Big Pumpkin

As a kindergarten teacher, I always loved reading the story, Big Pumpkin by Erika Silverman.

Maybe it was the singsong, predictable prose.
Well she pulled and she tugged and she pulled.
First she pulled hard and then she pulled harder.
But that pumpkin just sat.

Maybe it was how each character acknowledged their defeat.
“Drat!” said the witch.
“Drat!” said the ghost.
“Drat!” said the vampire.
“Drat!” said the mummy.

Maybe it was how each character perceived their abilities.
“I am bigger than you and stronger too,” boasted the ghost. “Let me try.”
“I am bigger than both of you and stronger too,” boasted the vampire. “Let me try.”
“I am bigger than all of you and stronger too,” boasted the mummy. “Let me try.”
“I may not be big, and I may not be strong,” said the bat. “But I have an idea.”

Maybe it was how the witch, the ghost, the vampire and the mummy responded to the bat’s idea.
“Hmph!” said the witch.
“Hmph!” said the ghost.
“Hmph!” said the vampire.
“Hmph!” said the mummy.

Maybe it was just that when they worked together they were able to pull the pumpkin off the vine.
The bat pulled the mummy, the mummy pulled the vampire, the vampire pulled the ghost,
The ghost pulled the witch, and the witch pulled the pumpkin.
Well, they pulled and they tugged and they pulled.
First they pulled hard and then they pulled harder.
And… Snap! Off came the pumpkin!

This year as I read the story, it became clear that it exemplifies teacher collaboration.
The pumpkin represents our students.

Just like the witch we nurture and cultivate our kids. We watch them grow and develop.
The witch, the ghost, the vampire, the mummy and the bat symbolize our colleagues?
Just like you and the teachers at your grade level, they all wanted the same results.
They all had the same goal. They all had a plan. They all worked very hard.
However, it was not until they worked together, that they achieved their goal.
At my school I have noticed we meet, we talk, we look at data.

We play nice, but are we really collaborating and working toward a common goal?
My challenge is how to create that culture of collaboration, that trust where we feel safe to share.
How do I become the bat or instill those values into grade level teams?
Do you and your colleagues have the same goals for your students?
Do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

Do you work together to solve problems and help each other reach your goals?
Are you the witch, the ghost, the mummy, the vampire or the bat?



Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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