The Leaf Man
We kicked off the discussion with multiple readings of The Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. I make it a strong point that we reread stories to look back at things we may have missed as well as enjoying great books for a second or third time. The Leaf Man allowed us to accompany the journey of leaves as they fall off trees and travel where the wind takes him. Leaf Man takes many forms and is very versatile. As a class, we took a walking trip to our playground, then our neighborhood with the goal of finding leaves to make our own Leaf art.
After collecting the different leaves within our surroundings, the leaves would be stored in our art center where students had a choice to create their own leaf art. Before letting our children let loose their creative side, Tree Maps were introduced to sort our leaves by color. Students would come up and pick a leaf, they'd make an observation and figure out where the leaf would go on our map.
Once the map was complete, the art center housed the leaves for several days for anyone who wished to create art with the leaves we collected. All students were given the opportunity to participate in this activity, but that doesn't necessarily mean that every student made one. There are only certain projects I wish for every student to take part in, for example, self-portraits, individual thinking maps, and assessment games. Only a handful of students chose the art center during this topic of discussion.
As we crept closer to the end of October, the read aloud book selections became mostly Halloween themed. In between, we focused on the things we knew about Fall, and words that we can use to describe it. At the same time, we attempted to complete a circle map and bubble map about fall. I say attempt because there is always room to add more as the days pass.
The subject of Halloween would spark two projects. In our art center, students were able to create paper bag jack-o-lanterns. They would stuff their bags with old scholastic book orders until it was almost full. They would twist the top and begin gluing torn orange construction paper to give it the correct color. Once they were finished covering it in orange, they would add the facial features to complete the jack-o-lantern.
- Glue (I recommend clear glue)
- Liquid Starch
- Food color
- Mixing bowl
Before Halloween Day, our school had a special performance from a great story teller from Music for Many. Our students were invited to listen to the tales.
Towards the end of October, I took the opportunity to take the discussion of falling leaves to do a counting assessment with the students. It's the inital assessment to see different skills our students may or may not have while counting. I created a tree out of cardboard with fake leaves of different colors attached. I would differentiate the assessment for each student, depending on their skills.
We finally arrive at Halloween Day! Students were allowed to bring in their costumes, but they could only put them on after lunch. Since our students sleep directly after lunch, I woke up students who had costumes early so they could put them on and enjoy them before the day ended. I came in as a Jedi, but turned Sith as soon as the kids weren't around because of my scaryish mask.