The beautiful autumn leaves are all around and provide a wonderful resource during the months. Take some time and go for a walk with students while they are around to collect them to use for future sessions. Have a bin where they can dry and be safely stored until you need them for a project.
Inspired by Lois Echlert
Before heading out to collect leaves, take time to read Leaf Man by Lois Echlert. This beautiful story includes die-cut pages which have illustrations that use real leaves. The tale takes us along on the adventure of Leaf Man. We go from place to place as he is blown by the wind.
While reading allows students to chat about what they see on each page. Are they able to find the Leaf Man? What do they think will happen next? Predictions are a great way to work together and make sure that they are following along.
When you have read Leaf Man, suggest heading outside to look for some of your own leaf men. Let everyone know that they will be helping to collect leaves to use in their own creations like Lois Echlert did in the book.
As you walk around, play games with things which you may see in your travels. Do the kids see a leaf man like in the book. Allow each child to fill some small paper bags with leaves for a future project. These will be brought inside to make sure they are dry.
Making Leaf Creations
Now it’s time to use those leaves that were collected. What do you do if you could not find enough leaves to work? Don’t worry. Make some leaf patterns and cut them out on different autumn colored construction paper. You can also use the leaf template from Lit Mama. There is no right way to do this, so have fun with whatever you can find and use with your students.
Give everyone a piece of heavy-duty construction paper to make their leave people or animals. Encourage them to make whatever they would like. They can make a boy, girl, dog, frog, or anything else which they can use their leaves and imagination for. While the leaves are supposed to make most of this, you may allow some additional crafting items for clothing on people, to make their background, and of course some “googly eyes” for all creations to be able to see.
Think of ways you can use the different creations in your own therapy sessions. Perhaps they will all participate in a Leaf Creature Olympics. Maybe they will be characters in a play to work on social skills or speech and language goals. Perhaps a group of students want to put them together into a true tale to share with others. This tale may focus on a topic that the group has been working on.
Be sure to share whatever the students are working on with their families. Update them with photos, information on follow up at home, and more. As always, include additional information for bilingual families who may need a bit more support with different activities.
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