In “The Apple Pie Tree” by Zoe Hall, two children tell all about their tree that grows the “best part of apple pie” - the apples. The life cycle of the apple tree and its apples are described as the seasons progress throughout the year. This is a great book to use with a unit about apples, trees or even the seasons. First graders will enjoy these activities and learn a lot from them.
Learning About the Seasons
Use “The Apple Pie Tree” to teach or review the four seasons with your students. After reading the book, make a chart with each of the four seasons on it. Have the children help you fill in things that happen in each season, using ideas from the book and their own ideas. What is the weather like? What happens to an apple tree in each season? What kinds of activities and holidays go with each season?
When you are finished, have the children choose their favorite season, draw a picture and write about why it is their favorite season.To add a little math to the activity, make a class graph of the children’s favorite seasons.
Shared or Interactive Writing
Combine writing and science in this fun and easy activity. You will probably want to do this activity over several days.
After reading the book, invite your students to help you write a story detailing the life of the apple tree in each season, using either shared writing or interactive writing. Instead of writing the story on large chart paper, use your overhead projector and write each page on a different blank transparency. The students will be able to follow along by reading the story on the screen or wall. If you are using this as an interactive writing activity where you are sharing the pen with the children, you might need to lower your overhead projector so that they can reach it to write on.
After you have finished the story, make copies of the transparencies and staple them into books for each child to illustrate. This way each student will have his own book about the life of an apple tree to read again and again.
Here are some other ideas of ways to use this fun fall book in the first grade classroom.
- Use the book to teach or review sequencing with your students. Have them complete a sequencing graphic organizer or give them events from the story to put in the correct order.
- For a creative writing activity, have them make up their own pie recipes. Give them a choice of writing about apple pie or another favorite type of pie. Show them a few recipes so that they can see the format for recipe writing. After all the recipes have been written, use the recipe at the back of the book to make an apple pie with the children.
- Give the children a large sheet of paper and have them fold it into four sections. Have them draw the apple tree as it looks in each season in the sections and label each season.
- Make a paper plate apple pie for a fun art activity to go with the story.
These fun activities will make Zoe Hall’s apple themed book a favorite with first graders!
- Source: Author’s personal classroom experience.