Apples and Literature
The apple has played a key role in several classic stories. In Grimm’s Snow White, for example, an apple was used to poison an innocent princess. And in William Tell, a Swiss archer was forced to shoot an apple from his son’s head as punishment for disobeying the evil governor. If your students are not familiar with these tales, bring books that tell the stories to the classroom in the interest of cultural literacy. Another idea to add drama to your storytelling is to play a recording of Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
Don’t forget about the story of Johnny Appleseed for a history lesson. There are books to read to your class, such as Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh and Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth by Jane Yolen. These books will explain how John Chapman, otherwise known as Johnny Appleseed, roamed the Ohio Valley planting apple tree seedlings in the 1800’s. His dream was to produce so many apples that no one would ever go hungry. September 26th is his birthday and is known as Johnny Appleseed Day.
Apples and Writing
For hundreds of years, apples have inspired popular tales and legends as above. Engage your students with this inspiration too, letting them write creative stories.
Show them how much easier it is to do creative writing when thoughts are organized before the writing begins. Use a story map. On a sheet of paper draw five big apples. Place the title of the story at the top of the page and have the children fill in information inside each apple. Cover these questions:
- Where does your story take place?
- Who are the characters?
- What is the problem?
- What happens in the story?
- How does it end?
Now it’s time to write a story. If you kids have problems coming up with a unique title, offer a little help with these story starters (or others).
- The Day I Gave My Teacher an Apple
- Jack and the Applestalk
- The Biggest Apple in Town
- The Candy Apple Mystery
Use these apple theme classroom ideas to give your students practice in estimating, counting, and graphing.
- Seed Estimation – Before you give students half of an apple, have them estimate the number of seeds inside. Then have them count how many seeds it actually has.
- Seed Count – Place a checkerboard on the floor. Give each player a handful of seeds (12 or more). Take turns tossing the seeds onto the playing board. Count the number of seeds that fall on the red squares and the number that fall on the black squares. Subtract the black square number from the red square. This number is the player’s score. See whose number is the highest for a win.
- Apple Graph – Apples come in a variety of colors (red, yellow, and green). Take a poll to see how many children have a favorite apple color. Create a bar graph, allowing the kids to color the boxes showing apple preferences. Which color comes out first?
As an extension activity to the apple graph above, engage the kids in apple stamping art. Cut apples in half (lengthwise and horizontally). Place dollops of paint onto a paper plate; use red, yellow, and green. Show the kids how to dip the apple into paint and then print on paper. It’s best to have a single apple for each color. The apple cut horizontally will show a star in the center of the fruit. Make sure to label each child’s artwork and display these in the classroom as a contribution to apple month’s décor.
3D Hanging Apples
Draw an apple half on cardboard as a template. Each apple will need four 6” x 9” sheets of paper folded in half. Have the kids trace the apple pattern on each folded sheet and cut it out. Unfold the apple halves. My students painted red along the edges of the white paper and added seeds in the middle with a black felt-tip marker. (You could also just use solid red paper). Stack all four apples pieces, aligning folds. Staple all together at the center fold. Punch a hole ¼-inch from the top (through all layers) for threading yarn to hang. Fan out the sections to create a 3D apple. We hung our apples onto a faux green tree. You could also add green construction paper leaves to each apple and hang them from the ceiling.
Apple Sun Catchers
Brighten up your classroom with some apple sun catchers. Cut an apple shape from construction paper (choose red, yellow, or green) and take out the center to make an apple-shaped frame. Cut two sheets of clear self-adhesive paper that will fit inside the frame. On the one sheet of adhesive paper, sprinkle glitter and sequins in the middle, then cover it with the second sheet. Press together firmly to fuse the two sheets together with the contents inside. Trim the adhesive paper if necessary and tape it to the back of the apple frame. Affix this craft inside a sunny window and catch some sunshine!
These are only a few apple theme classroom ideas; check out other articles on Bright Hub Education.
- Copycat Magazine, Apple Mania, September/October 1997
- Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
- Personal experience in an ECE classroom
- The Story of Johnny Appleseed: Legend vs. Fact