28 September 2013

Apples Aplenty & A Meaningful Christmas

Did y’all hear me say Christmas?  I’m sure you’re thinking, “Is she for real?  CHRISTMAS?  It’s not even OCTOBER yet!!”  But bear with me.  Y’all might remember reading THIS POST last year.  I’m telling y’all all about this now so that y’all can get a move on it and start planning.  My precious friend Brittney introduced me to our favorite Christmas tradition back when my boys were really itty and now I want to share it with YOU!

A Meaningful Christmas is a simple, child centered devotional for families to use as they countdown to Christmas.  Honestly…it’s our FAVORITE tradition. It all starts with a “swapping party” and any tradition that starts with a party is a winner in my book ;)  No, really…the best part about it is that it brings the focus of Christmas back to the reason we celebrate in the first place…our sweet Lord & Savior.  You can check out our swapping party HERE to see what we did.


I can’t say enough AMAZING things about this devotional!!  I’m getting my group of 24 together for this year and bringing the tradition to our sweet little town.   You MUST visit A Meaningful Family to read more about it and see what it’s all about.  You can even visit them on Facebook and see some ideas and testimonials from other families who have participated and brought this AMAZING tradition into their homes!!!  Get there SOON, though…you’ll need some time to organize and plan!  Eeeeek!  Can’t wait!


Now let’s take a look back at the week behind us.  I had parent/teacher conferences this past week and things were nothing short of busy {hence the “week in review” today :)}

This past week was all about apples…and exploring apples with our 5 senses.  I’m just gonna go ahead and tell you right now that we’ll be extending this unit of learning right into next week.  There is SO much to cover and learn!!!

Here’s a little peek at our 5 senses poetry {songs}.  The one one the left is to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin”.  It was cute to hear my kids singing these to themselves while they were busy working independently!

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We used our 5 senses to explore APPLES!!!  Just another reason to LOVE Fall.  Who doesn’t love a ripe, delicious Honeycrisp covered in caramel?!?!  I digress.  One of the first things we did was a little apple taste test.  We compared yellow, red, and green apples and picked our most favorite.  My kids were SO excited to sample the flavors and I was REALLY surprised with the results!!!


It was a toss up between green and yellow, but in the end the sweet taste of the yellow apple won.  After creating our pictograph and talking about the data, we used snap cubes to count out each amount and talk about how many more…how many less/fewer…etc. 


After creating our group pictograph, we transferred the data to a bar graph {from Deanna Jump’s Apple Unit}.  It was a great to reinforce important vocabulary, practice making tallies, and work with bar graphs.  Then we turned my clipart into a little craftivity and made these little apple babies to go with their graph!  The apples represent their favorite color/taste!

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After tasting our apples, we used a few leftovers to EXPLORE and INVESTIGATE them with our five senses.  First up, we brainstormed a list of words that DESCRIBED them.  Let me just say that this wasn’t an easy task.  Getting the kids to understand what it means to DESCRIBE took some elbow grease :)  But once they got it, they couldn’t stop.  I wrote those words out onto index cards as we were brainstorming and then we sorted them by the 5 senses they used to generate the adjective.


After I did this activity, I saw Sarah Cooley’s PRECIOUS apple adjective anchor chart on Instagram, so I *borrowed* her idea, cut out the words, and made one of my own.  We reviewed this anchor chart the following day and talked about words that DESCRIBE.

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We followed that up with a little descriptive writing.  First up, we did a little directed drawing activity to practice our listening skills…my favorite TEK & one that has to be reinforced a lot! :)  Then we used our Oreo Words “my” & “is” to write about our apples.  They finished their sentences with one word that described their apple.


Most of my friends felt most comfortable using a color word to describe their apple.  I absolutely LOVE that they’re transferring words they know how to read & identify to their writing!

A few friends chose to stretch out their sounds and use other adjectives.  I absolutely LOVE Kindergarten writing!!  They way they phonetically stretch out their sounds is too dang cute!!!

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One of our writers workshop mini-lessons focused on labeling, so I integrated this into our learning about apples & the 5 senses, too.  First up, we labeled the teacher.  The kids thought this was HILARIOUS!!  I posted about this LAST YEAR and got the idea from the uber talented and creative Julie Lee.  This is just the *perfect* hands-on activity for our kinder babies!


Throughout the week, we took several opportunities to practice our labeling skills outside of the writers workshop framework.  We labeled our five senses…


And labeled the parts of an apple, too.

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Oh my.  Looks like one fell off!!!  Gotta go up this weekend and do some recon!appleweek23

We finished up the week with an apple investigation and an apple tasting party!!

First up, The Great Apple Investigation.


We used our little student journals to record our observations about apples.  If you remember reading about our Pumpkin Day, then you are very familiar with these investigations!  I reworked some of the recording pages to better suit our investigations.  We had SO much fun!  I swear you could’ve heard a pin drop…in between the oooooh’s and aaaaah’s :)

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I loved being able to use this little investigation to reinforce key vocabulary and concepts.  The kids were SO excited to take their journals home to share with their parents, too!

We finished up our Fun Friday with an apple tasting party a’la Sarah Cooley.  This was such a GREAT idea! 


Sarah has a great little note home to parents requesting apple donations in her little packet and some good suggestions for apple snacks to include in your tasting party.  I had to finagle some of it due to the limited choices at the store.  I don’t know if it was just the Target in our town or what, but there wasn’t much from which to choose!!!   It was still a BLAST! 


After we graphed our most favorite way to eat/drink an apple, we made these little ap”pals” from my Apple Antics packet.  I had the kids complete the sentence with their favorite apple flavored goodie.  They did a great job of stretching out their sounds and using resources to spell their words :)appleweek24appleweek25 appleweek26

Like I said before, we’ll definitely be extending our learning into the upcoming week.  There’s just SO much to learn and do and I’ll take any excuse to incorporate caramel covered apples into the day ;)  Hope y’all have a GREAT weekend!  See you tomorrow with a peek at my week!


  1. ahhh! We just finished out unit on the 5 senses and apples! Now I wanna go back in time and do it again so I can incorporate all of this! Can you just call me on Sunday night and share with me everything you are going to do next week so I can copy you?? :)

  2. We did a few of the these activities with our apples, but I LOVE some of your ideas....pinning for next year. We made homemade apple sauce in our class and the kids were SO excited!! and it made our room smell yummy all day!! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Read to the end of this fabulous post now heading back to t he top to read the old one about Christmas. Anything that focus on jesus is a winner for me. Thanks
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

  4. Apple week was a smashing success! I love all the activities you incorporated! It really looks like you had so much fun and learned a ton!


  5. I wasn't going to do apples this year, because I looped with my kiddos and did a whole unit on it last year-but you've inspired me with some new ideas--I may just have to pencil that one back in! :)


  6. How is it that you make everything look amazing?! I end up pinning every picture practically. ;) It looks like your kids had such a fun week with apples. Anything apple related makes me smile.

  7. What a great week! I love your "label the teacher" activity... just too fun!

    Granny Goes to School

  8. Thank you for sharing your great apple ideas and pics from the classroom. BUT, I really want to thank you for sharing the beautiful tradition. My children are grown...but will be sharing this with them and hope my grandchildren get to something such as this. Thanks again! I love that you shared this on your teacher page.

  9. LOVE IT! We have started thematic units this year as a district. (K-6 all have the SAME month long unit, which can get a little boring toward the end) We just finished a unit on Animal Habitats and my students built a diorama of a desert habitat in a copy box lid, complete with sand and rocks. We have it on display right now outside our door and the kids are so excited that other students are seeing their work. I am no where as integrated in my thematic units as you are but I am getting some great ideas for next year and later on this year. Thanks for sharing!