Saturday, September 20, 2014

Apple Blog Hop ~ Rehearsing Learning with Puppets

Hi, Teaching Friends!

It's apple season again, and time for another great blog hop!

Do you love reading aloud to your class? I think it's one of the coziest, calmest, and happiest times in the day. It's also a time that's chock full of teaching opportunities, making it all the more important to choose read aloud books carefully and pre-read them thoroughly. (I could share a cautionary tale about reading Tomie DePaola's  Bill and Pete to a class without pre-reading ... but that's another story for another day...)

Here's a book that I've found to be a great teaching tool for this time of year, Amy and Richard Hutchings' Picking Apples and Pumpkins.


There are a number of other good books with similar titles out there, but what makes this one my favorite is the fact that it's illustrated with photos. I think that really brings the book to life and encourages children to make comprehension-building connections with their own lives. I'm also partial to this book because it was photographed at Battleview Orchards, which is only about 45 minutes away from where I live here in New Jersey. We've been apple and pumpkin picking there with our own children!

After you read, you might want to try comparing apples and pumpkins, using one of these great ideas from Pinterest. These fruits are a natural for using Venn diagrams!

Here's a great one from Simply Second Grade ...

...and another variation is this double bubble thinking map from My First Grade Backpack. This one will also leave you with a useful anchor chart for your fall writing center.

One way that I've enjoyed extending the value of read alouds is to make simple puppets and use them to rehearse the language and concepts of the book. Puppets are fun, engaging, and often just what's needed to build confidence and speaking skills in your more introverted students.

I like to keep the puppet-making simple, like these quick-and-easy construction paper and popsicle stick ones. But don't stop there ... add in a literacy component!

Let's have a show! Using dialogue is a great way to cement learning from a read aloud and to master new content area vocabulary. In kindergarten and first grade, it could be as simple as partnering students and having them act out little conversations, using  the new vocabulary from Picking Apples and Pumpkins.

After a minute or two of conversation, switch partners for a new talk and new practice. Quick-paced, fun, and effective practice of new vocab and concepts!

With more advanced writers, try having partners write the dialogue. The anchor charts above would be good graphic organizers for this. Keep a copy of the book you read as well as other relevant books handy for inspiration and reference, and remember to leave time for performances, too!

Here's another way for your students to practice their learning about apples and pumpkins.  With this brand new set of 20 riddle cards and a four-in-a-row game, your students will practice inference and build vocabulary like pulp, core, vine, harvest, and 16 more. Check it out here at Teachers Pay Teachers or here at Teachers Notebook.

Would you like to win a copy of this riddle set? I'm giving away three during this blog hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Time to get hopping to Kooky Kinders for more great apple fun! Just click on the cute owls and enjoy the rest of the blog hop!


Happy Teaching!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly! I love creating and using riddles to keep the wheels always turning in those little brains!

  2. Thank you for your wonderful ideas in using the apple theme.

  3. I agree that is a great book! I love the idea of using puppets to practice the new learning! Pinned your post!
    Not very fancy


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...