Cava's teacher assigned her class the project of decorating a pumpkin to look like a storybook character. They have to read a book, decorate a pumpkin to look like a character from that book, write a report on that character, and present both the pumpkin and the report to the class. For anyone who's ever read our blog knows, none of this is an easy task for Cava.
First, he had to pick a book. His choice is one of my favorites from childhood: Adventures of Little Bear written by Else Holmelund Minarik and beautifully illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
Because Cava still struggles with his reading, particularly in the area of retention, we read the book together, taking turns reading each chapter, and then discussing the chapter after we'd read it. Of course, he would still have difficulty with having to "Describe the character (Interior and exterior traits). "What does that mean?" he asked me and I attempted to explain in a way he would understand. I wonder how many third graders could describe the interior and exterior traits of a character from a book? How many adults can?
We went to a nearby pumpkin patch so that Cava could pick out the perfect pumpkin to become Little Bear. He found one that he thought might be it and handed the pumpkin to me so I could carry it while we walked the rows and rows of pumpkins to make sure this pumpkin was the one. It wasn't. But after going through all the rows, he remembered one on the first row that he liked better so we had to go back and find it, which, we luckily did.
Back at home, I washed the pumpkin off and, once it had dried, Cava started to paint his pumpkin with brown acrylic paint.
After he applied the first coat, we let the paint dry before adding the second. It took about 3 coats for the pumpkin to be our bear brown that we wanted. Then I sketched out the nose and snout, as well as the ears, so that Cava could cut them and glue them onto the pumpkin. When he was done, this was his finished product.
He was really proud of his work.
Here are the questions he had to answer about the book with his responses:
1. Describe the character (Interior and Exterior character traits).
Little Bear is curious. He likes to play with his friends. He enjoys pretending to go to the moon, that a log is a boat, and that there are mermaids in the lake. He loves his mother and father. He is sad when Father Bear is away fishing. He wants to be a great fisherman like his father.
2. Why is the character important to the story?
Little Bear is important to the story because he is the main character. All of the stories are about him and how he acts with his family and friends.
3. Does the character remind you of yourself or another character from a different story?
Little Bear reminds me of myself. He is like me because he has trouble going to sleep. He loves his mother and father. He gets hiccups like me. We both like to pretend, play with our friends, and celebrate our birthdays.
4. Do you like the character? Why or why not?
I like Little Bear because he is funny. He is playful. He is nice to his friends. He loves his parents.