If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering Lois Ehlert, award-winning author and illustrator of over 20 children’s books, then I highly recommend that you take a trip to your local library and check her out! This month I was reading one of my favourite Ehlert books, “Leaf Man.” For weeks the children have been bringing in leaves they have discovered on their way to school and I wanted to find a way to celebrate and encourage their discoveries. “Leaf Man” is a story about a man made of leaves who blows across the sky over several other leaf-composed creatures (birds, farm animals, etc.). After reading this book with my students, I created a provocation of leaves, stones, and sticks and asked the children if they could create their own leaf creature. In addition to composing pictures with found materials, I was also looking for children to express a connection with/understanding of the story we read as well as demonstrate some story telling/imaginative skills when talking about what they had made. Here are a few samples of the students’ work and thinking:
R.K: My leaf man is doing a cartwheel just like I can do on my trampoline at home!
A: This is a portrait of a Leaf Man. It’s about a Leaf Man that flew away, up, up, up, and his leaves fell down on him because he was blown away by a storm.
A.F.: I used rocks for his eyes and nose. His mouth is a smiling leaf. I used sticks for the legs and ripped the leaves to make his hands and feet. My Leaf Man will fly over lots of things!
E.A.: My Leaf Girl only has one leg because no other leaves can stand still. My Leaf Girl is flying over chickens! The wind is blowing her.
J.M: My Leaf Man is lying down and looking at the clouds to see what shapes they are. He saw a special cloud that looked like a house!
Our class quilt of leaf creations: