Apples are a popular topic for the early education classroom. They are one of the world’s perfect foods for teaching so I thought it might be helpful to share six easy ways to help you plan an awesome apple unit of learning. All of these ideas are tied to the Common Core State Standards for multiple grade levels. Choose one or all from the A-P-P-L-E-S projects below.
Art — There are a ton of apple art activities for students. Many can be found on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. I found my activity in Follow the Directions Art Activities by Teresa Cornell and Amy Weaver. This book has directions (with picture clues for words like cut and glue) that you can copy and use. It has some great projects, but I loved this Apple Mobile and how easy it was for me to put together.
Poetry — We create poetry journals in my classroom. By the end of the year they are a great reminder of all the topics we learned about. We start the year with poems from Perfect Poems for Teaching Sight Words by Deborah Ellermeyer and Judith Rowell. We eventually move on to poems that the students have to illustrate themselves. This transition typically happens around the time we learn about apples. This year, I used the poem Apple Addition by Pamela Chanko and it was a great way to integrate math into our reading instruction.
I also use the Scholastic Let's Find Out Teacher Guide, which I receive with our class subscription to Let’s Find Out The ideas and activities that are included really help with creating a fun-filled week of learning. Additionally, there are CCSS objectives, which I find really convenience.
Products — I absolutely love seeing the kids when the class objective is to figure out how many products are made from apples. We did a taste test of all the apple products that we have in our classroom and the students vote on their favorite. By doing this later in the week, the class has acquired some background knowledge of apples and the students are able to discuss the different products. These conversations are both amazing and hilarious as they compare their favorites.
One of the points that I always make sure to share with my students while we are collecting our data is that there are no “winners” or “losers” because it’s what they like. (Many students haven’t heard the word opinion yet so this is another great word to introduce.)
Linking subjects — I’ve already talked about integrating math with our poems, but there are lots of other opportunities for integrating subjects. One example is when we read the Apples A to Z, we didn’t just focus on the text’s awesome science vocabulary. These vocabulary terms are a great chance to work in some phonemic awareness activities. We clapped the number of syllables in vocabulary words and we also talked about the different beginning sounds for each of the vocabulary words.
Exploring — This is my favorite activity of our apple unit. We explore the differences in apples. The word variety is huge during our apple week. It’s the introduction to a word that the kids will hear all year. We do a taste test of all the varieties that we can find. This year we had five different kinds. On Friday all of the students were able to pick an apple from our apple basket for a snack. Instead of asking for an apple, they were asking for their favorite variety. It’s a wonderful teacher moment and it happens every year.
Stars — I love the story The Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside. It’s an excellent way to give students a visual to help them remember story details. You can then take a cut apple and create an art station by using the apple halves as stamps with different color paint.
I can’t wait to see you next week.