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Math, writing, applesauce mark Johnny Appleseed's birthday

Teacher Mindy Kidd provides steadying hands as first-grader Alaina Hamilton turns the crank to peel an apple.

      Johnny Appleseed would smile to know that his birthday – 245 years ago -- is the subject of hands-on math and literacy activity and the making of applesauce in the first-grade classrooms at Woodland Elementary School.

      Born John Chapman in Massachusetts on Sept. 26, 1774, he was a pioneer nurseryman who planted apple trees in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. He lived in and around Mansfield for 20 years in the early 1800s.

      “We’re celebrating Johnny Appleseed’s birthday with lots of classroom activities,” said teacher Mindy Kidd. “The kids are learning who he was and what he did.

      “It’s hands-on literacy and math. Today, the kids are completing worksheets about Johnny Appleseed. And we are taking turns peeling apples to make applesauce on Friday.”

      After each apple was peeled, students munched on the long, unbroken strands of peelings. “Apple strings,” Kidd called them.

      An apple crusher in Kidd’s classroom will produce the applesauce.

      Across the hall Jennifer Uhde’s first-graders were writing sentences about Johnny Appleseed.

      “We’re working on adjectives – descriptive words,” Uhde said. “For math, we will develop a graph showing which red or green apples are the students’ favorites.”

      On Friday Uhde’s students will join Kidd’s class for applesauce.

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