October 14, 2017

An "a-peeling" fun friday!

Students returned from their Thanksgiving weekend ready to get back to work and get back to work we did!  

We've been talking about what good readers do and the kids know that good readers, viewers AND listeners ask questions. In fact, we're actually reviewing a communication bulletin board set I have as part of our Morning Message.  There's no room for it on our walls this year,  so I took photos of it.  It's actually working out quite nicely because each morning we look at the previous photos and then add a new one. 

This week, the boys and girls learned about asking questions for clarification, piggybacking an idea and listening effectively.  

These all came in handy when this mystery package  appeared in our room on Wednesday morning.  I asked the kids, "What questions do you have about this?" "What do you think it might be?"   Of course, we quickly realized that with so little information (dog wrapping paper, a pink bow and a rattling sound) you didn't have much to go on!  

Buuuuuuttttt!!!! If you removed a wee bit of the paper, listened carefully to some casually mentioned clues, you could formulate more questions and begin to narrow things down.  It was a great way to teach my students that good readers/listeners/viewers use their own prior knowledge plus evidence presented to draw conclusions.  Without those two things, your thinking is just all over the place. This is one of the reasons we often abandon books and movies:  we become confused and uninterested because there's not enough "stuff" to keep us engaged. Like nachos without cheese...what's the point?  

One of the big, big clues to what was in the box came later in the day on Wednesday when I casually handed out the booklet pictured below. We didn't even start it, I just gave it out and ask the kids to put it in their desks for use later in the week.  My little detectives read the title and I could see the light-bulbs go off!

As the package was unwrapped and the pieces all fell into place, the kids realized it was indeed an apple peeler and I explained that we would be making applesauce as part of our Fun Friday activity!  I also explained that we'd be writing out the process.  We'd use the little flip-booklet I gave out to become familiar with procedural writing.  

We're really only dipping our toes into this writing format now. We'll come back to it in December, but the applesauce activity is a really rich learning opportunity, it seems foolish not to take advantage of the chance to at least introduce it.  

So off we went on Friday!  I got everything prepped before the kids arrived so that when they came in on Friday morning, the applesauce was already cooking. It takes a few hours and the last thing I want to do is have kids go home for the weekend without trying the applesauce because it wasn't cooked!  Miss Penwarden was kind enough to film this "behind the scenes" video so I could show the boys and girls what happens before the pot goes on the stove.  

After watching the video, we gathered together and looked at the next steps.  There's a copy of the recipe at the bottom of this blog post if you'd like to make the applesauce yourself!  

Around 1:30 on Friday afternoon, we ate our applesauce and I think it was the best batch yet!  Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and that was my goal. We talked about what to do if you don't care for it and let's face it, it might not be for everyone!  I told the kids, "I don't want to know if it's the worst thing you've ever tasted."  We reviewed how to discreetly dispose of your applesauce and still be positive about the experience itself and we talked about Grandma's adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." 

Overall, it was a really fun day! I loved that so many kids decided on their own to bring in their own aprons!  We'll have lots of opportunities this year to cook together. I love sharing these experiences with my students!  

Next week, we'll finish up the applesauce booklet and bring them home to share with our families. As I mentioned, we'll come back to procedural writing in December when we write about what Mrs. Claus does on Christmas Eve!  


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