Monday, September 10, 2012

Johnny Appleseed: Activities and Storytelling Tips

I can’t help but think of apples at the beginning of the school year! And when I think of apples, I think of the one and only, Johnny Appleseed!

Did you know that this American folk hero was a REAL man? He traveled on foot from Massachusetts to Indiana planting and tending his apple orchards. He sold saplings to homesteading settlers, and if they didn’t have any money, he would give his apple trees away.  

But don’t let me give the story away! Read this delightful picture book, Johnny Appleseed, by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet and illustrated by S.D. Schindler. Buy a copy from Amazon, here. Or Borrow it from you local library!

Below are some activities and storytelling tips for this Professor Watermelon Favorite!

Storytelling Tips:

1.       Wear a tin pot hat for storytime. Let children predict why you are doing such a crazy thing.

2.       On the first spread, let children count the apples in the apple tree.

3.       Before reading the story, tell children that Johnny Appleseed loved animals. Can they name the animals found in this Johnny Appleseed story?

4.       After reading the book, browse the illustrations again. Ask children if they can see some similarities Johnny’s body compared to the “bodies” of the apple trees. Did the illustrator do this on purpose?


1.       Give every child an apple for snack. Ask them to count how many bites it takes to eat an apple all the way to the core. Give them a pencil and paper so that they can keep track with tally marks. After the children are finished, ask them to count the seeds found inside the apple’s core. For older children, you may want to use the data for a few math exercises. (Perhaps chart the mean, median, and mode.)

2.       Allow children to sample several types of apples (Granny Smith, Jonathan, Gala, Honey Crisp, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, etc.) Talk about how each of them has different tastes and textures. Some are very sweet, while others are tart or sour. Some are crunchy, while others may have a softer flesh. Invite children to participate in the Golden Apple Election. The tastiest apple with the most votes wins!

3.       On the eleventh spread of the book, there is an illustration of the apple tree’s stages of growth. Give students a large piece of white construction paper. Invite them to draw and color their own representation of this illustration. Note how the illustration shows what is happening above and below ground levels. Also, note that as the trees branches grow wider, so do the roots.

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