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Leaf Dances

Wet-on-wet watercolor and crayon techniques help capture the motion of autumn's falling leaves.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. When studying the seasons, share a read aloud focused on the seasons, specifically autumn. Share the illustrations with the class. Invite students to identify fallen, colorful autumn leaves. If available, encourage students to use a field guide to select those that are safe to pick up and collect.
    2. Once leaves are collected, ask students to cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola® Washable Watercolors to paint the underside of a leaf. While it is still wet, press the leaf onto lightly-colored construction paper, applying even pressure to all parts. Lift the leaf carefully. Discuss what is revealed when the leaves are removed.
    3. Have students repeat this process with several leaves, using different colors of watercolor. Suggest students overlap some of the leaf prints to create the effect of motion.
    4. For added color, students try a wet-on-wet watercolor technique. With the watercolor brush, drop color onto still-wet portions of the painting. Control the direction of the spreading color by lifting and tipping the painting paper.
    5. After the leaf prints dry completely, suggest students use Crayola Construction Paper Crayons to accentuate portions of the leaves. Suggest the use of partial outlines near the prints' edges, trying varying colors and pressures.
    6. Allow time for students to share their artwork and discuss how they each created their Leaf Dances.
  • Standards

    LA: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

    LA: With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

    LA: Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

    LA: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

    MATH: Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight.

    SCI: Obtain information from text and other media about different types of local weather, including severe weather, and identify the most common types of weather in the local region.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Let It Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler; We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger; Apples for Everyone by Jill Esbaum; Tree For All Seasons by Robin Bernard

    Working in small groups, students collaborate to list descriptive words that illustrate what a leaf looks like when it is falling from a tree branch. Students can sketch each descriptor and write the term at the bottom of the illustration.

    Students use Crayola Crayons to create an under-drawing before making their leaf prints. Crayon will resist the paint, so use light crayon with darker watercolors. The underdrawing could have a fall theme or be used to identify a particular tree.

    Students create a series of leaf prints varying the colors to represent different seasons. For example, light greens could represent spring, dark greens for summer, and reds and oranges for fall. Students identify the season for each leaf print by writing the season on the scene.

    Once student leaf prints are complete, post them on a bulletin board in the classroom. Have students use their list of descriptors to identify which leaf prints illustrate each of their named descriptors.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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