Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Day In The Orchard

What better way to learn about fruits that grow in the orchard than actually going TO a real orchard to pick fruit??!! And there is no better fruit in season to pick than Fuji apples in Japan! I could not have timed the sequence of curriculum days and field trip day any more perfectly. We learned all about apples on Day 6 (Mother Goose Tme) which fell on Thursday, and since we learned about leaves the day before, I combined concepts in a couple different center activities. 

First, on "leaf" day, they made the adorable hungry caterpillar leaves. The half of my class who returned from last school year remembered doing The Very Hungry Caterpillar unit, and one student even remembered that "on Monday, the caterpillar ate through one apple." I had jar of random beads that I mixed in with the red beads provided in the curriculum box. Only one child chose to make their caterpillar look like the one in the book, everyone else chose their favorite colors. 

On "apple" day, I mixed in some counting apples and leaves manipulatives with a basket full of foam leaf beads, and also hid the MGT "Aa" apples in the basket for the kids to find. They made groups of three, and also used ice cube trays to make leaf & apple patterns.

Another favorite of "apple" day was in the introduction of the MGT story book, "Johnny" about Johnny Appleseed. There are SO many meaningful learning opportunities embedded in this book! My students were excited to learn about maps and different states in America. There's so many ways to differentiate number concepts in the illustrations. We counted groups of three, groups of five, and some of older students (5 years old) very quickly grasped counting multiples of 5 (apples on the tree) and 10 all the way up to 30. They thought Johnny Appleseed was a pretty cool guy!

Friday it was off to the Kobe Fruit and Flower Park to do a little apple picking ourselves! The park has beautiful flowers, grand buildings, a Koi pond, a go-cart track, and a play ground, as well as peach, pear, plum, grape, and apple orchards that are open for public picking. The trees are pruned so that fruit is easily accessible for people of all heights. Before I released them pick their apples, I reminded them about good fruit and bad fruit (from our Fruit of the Spirit devotional) and we talked about checking to make sure only the good fruit was chosen. They were so proud of their apple harvest! 

After they picked the apples, we all got to sit down for a little taste test. Fuji apples, fresh off the tree in Japan, are nothing short of heavenly! 
"Kairu sensei, it's so yum!"

It was hard work, exhausting, and fun. Everyone got to take an apple home to eat with their family and share about their day in orchard. 

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