Main Topic and Key Details with Pumpkin Circle Interactive Read Aloud

pumpkin circle

October might be my favorite month of the year!  I love all things fall, including pumpkins!  Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson is a great nonfiction text to use for integrating your science standards and learning about identifying main topic and retelling key details of a text.  The book takes children through the life cycle of a pumpkin.  You can use the text to teach students how to pull out those important key details.


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pumpkin circle

The lesson plans include a mini lesson, text dependent questions to ask during reading, a daily task, exit ticket, and partner discussion.  There are five days of lessons within the resource.

The questions chosen are broken up each day by key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas.  This ensures that you are focusing on a certain part of the book each day.

pumpkin circle


pumpkin circle

I print this anchor chart to fill in during the week with students as a poster.  You can laminate it and use it with other texts, as well.

pumpkin circle

I teach students to think of the main topic as the umbrella.  The key details are the rain drops that fall on the umbrella.  I have found that it helps for them to have a visual.

pumpkin circle

There are four vocabulary words that I teach explicitly following this routine on day one of the lesson.  You could also wait until day two, depending on your students' needs.

pumpkin circle

To begin the unit, I have students complete this KWL chart in their journals.  We have just practiced creating questions, so I have them write what they want to know in the form of questions.  Afterwards, they share these with a partner.  After reading the whole text, students fill in their new learning and share with their partner.


pumpkin circle

On day two, we work on retelling key details focusing on the life cycle of a pumpkin.  I give them the different parts to place in order in a circle around the larger pumpkin.  They have to label each of the pictures using key details from the text.  They then retell the life cycle to a partner.


pumpkin circle

On day three, we focus on the parts of the pumpkins, again focusing on key details.  After completing this label a pumpkin craft, I have them describe the function of at least one of the parts of the pumpkin using key details from the text and share with a partner.

pumpkin circle

By day four, they are ready to identify the main topic.  They usually have no problem with main topic, but sometimes it is difficult to pull out the key details that support the main topic.  I like to provide lots of support here at this point in the year.   I have given them sentence starters on the three details, which will also help guide their writing for the culminating task.

pumpkin circle

The culminating task that they are building up to during the week is an informational writing piece.  We share the pen since this is still a fairly new skill for them.  I printed the writing paper as a poster and we fill it in together.  Of course, I taught them the different components of this type of writing beforehand.  They had their own papers on clipboards that they filled out at the same time.  They came up and filled in the missing parts.  There is also blank writing paper included if you have students who do not need that extra support.

We also took a comprehension assessment on day five over the story.  I used that and the writing piece for grades.


pumpkin circle

I always do a mentor sentence with my interactive read aloud.  I have a large sentence and the students get the words to cut and paste in their journals.  We read the sentence and they look for parts they notice.  They color the different parts of the sentence, and add an illustration at the bottom.  It's a really quick way to review language skills while incorporating your text.

pumpkin circle

Since so many are distance learning right now, I have created a digital version using Google Slides TM.  It's included in the October set or you can purchase it separately.  These are very similar to the PowerPoint lessons I use in my classroom, but you can assign slides to your remote learners to complete the independent tasks each day.  Just create another copy for each day of the week and delete the slides you don't want students to have.  You can display the slides from the original copy during your live or recorded lessons.  It will keep you on track and ensure you cover all components of the lesson.  Here are a few of the slides included!  There are five days of lessons that include an agenda, learning target, success criteria, learning video and posters, vocabulary cards with tasks, read aloud, daily questions, daily tasks, exit ticket, wrap up, and self assessments for each of the five days!  These are a lifesaver!

pumpkin circle

pumpkin circle

pumpkin circle

pumpkin circle

pumpkin circle

pumpkin circle

pumpkin circle

What is your favorite part about October?!  I hope you love pumpkins as much as I do!  If you do, click on any of the images to check out this engaging resource!  

Teach main idea and retell of key details with Pumpkin Circle.  Lesson plans, questions, daily tasks, mentor sentence, vocabulary, anchor charts, and more are included with this Interactive Read Aloud Resource.

Teach main idea and retell of key details with Pumpkin Circle.  Lesson plans, questions, daily tasks, mentor sentence, vocabulary, anchor charts, and more are included with this Interactive Read Aloud Resource.

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