Four Seasons (Part One)

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Students will be able to retell and label the events of the story in order, including key details.

Big Idea

Students describe qualitative changes through the seasons with the help of an apple tree.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When the students are over on the rug I tell them we are going to be moving to the song I Love it When It Snows, by Betsy Q. I have the students stand up and do washing machine arms to make sure they will not get in anyone else’s way. “This song allows you to make up your own actions but remember your body is in your control you tell it what to do, so I should see everyone keeping their actions in control.” Saying this reminds the students they should be focused on the lesson at hand.

Once the song is over I have the students take a seat back on their spots.

“We were moving like different kinds of weather, now we are going to watch a little video which will give you a clue about today’s lesson.” I have the video clip  Four Seasons in a Year sung by Harry Kindergarten Music already loaded onto the SMARTBoard ready to play.

I like this one because it has a guessing game in it along with a variety of clues mentioned out loud (auditory learners).

I use these songs to get my student thinking about the seasons which will help them to make a connection to the signs of the different seasons they will see throughout the book in the activity part of the lesson. 


40 minutes

After the video is over I have the students focus back on me ready to listen to the story The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.

“The title of this book is The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, and it was written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons. If the title of my book is The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree what do you think this book will be about?”

I select one or two students to answer this question and have them explain their thinking to the rest of the class. “That's interesting; Bryan thinks this book will be about an apple tree and a kid named Arnold. Why do you think that Bryan?”

"Well done; Bryan thinks there will be an apple tree because the title mentions an apple tree and he sees one on the cover. He also said the cover has a boy climbing in the apple tree and a boy's name is mentioned in the title. I think those are good pieces of evidence to support your prediction."


Now I go ahead and read the book to the students. While reading we will stop and have discussions about words we do not know, predict what will come next and also discuss the different things that Arnold is doing during the four seasons. For example, “Why is Arnold wearing a long sleeved shirt in the fall?” “”Is the swing really for the tree? Why not”

Discussing vocabulary words in context and events as they happen helps the students comprehend the story. Good story comprehension will enable the students to recall the story events in more detail. 


When the book is over I explain to the students that over the next two days they will be making an apple season book of their own. I tell the students that today they will just be gluing the pieces into their books and writing the title.

Tomorrow they will glue details on each page to reflect the seasonal changes of the tree. They will also label the pages with the appropriate season. I show the students my book as an example. This allows my visual learners to have a better understanding of the assignment. I point out the fact that my name appears in the title on the cover because it is my tree book. “See how the title read’s “The Seasons of Mrs. Clapp’s Apple Tree? That is because this is my book of seasons.”  

I tell the students they will have all kinds of resources to use at the table. There will be the book we just read, my example, and also a word bank of seasonal words. They will be allowed to use whatever resource they need to complete the assignment. I ask the students, “Do I need to rush through this assignment and get it done in one day?”

“You are right you do not need to rush because you have two days to do this assignment.”


I dismiss the students over to Integrated Work Stations one table at a time.

“Table number one, go have some apple book fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Over at the work station I have the base books (these consist of one full sheet of copy paper and four half sheets stapled to the full size piece) already made up; enough for one for each students. I have green construction tree tops (enough for each student to have four – one for the title page, one for spring, one for summer and one for fall), a brown construction tree trunk, pencils, scissors and glue.

Students working on title page of their tree book.

Today the students glue the brown tree onto the last page (the full size piece of copy paper). Next they glue one green tree top onto each of the four half pages. Once the gluing is done I have the students get to work writing the title on the first green tree top on the first page. When the students are writing I tell them, “Now remember this is your apple tree book so instead of writing The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, you will write your name instead. This will help us remember whose tree is whose.”   

Allow 15-20 minutes for this part of the lesson.

The importance of retelling books  


5 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

I remind students to put their work in the “under construction” bin because we will be completing this assignment tomorrow. This is what the books look like so far 

Student Sample 1                                   Student sample 2

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit ticket” to get their snack is to tell me their favorite season from the book we just read.  


There is no assessment today as the assignment is not complete yet.





Have the students respond to the Favorite Season Writing Prompt “My favorite season is ______. I like this season because…”


Have the students make a season wheel. They cut out Pictures reflecting the season and glue them onto a paper plate in the correct cyclical order. Next have the students’ label the season appropriately using the Word Bank as a resource. 


Mr. R’s Season Song has a nice demonstration about the cyclical nature of the seasons. 


Pancake Manor Seasons  Song. I like this one because it has a little guessing game in it (Visual learners)


Laura Mullane Seasons Song. My students like this one with the upbeat tune and the variety of the pictures.  I also like this one because it has the word autumn which I like my students to know.