For the past week we have been reading the book Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins. This is a fun, rhyming, rhythmic text that children can easily begin to "read" along with an adult. It also reinforces math concepts in that one apple is removed from the tree on each page. Children can predict how many apples will be left on the next page.
When I plan to add an interactive activity to our story time, I always spend about a week just reading the text to the children so they can become familiar with it without the distraction of props or materials. Then I add the props to our story time the following week.
This summer I found some printable materials to go with this book at Hubbard's Cupboard. (A great website if you have never checked it out.) CLICK HERE to go to the page about Ten Red Apples. You will have to scroll down to where the pocket chart activity is and you will find the printables to download. I loved the way this activity was described at Hubbard's Cupboard; however, I enjoy making hand-sewn props for my classroom. So instead of using the apple cards in the printables, I sewed up some felt apple beanbags. I used this pattern from Making Learning Fun to make the felt apples. (Sidenote: When I make things with felt I have found that I love working with wool blend felt so much more than the cheap acrylic felt you can usually find at craft stores. If you are interested in purchasing the "good stuff", I always order online from Colonial Crafts. They ship superfast and their prices are reasonable. Their wool "squares" are 12 X 18 inch rectangles which is much bigger than the typical acrylic pieces.)
For our group activity, I placed the ten felt apples into a basket along with the "character cards" I printed from Hubbard's Cupboard. The children passed the basket around the circle, each child taking one item out of the basket. Then I read the book out loud. When I read the part about an animal eating an apple, the child holding that animal card stood up and took an apple from someone holding an apple. Then they returned to their place on the line with the apple and animal card. We tried this for the first time today and the children really loved this activity. In a week or so I will put it out on the shelf for them to use as an independent activity.
Here is a close-up of the little apple bean-bags. I was very happy with how they turned out. I took the brown stem pieces and folded them in thirds and hand-stitched them to make them more "stemmy". Then I inserted the stem and a felt leaf between the two layers of red apple and zig-zagged around the edges, leaving a small opening for adding lentils. Then I zig-zagged the opening closed. I just love these little apples.