In a normal year, Landmark Academy at Reunion kindergartners would take a trip to Anderson Farms, a local pumpkin patch, to pick out their favorite pumpkins and tie up their pumpkin unit. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the chances of taking the annual field trip looked gloomy until teachers decided to bring the patch to their students.
The idea was brought to life with the help of a Landmark parent and her church, who generously donated enough pumpkins for each kindergartner to bring home two pumpkins.
“When we realized that we couldn't go to the pumpkin patch this year, we knew we had to do something fun to culminate our pumpkin unit,” said Karsten Dommermuth, kindergarten teacher at Landmark. “When a family and their church generously donated over 100 pumpkins, we decided to bring the pumpkin patch to the kids! We spread the pumpkins out on the field, and each student got to take one home. The kids were so surprised and excited to have a pumpkin patch experience at school.”
In-person students were able to visit the school’s field to pick out their pumpkins, and virtual students had the option to select their pumpkins from a wagon at the front of the school. The fall-inspired event coincided with what they learned in their pumpkin unit, which included activities in writing, science, and math.
For the science part of the unit, students investigated the inside of a pumpkin and learned about the different parts and how it grows. They also wrote a book as a class about the pumpkin patch to work on their writing skills, and they practiced math by counting seeds.
Students came to the pumpkin patch dressed in costumes, but not for Halloween. The school held a Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day for kindergarten through fifth-grade students on the same day, which allowed students to pick their favorite character from a book, bring the book to school, dress up like the character, and talk about the character.
“Walking through the building and seeing all the kids’ and teachers’ smiling faces as they were dressed up as their favorite book character was definitely a highlight of the day,” said Jenna Reeves, dean of intervention at Landmark. “Kids were excited to share about the book they read and their character. It was a day that was full of excitement for reading, smiles, and joy. It was a day we will remember.”
The special dress-up day was the idea of one of Landmark’s first-grade teachers for making reading and learning fun for students. Each class had a project that went along with the event as well, including things like book studies.
“During these challenging times, our kids have had different opportunities taken away from them,” said Reeves. “While we had never done a Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day or brought the Pumpkin Patch to school before, we wanted to provide our students with this experience because now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate and have fun while learning.”