I love creating seasonal centers and activities for festive and fun learning since young students are very motivated by seasonal and holiday materials.
I was in need of a fun way to assess my students’ letter and letter sound knowledge and since my students’ were very excited about visiting the pumpkin patch later in the month I decided to make a letter match in the pumpkin patch activity.
Students loved hunting and picking the pumpkins in the colorful pumpkin patch and I loved how easily I could assess them and differentiate their practice.
Practice or Assess Letter Recognition & Listening Skills (Print & Digital Versions)
The first set of pumpkin patch mats have individual letter mats for each letter of the alphabet both with QR codes and without.
I use the mats without QR codes during our small group time. I tell students that it is time to pick the pumpkins from the pumpkin patch but they each have a special job to only pick certain pumpkins that are ready to be harvested from the patch.
Then I assign each student a letter and have them “pick” pumpkins by marking them with bingo dabbers (dot painters), dry erase markers, bingo chips, counters, crayons, etc.
My students’ favorite is the bingo dabbers, but if you wish to save ink and paper you can place the mats in page protectors and use dry erase markers and re-use. Students can use one color for uppercase letters and another color for lowercase letters.
Another option is to say words that begin with that letter and tell students to only pick pumpkins that have the correct beginning sound.
QR Codes – I use the letter mats with QR codes in our listening center and for fun around the room (SCOOT) activities. Students scan the QR codes (which they love!), listen to the audio directions which tell them which pumpkins to pick, and then “pick” the correct pumpkins.
Technology Integration with Seesaw
More recently I have been using the letter mats in the free app Seesaw. Students LOVE using the iPads and I love how quickly and easily I can send students the letter mats for which they need practice. Not to mention it’s paperless and ink-saving!
Prior to sending students the mats, I add audio directions using the recording tool.
I then send the appropriate letter mats to students. Students listen to the audio directions and complete the mats using the drawing tool. They can use one color to circle or pick the pumpkins OR they can use one color for uppercase letters and a different color for lowercase letters.
Practice or Assess Letter Sounds / Beginning Sounds (Print & Digital Versions)
The next set of pumpkin patch mats can be used for letter review. They are separated into letters A-M and N-Z (1 uppercase and 1 lowercase mat for each). I use these several different ways.
During small group time I orally say a letter or point to a letter on our alphabet line and students mark the correct pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.
I also use these mats in conjunction with pumpkin picture cards. I show a pumpkin picture card and students mark the pumpkin with the picture’s beginning sound.
This can also be set up as a student-centered activity where the student chooses a pumpkin picture card and then marks the pumpkin on the mat with the picture’s beginning sound. Students can mark or “pick” pumpkins with bingo dabbers (dot painters), dry erase markers, bingo chips, counters, crayons, etc.
The third set practices letter sounds (beginning sounds). It contains an individual letter sound match in the pumpkin patch mat for each letter of the alphabet (26 in all).
The pumpkins have pictures on them and students must “pick” the pumpkins with pictures beginning with the featured letter. Students “pick” pumpkins by marking them with bingo dabbers (dot painters), dry erase markers, bingo chips, counters, crayons, etc.
Students enjoy picking the pumpkins, especially when they get to use the bingo dabbers or dry erase markers! The mats can be placed in page protectors or laminated and used over and over again with the dry erase markers, bingo chips, counters.
Technology Integration with Seesaw
I use the letter sound mats in much the same way as I use the letter mats in Seesaw.
First I add the JPEG file and then record audio directions.
I then send the appropriate mats to students so they can practice the letter sounds with which they need the most practice or review.
Students listen to the audio directions.
Then they use the drawing tool to circle or “pick” the correct pumpkins from the pumpkin patch (the pumpkins that have pictures which begin with the featured letter).
Use these letter match pumpkin patch mats and JPEG files in your classroom by downloading the set here.
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