Autumn Activities!

I have to confess, its at this time of the year that I wish I was anywhere but Florida.  I ventured out today on the hunt for leaves.  Like, "I spy with my little eyes..."  It will be a minute before the weather feels crisp and the leaves sprinkle the grass.   Oh my, I long for the colorful trees.
I begin to begrudge the season for stealing my sunshine and stretching the nocturnal hours until I experience the first hint of fall with scented fragrances, cinnamon broomsticks, pumpkin spice coffee, and apple week at school!  Bring on the fall fun!

This past week was a whirlwind.  I'd love to take you back as we dove deep into fall themed fun while meeting learning objectives!
I'm blessed to have the unique opportunity to work with some of the best kids.  We are a title one school with a heart of gold! This group of little lovelies soak up everything I teach. 

We started our week with Apple of My Eye from A Year of Many Firsts.  This differentiated packet provided the right amount of support for the range of abilities in my classroom.  The real images provide the concrete example needed for all my English language learners.

We started Monday with a Brainpop Jr video on Fall.  I find showing these videos helps to build the necessary background.  For only $8 each month, I have access to all educational videos.  I promise, it's a steal!
Following vocabulary lessons, I started a class KWL.  To follow up, the kids were given apple foldable from Reagan's Apple Science Interactive Packet to record what they know and want to know.
I'm certain my kids were hanging on to every word as I  read the article in Lyndsy's packet.  We had a lovely introduction to text features.  The coordinating response allowed a platform to practice writing to a prompt in which our district given the week prior.
Tuesday mimicked Monday with a new content focus.  We started with a Brainpop Jr video on the plant life cycle.  The entire video takes you through the life cycle of an apple from seed to fruit.

Wednesday provided a new outlook for apple explorations! Science experiments, art projects, and apple activities, oh my!
From Erica's Bohrer's Graftivity!  See Charts Below.
With a variety of apple books on hand, we worked in teams to read books, study illustrations, and sort fiction and non-fiction text.  It was on this day that we created seasonal trees showing changes from winter to spring and summer to fall.

By mid day, students gathered around my guided reading table eager to determine the effects of various liquids on apples. I love seeing my scientist examining changes using Falling Into First's Smart Apples unit. It was as this moment I heard one of my kids say, "This is the best week ever!"  <--- Score one for the teacher!  I can honestly say, the science experiment elicited a similar response each day through Friday!
Thursday shifted from apples to Johnny Appleseed.  Using a passage from Stephanie's unit, I taught close reading strategies.  I'd love to think my instructional technique captivated my darlings but I must concede, highlighters are da'bomb!  I suppose there is something enchanting about the florescent glow!
I worried a little by Friday morning.  Would my kids be tapped out?  How many different apple activities could be done in one week?  I woke early and arrived at school extra early.  Brown table cloths on display, check!  Apple goodies arranged, check!  Fall leaves sprinkled throughout, check! Apple investigation stations prepped, check!  Charts prepped with the necessary charts and organizers, check!  My worries were washed away...

The kids faces lit up as they walked into the room.  To allow time for my late arrivals, I played a 10 minute Johnny Appleseed video from Disney.  After diving into tall tales and legends the previous day, I knew the video would be a perfect start.

I was blessed to have my mom come and visit my classroom throughout the entire week.  She was on hand to help prep activities, work with kids, and learn all about apples!  As she helped peel yellow, green, and red apples for an upcoming activity, I conducted our first investigation to determine if apples sink or float.

Later, my kids were given cups with numbers and one apple slice in each.  Each apple had the skin removed as we determined which was our favorite! The reveal provided just the right element of surprise.

For the afternoon, my kids rotated through apple investigations.  The kids measured, weighed, and observed apples.  We capped our day with an apple tasting celebration.  A little food makes everything, "awesome"!

As I packed up my students, I was already thinking about the next fall thematic unit I'll teach.  By Sunday, I planned out my upcoming unit to mirror apple week!  I can't wait for pumpkin observations! 
Tonight my husband and I went to the pumpkin patch and purchased 15 miniature pumpkins for the classroom, three small classroom pumpkins {white, green, and orange}, and a few for our home! 
One of my favorite character lessons happens during October each year. Using the white, green, and orange pumpkin, my kids observe each, compare/contrast, and predict what each will look like on the  inside.  This activity will open the door for learning about pumpkins.  After researching through webquests,  I reveal the inside!
The character lesson is used to discuss how it might feel to be judged on the way we look or dress.  This will provide a platform for treating each other fairly no matter the differences on the outside!  This activity will segway into Spookley the Square Pumpkin.  
Are you excited for fall?  If you love what you see above, the units are linked throughout the post.  If you wish to join me in recreating a fun learning experience with pumpkins, I encourage you to check out these units....

Every image in this post has been linked to where you can find the activity!


Lyndsey (A Year of Many Firsts) said...

INCREDIBLE! Thank you so much for the love. You are so sweet! You are an amazing teacher and friend. Love you!

Linda said...

I like the idea of taking the skins off the apples! Thanks for the great post.

Down the Learning Road

Positively Learning said...

This was so much fun to read...Brainpop, Jr is totally worth it & so are Lyndsey's packets! I know I should appreciate all our colors and fall weather in Maryland, but I'm visiting Florida in 22 days & cannot wait! Thanks for sharing all the fall fun from your class - it gives me so many ideas! Jen :)

Mark said...

I was exhausted by the time I got halfway through your post. WOW! Esp. loved the skinless apples and word work. I can add some fun ideas for your pumpkin unit. I found some excellent math ideas on the pumpkins for primary sheet at Some are too high for 1st however.