K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • recognize high frequency sight word in text.
  • use sentence and story meaning to identify unfamiliar words in text.
  • identify rhyming words (words with similar phonemes) in text.
  • predict and explain what will happen next in a story.
  • answer what, when, where, and how questions.
  • read numerals.
  • solve problems using addition.
  • solve problems using non-standard measurement.
  • observe, infer and predict.
  • retell new information through writing and illustrations.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

90 minutes


  • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
  • Reading comprehension questions
  • Pumpkin pie recipe on large chart paper
  • Baking Materials for two pumpkin pies:
    • 2 large bowls
    • 2 large wooden spoons
    • 2 pie plates
    • 2 spatulas
    • 1 can opener
    • 1 teaspoon
    • 1/2 teaspoon
    • 1 cup
  • Food items for two pumpkin pies:
    • 2 unbaked pie shells
    • 4 cups pumpkin: 2 16-oz cans
    • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Oven available for baking
  • Paper divided into four sections. Number each section 1–4. See writing activity sheet.
  • Pencils and crayons


Activate prior knowledge of students.

  • Discuss Halloween symbols (witches, bats, vampires).
  • Show students the cover of the book. Predict what the story might be about.
  • Discuss rhyming words. Ask students to generate and give examples. Write responses on the board. Preset students to be listening for rhyming words.
  • Discuss baking experiences with students. Ask students to volunteer one thing they know about baking.


  1. Read aloud Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. At the end of each appropriate page ask students to identify the rhyming words. Encourage students to read along orally and to read the repetitive verses chorally. Ask students to predict what events will happen next after each character in the story attempts to remove the pumpkin from the vine. Ask students to predict what the witch will say at the very end of the book.
  2. Ask each student to tell what his or her favorite part of the book was. Ask students Reading comprehension questions
  3. Introduce extension activity.
    • Discuss the following key words: ingredients, recipe, spatula, etc.
    • Ask students to brainstorm what ingredients might be in pumpkin pie.
    • Show cooking utensils to students and ask them to guess the function of each.
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Read aloud Pumpkin pie recipe on large chart paper.
    • Ask students to identify high frequency sight words.
    • Ask students to read numbers.
  5. Discuss with students the concept of “doubling the recipe” or making two pies.
  6. Reread recipe and have students problem-solve how much pumpkin, milk, pie shells, etc. will be needed.
  7. Make pies with students. Provide mini-lessons on breaking eggs, using the can-opener and spatula. Ask students what cooking utensils are needed to open containers, blend, scoop etc. Read and follow the recipe to demonstrate functional reading skills and sequencing.
  8. Put pies in oven to bake for 50–55 minutes.
  9. Distribute writing activity sheet. Review how the pies were made (“First we mixed all the ingredients. Second we . . .” and so on) Ask students to write how they made the pumpkin pie using their own words. Students may also draw illustrations if time is available.


Completed written recipes

Verbal answers to comprehension questions and mathematical problem-solving questions.

Supplemental information


Be sure to take time to eat the pumpkin pies the same day they are made. Your students could make invitations to invite other teachers and administrators in your building to share in the pumpkin feast. While the students are enjoying the pie, reread the story. Send original recipe home to share with families. The pumpkin extension activity possibilities are endless!

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Foundational Skills

        • K.RFS.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). K.RFS.2.1 Recognize and produce rhyming words. K.RFS.2.2 Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. K.RFS.2.3 Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable...
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RL.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
        • Kindergarten
          • K.RL.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • Counting & Cardinality
          • K.CC.2Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
          • K.CC.5Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.04: Use preparation strategies to anticipate vocabulary of a text and to connect prior knowledge and experiences to a new text.

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: Number and Operations - The learner will read, write, and model whole numbers through 99 and compute with whole numbers.
    • Objective 1.01: Develop number sense for whole numbers through 99.
      • Connect the model, number word, and number using a variety of representations.
      • Use efficient strategies to count the number of objects in a set.
      • Read and write numbers.
      • Compare and order sets and numbers.
      • Build understanding of place value (ones, tens).
      • Estimate quantities fewer than or equal to 100.
      • Recognize equivalence in sets and numbers 1-99.
  • Goal 2: Measurement - The learner will use non-standard units of measure and tell time.
    • Objective 2.01: For given objects:
      • Select an attribute (length, capacity, mass) to measure (use non-standard units).
      • Develop strategies to estimate size.
      • Compare, using appropriate language, with respect to the attribute selected.