Apples Up On Top

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Students will be able to recognize basic sight words while playing a game.

Big Idea

Sight word acquisition is an important building block in the construction of a child's ability to read. Kindergarteners need practice to learn sight words. This lesson provides them with a fun way to learn new words.


20 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.

Once the students are all sitting on the rug I show them the cover of the book and say, “This book is called Ten Apples Up On Top. It is written by Theo. Le Sieg and illustrated by Roy McKie. Theo. Le Sieg is known by another famous name and this symbol on the book (I point to the Cat in the Hat) is a clue to his other name.” I usually have at least one student who is able to tell me “Dr. Seuss.”

“Yes that is right this book is a Dr. Seuss book. Knowing that the book is written by Dr. Seuss and looking at the front cover who can tell me what kind of book this is most likely to be (RL.K.5)?”

I usually have at least one student who can tell me the book is make-believe or not real. “Yes Joanne you are right this book is make-believe. What were the clues you used to tell you the book is make-believe?”

“Yes. Lions, tigers and dogs do not usually walk around on two legs balancing apples on their heads. Good observation. There is a special name for make believe kinds of books. Who remembers it?” I may have a student who can answer this question correctly, but if not I simply tell the students. “This book is fiction. Fiction is the literary term for books without real information in them.”


Now I go ahead and read the book to the students. We stop in several places in the story to ask questions and respond to the text. For example, “If the dog and lion both have five apples up on top, how many do you think the tiger is going to put on top of his head? How do you know?”

I also have the students try to fill in the rhyming words as we read the text (RF.K.2.a).     


25 minutes

When the story is over I tell the students they are going to play a game at one of the work stations.

I use the materials I have already printed, colored and laminated from the Making Learning Fun website.

I tell the students they will need to select a person to be their apple holder. Next the students are to take turns selecting cards from a pile in the middle of the table. They will turn over the card and attempt to read the sight word on the card (RF.K.3c). If they can read the word they can place the word apple on top of their person’s head. If they cannot read the word the gets placed face down back at the bottom of the pile and it is the next persons turn. The students are to keep playing this way until someone gets “Ten Apples Up On Top.” That person is the winner and if there is still time on the timer the students are to clear their “heads” and start again.


I dismiss the students over to integrated work stations one table at a time.

“Table number one, go have some 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.”


Allow 15 minutes for the students to play the game.    


10 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.”

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students their “exit slip” to get their snack will be to read the sight word that I show them. I make sure to tell the students that I will say the name of a student and show him/her the word. ONLY that student should read and tell me the word. I make it very clear that ONLY the student I called upon should say the word. If anyone else says the word they will have to wait until the end. Of course I have specific sight words that I show to students because I want the students to be successful and feel good about their abilities. 


15 minutes

I will call the students over one at a time to see me during a busy time in the classroom, such as free choice center time of integrated work station time if I have enough parent volunteers.

I will show the student a variety of sight words. I will give the student a “magic window” and tell the student to move the magic window across the page and tell me any of the words that appear in the window. Sight Words Assessment 1 Sight Word Assessment 2 

I will note the student’s responses on another copy of the same assessment and place this in the student’s portfolio. 

The “magic window” is simply an index card with a small rectangle cut out in the center. I laminate it to make it more like a “window” and also so it will last for a long time. 


Have the student glue a head shot photo at the bottom of a piece of legal size length piece of paper. Give the students a sheet of the numbered apples. Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Outline They must cut out the apples and place them in numerical order –starting with the number one – on top of their head. At the top the students write the sentence, “Bruce has ten apples up on top.” Encourage the students to try and write the sentence by themselves or use the book as a resource. I ask the students to color the apples in a pattern to practice pattern work as well as numeral ordering. 


Later in the day I will have the story Ten Apples Up on Top available for the students to watch on the SMARTBoard during either free choice centers or reading work stations – just be aware that the students do not see the words during the reading.