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Leaf Man

The main character in Lois Ehlert’s story Leaf Man lived in a pile of leaves until the wind blew him away over a plethora of leafy landscapes and animals. This lesson combines art, literacy and the science of leaves, a great combo for fall.

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

    1. Prior to the lesson, have students collect a number of leaves. Make sure to encourage them to have as many different types as they can find in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Simply press the leaves to keep them flat for use in the art.
    2. Read Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Have students use the illustrations to identify the different animals (characters) and locations (settings) the leaf man sees on his journey. Create a class flow chart of the items seen by the leaf man in his habitat.
    3. Students work in pairs or small groups to identify the types of leaves the illustrator uses (shape, margin, arrangement, source tree, etc.).
    4. Give each student a sheet of 12x18 white or colored construction paper. With their leaves ask students to create their own leaf men or animals. This can be as structured or as loose as you wish. Challenge them to create something unique with a certain number or type of leaf or let them be freely inspired without restrictions. Either way, encourage students to keep leaves whole as much as possible (use overlapping) and try a few different arrangements of leaves before gluing.
    5. Allow students to glue their leaf men/animals securely with Crayola© No-Run school glue, Remind students to spread glue thinly and to the edges for best results. When the glue is dry, students can add simple background details with Crayola© Classic Markers or cut around their leaf people to display as a tableau on a colored background.
    6. As a class ask students to discuss how they enjoyed using leaves as a media for art. Was it easier or harder than paper? Can they think of any other times that they used non-traditional supplies to create art? Is there something they would do differently next time?
  • Standards

    LA: Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters setting or events.

    LA: Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners in smaller and larger groups.

    SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

    VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

    VA: Students will use a variety of methods for preparing their artwork and the work of others for presentation.

  • Adaptations

    Have students present in small groups how a tree or leaf’s parts/systems compare or contrast to a human (plant food, life cycle/span, veins, respiration vs. human food, life cycle/span, veins, respiration, etc.)

    Have students create a class leaf identification manual for your region.

    Have students compare and contrast leaves found in your area to leaves found in other habitats and climates. Have students hypothesize why the leaves are different (weather, seasons, amount of light etc.)

    Have students identify and present on the beneficial roles leaves and trees play in our ecosystem (oxygenation, homes for animals/insects, fertilization etc.)

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