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Lesson Plans

Re: Johnny Appleseed

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sheryl Ann McCoy (smccoy)
Fri, 28 Aug 1998 20:42:41 -0700

Through our ideas about this topic, each of us captured some aspect of the reality of apples: physical attributes, sensory, visual, secrets of symmetry found within the apple, change is a constant, and ultimately a connection to a truly American hero...larger than life...yet intimately connected to the physical world around him.
What I have read about John Chapman is contained in letters and magazine articles from the the middle to late 19th century...usually 25-40 years after his death.
My understanding is that he started his "mission" to plant apple trees all around the wilderness, after his fiancee died. The apple tree and its blooms were a favorite of hers.
Instead of mourning in a small spot, he enlisted movement as his companion in his mourning process. This is an human archetype that has roots in Greek, Nordic, Celtic, and American mythology, so you could take this lesson down many paths.
I liked your idea very much, yet I thought you should know that John's trek began as his active method of mourning the life that was lost to him. True, later he was able to recoup a personal life through his attention to the Bible, God, and a version of Christianity which led to reforms in various Protestant denominations.
Back at the ranch, you have some 1st graders that are very impressionable. They will remember everything you tell them....and they will believe most everything you tell please err on the side of caution before you start teaching the emotional context of a legend.
You could extend your lesson by explaining that John Chapman's mourning was eased by the planting of the apple tree. The apple tree was his metaphor for the love and the hope for his own personal family he believed he lost through the scourge of death. If you lost someone dear to you, what metaphor would represent their life?
By delving within the realm of metaphors, you have raised the level of the lesson above the emotional readiness of most first graders.
I would stick with the concrete activities, and read the book, Johnny Appleseed and the story for little ones. Positive message...typical Johnny Appleseed message.
Glad you are such a deep thinker...
Sheryl A. McCoy

On Fri, 28 Aug 1998 13:34:45 Eric B. Drowatzky wrote: >Judy, > >I'm an Art Ed student in NC. As we are just now beginning to learn to >write lesson plans, I tend to look at plans by other people with a >critical eye. To evaluate it and decide for myself if it would work for >me. With this in mind, I have some questions about the Johnny Applseed >plan you posted. > >In regards to this: >=95 Next, discuss how the tree would look different each season...the >color >of the leaves, the blossoms, the apples, and how the ground would look >also. Using watercolor paints, demo how to "dab" paint to look like >leaves and apples, demo how to make lines for the grass. > >Why do you demo how to make paint look like apples and leaves and >grass? Why not just let the kids obeserve real trees and grass (or >pictures of the same) and work out the problem on their own? > >In general, what do branches and the changing seasons of the tree have >to do with Johnny Applseed? Is there a real relationship drawn there or >is this just a project for teaching seasons? How do first graders >manage to make 4 trunks with branches that look the same and show that >"branches on the tree never really change"? > >Finally, as an idea to everyone. As I recall, Johnny Appleseed traveled >the country not just to plant appletrees but to send/deliver a positive >message of some sort. How about if the kids discuss him from this >angle. What kinds of messages would they send to others? What do they >think other people need to know about or remember to make their lives >better. What kind of messages might they share with their parents or >school. Once these messages are decided upon, maybe they could make >their own apples (anyway they want) and on them include the messages. >Then deliver these home or to neighboors or to other classrooms or parts >of the school. This, it seems to me, is better related to J.A. > >Answers and feedback are more than welcome. Hope I didn't sound >offensive. > >Eric > > >

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