Fall classroom lesson yields harvest one year later for Bay Village kindergartners

Cortland Miller (left) and Jonah Bendoraitis explore what happens when you open a pumpkin and fill it with soil on Pumpkin Science and Math Day last October. Photo by by Kristin Caputo

It's been an entire year since Kristin Caputo's former kindergarten students sifted through the slimy pulp inside their pumpkins to gather seeds. Before the school year ended, they planted those seeds and sprouted seedlings to take home for planting over the summer.

Here it is October again, and those now first-graders are bringing in full-grown pumpkins to show the teacher.

"I love the connection these kids made over time," said Mrs. Caputo. "That long-ago October lesson continues to foster their love of learning and exploring."

Jonah Bendoraitis spent most of the summer checking on his pumpkin planting – checking often, according to his mom, Susanne Bendoraitis. "There was lots of excitement," she said. "And some worry, too, after we went on vacation and came home to find the plant had grown outside of our deer-proof garden. There was concern that a deer might eat it."

Happily, the one lone pumpkin that grew on Jonah's plant escaped being deer food. "Jonah was so excited and proud to take in that pumpkin this year and present it to Mrs. Caputo," said Jonah's mom.

Cortland Miller got his dad to move a woodpile behind their garage to make room to plant the seedling. "The area caught the water coming off the garage, so Cort didn't need to water it much," said Lauren Miller, Cortland's mom. She said Cort checked on the plant throughout the summer and tracked the progress of his two, little pumpkins. "He insists he didn't pick them, that once they turned orange, the vine got dry and they 'picked themselves.'"

"I am so proud that, as teachers, we have the chance to be part of our students' learning journey," said Mrs. Caputo. "And I feel very fortunate that they return to my door to share their excitement with me, even after they are no longer 'mine.'"

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

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Volume 7, Issue 20, Posted 10:06 AM, 10.20.2015