Lesson: Apples

Matthew Stensrud shows how you can use one theme, yummy fall apples and guide children to experience, create, and compose a bushel of musical experiences for all of your K-5 general music classes.

Click here to download Matthew’s printable cards.

Matthew Stensrud

Matthew Stensrud is an award-winning Elementary Music and Movement Teacher and currently teaching PK-4 music and movement at Sidwell Friends Lower School in Washington, DC. He received his Master of Music Education from George Mason University and Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, is an Orff Schulwerk approved Teacher Educator of Movement, and teaches Movement Levels in South Carolina and Oregon. Matthew is also on The Orff Echo Editorial Board and was a key content contributor to the book Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE and Other Special Areas. He is available for workshops for music chapters, districts, schools, specials teachers, and more. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Visit his website: to sign up for his newsletter with lesson plans, articles, and more. He is also well-known on social media as @MisterSOrff on Instagram and Facebook. He can also be found on YouTube at

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  1. Linda Dowd on November 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you, Matthew! I love how you make composing and improvising so fun!

  2. Kris Olson on November 13, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Great lesson Matthew! The video format is really great. Things are so clear so quickly. I often find that when I read a lesson it takes some work to see it in my mind’s eye and seems to take longer to process than seeing it on video. This is very efficient and you have a great way of presenting!

    • Lana Mays on November 14, 2019 at 9:12 am

      I totally agree!

    • Matthew Stensrud on November 14, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      Kris, thank you thank you! Was fun to put together and share!

  3. Leslie Dooley on November 14, 2019 at 7:32 am

    I enjoyed this lesson, especially the rhythmic building-blocks cards. Can you please supply the name of author of the “Apples” book?

    • Matthew Stensrud on November 14, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      Leslie, good evening! The book is “Apples” by Ken Robbins. Hope this helps!

  4. Daniel A McKay on November 14, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Currently RUNNING to the library to find our Apples book! Love this! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Carrie Jones on November 14, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Excellent Matthew. Clear, upbeat, and great ideas that will bend and work.

  6. Carla Astle on November 14, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for this great lesson! Is there a way to print out the lesson plan? Do you have cards made up already that you are willing to share so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel? LOVE IT!!

  7. Lisa Thyssen on November 14, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Yes cards and a lesson plan would be wonderful to print! I always teach apple songs and these ideas would be great to add to my repetoire! Thanks for the fun lesson!

    • Matthew Stensrud on November 14, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      Carla and Lisa, I do have the cards and can put that together in a document for Teaching With Orff to post along with this video. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • Andrew Maud on November 24, 2019 at 11:59 am

        That would be really useful. Thank you so much.

  8. Gretchen DAndrea on November 17, 2019 at 8:51 am


  9. Amy Pryor on November 18, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    If any of you own Purposeful Pathways, you’ll find a similar concept from Sams and Hepburn in PP 1. There are building blocks with apple varieties. Can’t wait to combine the lessons with your melody and the apple poem in Purposeful Pathways to make a wonderful performance! Thank you.

  10. Wendy on October 7, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you!

  11. Amber Woods on October 7, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Awesome!! Thank you so much for the video!! It is always so helpful to see and hear the explanation of lessons! I am looking forward to teaching this one!! Thanks again!!

  12. jennifer boyer on September 5, 2021 at 6:40 am

    What are you using on the board behind you to hand your hand drums on the wall?

  13. Kathy on October 9, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Very nicely done, Matthew! Thanks for sharing it so clearly!

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