Informative writing about Johnny Appleseed

Student Project - Finding Key Details About Johnny Appleseed

Asking Questions While We Read
I have all of my posters and resources set for Apple Week next week.  This week also coincides with the opening of our unannounced observations.  Rigor is a must at all times.  (Insert my eye roll.)  Stakeholders believe that fun in the classroom is synonymous with inept teaching.  Well, this is a post on apples so I won't tell you my personal feelings on that.  However, I would like to offer some suggestions on keeping engagement up in your classroom while  you teach with rigor.

During the beginning of the year we have focused on accountable talk and are moving on to asking and answering questions throughout our reading.  This week we will be reading informational books on John Chapman, the apple life cycle and apple harvesting.  My mentor text will be Apples by Gail Gibbons.  Every day I will model asking and answering questions in the mentor text.  The students will be released for group work afterwards to create questions in a text.  Once they have their questions, they will move on to answering their questions.  When this process is done, they will produce posters with facts about their topic.  On Friday, we will enjoy warm applesauce while each group presents what they learned.  This process encompasses several standards including speaking and listening.  Students love making something that they get to present to the class.  This really boosts their self esteem. Along with increased self esteem, they also will also have increased engagement.
Apple Posters

Did you know that you can print poster size on your printer? I didn't know until my good friend Amna from Teach Two Reach told me about it.  Doing this allows you to produce larger images for the students to use for their posters.  It also allows you to print anchors that might be important for the topic.  I have included a visual below for you.
Print in Poster Size from Your Home Printer
Flash back to First Grade.
Apple Stain Glass

 Last year we used die cuts to produce empty apple templates.  I cut contact paper to place over the templates.  The students were then able to place tissue on the contact paper and make "stained glass" apples.
Applesauce For The Busy Teacher
 Here's my tip for being a rock star teacher without all of the extra work.  I could not fit a "How-to Make Applesauce Unit" into my week last year or this year.  If you can, I highly suggest it.  (Food really can wake up the senses in the classroom.)  So I bought two large jars of applesauce and warmed them in the crockpot.  I allowed the students to eat the applesauce and write about it last year.  This year I will allow the students to eat it while their peers present their posters.  No instructional time will be lost to this process.  (Insert another eye roll.)
Persuasive Apple Writing - Which one should we try?
 This was a fan favorite last year.  The kids sampled red and green apples.  Then they decided which one Johnny Appleseed should eat on his birthday.  It was a blast.
Apple Picking


  1. I was beginning to wonder if your activities were rigorous enough but you seem to have included just enough rigor to keep my eyes from rolling out of my head! Which is good because I wouldn't want to waste any instructional time trying to pop those suckers back in my head.
    Sidenote: Can you please move to Vero and work with me??? Your emotional fortitude is right up my alley :) (which is something we seriously need in teaching times such as these ...)
    Love you,

    1. Love you Andi!!! Working with you would be amazing. I am very much over all of the nonsense in education. I would say that I'm done being quiet about it, but I've never been quiet:)
      xoxo, Amy