Snack time in kindergarten is a coveted time. On most Thursdays, a fresh fruit or vegetable snack is delivered to our classrooms from our school district’s central kitchen. Today’s snack was something altogether new to my students.
The Grāpple. Have you heard of this unique fruit? They come from the state of Washington, and are an apple that basically has been infused with food-grade grape flavor through a sort of bathing process. It’s quite a fascinating process that you can learn all about here. Basically, they are an apple that tastes like a grape – no kidding!
As we were munching on our apple slices, a few kids commented that they smelled something in the room. I told them that was from the grāpples. As I explained the process to them, we began talking about how tasty they were. I told them to close their eyes and asked them what color came to their mind as they were eating. A few said blue, and I told them I saw purple while I ate mine.
We continued visiting about how much we liked them and how unique they were, this half grape/half apple snack. Suddenly inspired, I proposed to them, “We should write a poem about the grāpple!” To which they enthusiastically responded, “YES, YES!”
Keep in mind, this would only be my second attempt at an interactive poetry writing experience with my students. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work out; I am still new myself to writing poetry, so imagine what it might look like as I lead 18 six year-olds through the process. Seasoned teachers of poetry, you might shudder if you were a fly on the wall…
To clarify, they are not entirely new to the genre of poetry; I have been reading poems to them nearly every day for a better part of this school year. A few kids have dabbled in writing a poem here and there, but for the most part their experience has been nearly all receptive. As we launched into writing, I reminded them of what we have noticed about poetry: short sentences with powerful descriptive words.
I must admit, I was genuinely surprised at the high level of engagement I saw in everyone. Even my students who I consider struggling readers and/or writers contributed to the process. It was as if they had come to life in this endeavor!
While not a piece of poetic genius, I think they gave great thought and consideration to the ideas they shared, and welcomed my support along the way with suggestions for upping the descriptive word choices here and there.
With that, I proudly present our ode to the Grāpple: