This week in speech we read “Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert. It’s a really neat book because all of the illustrations are made from leaves! I read this story to most of my younger students, and followed it up with this delightful little craft pictured above. This one was done by a very young student, we stuck to just a leaf and eyes. Some of my older students got more crafty and added a nose, arms, legs etc. Like this…
As per usual, we infused all kinds of language learning into this activity. Here are some highlights:
1. Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary.
There are all kinds of treasures to be found outside. We named things we found on the ground like acorns, bark, rocks (oh and a few wrappers and dead bugs…). We also named the parts of the tree and different animals we saw . There happened to be a gaggle of geese outside on the playground one morning which was a perfect teachable moment since there are also geese in the story!
2. Following Verbal Directions
Because I am just a teensy weensy bit obsessive about my crafts, I wanted to make sure my kids found all of the right things to make their leaf men. So, I gave them very specific directions on what to look for. This was a great way to target listening skills. For example:
“Find one big leaf, and two small leaves.”
“Find two acorns and one piece of bark.”
“Look next to bench that is under the big tree.”
After my students made their leaf men, I had them tell me exactly how they did it. For example:
-First we went outside and found a big leaf. Then we found two small leaves and a piece of bark. After that, we went inside and got a piece of paper and some glue.
….You get the idea. Sequencing stories and events is an important skill and is embedded into the Common Core Standards starting in kindergarten. For children with language impairments it can be extra tricky. Teaching this skill through real life experiences can make it much more meaningful and concrete.
This is not a language skill…but it sure is important. My kids were literally giddy when I told them we were going outside. I’ll be perfectly honest, I was little giddy myself. I think most people, regardless of their age, will agree that spending time outdoors just makes you feel better.
On one final note, this craft is really simple, cheap and fun, and it’s a great excuse to get outside to enjoy the fall weather. Enjoy!