I love the language boost I witness when I bring small, unusual-looking gourds into my therapy sessions this time of year. No matter how old they are, the students’ curiosity gets the best of them and they can’t help but be engaged. So what do I do? I milk it for all it’s worth to address vocabulary, describing, and comparing and contrasting.
Our sessions usually start with someone asking one of these questions…”Are they real?” or “What are those?” Yes, they are real, and they are all gourds. Once on this path, we discuss that pumpkins are gourds. I have them use their knowledge about pumpkins to figure out how gourds grow (on vines), whether they are a fruit or vegetable (fruit), and their characteristic parts (a hard rind, seeds, and pulp).
Describing, Comparing, and Contrasting
I then focus on describing and/or comparing and contrasting. To do this, the students describe one gourd with as many adjectives as possible while I write down their responses. I provide reminders for them to include words that describe its shape, size, color, texture, etc. We do this again with a different gourd. To take this to the next level, comparing and contrasting, we look at both lists and find which adjectives fit both gourds and fill those in the center area of a Venn diagram. The other adjectives go in the outside areas of the Venn diagram. If time allows, I pick different gourds and have the students fill in a diagram on their own.
“Guessing Gourds” Game
“Guessing Gourds” is another fun describing activity you can do. Start by assigning numbers to the gourds. Then have a student describe one of the gourds, while the other students try to guess which gourd it is.
More Fall Ideas and Materials
I hope you find these ideas helpful. There are many other fall ideas and materials on our website. To see them all, open the search menu on the home page and type in “fall” as the keyword. Members can also access and print a Venn diagram from here.
Please share your comments with all of us. We’d love to hear your fall ideas or feedback on these activities.