When you look on pinterest and TPT, you will find TONS of materials for teaching with an apple theme. It is a great teaching unit theme because apples are in season and are a strong part of what we associate with the autumn/fall season. As I dabbled with all my online resources, I found that there wasn’t much out there that was appropriate for my middle school peeps. My Independent Living Skills students are academically functioning between a 1st-3 rd grade level, so teaching about apples would be perfect for their language levels, but I needed to find materials that were not babyish while still covering functional vocabulary.
My ILS SDC teachers are doing agriculture this month for their community skills elective class that they are teaching, so I thought apple farming would work well for planning lessons. Here’s what this dabbling speechie came up with!
I push into the students Community based elective class, so we started the class with watching two short videos about apples. The first video is about the nutrition and the second is about apple farming. After watching the videos, I had the teacher and the 4 teacher aids be in charge of different tables. This class has both of the Independent Living Skills classrooms, so their are 22-24 students in there at one time. All the students are verbal, but do best when there is a small group.
I showed Apple farming video that has really good visuals for vocabulary such as tractor, barrels of apples, orchard, and barn.
I found this book on amazon and decided to buy it because it was such a good price (amazon affiliate link included for your convenience).
At one table station, I had a teacher aid read the book to the students and ask them questions about apples.
The students really enjoyed the pictures and the book was short enough to keep their attention span.
We had a taste test of different apples. This activity covered two objectives. One was to learn about initiating conversation with peers and giving your opinion about something. I made visuals for my students on the autism spectrum that needed a little nudge to share. It worked!! The other objective was to work on math concepts: more, less, and equal.
Apple Unit FREEBIE by Khrys Bosland has an awesome graphing sheet to record which apple was each student’s favorite. I think a few students added two favorites (I wasn’t manning that station).
With my 7th grade RSP language students, we tasted apples and oranges and then compared/contrasted them. We also worked on describing the taste with adjectives. I used the videos above to have them work on memory strategies to recall details from the videos and identifying the main idea from the videos. I have been working on taking notes with just the KEY information with 2-3 words. They had to share facts from the videos using that strategy.
Autumn Apples Speech & Language Pack from Queen’s Speech was a great resource for working on describing apples and the vocabulary words for parts of the apple. The pack includes mini book companions for some other great popular apple books. I just ordered Apples by Gail Gibbons which is a great book to learn facts about apples. There are question/answer cards about the book in this pack as well.
This pack from Rebecca Bettis Apples Everywhere: Cross Curricular Activities was really wonderful to use with my students. It had a variety of activities that I could use across skills and some fun science experiment type activities.
My students that need to work on making complex sentences got to use these pre-write graphs to create a paragraph about apples. They could talk about what you can do with apples, describe an apple, share the nutritious information about apples or apple farming. We are on our first draft and they liked it. It was nice to bring in a healthy snack and watch my students be excited about eating the fruit. This theme was adapted across many of my groups, so I hope you try some of these ideas during the apple harvest season!
Thank you for this Felice! I struggle coming up with good lessons for my middle school life skills students who are functioning at grade level 1-3. This fits the bill!
This is a fabulous resource for a middle school life skills class! Felice, do you have similar themed activities for this caseload?
I have this! https://www.thedabblingspeechie.com/2015/01/interview-and-conversation-skills/
OT and I (speech) did a cotreatment apple activity in our middle school functional skills class. I showed a PP on apples (which I purchased on TPT) the day before. I purchased a Johnny Appleseed book and several apple activities on TPT (sorting, fact/opinion cards about apples, etc.). The fine motor activities included making an apple tree using mini pom poms and tongs. We set up as centers. The lower students loved the find and cover activities (magnets and baking sheet) I found on TPT. We are repeating this lesson with pumpkins in two weeks. Fortunately, the TPT sellers have the same activities with pumpkins.