car.  A black and white car with blue and red lights came.  I think it was called a polike or police  The road was also really spiky; it hurt.

     Well, that time of my life was frightening.  But then, a big wind carried me to a place called a pumpkin patch.  At first, I was scared and then I realized how much the farmers cared about us.  They put us in rich cool soil.  It was dark and I was a little scared, but I heard the farmer say to some little people that a pumpkin's life always begins in the dark cool soil.  Then the farmer poured water into the soil.  Yummy!

     After a day, I woke up still in the soil.  I thought I would never grow into a pumpkin!  After one hour, I got used to the dark, and I saw my brother.  I wanted to say hi, but I just couldn't seem to say anything.  

     Days passed, and I was growing a stem.  I guess I was wrong after all.  It just took a long time for me to grow up!

     Later, I became a flower, and I was confused.  I thought I was a pumpkin seed, not a giant flower seed!

     A few days later, I changed into an ugly watermelon with bumps.  I heard the farmer tell a new group of kids that my life cycle is seed-vine-flower-green pumpkin-yellow pumpkin-big orange pumpkin.  I was thrilled when I heard that!

     Later, I became a yellow pumpkin, and I was so excited.  It was so hard to wait.  One hour was like one century!

     After a long time, I became a round orange pumpkin!  I saw them pick out my brother and they did something really mean to him.  They turned him into pie with a really hot machine!

     I was scared when they picked me and they did something weird.  They drew a scary, cute face on me.  It tickled!  Then they did something that was painful.  They used a sharp thing to cute the face they had drawn on me! Boy, it hurt, but then they cut the top of my head!  Then, it felt warm and cozy and I lit up.  Maybe I'm a pumpkin with a face!

     Later that night, all kinds of monsters came and played, and some of them actually played with me!  It was fun, and I hope next year will be just like this year!

With my younger classes, I changed my approach slightly.  I broke down the four main parts of their story and had them write 3-5 sentences on each section of their life.  We focused on adjectives, and how we would feel in every stage.  The students also drew a picture of themselves at every stage.  (That's why you'll find hair on these pumpkin seeds!)  I think these two turned out great!

This first excellent story is by Joel, 2nd grade:

I was at the seed store.  I was tiny and alone.  One day, Mrs. Dorsey went to the seed store.  She bought a seed, which was me.  I was so excited!  She put me in the dirt.  I felt sad because it was dark.

When I started to grow, I started growing into a flower.  I looked big, smart, and cute.  I was a very long vine.

After I was a flower, I opened my eyes.  I never knew I was growing.  Then I felt round, big, and smart.  I was yellow!

After I became a pumpkin, I started to turn orange!  I felt so big that I thought I was bigger than the house.  Then Mrs. Dorsey carved me!  When she was carving me, I felt funny.

This final story is by one of my youngest students, 1st grader Sammie.  I was so impressed by the 1st graders in my class.  For many of them, this was the first story/book they had ever written.  This was a big project for them, and they did a fabulous job!

      I was a seed in a bag.  I wanted to get picked to be planted.  Samantha planted me!  I felt very scared but my Mommy was with me!
      I became a vine.  I felt bigger and stronger!  I saw the sky.  I felt happy.

I became a pumpkin.  I was green and big.  I wanted to be bigger and yellow!  Finally I was orange.

After Halloween I was baked into pumpkin pie.  I was so yummy!  But I didn't want to get eaten.

What would YOUR life be like if YOU were a pumpkin??

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