Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
Imagine how you would feel to discover that something you valued was being wasted by another. How would you react? What would you be willing to do to save the things that you treasure?
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
This story focuses on not being wasteful and not being selfish. The story teaches respecting others’ property and having gratitude.
Gratitude and Thriftiness
She wondered, “Who is eating the apples from my best tree? Why would anyone waste my beautiful apples like this? Mrs. Baker was very unhappy. She thought, “The animal eating my apples has no respect for them. There is only one big bite in each apple.”
- Having gratitude for what we are blessed with in life. Expressing gratitude is vital to everyone’s life.
- Understanding the importance of being consciously aware of not being selfish and not wasting resources.
Interactive Discussion and Activities
Reading Story Techniques
First, pre-read the story before reading it aloud with your learner. Use expressive language, gestures, motions, and sounds to make the story come alive:
- Sound confused and concerned when you read Mrs. Baker saying, “That doesn’t look right. What is going on in the apple tree?”
- Sound bewildered and worried when Mrs. Baker sees the apples on the ground with just one bite taken out.
- When reading Sammy’s thoughts, you should sound greedy.
- Show emotions reflecting anger when Mrs. Baker caught Sammie eating her apples.
- Through action and pantomime show Mrs. Baker chasing Sammy with the broom.
- When reading the “swoosh” words, use loud sounds with motion.
- Use anger and authority in your voice as you read what Mrs. Baker calls out to Sammy as he runs away.
- When reading the end of the story, use a calm and proud voice.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- What did Mrs. Baker win at the fall festival?
- When did Mrs. Baker see Sammy in her apple orchard?
- Why did Mrs. Baker want to save her apples from Sammy?
- Who asked Sammy where he had been?
- Where was Mrs. Baker’s broom?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- What was Mrs. Baker’s reaction when she saw the squirrel eating her best apples?
She thought, “Oh no. Not my best apples. This must stop.” She got her broom from the corner of the kitchen. She took three swings at the squirrel.
She thought, “The animal eating my apples has no respect for them. I won’t have any apples left to make my pies. What a bad squirrel!
- Would you share the apples from your special tree with your friends? What did Sammy do?
Sammy thought, “Why should I tell them? I don’t want to share my apples. They should find their own special tree.”
- What would you think about Sammy if he was taking apples from your special tree? What did Mrs. Baker think?
She thought, “What a bad squirrel!”
- How would you treat Sammy if he was taking apples from your special tree? How did Mrs. Baker treat Sammy?
She got her broom from the corner of the kitchen. She took three swings at the squirrel.
- Note: Close with a discussion related to respecting things that belong to others.
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Create a kindness list. Describe acts performed by others that express kindness.
- Ask open-ended questions that center on their experiences with empathy and tolerance, such as, “How do you think your friend feels when you won’t play a game they want to?” and “How would you feel if you were the only person not invited to the party?”
- Show pictures of people being kind. Identify the act of kindness and discuss how the individual receiving the act of kindness would feel.
- Discuss the importance of not being wasteful. Identify things that are being wasted at home. Examples — water running from the tap when not being used, food not eaten, time doing nothing, paper that could be reused, glass and plastic containers that are thrown in the garbage instead of the recyclable bin, unused toys and books that could be donated, etc.
- Discuss with your learner the importance of work and thriftiness in their life. Share personal examples. Ask your learner for their personal examples. Examples could range from saving change for a specific goal to working to restore an old piece of furniture.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonyms: big – small, in – out, now – later, up – down
- Identify word patterns: Sounds “– ook”
Bolded words, among the following, were used in Mrs. Baker’s Apples — book, brook, crook, cook, hook, look, shook, nook, took
- Directions: up – down, right – left, in – out
- Identify and explain some of the more difficult words in the story, such as “orchard” and “porch.”
- Ordinal numbers: first, second, third in the story. Examples are —
- Her apple pies won first place ribbons every year at the fall festival.
- Like before, Sammie picked up a second apple and took only one bite.
- She heard a third thump as another apple fell to the ground.
- Introduce the virtue “thriftiness.” Discuss the things that can be saved and reused in various ways.
- Introduce the virtue “gratitude.” Ask your learner what their two favorite things of the day are. Helping your learner to notice the immediate good things in their life will encourage the concept of gratitude and focus on the positive things in their life.
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Discuss with your learner the virtues described n the story.
Talk out loud and describe how you reuse and recycle things. Call attention to ways in which you are not wasting things.
Have a discussion that processes reflecting gratitude by consider the following reflective questions – (Begin by identifying a good thing that made your learner feel happy.)
- Why this good thing happened
- What this good thing means to you
- What you can do tomorrow to enable more of this good thing
- What you learned from taking the time to name this good thing
- What ways you or others contribute to this good thing
- Have your learner identify synonyms for the word “gratitude” and use them in the responses listed above.
- Have your learner identify synonyms for the word “thrifty.”
Discover the values covered in this story through guided activities and fun projects that ensure learner involvement.
Arts and Crafts ideas for Creatively Understanding the Virtues
Arts & Crafts Activities (Younger Learners):
- Apple Lacing
- Print and glue an apple template on a cereal box carton and cut
- Punch holes all around the apple.
- Put tape on one end of a length of yarn.
- With a knot, tie the yarn to the apple.
- Have your learner lace the apple with the string of yarn.
- Print and glue an apple template on a cereal box carton and cut
- Maracas: Recycling with plastic bottles
- Provide various colors of tempera paint, glitter glue, and sequins.
- Decorate the outside of an empty, plastic bottle with the materials.
- After decorations have dried, fill the bottles with dried beans and rice.
- Line the cap of the plastic bottle with glue and screw it tightly back on the bottle. Now you have a musical instrument.
- Strange Faces
- Peel the apple skins off the apples.
- Carve facial features into the apples using a butter knife, a plastic knife, or a Popsicle stick.
- Provide a bowl of lemon juice for your learner to paint onto the apple after the carving is complete. The lemon juice will help prevent browning as the carved apples are left out to shrink and dry.
- Over the course of a few days, the apples will slowly turn into funny, wrinkled heads.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Thank You Postcards
Have your learner make and send postcards to people to express gratitude.
- Gratitude Collage
Have your learner make a collage of things that represent gratitude. Print out the pictures taken from a camera or pictures cut out from a magazine.
- Thankfulness Tree or Gratitude Wreath
Draw a large tree or wreath and cut out leaves. Have your learner write words on the leaves that express gratitude for things in their life. Attach the leaves of gratitude to the tree or wreath. Add more leaves to the tree or wreath from time to time.
Involvement Tips (All Ages):
Have your learner identify 3 or more people who are important in their life, identify 3 reasons why they are appreciated, and discuss ways your learner can express gratitude to these people.
Sammy took only one bite out of each apple.
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
- Giving Thanks Jar
Decorate a jar and dedicate it to things you are grateful for. Have small pieces of paper ready beside the jar to write thoughts of gratitude.
- Gratitude Notes
Read and write gratitude notes randomly.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
Make Your Own Applesauce
Five pounds of apples make about 2 quarts of applesauce.
- Peel, core, and slice apples into quarters.
- Put in a pot and partially cover with water.
- Boil apples until they are soft.
- Let children use a potato masher to mash the apples to make applesauce.
- Add sugar and cinnamon to taste.
Mrs. Baker was a great cook. Her apple pies won first place ribbons every year at the fall festival.
I won’t have any apples left to make my pies. What a bad squirrel!