(Oct. 16) I enjoyed hearing stories about kids while my wife was a substitute teacher for primary grades in our suburban community.

This year Sally went back to teaching full time, giving her even more material for tales of first-graders saying and doing the darndest things. Kids singing to themselves, showing inexplicable lapses in concentration and going crazy with glue, colors and toilet paper are common story lines.

During the past two weeks, Mrs. Karst’s first-grade class has been learning about apples. The class got to watch a video from the New York Apple Association about how apples are grown, harvested and packed. The students then were asked to describe all the foods that one can make with apples (apple crisp, apple pie, applesauce, apple juice, Jolly Rancher apple candy, etc.). They even made apple butter.

Sally also brought a big basket full of apples of various varieties to school, and the kids tasted the apples and decided whether they like red, green or yellow apples the best. After the taste test, each boy and girl pasted a yellow, red or green apple on a big poster to show his preference.

The students also had to give their impressions of apples using their five senses.

All 19 first-graders, with one exception, had no problem with these assignments.

Tanner properly took a few apple slices back to his seat. But he didn’t touch them. In fact, he declared he wouldn’t eat the apples and had never even tasted an apple in his life.

The other kids were dumbfounded. “How could you have never eaten an apple?” one asked. Sure, they could understand how Tanner might have missed out on spinach and lima beans — but apples?

The boy’s mother earlier had told Sally of the boy’s reluctance to eat any fruit and expressed hope that the authority of the teacher during “apple week” would hold sway. “Maybe he will do it for you,” she said. After all, the influence of a first-grade teacher on her students can be spellbinding.

In the end, Tanner complied. In order to catalog the five senses and complete the assignment, the boy had to taste the apple.

He bit off a chunk, and pronounced it tasted “all right.”

It was a small but important skirmish in the fight for good nutrition — and another memorable story from Mrs. Karst’s class.