Apple Tasting in the Name of Words
Once kids have been back to school for a while, October turns the focus to fall activities. Many classrooms will do projects with apples as the theme that will culminate in a visit to an orchard. Here, students will often pick their own apples to bring some home. Why not embrace apples and use tasting them to encourage word use? Most children enjoy apples, so just check to make sure there are no food allergy concerns with individual students.
Using Words to Describe Apples
There are a lot of different types of apples. Head to the store and pick up three to five different varieties to explore during a session. When working with younger children make a check list box for them to keep track of their thoughts while they are doing their taste testing. Along the top, leave space for the names of the three to five apples that you are using. Along the left side personalize the words, especially adjectives, that you would like to focus on. Think about the apples’ colors. Are they sweet, sour, or tart? Which apple was the most juicy?
Leave lines blank for the children to come up with more items that they want to explore. The purpose of this activity is to encourage use to descriptor words. If children are given the opportunity to use them in a hands on activity, they will become more comfortable utilizing them when at home.
Opinions Count When Using Words
Children that are not as confident with their vocabulary may shy away from expressing their own thoughts about items. Since there is no right or wrong answer, encourage children to form their own opinions and express them. They can explain why apple is their favorite and why. Remind them that they should think about the taste, smell, texture, and other items that you included on the chart that you used together. Be sure to ask older children how the descriptions are important when talking about items in any language. Remind them that these descriptors are what help someone else listening to a conversation get a better picture in their mind about what they are talking about.
Extending this Activity
Remember, you can extend this activity another time. Check in with homes, ask what apples they prefer in their families. Ask if there are any recipes that are special in their culture. If you have enough of a response you can have older students help you to create and publish a recipe book with these family favorites. You can compare results from other children and talk about their differing views. Extend time to reflect on the words used as descriptors. How could these be used with other foods, activities, or subjects in school? Comparing and contrasting items will encourage children to explore more words and gain more confidence in their language skills.