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In the Pumpkin
(Dans la Citrouille)



  • Foreign Language


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Fall’s harvest is a great time for teaching the foreign language words for vegetables.


Students increase their foreign language vocabulary.


foreign language, French, harvest, pumpkin, soup, thanksgiving, Halloween

Materials Needed

  • vegetables (you might ask students/parents to supply them)
  • paring knife(s), vegetable peeler(s)
  • bowls and spoons (for eating soup; students might bring these from home)

The Lesson

Note: This lesson is taught in French, but it can be adapted easily for teaching other foreign languages. If the school does not have a kitchen facility, you can cook the soup at home and bring it in the next day.

During harvest season or close to Thanksgiving, I teach students the French vocabulary words for a variety of vegetables. I bring in the vegetables. For several days before making the soup, I hold up each vegetable, clearly state its name in French, and have students repeat the words.

On the day of the soup-making activity, I let the students clean out a pumpkin. I make sure the hole in the top of the pumpkin is large enough to enable it to serve as a soup tureen. I have students chop up previously washed vegetables. As they cut them up they are always referring to them by their French names. As students cut the vegetables, they sing the song below to the tune of "Frere Jacques."

Pommes de te - erre, des oign - o - ons,
(Potatoes, some onions,)
Des tomates, des carottes:
(Some tomatoes, some carrots:)
Mets - les dans la sou - oupe, Mets - les dans la soupe
(Put them in the soup, Put them in the soup,)
Dans la citrouille, la citrouille.
(In the pumpkin, the pumpkin.)

Piments ve - erts, du persi - il,
(Green peppers, some parsley,)
Des courgettes, des navets:
(Some squash, some turnips:)
Mets - les dans la sou - oupe, Mets - les dans la soupe
Dans la citrouille, la citrouille.

Celeri - i, brocoli - i,
(Celery, broccoli,)
L'epinard, sel et poivre:
(Spinach, salt and pepper:)
Mets - les dans la sou - oupe, Mets - les dans la soupe
Dans la citrouille, la citrouille.

Boil a pot of water and add the vegetables and desired seasonings. When the soup is done, pour it into the pumpkin tureen and serve hot for lunch. Students can sing the song again as they serve and eat the soup.

The beauty of this song is that you can insert whatever vegetables/herbs the students bring in for the soup with a reasonable amount of success. Students quickly learn the names of all the vegetables they have used. They also get to eat a nutritious lunch!

We had great fun with this activity. The kids were singing the song to their siblings at home who weren't taking French yet and I'd hear the little ones singing it at school when they saw me in the halls.


The success of the lesson can be determined primarily by student comments, and a quick oral or paper-quiz check to see if they have learned the French words for a variety of vegetables.

Submitted By

Barbara McLaren, Ontario, Canada

Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World

Originally published 11/03/2005
Last updated 08/25/2009