Weeks 3 & 4 – Apple theme
It hardly seems possible that the month of September has come and gone! Our classroom is coming together quite nicely – The children seem to be feeling more comfortable with classroom procedures and the general daily rhythm. It brings me much joy to observe the children choosing activities from the shelves, working with the them, and completing the work cycle by returning the items to the shelf for the another person to use.
An apple theme is always a hit! Kids love to eat them and there is so much you can do with an apple. They lend themselves to many different science and discovery activities and cooking fun! This is a great theme to explore in the fall.
We started with apple tasting. I showed the students a four varieties of apples (red delicious, yellow delicious, granny smith, and gala) and asked which apples they’d like to try. Children tasted each apple – first we discussed the flavour and texture of the apple – then they decided whether apples were sweet or sour. All apples have different tastes, no matter the colour or variety, all apples have similarities, like seeds, core, flesh, skin, etc.
Material on our shelves
and activities about
These are oh, so small and cute . This lesson is a bit more difficult than the previous spooning activity because it takes greater concentration from the child to balance one lightweight apple on the small spoon.
For this exercise we picked up real small apples which create a natural point of interest for the child.
We present the apple tree to kids and suggest putting some pom-pom apples to this tree using tweezers.
The youngest members of the class have the option to use just their fingers to transfer the pom-poms as use of the tweezers is actually quite difficult. Either way, this activity not only develops the child’s pincer grasp (necessary for writing), but it also enhances their concentration and coordination.
Such a simple lacing activity is perfect for building many skills such as concentration, independence, coordination, order, and others necessary for further learning.
This water activity is the most favourite between kids. They could sit for a long time doing that. That teaches that before eating we always need to wash fruit.
Kids used a butter knife for cutting the apples. It was the perfect size and not too sharp – the perfect blend of Practical Life and Grace and Courtesy!
Apple tree and play dough
Using red colour of the play dough small hands of our kids made a small apples and tried to place them on to the apple tree.
Scissor practice is SO important for preschoolers. Did you know that scissor practice is actually a pre-writing skill? It’s true! When children use scissors, they have lots of practice moving their fingers and are also gaining strength in their hands. Using scissors takes a lot of coordination!
I appreciate how the simplicity of the exercise not only directly promotes the skill of using glue, but also how the materials are utilized to indirectly prepare the child for reading and writing.
For this month’s gluing activity, I simply choose to paste small red apples on the apple tree.
The Math and Number Concepts Area encourages exploration of a concepts related to math, as well as, literacy. During exploration with toys, games, and other tools found in this area, children are opening themselves up for many literacy rich activities. They are able to practice counting, sequencing, matching, sorting, and classifying, all of which support their literacy development as they sharpen their visual discrimination skills, and build their understanding of important concepts used for comprehension and reading. Children are exposed to print and use language when they manipulate a range of different games, toys, and puzzles found in this area.
Number 1 is the number of the week.
Apple Tree Maths
The child first places and recognises the number on the tree and after child is ready to place the corresponding number of “apples” on the tree.This is an excellent activity for preschoolers to practice one to one correspondence, but also a great activity for elementary students to learn about composing numbers.
We discussed the shapes apples come in. Some are oval, some are round. I used real apples for the children to compare and contrast with. I Had shapes for them to order from smallest to largest and visa versa.
Shape of the weeks
The shape of the week was a Circle.
“How many Seeds” Kids guessed how many seeds were in the apple. Then I carefully cut open the apple and count the seeds to see who was closest.
Apple measurement Game
I let the children find out how many apples tall they were. I had each lay down and line up apples for length of their body. Then they counted how many apples each child measures.
Apple and Worm with Position Words
Each child sets the worm in front of, behind, next to etc. of the apple and learns the position of the worm.
Number Rods were introduced to kids.
- To experience the qualities of each number and to learn their respective names.
- To show that each number is represented by a single object, as a whole, separate from others.
- To help memorize the sequence of numbers from 1 to 10.
Apple sink or Float
Children were asked whether the apple would sink or float. Kids explored that fact. Montessori: Float and sink things
Kids explored the things and divided them into 2 groups.
The apple books
(How the apple grows)
At group time we learnt a little more about how apples grow. I have read parts from the book How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro. This book has beautiful illustrations and lots of great information about the life cycle of an apple tree.
Life Cycle of an Apple
On our science shelf this week is an activity where the children can sequence a set of photos to show the life cycle of an apple tree. After that we made a mini 3D apple book with the same pictures and learnt the poem.
Parts of an apple
Students were able to investigate parts of an apple. I sliced an apple in half and students learned about an apple’s skin, stem, leaves, flesh, core, and seeds.
LANGUAGE AND WRITING
During this month we learned to identify the letters A, T, M, C, I, S, R, P and their sounds. I printed and laminated several colour photos beginning with these sounds. Examples: train, tractor, table, teacher, turtle, tiger, and traffic light. Students practised saying each picture name, emphasizing the /t/ sound. Students practised identifying if a word began with the /t/ sound or with another sound. For advanced students,who has been in my school for the second yea I have prepared objects and movable alphabet to make the words using the same letters and sounds.
Our writing activities or fine motor practice were combined with activities in other academic areas. For example, holding the apples for counting game requires fine motor skills, as well as making a pinching motion to pick up seeds for counting activity.
Another activity that encouraged fine motor development is using pegs and tweezers to tong and transfer pom-poms. Children were encouraged to use only their thumbs and forefinger, however most of the students had to practice a few times adjusting to using the tips of all fingers and the thumb, and finally most students were able to tong the pom-poms correctly.
Kids were presented insets for design. As the child repeats the process, he will gain more control of his hand muscles, and also develop an eye for colour. This will help later with correct handwriting and artistic efforts, as well as with shape familiarity and the idea of symmetry.
The knob encourages the use of the pincer grasp. This is when your child grips the knob between the thumb and the first two fingers. The development of the pincer grasp features prominently in the Montessori approach, as it prepares the hand very well to be able to hold and control a pencil later on.
Every day during the morning circle time we change our calendar. One child adds next day of the month. Other changes the red frog on the week days. Third changes “Yesterday was”, “Today is”, and “Tomorrow will be”. We sing the song “There are seven days …”
Art & Crafts
Apple core – painting
Some apple stamping with the leftovers.
If you cut them different ways – you’ll get a few varied prints/designs
Stamps on the letter A
Torn paper apple craft – this encourages fine motor skills