You can’t go wrong with the classics. If that’s not enough of a reason to consider apples for a classroom theme, here are a few more reasons:
- There is nothing so easy to find as apple decorations. Choose apples and you can get your room put together fast. There are stickers, pocket charts, notepads, library pockets, substitute folders, planbooks, homework passes — really, it’s hard to think of any classroom need that doesn’t come in apple designs. You will also find many different styles, from Debbie Mum and Susan Winget’s sophisticated designs to the rollicking cartoon apples of Carson-Dellosa and Trend.
- Arkansas’s state flower is the apple blossom; Michigan, too. Several states, including New York and Vermont, have the apple as a state fruit. Seize the opportunity to cover one of the state symbols early.
- Real apples are inexpensive and readily available, unlike, say, real monkeys.
Here are a few of the bulletin board choices:
- Scholastic’s Giant Apple Basket! Bulletin Board has a big basket full of warm-colored apples. Put student names on the apples and put this on your door to welcome the new students.
- Apple Time! Calendar Bulletin Board with the goofy Teachers’ Friend grin and all the calendar pieces you’ll need.
- Happy Classroom Apples are giant apple slices with messages like “Take turns!” and “Show kindness!” They make a fine bulletin board, but we also like them for a big book — just laminate and put them together with metal rings.
- Carson-Dellosa’s D.J.Inkers Cottage Window looks like a window in your wall, and opens up to show a happy bear with bright apples.
One nice bulletin board option is the Giant Apple Basket. The basket has a welcome sign, and you can put the kids’ names on the apples and group them in and around the basket on the door for the beginning of the school year. But you won’t have to put it away afterwards. There are lots more ways to use this set.
I like this bulletin board set for vocabulary. You can collect vocabulary words in the basket all through the year, writing them on the apples.
It works well for a math terms wall, too. Or write the names of books the class has read on the apples. Or the names of important historical figures as you study them. Chemical elements. Anything where you want to be able to say, “Look at all the things we’ve learned. Remember the lessons leading up to this? Now we’re adding something.” The very process of adding to the apple basket helps reinforce learning and increase confidence with a sense of accomplishment.
Shapes Etc. has a fun Apple Pie Center idea. It’s an adaptable learning game that’s fun to make.
The CTP apple number line alternates red and green apples for skip counting and odd/even work.
Another of our favorites is the D. J. Inkers Happy Helper Bears set. This set takes the Apple Bear who already looked good on cutouts, name plates, and more, and makes it into a practical job chart.
This set has a worm in the apple, so it’s a good one if you like to do bookworm reading boards, with “A Bushel of Books” or “Get Your Teeth Into a Good Book” or “Be a Bookworm.”
Other apple sayings for your bulletin board:
- “A Bunch of Good Apples,”
- “The New Crop,”
- “The Pick of the Crop,”
- “The Apples of [teacher's name]‘s Eye,”
- “Apples Up On Top,”
- “Apple Polishers,”
- “The Apple Corps”
Besides the decorations, there are lots of fun and worthwhile classroom activities involving apples.
- Use red, yellow, and green Apple Cut-Outs for patterning practice.
- Make your Venn diagrams with big apple cutouts.
- Use any of the many apple cutouts to make centers.
- Read the story of Johnny Appleseed. We like Steven Kellogg’s picture book version, which you’ll find if you click that link. You can also use an online version for emergent readers, with buttons to push to have the sentences read aloud by the computer. Check out our Johnny Appleseed Lesson Plans for lots of ideas and links.
- Study up on apples to find out what regions of the country are best for growing apples (Ms. Pinkerton, this regions tip is for you!) Here is an early-reader page on the subject that includes read-aloud buttons, a quiz, and links about apples. We see this as a good computer center for young students who need more practice, or for the youngest ones who are ready to move ahead of their classmates.
- Arkansas, where I live, is a great place to grow apples. The pomologists at the University of Arkansas have come up with fine new varieties, but the Arkansas Black may be our most famous apple. It was developed in the 1870s in Benton County, and is considered one of the most beautiful apples, and one of the best keepers. See what the Arkansas Encyclopedia says about the Arkansas apple industry here.
- Read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman and find all the locations of the raw ingredients on the map. Check out our lesson plans for this book.
- Compare the nutrition information for apples with labels on other favorite snacks.
- Use apples for float/sink lessons. Here is a link to a basic lesson on the subject.
- When cutting up apples for the other lessons on this page, first set one slice aside untouched in a Ziplock bag. Once all the activities have been finished, do the same with one of the much-handled slices. Observe the two slices for a week and notice the differences. Use these observations to lead into a lesson on the importance of handwashing.
- Bring in some apples (or have the kids each bring one) and measure them. Consider all the different ways you can measure the apples, and line them up from biggest to smallest, changing the line order if you need to when you change the way you measure them.
- Have each student guess the number of seeds in his or her apple. Cut them in half across to see the star shape and count the seeds, comparing the actual number with the guesses. Young children can make counting books with their seeds.
- Cut apples up for fractions practice.
- Weigh the apples and determine how many apples there are per pound. You can set the scales up as a center and let all the kids weigh apples and give their results on this question. Then add and divide to determine the average.
- Cut up the apples and see how many apples (or how many pounds of apples) will fit in a pie plate.
- Find out how many apples there are in a peck (2 gallons) or a bushel (4 pecks), and sing Frank Loesser’s “A Bushel and a Peck” to help those measures stay in the kids’ minds.
- Divide into teams and have each team use the numbers they’ve come up with to construct apple word problems for the other team and have a great math bee.
- Sort the apples and brainstorm all the different ways to describe the apples. Give each student a chance to describe one apple so thoroughly that the others can guess which particular apple is being described. Do this orally or in writing, depending on the skills you want to work on.
- Invite a pomologist or apple grower to visit the class and talk about apples. Practice listening, taking notes, outlining, and writing a summary from notes. I like to use a pocket chart for this, so the kids can see how the shape of the outline and of the different styles of notetaking can help make the information quick to grasp.
- Cut apples in different ways, dip the cut sides in paint, and make apple prints with them.
- Apples are classic still life objects to draw.
Puts you in the mood for school, doesn’t it?