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A is for Amazing Apples/ O is for Outrageous Orchards

A is for Apples. You are probably thinking I could have thought of that.  I’m sure you could have but here is what you don’t know, apples are one of those things that kids can relate to right away, because they can see, touch, taste, and feel.  There is no abstraction to overcome. Plus the alphabet starts with A and it is the perfect season to go and get apples at Orchards so timing is perfect. Trust me there are enough things to do with apples, you could do the same apple theme every year, and never repeat the same project in a 5 to 10 year span. However, I have found a few tried and true ways to incorporate the apple theme that seem the most effective.

  • Social/Emotional: For this activity I chose to work on identifying emotions, so I made apples with different emotions on and had them put their worm on the apple of how they feel each day.  Then we talk about why they feel that way at morning message.
    • Then I sing if you are ( emotion), then (action) x2 if you are (emotion) and you know it then your face will surely show it, if your are (emotion) and you know it (action).   I start with these basic emotions just because most of them they know or recognize.  I get into more difficult ones later, like discouraged, confused, lonely, and worried. (teachers pay teachers have an awesome apple emotions bingo game for $5. However, I just cut out apples or bought cut outs and drew my faces on, then glued them on the paper. Then at circle time we sang the song so that we got to see how each other were feeling. Especially at the beginning of the year this activity might help you to get to know your students better, and help them to open up to their classmates. Always make sure to demonstrate how you feel so that they can get the idea and explain why.  Sometimes I even made up a feeling for myself so that I could relate to a student and help them to open up about their particular emotion that day.  I think this goes with out explanation, but never ever force a kid to share, if they don’t want to, but keep encouraging them because one day they might just want to share.
      • Sad, cry boo hoo
      • angry, stomp your feet
      • happy, shout hurray
      • excited, jump up and down
      • worried, say oh no
      • silly, spin around
  • Art:
    •  Johnny Appleseed hats: I cut gray paper into 8″ thick strips I usually had to glue two of them together per child, to make sure it went all the way around their head.  Then I would have them glue it together and cut out a handle which was a two inch by eight inch gray rectangle.  two inches I bent and used as a handle on the side of the pan.  The kids had fun acting out the story with a sack bag i got from Walmart, that I stuffed with cotton and wrote seeds on the side.  You could also put a real pot in the dramatic play area to encourage further dramatization in that area.
    • apple prints: Cut apples in half, stick into paint (red, yellow, green) and use them like stamps.  I cut the apple two ways vertically and horizontally and see if they can find the new shape that is made (a star from the seed pockets)
    • Make apple trees- brown rectangles for stems, and green circles for the tree then use red, yellow and green stampers to create the apples, or use their fingerprints and count how many apples they put on their tree.
  • Dramatic Play: Orchard, this is a little more complicated, cut out simple trees to hang on your walls, then you buy those plastic ball pit balls, and put the loop side of the Velcro on the trees, and the hook side on the balls.  I chose to pick through the balls and only use the red, yellow, and green.  I focused on those three colors this week.  Then the dramatic play area I went to the dollar store and picked up a red, yellow, and green bin.  I then encouraged the children that we have three different kinds of apples, and I got them to use names, such as granny smith for the green, and Macintosh for the red, and golden delicious. Then I said we need to pick and then sort the apples to take them to the apple stand for selling.  I then set up a little apple stand in the corner, or if you happen to have a loft like I did one year, I turned that into our apple stand.  At the end of free play time, I would have them each help put the apples back on the trees.  They liked to mix them up, but we also talked about how in real life, mackintosh apples can only grow on mackintosh trees, not granny smith.
  • Music: 
    • One little, Two little, Three little apples, four little, five little, six little apples, seven little, eight little, nine little apples, 10 little apples in an orchard.
  • Literacy:
    • Books: I suggest Scholastic book club I find that their books are often a good mix of educational and fun, and if your students order you can earn free books for your classroom.  Now days with their option for parents to order online, many times you don’t even have to take order forms or manage money, its all done online for you.  All you have to do is check in and make sure you send the order, then pick your books based on what your classroom earned by their orders, you can even make a wish list so that parents can order books for the classroom if they want to.  Here are just a few of my favorites that I have ordered and used over the years.
      • Clifford Picking Apples and Pumpkins by: Liz Mills
      • Easy Reader: Johnny Appleseed by: Alyse Sweeney
      • Apple Countdown by: Joan Holub
      • The apple pie tree  by: Zoe Hall
      • The Biggest apple ever by: Steven Kroll
      • I spy an Apple by: Jean Marzallo (I especially like this one as a center, and to encourage those beginning readers, because the pictures you have to look for also have the words below them.)
  • Social Studies: 
    • Johnny Appleseed: We read a book about Johnny Appleseed
    • We act out Johnny apple seed, and and wear our Johnny Appleseed hats I used the ones from simplykinder.com
    • Dramatic play area: Could be an orchard
  • Math: 
    • Counting Apples- Have baskets with labels on them that they have to count apples into.  I used paper baskets that I hung on a bulletin board and they slip paper apples into the basket.  However, I found the  baskets kept slipping off the board so I had to improvise and laid it on a table for the kids to slide the apples under the laminated baskets.
    • Sorting Apples- Cut out a bunch of apples, different sizes and different colors. I did the natural colors, red, yellow, and a green. Then have the kids categorize them to work on color recognition or size recognition.  Make sure to mention words such as big, bigger, biggest, or small, smaller, smallest.  I usually preferred small, medium, and large.  I compared it to Mc Donalds Meals.  They always loved this.
    • Graphing our favorite apples- one day graph their favorite  apples based on look, the next day have them try them and graph favorite flavor.  Another idea would be graphing your favorite apple product, such as apple juice, apple cider, apple pie, apple sauce, apple fritter.  Firstgradeparade.org had a few extra great ideas.
    • Apple Puzzles (Spacial Recognition)- Simply take some cut out apples, I used my Cricut machine, It is an amazing tool, I use it for just about anything I can in my classroom.  However you can also go to Amazon.com and get a few
    • Play High HO Cherry-o: This game is easy and works on take away and adding on.
  • Science:
    • Growth diagram- Serve apples for a snack one day and as you are cutting them ask them what you might find inside. Then show them the seeds.  I cut two apples two different ways; one up and down, and one horizontally through the middle.  One showed the star and the other just the seeds.  Either way, you can now introduce seeds and what they are. Then you can talk about how apple trees grow.
    • floating experiment- have the kids test the apples is the water table. Do apples float? Do any apples float better, or worse. Do they float when you cut them.
    • Parts of the apple- Do a Diagram of the parts of the apple, the stem, the seeds, the flesh, the skin, and the leaves.
    • Apple Flower- how do apples become apples, they start out as buds, then flowers, then the small green apple that grows into the sweet juicy apple
    • Could Talk about pollination and honey bees- They could act out the pollination process by some being flowers on the trees holding pom poms in their hands.  I got little flower head bands from the $1 section at target and then I made antennas out of head band and pipe-cleaners and Styrofoam balls.  Then I had them act like bees and carry the pollen from one flower to the next and when they got a new pom pom they were supposed to rise up and open up their arms and put their head band on.  This got the concept of how flowers pollinate across.
    • A Field trip: An apple Orchard, or to the Grocery Store
      • Here is a list of a few good apple orchards I know in WI
        • Jellies Market in Farmington, WI
        • Apple Holler in Kenosha, WI (They have an awesome Johnny Appleseed show that they do, also a great over all field trip. The kids get a cookie, and apple and a pumpkin, as well as a hay ride, and of course the awesome Johnny Appleseed show.)  www.appleholler.com
        • Waldvogels in Juneau, WI
    • Science based literature to support the theme:
      • Science Vocabulary Readers: Amazing Apples by: Jeff Bauer
      • Science Sight Word Readers: Apples by: Jenne Simon
      • National Geographic: Apples for Everyone by: Jill Esbaum
      • Discovering my world: apples by: Melvin Berger

Published inA ThemesF ThemesO ThemesOctober ThemesSeptember IdeasUncategorized

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    • abbygaulke abbygaulke

      Thanks for this information I found it very useful.

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