This past week we started one of my all time favorite units that I teach. It’s funny because each year that I teach, this unit gets longer and longer. It’s okay because the kids seems to love it more and more!
When I was a kid, we used to go apple picking every fall. I can still remember the crunchy leaves, the warm apple cider that we would drink, the Oshkosh overalls that we would wear, and the pigtails my mom would put in my hair. I think it’s one of my favorite memories. (besides picking our own Christmas trees!! — that story will come in December!)
I was telling my class this year my memories about apple picking and how when I taught kindergarten I would take my classes apple picking and casually asked them, ‘has anyone ever been apple picking?’
No one! Not one of my firsties has EVER been apple picking.
You can only imagine what this did to my New England heart. *twang!!*
So, I asked them, ‘wait, do any of you know HOW to correctly pick an apple??’
I immediately proceeded to teach them the apple picking dance. (Please tell me some of you know it!!)
It goes like this:
twist and twist and twist and twist and twist and twist and pull!
(really complicated, right?)
I explained to my class that if you PULL off an apple from a tree and break the branch, an apple will NEVER be able to grow their again.
They were devastated by this revelation. So, we practiced our apple dance and then settled in to read one of our new (from Scholastic) apple books.
This book went a little over their heads but they loved it none the less. It really helped us learn the life cycle of an apple and a lot of really cool facts.
Let me slow down and tell you a little bit about the progression of our week.
In our curriculum this week we were introducing adjectives. SCORE. I love when things fall into place.
On Monday I brought in some homemade cinnamon play dough that my kids LOVED. ((this class LOVES play dough))
We passed it around, smelling it and talking about words that we could use to describe it. We used our five senses and discussed good adjectives.
Then we got to use it to create our spelling words. (this made for a happy class and very happy teacher because of the wonderful fall smell that encompassed my classroom… someone call Scentsy I discovered a scent that will sell like hotcakes!!)
If you would like to make this wonderful play dough I found the recipe here:
Each morning when the kids came in, two were given the task to match our apple sight words. (This activity can be found on Cara Carroll’s blog “The first grade parade.” **it’s free!!**)
In guided reading, we worked through these Scholastic books!
For Math Bins this week we stayed in our apple theme and worked on “picking apples.” I placed apple number cards into a tall mason jar and my firsties had to reach in and pick out four different numbers and put them in order from smallest to biggest.
((we will definitely need to keep practicing this skill!!))
We also used apples as a non standard measuring tool. My students really liked when they were able to
measure their friend!
We created apple patterns and then recorded them.
I tried to pair a language extension activity to our science themes this week. On Tuesday we were learning about the importance of honey bees to the life cycle of apples. We had a little help from the Magic School bus book, “In a Beehive” and then we taste tested honey and filled in a bubble map to record our observations about honey.
Later on that day we also watched the 22 minute Magic School bus video about bees.
Wednesday we continued our learning about honey bees and discussed more in depth the apple blossoms and how they develop into apples! We created apple blossoms this day to help solidify this fact.
I drew flowers for my kiddos on white construction paper and had them cut them out carefully.
Then I gave my kids petals that I had pre cut and taught them how to twist the ends to make them look like petals. ((fine motor skill practice!!))
We then glued them to our white flower.
Some of my artistic firsties even wanted to add the stigma and the anther! (WOO!!)
Apple Blossoms on our apple trees!
On Thursday we taste tested apple cider and created another bubble map.
Friday was science day (which is my students favorite day of the week.) We went all out and had a few different stations for the kids to complete. They had to:
1. Measure apples with unifix cubes:
2. Weigh them with our blocks:
3. Determine if apples sink or float
I told my kids that they had to be super secretive at the sink and float station and not give away their findings. We even put up “barriers” so no one could peak!! They loved finding out the secret!! ((I’m wondering if they will be able to transfer this knowledge to pumpkins next month!!!))
and of course, 4. Taste test red, yellow and green apples.
Each student was given an apple book where they would record all their findings.
For handwriting we have been working on NEAT handwriting and on how we can copy information. For handwriting on Friday we copied the Apple Star poem and then (after a mini lesson on cutting items into halves) created apple prints! We used these two things to decorate our apple orchard in the hallway!!
Phew! We had fun!! I hope that you can use some of these activities as well!! Next week we graph our favorite apples and begin learning about Johnny Appleseed!!