Saturday, October 19, 2013

Apples, Farms, & Corn Mazes

Apple Glasses help us prepare for our apple picking field trip. We made a list of all the things we might see at the apple orchard and talked about specific apple vocabulary (core, seed, Macintosh). We explored the life cycle of an apple tree. We shared stories of apple trees in our yards or places we have seen them. Everyone was excited to visit a real apple orchard and pick apples.

Maine has ample apple trees and in our region we are lucky to have several pick your own apples orchards. It has always been a favorite field experience for kids and families alike. I always pick a giant basket for the class and when we return we sort, graph, explore, eat apples, and make apple prints until they are all gone! Some years we are lucky enough to press some apples and make apple cider too.
 Farms and farming topics, vocabulary, and schema building often seem to be a natural flow following apples and since we always try to visit a corn maze and farm after the crows have eaten most the fallen apples and pumpkins are a vibrant ripe orange. For reading groups my student made take home "Baa Baa Black Sheep" books and pointers to practice one to one matching and fluency. They loved their pointers! I explain to them that when they slow down and point (even if they can read the words) it will build their spelling knowledge when they slow down and match one to one. I find front loading those early concept of print tasks in the fall, established good habits and by the time students are reading level 3 they are much more comfortable removing their finger and one to one matching without it, while maintaining fluency and the ability to problem solve words.

The corn maze is so much fun! We practice mapping skills, following directions, team work, and have a great time while building our vocabulary and knowledge about corn, pumpkins, and all things autumn that become part of our histories and traditions and encourages students to reflect upon the natural world and their local ecology when they think about traditions and seasons.

The tractor ride sure is a highlight too. next stop the pumpkin patch and everyone bringing home their own pumpkin from the patch. Such a wonderful time of year to be outside and enjoy the that it is half way through November, it is getting dark around 5pm so getting outside often is important to all of us!

Doreen Cronin RULES!

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