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 seated on the rug I show them the book we are going to read today.
“This book is called Apples. Gail Gibbons is the author and the illustrator. If she is the author and the illustrator what did she do?” By now my students are becoming pretty familiar with this routine so I have plenty of volunteers to answer to this question. I use the Fair Sticks to help me select a random student and then set that stick to the side.
“You are right Louise. Gail Gibbons wrote the words and drew the pictures. Now can anyone point out the front cover?” I select another fair stick to select a random student (If a student is selected and cannot or does not want to answer the question he/she simply says “Pass” and I select another stick).
“How about the back cover?”
“Now that we have identified the external features of the book, can anyone help me find the title page?”
“Great work finding the title page Sebastian. Now I am going to let you in on a secret. I know that I told you the features of a non-fiction book included things like a table of contents, an index and a glossary, but not all non-fiction books have those features. This book is a non-fiction book because it gives us information without telling a story. There will be some new vocabulary words in here so please raise your hand if you do not know a word and want your brain to grow bigger.”
I read the text to the students making sure to stop and define words like grown commercially, bushel, stamen, pollen, stigma, pollination, harvest, tart, prune, and fertilized. Having a vocabulary discussion as we come across the words within the text helps the students decode the words meaning using the content around them. Using the content of the book itself to discover the word meanings helps the students build comprehension skills.
When I get to the page which discusses the parts of the apple I spend time pointing out how the illustration helps us understand the new words.
“Look how the word is written here with a line drawn to the feature in the illustration of the apple. Can anyone tell me what they think this word is based on the illustration?” I point to the word core (I use this word because I want the students to feel success before we tackle the trickier words).
“Very good Owen. The word is core. I can look at the picture clue and get my mouth ready to say the first sound in the word. This helps me figure out the word. Let’s try this word.” I point to the word flesh. I will often have a few students who are able to tap out the sounds of this word and announce it to the class.
“Great. I saw Emily use her fingers to tap out each of the sounds and she remembered to cross her fingers to show there was a blend. Who remembers what sound the blend (I cross my fingers which is our cue for blend) sh makes?” That’s right Bryan - /sh/.” I put my finger to my lips as if I were telling the students to be quiet; a visual cue to help students remember the sound. “Let’s practice it all together. Ready? Go.”
We discuss the other vocabulary words which label the parts of an apple in a similar fashion.
After the book is over I tell the students to listen to the words I am about to read them. I go ahead and read a copy of the apple poem from the book Early Learning With Puppets, Props, Poems and Songs, by Lucia Kemp Henry and Suzanne Moore.
Once I have finished reading I ask the students, "Did anyone notice anything about the words I just read?” I usually have one or two students who will point out it was a poem.
“How did you know it was a poem?”
The most common response is that a student will tell me the words rhyme.
“You are right. Can anyone recall two words in the poem which rhymed?”
I take a few responses here so other student’s, who may not have picked up on the rhyming words, can learn from their peers.
I tell the students that today they will be making a puppet of an apple to go along with the poem. I tell the students, “This puppet and poem will help you recall the parts of an apple.”
I read the poem again this time modeling with the puppet which has a little surprise inside at the end. The students always like the part where the apple opens up to reveal the seeds inside.
“At this work station you will find all of the parts necessary to make the puppet. Once you have made the puppet you will get a copy of the poem so you can read it to your family, or you can have them read it to you to help you remember the parts.”
A copy of the poem and the parts to make the puppet come from the book Early Learning With Puppets, Props, Poems and Songs, by Lucia Kemp Henry and Suzanne Moore. ISBN 9780439656146
“When you color your apple I want you to be scientific. What does that mean when I say I want you to color scientifically?” My students know that when I say I want them to color scientifically they must use real colors that would be found in nature.
At the station the students will find all the parts necessary to make the puppet, scissors, glue sticks, popsicle sticks, crayons and a marker to write their name on the stick.
I dismiss the students over to integrated work stations one table at a time.
“Table number one, go have some apple puppet 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 this part of the lesson.
I have the students make this puppet because I find it is an easy way for the students to recall words from the text we have read and the conversations we have had about the different parts of an apple. The poem also reinforces the new vocabulary words we have used which will enable the students to become proficient at recalling the words and their meaning.
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 completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin. Work that is placed in the "under construction" bin can be worked on throughout the day whenever the student finds they have spare time.
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one part of an apple.
“Boys and girls today your exit ticket is to tell me one part of an apple."
I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.
Once a student has told me his/her part of an apple, they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack.
If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.
Using this easy formative assessment tool gives me an opportunity to see if a student can quickly recall the skill they just used to complete the activity. They have just practiced using poetry to recall the parts of an apple and discussed it with their peers. If a student has a hard time coming up with a response I will take note because I need to find out if the student had difficulty because he/she has trouble transferring skill use from one activity to another or perhaps he/she was copying peer work at the table and does not have the skill themselves. Knowing the answer to this question will determine how I handle the situation.
The following day I place a copy of the Apple Parts Match assessment sheet at each student’s seat for morning work.
Students need to cut the words from the word bank and glue them into the correct place to label the parts of the apple. I also place a variety of resources around the working area; a poster with the labeled apple parts, a laminated copy of the scholastic magazine we had looked at and also several apple books.
At certain tables, where I will place the struggling students, I place a completed copy of the assessment sheet for them to refer to; this gives the students a tool for self-checking their work. They may also elect to verbally tell me the parts of an apple and I will give them the correct word to glue in place. On their assessment sheet I will make a note of the type assistance they used.
Find the “magic star” inside an apple. Place the apple sideways on the cutting surface and cut through the middle. (For safety, only an adult should do the cutting.) Separate the two halves. On each half you will see a five pointed star. You can preserve your “magic stars” by making thin cuttings from the center of each apple and allowing these to dry in the classroom. Do any other fruits have magic stars? Do all varieties of apples have stars? Do the stars always look the same?
Use a Venn diagram or other compare and contrast tool to compare the parts of an apple to other fruits or vegetables.