Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows

Leaf Man flew into my classroom and into the boundless imaginations of my first graders. While reading the beautiful book, we picked out all of the leaf people and leaf animals that we could find. We talked about what details make it what it is? I ask, how can you tell it's a cow, or a turkey? I am always telling my kids that details are what make an artwork special and tell a story. We talked about if a leaf turkey didn't have a wattle(aka: red thing), would it look like a turkey? If a leaf cow didn't have an udder, would it look like a cow? If a leaf duck didn't have a beak and webbed feet, would it still look like a duck?

Even before the book was finished, lots of the kids were asking, "Will we make a Leaf Man!!!??"... Of course we will!

I wanted to keep my demonstration short and open-ended, because I feel this lesson is all about exploration and play.
I talked to the kids about...
-thinking of what details your leaf person or animal has.
-using the right amount of glue.
-beginning with a large leaf for the body and building off of it.
-cutting pieces of leaves in a contrasting color for details.

The results are amazingly beautiful! I love how each 'leaf person' or 'leaf animal' has it's own unique character!

When the kids finished their projects, I had them think of a story that their 'leaf person' or 'leaf animal' is part of. I prompted them to think about:
What could they be doing?
Where could they be?
What is your leaf person or animal like?
They shared there stories with the other kids at their tables.

I so love this book and accompanied lesson, it encourages the kids to see creative possibilities wherever they are and using the humblest of materials.

Check out the whole leaf gang on Artsonia!


Art Project Girl said...

I like your results with the leaves better than mine!

I'm so doing it this way next year. And getting leaves is no problem! I think my husband will roll his eyes when he sees me putting "special" leaves in ziplock bags while he is blowing them.

therese english perdue said...

Yours are great! I love the acorns! :)

I actually had the kids bring in the leaves, which is fun because they all have different trees- so they could share or trade or donate! I also brought a huge bag just in case... which was sort of embarrassing, since I had to walk around my neighborhood with a huge plastic bag... so I understand the eye rolls! The lengths we go for good art! :)

Phyl said...

These are terrific! I'm wondering about whether the kids know that the leaves are eventually going to crumble. Did you warn them that the art is temporary?

Art Project Girl said...

Thanks. Great idea to have them bring in the leaves. I was the crazy neighborhood lady too this year walking around pulling leaves off of peoples trees even before they fell. Luckily some were the houses of my students because I live right next to where I work.

I think if you put glue on the top of the leaves they keep better. That's what we did. They've been in the showcase for a few weeks now and seem pretty colorful still. Phyl do you know if they will still crumble? I want to warn them when they take them home!

therese english perdue said...

That's a good idea to put glue on top of them! I just had someone else tell me that they did a similar project with their kids and she laminated them afterwards. I just love the natural look of them...I'll have to experiment and think about solutions for next year. But it's definitely good to be mindful of the longevity of the leaves, since some of the little ones might be sad if their artwork crumbles away! This time, I photographed the pieces the day of and then displayed them in the hallway... they curled up a little bit and they are currently a little more delicate and brittle... So I'll have to talk to them about this project being temporary and more about it being an exercise in using our imaginations through process and that their artworks will live on through Artsonia. Thanks for the advice! That is exactly why I love to blog, so that I can reflect on what I'm doing and if there's anything I can do to better how I teach. Thanks! :)