Apple starts with A

This week it is back to the normal routine with the start of Fall Story times.  Not much has changed other that the books!  Oh, I do have a 'friend' helping me with story times this session.  He is a dragon named Sparky.  I tried for several days to come up with a good voice for Sparky, but I found that I really didn't like any, plus I was rather awful at moving his mouth while making him talk.  So, Sparky is the quiet library dragon, which works well if I need to remind kids to be quiet I can tell them to be like Sparky.  He is also my collector of name tags.  He likes to eat them, so at the end of the class the kids all feed their name tag to Sparky.  Most thought that was fun, especially when he spit them out.  They were also fascinated if the played peek-a-boo with them. 

This session we are using books from the New York Public Library's list of 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know.  There are some great books on this list for story time, many I have used in the past.  Each week I will read 1 book from that list.  I used those books to plan my themes this fall.  

Anyway, for Week 1 we read about Apples.  That meant our letter for the day was A.  A is a pretty popular letter.  Many kids have names that either start or end with A, so that was a crowd pleaser in itself.  They also came up with Apples fairly quickly when I asked for a word that started with A.

The first book that we read was from the NYPL list and it was Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Kids love this book, it's no wonder that it is on the list.  I like to have kids help me with this book.  They have to tell me what the caterpillar is eating.  They were really good at shouting out the food as I pointed to it.  There is only one apple in this story, but I didn't hear any complaints.

Our second book was Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington.  This is a nice, simple story all about Annie and her apple farm.  I like that it lists the different things apples can be used for, like cider, muffins, pies, etc. and also shows how they can be sold at the farmer's market.  We have several farmer's markets around here, so I like that kids can see the produce they get at the market comes right from a farm.  This book also has recipes for using apples.  And the text is fairly short, great for the 2 and 3 crowd.

The last story we did was a flannel board that I made for Pat Hutchin's Ten Red Apples.  Since ten apples are a lot to get through, I changed it to five.  I like this story because the kids can help me count the apples as they get eaten by the various animals.  We also do all of the animal sounds as they come to eat the apples, so that is fun for the kids, they were very enthusiastic with their animal sounds this week.

One rhyme that we did was Way Up High in the Apple Tree.  I've seen this many places, and our Rock-A-Bye Tales group (age 6 - 24 months) uses it weekly, so many of the kids were thrilled to hear something they knew so well.  It goes:
Way up high in the apple tree,
Two red apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could,
Down came the apples,
Mmmmm were they good!

I also found a song by Dr. Jean on her Happy Everything album called Apple Tree.  The song goes much like the rhyme but starts with 1 apple and counts up to 5 limes.  It was a good song since they were familiar with the rhyme and the repetitiveness helped them do the movements.

We also sang Raffi's Shake My Silles Out.  This is a story time staple that I use quite a bit with the shaker eggs.  It is a good song to get the kids up and moving.  The shaker eggs are not really required, but I like to do something like shakers or scarves each week.

Our last song was another Raffi, Bumping Up and Down.  It's about bumping along in the wagon, so it is a great bouncing song.  You also get to do some hammering and pliers work when the wagon breaks.  It wasn't really along the theme, but I figured you need a wagon to haul your apples around, right?

The craft this week also featured the letter A.  I came across this craft featuring a lowercase 'a', but I thought it needed a little more.  Using an uppercase 'A' we also made an apple tree.  The As were made using our Ellison dye cuts and the apples on the tree are just red dot stickers.  It was a fairly simple craft, always good to go simple the first week especially.  All the kids needed to do was glue the pieces on, add the stickers, then color as desired.  Then, of course, they had to show Sparky their craft so he could reward them with a sticker!   

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