Many preschool classrooms start the school year with an apple theme. Learning about apples is a great way to start the fall season. You can turn a simple preschool apple craft into a literacy lesson by teaching your students a classic apple poem first.
Poem, "Way Up High in an Apple Tree" copied onto sentence strips or large chart paper
Paper plates, one per child
Leaf shapes cut out of green paper, two or three per child
apple-shaped sponges and red tempera paint or four red apple die cuts per child
Brown tree trunk shape, one per child
Way up high in an apple tree.
Two red apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could.
Down came the apples! Mmmmmm they were good!
Show your students the poem you have copied onto chart paper or sentence strips. Read it to the class several times, inviting the students to join in when they can. Point to the words as you read. If you are teaching older preschool students, you might ask a few students to come up and find certain words in the poem. You might say "Can anyone find the word apple? Everyone say apple slowly. What do you say at the beginning? What other sounds do you say in the word apple?" Then let one student show the class where the word is. Other words to look for are red, tree and good.
Show the students a finished apple tree. Tell them that they are going to be making their own trees. Give each student the materials they will need for their apple trees. This would be a good time to review colors. Ask them to hold up the green, brown, red and white (plate) materials.
First have them count out the four die cut apples and glue them onto the paper plate. Next they can count the leaves and glue them on too. Last they glue the trunk onto the bottom of the plates. You may need to staple the trunks in place if the glue doesn’t hold them.
If you are using paint, call a few students back to a table where you have set up the red paint and sponges. Help them sponge paint four apples on their paper plates and leave the plates to dry. You might give the rest of the class an apple picture to color while they are waiting to paint. When all of the plates are dry, show them how to make the rest of the tree.
When the trees are finished, notice how the students followed the directions. Did they glue the parts in the right places? Did they use the right amount of glue? You can also individually ask the students to count the leaves and apples or to find the colors on the trees.
- Place the poem written on sentence strips in a pocket chart in your center. Provide the students with pointers and cards with words to find written on them. They can also take the sentence strips out of the pocket chart, mix them up and put them back in the correct sequence.
- Give each student his/her own copy of the poem to illustrate and take home or add to a poetry folder if you keep one.
- Read the book The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall to your class to teach how apple trees look in each season. If you are really ambitious make apple trees for the seasons. Use pink flowers for spring, small green apples for summer and bare branches for winter. The red apples are the fall trees.