Apple Week and a bunch of Freebies!

27 September 2014

Hey there.  Thank goodness it is the weekend because I am all but wiped out.  We've had all kinds of apple fun this week in first grade and I'm excited to share some of our fun!

We started with a K-W-L chart.  We did the "Know" and "Wonder" portions on the first day and added sticky notes to the "Learned" section throughout the week as we discovered new things about apples.

We had an apple taste test to see if we liked red, green, or yellow apples best.

I gave everyone a little blank apple to color to represent their favorite variety.

We glued those up on our graph.  It was very exciting watching those apples rise up to the top.  There was chanting throughout the room "Red. Red. Red."

In the end red indeed won!  This was our first experience collecting and graphing data and we had a great discussion about how this represented our preferences.

The students graphed the results on their own smaller graphs and answered a few questions about most and least.  You can grab this for free right here!

We then began investigating apples.  We chopped apples in half and observed and labeled the different parts of an apple.  This labeling page is from my All About Apples packet, here.

We continued our investigations by weighing apples, measuring the height and circumference of apples, and of course, answering that age old question...Will an apple sink or float?  My kids were quite surprised (and excited) with the result!

We made estimates and recorded our findings on this paper I threw together at 10:30 last can grab it for free here!

I tried to fit apples into our regular curriculum for the week just about everywhere I could.  Any downtime we had was filled with fiction read alouds about apples and adding to our K-W-L chart.  Based on their new-found enthusiasm for apples, my students had a great week and I'm so pleased with any semblance of effective instruction.  Yay, I'm not a failure!

The golden (delicious) climax of the entire week was when we made applesauce.  I was so impressed that every single one of my students remembered to bring in an apple to contribute.

I took this as an opportunity to make my room smell great introduce the concept of "how-to" text.  We read and discussed the various steps with this anchor chart.

Next, I set my students to work on their own little sequencing activity.  This is available for free here! (Tired of free stuff, yet?)

While they worked on that I had small groups of students come watch me peel/core/slice their apples.  They loved this.  And I loved using this incredible spiraly peeler.  Our apples were ready for saucing in no time.

We tossed them into two crock pots (I have a pretty big class) with some water, sugar, and cinnamon and set them to cooking.  I used this recipe.

Every 45 minutes or so we opened it up and I let my kids take turns mashing it up and taking in that delicious smell!

4 hours later it was all done and ready.  We served it up and it was delicious!  97% of the class thought it was amazing.  The other 3% claimed a resolved aversion to applesauce...though they were eventually enticed to at least take one bite.

We had such a fun time with all of our apple activities this week.  If you are looking for more apple activities for your class check out my latest packet, All About Apples!

And while we're in the apple department, I just thought I should let you know that this is the most incredible scent to come out of Bath and Body Works!  Honeycrisp Apple and Buttered is as sweet and delightful as it sounds!  Kept this lotion at my guided reading table and used it all week!

Have a GREAT weekend!


All About Apples!

13 September 2014
Autumn is my favorite time to be a teacher.  Things feel fresh and hopeful and crisp and exciting…and there is a plethora of festive produce to use as your theme! I love these weeks of plentiful apples and pumpkins!  We’ll hold off on the pumpkins for bit. 

Let’s talk apples.

I LOVE teaching with apples!  I've been gearing things up for some good apple-themed learning and I wanted to share a few pictures of a few new activities for this year.  Before I do that though, I just want to throw in my little cheer for thematic teaching.  Obviously there isn't anything in our curriculum about apples, but having a unifying theme helps solidify learning, makes it more memorable, and I find it is a great opportunity to practice and reinforce old skills in a new context.  Not to mention, it is FUN!  My kids experience higher levels of engagement and I get to have a good ol' time besides.  Seriously.  It isn't everyone that gets to make and eat applesauce during their work day!

Okay, here are some things we'll be doing over the next two weeks.

I plan to share a boatload of apple books and reference  (I'm still wrangling up a few more) so we can learn about apple facts and a bit of apple fiction.

(This page is available in my All About Apples pack)

We'll do a pocket chart sort to decide if we are hearing facts or opinions.

I'm going to have my students keep track of facts and opinions on this recording sheet.

I have a couple of apple-themed centers that we will be doing this week.  At this center students will choose and read an apple sight word, build it with magnetic letters on a cookie sheet, and then write it on their recording sheet.  I hope this activity will keep those Kindergarten sight words fresh in my first graders' brains!

At this next center my students will pick an empty apple basket with a three-addend addition equation.  They will need to use cubes or counters to solve and record the problem.  I'm hoping this will be an effective and fun way to introduce my students to triple addends!

We will also make sure there is time to learn about Johnny Appleseed.  My students will go on a little fact hunt around the classroom to learn about him!

In addition to these activities we are looking forward to having an apple taste-test, making applesauce, and incorporating apples into just about everything that we can!  These activities (and more!) are included in my newest packet, All About Apples.  It will be on sale until the 16th!  

Here are a few more slides from that packet!

Again, this packet will be on sale until the 16th.  Click here or on the picture below to get one!  Have a great night!


9/11 Activities

11 September 2014

I wanted to make today special for my students.  I have very poignant memories of September 11 and I felt it important to help my students understand everyday heroes, patriotism, and unity.  Yesterday I told them that today would be a very special day, Patriot Day.  They came to school wearing red, white, and blue, and I loved seeing their patriotic awareness increase over the day!  Allow me to share a picture or two.

We began the morning by reading and discussing September 12th.

A teacher at my school let me borrow this book and I love it so much.  Rather than dwelling on the heavy realities and details of the day, it conveys a sense of hope in the aftermath of tragedy.  And my students loved that it was written by a class of first graders.

Next up, we learned about our National Symbols and completed the following chart together by looking through a variety of non-fiction books and brainstorming reasons for the assigned symbolism.

Fast finishers were able to work on some of the cute pages from this awesome freebie by Seusstastic.

My students loved discussing the heroes that they know from their own sweet little and so is a policeman, my neighbor down the street is a fireman, my grandpa used to be a soldier, etc.  I loved listening to their little conversations and the pride they expressed.

Mid-day we had a patriotic little snack...because, why not? :)

To wrap up the day we created our little American flags and wrote about our feelings about our great country.

The day was filled with patriotic music and smiles.  I'm so grateful to live in a country of freedom and hope for a better future.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great night!
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