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October 26, 2009

Leaf Geese Flying South

Leafman_cover The wind has picked up this week. Colors you usually find in flowers are getting cozy on the leaves. I love this time of year, especially with preschoolers. It is such a great time to help kids (and adults) open their eyes to the amazing variety of color in our natural world.

In our pre-k classrooms we often try to incorporate all of those Autumn leaves into our classroom activities. The first activity is usually to collect, sort, and classify leaves. This is a great activity but it can be so much more. 

I had a mentor once who taught her students how to use a hot plate and wax paper to create amazingly subtle leaves for display on a classroom tree. One year I used dried leaves for rubbings that we turned into a book about the Fall. Even in the South  you can see the golden tint of autumn start to creep onto the tips of the reeds and the palms.

When we are integrating math into activities sometimes we forget to incorporate its beautiful cousin, art. If we think about the many linkages between art and math from a preschooler's perspective we might just learn something about the world around us.

Take this idea for instance. Lois Elhert is one of the all-time great children's book author/illustrators who uses collage in their work. The great thing about Lois Elhert's work is she uses everyday objects that you can collect in the nature and in your classroom. My son recently read The Leaf Man in his kindergarten class. As a follow up activity the class collected leaves and then, instead of classifying and quitting, they used them to make a picture. This is my son's picture. I couldn't believe the detail but then I remembered, if you give kids a chance they will often amaze us.
How do you incorporate the seasonal changes into your classroom?


Image: Leaf Man by Lois Elhert, https://www.wwml.org/kids/SR09/images/leafman_cover.jpg
Image: my son.


We're exploring the olive harvest and the process of growing, picking, and pressing olives in the West Bank this fall! Should have some photos of a visit to olive groves before long...

And some Kindergartners in Mission Hill (Boston, MA) have done some nature drawings that a Roots & Shoots staff person will bring to Nablus in November! Then we'll send some of our kids' art home with her...

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