During an autumn themed unit it only seems appropriate to include some apple activities. This week we continued our discussion of trees and leaves, but I also introduced some really fun apple themed activities.
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Sensory Bin – Sensory bins are always one of the students’ favorite activities. This week I removed the acorns, pumpkins, and pine cones from the previous weeks and added numerous silk and laminated leaves. During this sensory play, I found students not only scooping and pouring the fall colored rice, but also matching leaf shapes and colors. And, it wasn’t long before a student held up a handful of silk leaves and dropped them back into the bin, watching the leaves twirl in the air as they fell, much the same way real leaves flutter in the air.
Mini Apple Pies – Students made mini apples pies. I rearranged our traditional schedule and the pies baked while the students did phonics activities, so the pies were done by snack time. I used shortcake dough, instead of pie crust. This allowed students to knead the dough (which was egg free and an excellent fine motor activity) and try to roll their piece into a circle. Students then placed the ingredients on top of their circle and pulled up the edges to crimp them, making a pocket with apple pie goodness inside.
Apple Collages – Students made apple collages using scrapes of fabric in apple-like colors. I glued yarn to the back of each apple to make a loop for hanging.
Autumn/Apple Themed Books
This week we read the following books:
The Apple Pie Tree (Book) – This is a wonderful book that in a story-like manner teaches children the changes that an apple tree makes throughout the year. We read this book before making our own mini apple pies.
Parts of an Apple – Students were able to investigate parts of an apple. I sliced an apple in half and students learned about an apple’s skin, stem, leaves, flesh, core, and seeds.
Types of Apples – I showed the students a four varieties of apples (red delicious, yellow delicious, granny smith, and gala) and asked which apples they’d like to try. This started a great discussion about what kids like about apples and how different types of apples have different tastes, no matter the color or variety, all apples have similarities, like seeds, core, flesh, skin, etc.
Phonemic Awareness: Syllable Segmentation – This week we reversed our syllable skill practice. Instead of making a word out of the syllables given students learned how to divide a word into syllables by clapping. After a bit of practice, students then counted the number of syllables in a set of words. At this point, the students cannot count the number of syllables in their heads, so our dialogue went like this:Me: Listen to the word “tiger.” Let’s clap and count the parts (syllables).
Students clapped the syllables in tiger, while I head up a finger for each syllable. Then, the students counted the number of finger I was holding up. Then, I modeled the syllables in each word by holding up my fingers instead of clapping.
Phonics: Letter Tt – Students learned to identify the letter Tt and it’s sound. I printed and laminated several color photos beginning with the /t/ sound. Examples: train, tractor, table, teacher, turtle, tiger, and traffic light. Students practiced saying each picture name, emphasizing the /t/ sound. Students practiced identifying if a word began with the /t/ sound or with another sound.
This week students reviewed previous letters by playing the game Bang, introduced during week five.
One to One Correspondence: Apple Drop Counting – Students practiced one to one correspondence with this Apple Drop Counting Game.
This is an excellent activity for preschoolers to practice one to one correspondence, but also a great activity for elementary students to learn about composing numbers, since each time the buttons are dropped the amount the fall on the tree is different.
One to One Correspondence: Apple Seed Counting Game -I made some fun apples using felt and a glue gun. Students were given a plate of dried black beans and a card with a number between 0 and 10 on it. Students added “seeds” to their apple mats according to the number on their card.
Addition and Subtraction: Five Red Apples Song – A participating mom made the cutest apple finger puppets to go along with the song Five Red Apples. Here is a Youtube clip of the song if you are unfamiliar with it. I tweaked the original version by using student names in place of Farmer Brown. After the students practiced with me a few times, I then asked each students to draw a card with apple stickers on it. The number of apples varied from 1 to 3 and determined the amount of apples that the student then plucked from the tree’s branches. This turned a counting song into an addition and subtraction activity. Students had to figure out how many apples were left on the tree, and finally how many needed to be added back to the tree to get to five again.
This week all our writing activities or fine motor practice were combined with activities in other academic areas. For example, gathering and holding the buttons for the apple counting game requires fine motor skills, as well as making a pinching motion to pick up black beans for the seed counting activity.
Another activity that encouraged fine motor development is using clothes pins to tong and transfer pom poms. students were encouraged to use only their thumbs and forefinger, however most of the students had to practice a few times by fisting the clothes pin, then adjusting to using the tips of all fingers and the thumb, and finally most students were able to tong the pom poms correctly.
Coming Next Week
- Word segmentation
- Letter Nn
- A Study of Seeds
- Hibernation Activities
- Patterns and Puzzles