Sedalia English Language Learners focus on pumpkins as a learning project


By Hope Lecchi - [email protected]



Simon Gladusch, left, and Edgar Waldo work together to empty a can of pumpkin into a plastic bag as part of their ELL class Thursday afternoon at Sedalia Middle School.


First grade English Language Learner teacher Karmen Butler scrapes the pumpkin out of a can while her student Simon Gladusch holds a zip lock bag. Butler’s students have spent the past month studying pumpkins and as a fun treat they had the opportunity to make pumpkin pie in a bag. After following the directions to make the filling and the crust, the students got to sample their cooking skills.


Mark Slivinskiy holds a can opener and looks on while his classmates work on crushing graham crackers for their no-bake pumpkin-pie-in-a-bag pie crust. The students have been using pumpkin seeds to learn about plants, writing and sequencing skills as part of Karmen Butler’s ELL class.


By Hope Lecchi

[email protected]

Simon Gladusch, left, and Edgar Waldo work together to empty a can of pumpkin into a plastic bag as part of their ELL class Thursday afternoon at Sedalia Middle School.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_tsd103015ellpumpkins31.jpgSimon Gladusch, left, and Edgar Waldo work together to empty a can of pumpkin into a plastic bag as part of their ELL class Thursday afternoon at Sedalia Middle School.

First grade English Language Learner teacher Karmen Butler scrapes the pumpkin out of a can while her student Simon Gladusch holds a zip lock bag. Butler’s students have spent the past month studying pumpkins and as a fun treat they had the opportunity to make pumpkin pie in a bag. After following the directions to make the filling and the crust, the students got to sample their cooking skills.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_tsd103015ellpumpkins11.jpgFirst grade English Language Learner teacher Karmen Butler scrapes the pumpkin out of a can while her student Simon Gladusch holds a zip lock bag. Butler’s students have spent the past month studying pumpkins and as a fun treat they had the opportunity to make pumpkin pie in a bag. After following the directions to make the filling and the crust, the students got to sample their cooking skills.

Mark Slivinskiy holds a can opener and looks on while his classmates work on crushing graham crackers for their no-bake pumpkin-pie-in-a-bag pie crust. The students have been using pumpkin seeds to learn about plants, writing and sequencing skills as part of Karmen Butler’s ELL class.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_tsd103015ellpumpkin21.jpgMark Slivinskiy holds a can opener and looks on while his classmates work on crushing graham crackers for their no-bake pumpkin-pie-in-a-bag pie crust. The students have been using pumpkin seeds to learn about plants, writing and sequencing skills as part of Karmen Butler’s ELL class.

A seed can hold so much potential. One thing about a seed though is that it is never known what is inside until it is planted and nurtured.

The same can be said for a child’s imagination; it has to be cultivated and grown.

For the students in Karmen Butler’s English Language Learner (ELL) class, the past month has been filled with unlocking the potential within their minds by using a pumpkin seed.

“Each month this year we have a different theme,” Butler said. “Last month and this month we concentrated on science, next month it will be social studies so we can tie in some fun activities for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving brings the students back to pumpkin seeds. They learned about the parts of a seed and plants and the life cycle of a pumpkin.

“We cut a pumpkin and looked inside and studied how everything looked both inside and out,” Butler said. “One of their assignments was to use their five senses and the use of adjectives to describe the pumpkin.”

“I thought it was really sticky and gooey and gross,” first-grader Mark Slivinskiy said. “It’s really gross so when I’m at home my mom does it.”

The four boys who were in Butler’s class Thursday afternoon may have thought the inside of a pumpkin was gross until they tried their hand at making a pumpkin pie.

“We work with the students to get them to understand the importance of following directions, and also how to use sequencing words like first and next and last,” Butler said. “I found a recipe called ‘Pumpkin Pie in a Bag’

“It doesn’t require any baking and so I thought it would be a fun activity for them to try,” she added. “We did the activity in my classes earlier in the week but because I have so many students, they actually couldn’t do many of the steps; I had to show them how it would be done, but today the boys are going to do it on their own.”

Butler carefully watched as the students measured the ingredients and followed the directions to make their own miniature pumpkin pies.

They had to tell her what they were doing each step of the way while she wrote their steps down on a large poster board for the students to see.

“We try to do fun, creative content and learning activities with the students each Friday,” Butler said. “By teaching them with hands-on activities or ones where they watch something happen, they tend to remember things better and retain more.”

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

Sedalia Democrat

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

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