Almost September already!
Can you believe that September is almost here? I can almost feel the change in the weather and the crisper mornings. I am excited about the activities that I get to do with my students in the coming days. With Johnny Appleseed’s birthday being a culminating event on the 26th I spend time focusing on differentiated apple activities throughout the month.
Differentiation, as we already know, is all about meeting the student where they are in their learning. With the pandemic, the need for differentiation, especially in kindergarten, has magnified. We are now faced with students who completely skipped preschool and little ones whose parents opted to delay kindergarten for a year. Our students are at so many different levels that it sometimes feels like we are teaching in 4 to 5 different classrooms each day. I have always focused on differentiated activities, but this year it was absolutely necessary to introduce even more and that started with my differentiated apple activities.
Differentiated Apple Math Games
Math is one of the areas where I notice the most need for differentiation. Some students are ready for skills like subitizing and ten frames while others can only work with actual numbers when counting.
With my differentiated apple games, students will all feel like they are playing the same game as their peers, however, because there are different cards for each type of game, each student gets what they need. Whether they are playing a board game or Apple Bingo or Apple Bump, they will feel included and will be learning all at the same time.
All I have to do to easily differentiate the games is switch out the apple cards! Easy peasy!
I pick easy-to-learn games at the beginning of the year. I usually introduce and play them in my small or whole groups first and then let students play them on their own.
This board game is a favorite! I found that printing out directions with pictures is a game-changer! No more questions from students – really!
I have 2 different versions – one for numbers 1-10 and one for numbers 1-20. The cards can be switched out to practice subitizing, number recognition, tally marks, or ten frames.
We love playing apple bingo as a class! I change it up by switching out the calling cards from ten frames to tally marks, to subitizing.
Apple Bump and Connect 4 are 2 more games that are easy for my young learners to learn and once they learn them they love playing them! And the best part is, I can just switch out the skills as the year progresses and the students don’t have to re-learn a new game.
To differentiate these games, I just use different apple cards and I have game boards for numbers 1-10 and for numbers 1-20.
Differentiated Apple Literacy Puzzles
One of the best ways to start my school year is having my students work with puzzles. I always use my differentiated apple activities puzzles for letter skills early in September.
The great thing is that most students have completed some type of puzzle activity, even if they have never been in an organized school. This means that they can do the activity with little assistance if the skill is at a level they understand.
Since it’s the beginning of the school year, we work on recognizing upper and lowercase letters, beginning sounds, and rhyming words.
Again, students feel like they are all doing the same activity as their peers even though the skills are differentiated.
I use 2 differentiated sets of puzzles. The first set is color-coded. The apple puzzles are different colors. This set of apple puzzles matches by color as well as the skill, therefore giving young learners help in narrowing down which apple halves go together. It is not as overwhelming for them and they can learn the skill as they are doing the puzzles by matching the colors together.
The second set is all one color. This set of apple puzzles is more challenging. Students will have to know the skill in order to match the puzzles correctly (they can not get help by matching the colors since all the apples are red).
After students are familiar with the puzzles, I add a simple exit ticket page to check their understanding.
Apple Science Experiments & STEM Challenges
I love for my students to get hands on with their learning. We always completed plenty of STEM experiments and the month of September is no different. I recently shared with you several ideas of all the apple activities centered on experiments in a blog. I mix these experiments in with both full class and small group time to keep students actively participating.
Click here to see how to set up simple, engaging apple science experiments that use common household items you will most likely already have available. There are a number from which to choose, so you are sure to find ones for the level of your students.
If you would like to use any of the differentiated activities with your students, they are available here or by clicking the links below.
Products mentioned in this blog post
Differentiated Apple Math Cards & Games
Differentiated Uppercase & Lowercase Alphabet Apple Puzzles
Differentiated Beginning Sounds Apple Puzzles
Differentiated Rhyming Pictures Apple Puzzles
Apple Science Experiments & STEM Challenges
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