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Sharron L. McElmeel
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A Is for Apples
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  1. Celebrate National Apple Month. Glean ideas for the celebration from the United States Apple Association's page or their National Apple Month page . Write United States Apple Association's headquarters at: 6707 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 320, McLean, Virginia 22101-4556 or P.O. Box 1137, McLean, Virginia 22101-1137; telephone (703) 442-8850, facsimile (703) 790-0845.

  2. Read a story that uses the apple as an important element. For example, set a zany tone for your classroom by reading "Mrs. Gorf" from Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Avon, 1978). Polish an apple once or twice while reading the chapter and then just before Louis is about to bite into the lone apple on Mrs. Gorf's desk, take a bite of the apple, and finish reading the story.

  3. Use apples for apple math. Each student should have her or his own apple. (See appendix: "Apple Math" and "Apple Story Math.")
    Cut the apple open and:

    • Count the number of seeds per apple. Add the number of seeds in each apple to find the total number of seeds in all apples being examined. Compute the average number of seeds per apple. Determine if each apple had more or less than the average. How many had more seeds than the average? less than the average? the same as the average? (mathematical computation)

    • If five seeds are needed to start each seedling, estimate how many seedlings could be started with these seeds? (estimation)

    • Create additional computations based on the number of seeds, the slices per apple, and weight of the apples. (writing story problems)

  4. Investigate and locate varieties of apples raised and marketed in your area. Some of the varieties you may wish to investigate include:

    Cortland — slightly tart, tender, all-purpose
    Edgewood — sweet, cooking and applesauce
    Fuji — rivals the Granny Smith, all-purpose
    Gala — an all-purpose apple, mild
    Golden Delicious — sweet, juicy, all-purpose
    Grimes Golden — tart, spicy flavor, cooking
    Harelson's — late winter, tart, all-purpose
    Jonathan — mildly tart, rich flavor, all-purpose
    King David — late fall, hard, tart and juicy, all-purpose
    McIntosh — mildly tart, juicy, eating and applesauce
    Minjon — larger than Jonathan, not as tart, all-purpose Red Delicious — sweet, eating
    Rome Beauty — mild, cooking
    Secor — late fall, tangy, cooking
    Sharon — sweet, all-purpose
    Snow — mild, all-purpose
    Stayman — mildly tart; rich, aromatic flavor, all-purpose
    Winesap — late fall, moderately tart, firm, aromatic, all-purpose

    Web Sites:

    Apple Journal. Apple Journal — "A Passion for Apples." Online . Accessed August 2001. — General information, pages for young learners

    Dole Food Company. Cool Stuff About Apples-Menu. Accessed August 2001. -- Includes links to Facts about Apples; History of Apples; Types of Apples; How Apples Are Grown and Harvested; How Apples Are Packaged and Transported; Where Apples Grow; When Apples Are Available; How to Select and Store Apples; Why Apples Are Good For Us — Nutrition News; Fun and Easy Ways to Eat Your "5 a-Day"; Apple Crossword Fun; and 5 Tips from Anthony Apple.

    New York State Apple Association Accessed August 2001. — University of Illinois Extension. Apples & More: Apple Facts Accessed August 2001 — Includes miscellaneous information about apples and links to various categories of information about apples. Links to History & Legends; Apple Facts; Varieties; Growing Apples; Nutrition; Selection & Uses; Recipes; Apple Cider; Preserving Apples; Apple Education; Apple Fun; Apple Orchards; and Apple Festivals.

    Washington Apple Commission. Washington Apples — The Best Apples on Earth. Accessed August 2001. — A number of links for young learners.

  5. Locate the origin of some of the varieties of apples. Many of the most popular North American apple varieties came from 19th-century seedling trees. For example, the McIntosh apple was discovered by John McIntosh in Ontario in 1796. A seedling found in Iowa in 1895 produced the Delicious variety, and the Stayman apple came from a Kansas Winesap apple in 1966. In 1969, Hurricane Camille swept through the orchard of Clyde and Ginger Harvey near Charlottesville, Virginia. A few years later the Harvey's found a tree in their orchard — a tree unlike any other in their orchard. They felt that a seed was probably swept into their orchard during that hurricane. The trees were cultivated and determined to be a unique variety. The Golden Ginger has a yellow appearance, which is believed to have come from its probable Golden Delicious parentage. It is also thought to be genetically linked to the Pippin apple. .Mutations have caused many other varieties, while horticulturists have produced varieties such as the Cortland and the Macoun.

    • Make a chart of the varieties that were in existence during John Chapman's life (September 28, 1774-March 10, 1845).

    • Investigate various varieties of apples.

    International Broadcast Corporation. The History of Apples. Accessed August 2001.

  6. Conduct primary research by interviewing parents, neighbors, and acquaintances regarding a favorite variety of apple and their selection for eating, baking, cooking, and pies. Create graphs and charts to show the results of the research.

  7. Create an apple recipe cookbook. Locate recipes for apple cobbler, apple pie, baked apples, and apple cider. Search through family cookbooks or interview family members to get apple recipes that have been used. Use some of the apple recipes to create lesson activities that include goals for reading directions. (See appendix: "Apple Recipes.")

  8. Read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman (Knopf, 1994; Dragonfly, 1996). The market is closed, so the young narrator wishing to make an apple pie must travel the world to obtain the ingredients. She travels to:
    Italy, for semolina wheat;
    France, to get a chicken that lays eggs;
    Sri Lanka, for cinnamon (bark of the native kurundu tree);
    England, to get milk from an English cow;
    Jamaica, for salt and sugar cane;
    Vermont (USA), for apples.

    • Locate the places mentioned in Priceman's book.

    • Learn about the ingredients mentioned in the text. What is cinnamon? Is there a difference between semolina wheat and the wheat ground to produce the flour our households use?

    • Use the recipe at the end of the book and make the pie. (Use ingredients from the market; it will be easier than traveling the world).

    Marjorie Priceman's book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World is featured in a 30-minute Reading Rainbow® program. That program reads the book and then the host, LeVar Burton, joins chef Curtis Aikens in his kitchen, which is also his laboratory. In that laboratory the chef creates new recipes, and in this segment LeVar gets some cooking tips from the chef. Curtis tells LeVar that when he was younger he hid the fact that he was not able to read. Finally at the age of 26, he asked for help to learn. Viewers also find out how chemistry is used every day at the Turkey Hill ice cream factory. The program is aired regularly over Public Broadcast television stations. The schedule of the Reading Rainbow programming is usually available from your local station. A commercial video of the program may be obtained from Great Plains National (GPN), one of the largest producers of educational videos. (GPN, P.O. Box 80669, Lincoln, NE 68501-0669; 1-800-228-4630). GPN maintains a Web site where videos may also be purchased.

  9. Make applesauce, apple cider, apple crisp, and other apple treats. A reference that might be helpful for finding recipes that might be used in the classroom/library is the Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier (Storey Books, 2001). Books that feature food as an element in the story include the following:

    Hall, Zoe. The Apple Pie Tree. Illustrated by Shari Halpern. Scholastic, 1996.

    Hutchings, Amy. Picking Apples & Pumpkins (Read With Me). Illustrated by Richard Hutchings. Cartwheel, 1994.

    Manushkin, Fran. Latkes and Applesauce. Illustrated by Robin Spowart. Scholastic, 1992.

    Scheer, Julian and Marvin Bileck. Rain Makes Applesauce. Holiday House, 1985.

  10. Plant an apple tree in the schoolyard. Read one or more of the following books:

    Gibbons, Gail. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree. Illustrated by Gail Gibbons. Harcourt, 1984.

    Hogrogian, Nonny. Apples. Illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian. Macmillan, 1972.

    Hutchins, Pat. Ten Red Apples. Greenwillow, 2000.

    Maestro, Betsy. How Do Apples Grow? (Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Book). Illustrated by Giulio Maestro. HarperTrophy, 1993.

    Marzollo, Jean. I Am an Apple. (Hello Science Reader: Level 1). Illustrated by Judith Moffat. Cartwheel, 1997.

    Micucci, Charles. The Life and Times of the Apple. Orchard, 1995; pb.

    Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Apple Trees (Early Bird Nature Books). Illustrated by William Muñoz. Lerner, 1997.

    Saunders-Smith, Gail. Apple Trees (Plants Growing and Changing). Pebble Books, 1997.

    Schnieper, Claudia. An Apple Tree Through the Year. Illustrated by Othmar Baumli. Carolrhoda, 1988.

    Schnieper, Claudia. An Apple Tree Through the Year. Illustrated by Othmar Baumli. Carolrhoda, 1988. 11)

  11. Visit an apple orchard and read one or both of the following books:

    Rockwell, Anne. Apples and Pumpkins. Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Macmillan, 1989.

    Slawson, Michele Benoit. Apple Picking Time. Illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. Dragonfly, 1998.

  12. Learn about Johnny Appleseed. Read one or more of the following books:

    Aliki. The Story of Johnny Appleseed. Illustrated by Aliki. Aladdin, 1987; pb.Benet, Stephen Vincent, and Rosemary Benet. Johnny Appleseed. Illustrated by Steven Schindler. Margaret McElderry, 2001. Demuth, Patricia. Johnny Appleseed. Illustrated by Michael Montgomery. Grosset & Dunlap, 1996.

    Glass, Andrew. Folks Call Me Appleseed John. Doubleday, 1995. (Author's note relates facts about Chapman and includes information about Glass's process of turning the facts into a tale. End papers feature maps of Chapman's travels.)

    Harrison, David L. Johnny Appleseed: My Story (Step into Reading®, Step 2). Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Random House, 2001.

    Kellogg, Steven. Johnny Appleseed: A Tall Tale. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Morrow, 1988.

    Lindbergh, Reeve. Johnny Appleseed: A Poem. Paintings by Kathy Jakobsen. Little, Brown, 1993; pb. (maps on end papers of hardback edition Little, Brown, 1990; available in video format from Weston Woods) Moses, Will. Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend. Philomel, 2001.

    Web Sites:

    The Processed Apples Institute. Apple Juice on the Internet: Johnny Appleseed. Accessed August 2001. A brief summary of Johnny Chapman's role in propagating apples throughout the East and Midwest.

    Johnny Appleseed Festival. Johnny Appleseed Festival Home Page. Accessed August 2001. A site devoted to the annual festival held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Links to information about Johnny Chapman.

    Appleseed & Co. J. Appleseed & Co. Publisher and Distributor of Spiritual Growth Literature. J. Accessed August 2001. NOTE: This site is openly a site intended to distribute literature about the Swedenborg religion. However, the "history" page is very complete and comprehensible and does not solicit members to its religious persuasion.

  13. The real story of John Chapman has been told in a book for intermediate readers, The Real Johnny Appleseed by Laurie Lawlor, illustrated by Mary Thompson (Whitman, 1995). Lawlor identifies and debunks the legendary stories about Johnny Appleseed and researches the real life of John Chapman. After reading Lawlor's book and several of the more legend based tales cited above, make a chart separating the fact from the fiction in the life of Johnny Appleseed/Johnny Chapman. (See appendix: "Fact or Fable: John Chapman — Johnny Appleseed.")

    Web Site:

    Find-a-Grave Site Accessed August 2001. Links to a picture of Johnny Chapman's grave site in Fort Wayne.

    Noble County, Ohio Web site. John Chapman: Johnny Appleseed Memorial. Accessed August 2001. Site shows a stone memorial to Johnny Chapman/Johnny Appleseed.

    Vaudo, Mrs. at Seventh Street Elementary. Johnny Appleseed Hunt. Accessed August 2001. Site asks questions about the life of Johnny Chapman (known as Johnny Appleseed) and links to resources on the World Wide Web that will help students find the answers to the questions posed on the site.

    Storytelling Connections:
    Tall tales, such as those told about John Chapman, are stories that were passed along from one person to another. Each time the story is retold, it grows and changes to fit the storyteller. In 1973, a small group of storytellers gathered in Jonesboro, Tennessee, and originated the National Storytelling Festival. Less than a dozen years later the festival was attracting almost 5,000 participants. The festival is held in October of each year. The group exists to encourage storytellers. If you would like to know more about the storytelling festival, write: NAPPS, Box 112, Jonesboro, TN 37659, or visit the Web site devoted to the festival. (See appendix: "Storytelling Hints.")

  14. A reference for older readers or teachers who would like some background about Johnny Appleseed is William Ellery Jones's Johnny Appleseed: A Voice in the Wilderness, The Story of the Pioneer John Chapman: A Tribute. (Swedenborg, 2000). William Ellery Jones is a renowned expert on John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed. Jones has established the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center and Outdoor Historical Drama in Mansfield, Ohio.

  15. Compare and contrast the character of Johnny Appleseed with Miss Rumphius from the picture book by Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius (Viking, 1982). Miss Rumphius is based on a woman, Hilda, who did plant lupine seeds wherever she went. Hilda lived in Maine, where she turned 100 on July 5, 1988. In the story Hilda, as Alice Rumphius, passes on her grandfather's advice to make the world a more beautiful place to her grand-niece.

    • Create a Venn diagram to help visualize the comparison of Johnny Appleseed and Miss Rumphius. (See appendix: "Venn Diagram: Johnny Appleseed and Miss Rumphius.")

    • Write a plan for making the world a better place.

    • Locate the birth and death dates of Johnny Chapman and the birth dates of Hilda (see Miss Rumphius, above) and determine if they could have possibly known one another.

  16. Study the growth of plants, how they are propagated: seeds, seedlings, and graphing. Read the following books to begin a discussion about the propagation of apples (and other plants) and how seeds grow:

    Bulla, Clyde Robert. A Tree Is a Plant. (Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Science). Illustrated by Stacey Schuett. HarperCollins, 2001. (Originally published in 1960, this edition is newly illustrated.)

    Carle, Eric. The Tiny Seed. Picture Book, 1987.

    Demi. The Empty Pot. H. Holt, 1990.

    Gibbons, Gail. From Seed to Plant. Holiday House, 1993.

    Hall, Zoe. The Surprise Garden. Illustrated by Shari Halpern. Scholastic, 1998.

    Hogrogian, Nonny. Apples. Macmillan, 1972

    Jordan, Helene J. How a Seed Grows. HarperCollins, 1992.

    Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. An Apple a Day: From Orchard to You. Cobblehill, 1990.

  17. William Tell is the Swiss folk hero, who according to legend, shot an apple off the head of his son. Read about him in: Small, Terry. The Legend of William Tell. Bantam, 1991. The tale is told in rhyme.

    • Use the text of the story to choreograph a RAP version of the tale.
    • Use the text for a readers' theater production of the tale.
    • Adapt the text into a script for a dramatic interpretation.

  18. Atalanta is the focal character in a myth that has a Greek princess being rejected by her father, raised by bears, and later returned to her rightful place in the kingdom. She refuses to marry unless she finds a man that can beat her in a foot race. Melanion is determined to win her hand in marriage and solicits the help of Aphrodite, who provided him with three golden apples to entice Atalanta. During the race Melanion would roll one of the golden apples forward, forcing a curious Atalanta to stop and pick the apple up. Those few seconds allowed Melanion to gain an advantage and eventually win the foot race and thus Atalanta's hand in marriage. Read about Atalanta in the following books.

    Climo, Shirley. Atalanta's Race: A Greek Myth. Illustrated by Alexander Koshkin. Clarion, 1995.

    Galloway, Priscilla. Atalanta: The Fastest Runner in the World. Illustrated by Normand Cousineau. Annick Press, 1995.

  19. The apple plays an important role in the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Some useful versions of the tale are:

    Grimm, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Snow White. Translated by Paul Hein. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Little, Brown, 1974; reissue, 2000.

    Grimm, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Snow White. Edited by Josephine Poole. Illustrated by Angela Barrett. Reissue, Knopf, 1999.

    Grimm, William and Jacob Grimm. Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs. Translated by Randall Jarrell. Illustrated by Nancy Eckhold Burkert. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1972; reissued, 1987.

  20. Apple picking is a topic in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy (p.241), and apples with cloves are a topic in Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods (p. 78)
    Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Farmer Boy. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 1953 (1933).
    Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House in the Big Woods. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 1953 (1932).

  21. Apples show up in many places in literature. Sometimes the apple is merely an object to be eaten, the object of a trip to an orchard, or a magical object in a myth or legend. The following books could be read aloud or they could be put in an "apple reading center." Locate the following books in your local library or bookstore.

    Asch, Frank. Oats & Wild Apples. Holiday House, 1988

    Blake, Quentin. Quentin Blake's ABC. Knopf, 1989.

    Carr, Jan. Dappled Apples. Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue. Holiday House, 2001

    Dragonwagon, Crescent. Alligator Arrived With Apples: A Potluck Alphabet Feast. Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. Macmillan, 1987.

    Fowler, Allan. Apples of Your Eye. Children's Press, 1994.

    Gibbons, Gail. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree. Illustrated by Gail Gibbons. Harcourt, 1984; reprint 1988 pb.

    Harshman, Marc, and Cheryl Ryan. Red Are the Apples. Illustrated by Wade Zahares. Harcourt, 2001.

    Hall, Zoe. The Apple Pie Tree. Illustrated by Shari Halpern. Scholastic, 1996.

    Hogrogian, Nonny. Apples. Illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian. Macmillan, 1972.

    Hutchings, Amy and Richard Hutchings. Growing Apples and Pumpkins. Illustrated by Richard Hutchings. Scholastic, 2000.

    Hutchins, Pat. Ten Red Apples. Greenwillow, 2000.

    Lionni, Leo. In the Rabbitgarden. Pantheon, 1975.

    Maccarone, Grace. Oink! Moo! How Do You Do? Illustrated by Hans Wilhelm. Scholastic, 1994.

    Maestro, Betsy. How Do Apples Grow? (Let's-Read-And-Find-Out Book). Illustrated by Giulio Maestro. HarperCollins, 1992; HarperTrophy, 1993.

    Mahy, Margaret. The Tree Doctor. Illustrated by Wendy Hodder. Children's Press, 1987.

    Marzollo, Jean. I Am an Apple. (Hello Science Reader: Level 1). Illustrated by Judith Moffat. Cartwheel, 1997.

    Mayer, Marianna. Iduna and the Magic Apples. Illustrated by Laszlo Gal. Macmillan, 1988. (a Norse Myth)

    Micucci, Charles. The Life and Times of the Apple. Orchard, 1992; 1995 pb.

    Palacios, Argentina. Peanut Butter, Apple Butter, Cinnamon Toast: Food Riddles for You to Guess. Raintree, 1990.

    Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Apple Trees (Early Bird Nature Books). Illustrated by William Muñoz. Lerner, 1997.

    Rickert, Janet Elizabeth. Russ and the Apple Tree Surprise. Illustrated by Pete McGahan. Woodbine House, 1999.

    Robbins, Ken. Apples. Atheneum, 2002.

    Rockwell, Anne. Apples and Pumpkins. Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Macmillan, 1989.

    Ruben, Patricia. Apples to Zippers: An Alphabet Book. Doubleday, 1976.

    Saunders-Smith, Gail. Apple Trees (Plants Growing and Changing). Pebble Books, 1997.

    Schertle, Alice. Down the Road. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Browndeer Press, 1995.

    Schnieper, Claudia. An Apple Tree Through the Year. Illustrated by Othmar Baumli. Carolrhoda, 1988.

    Slawson, Michele Benoit. Apple Picking Time. Illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. Crown, 1994; Dragonfly, 1998; pb.

    Tashjian, Virginia A. Three Apples Fell From Heaven: Armenian Tales Retold. Illustrated by Nonny Hogrogrian. Little, Brown, 1971.
    Tryon, Leslie. Albert's Field Trip. Atheneum, 1993.

    Turner, Ann. Apple Valley Year. Illustrated by Sandi Wickersham Resnick. Macmillan, 1993.

Address for Further information:
U.S. Apple Association (formerly International Apple Institute), 6707 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 320, McLean, Virginia 22101-4556 or P.O. Box 1137, McLean, Virginia 22101-1137 ph. (703) 442-8850. Online Accessed August 2001.

(Literature FrameworksA Plan for Integration and A Is for Apple are adapted from the introduction and chapter 1 of Literature Frameworks, revised edition to be released by Linworth Publishing in 2002. Linworth Publishing, 480 East Wilson Bridge Rd. Ste. L, Worthington, OH 43085 or online at http://www.linworth.com. The excerpts are reprinted with permission.)

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