“Falling” Into Learning, Part 2 — Reading and Art
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
If you take my favorite time of the year and pair it with a little reading and art, you’ll get awesome activities. Last week I shared some of my favorite fall math and science activities. This week I take you deeper into fall with activities I use during reading and art.
How many of us pick up leaves that we think are beautiful and wish we could do something to preserve them? This is why I love reading Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert to my students. They enjoy discovering all the different leaf characters in the book. After reading this book, I make a list of all the animals and shapes my students can recall from the story. Next, we go on a nature walk to collect leaves. Once we report back inside the classroom, we make our own leaf person or leaf animal. Students are encouraged to write a sentence telling what their creation is. As a culminating activity, I take pictures of each student’s work and use them to create our own version of the book. If you are not able to get outdoors, you can use bright and colorful paper leaves.
The perfect fall book, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert tells the story of a child who plants a tree and observes as it grows through all four seasons. But her favorite season to visit the tree is fall because of the colors. After reading this book, I give my students construction paper to illustrate what a tree would look like in each of the four seasons. I also allow my students to portray trees in different seasons using various craft items.
I love reading Fall Colors by Rita Walsh. This book examines all the colors and smells of the fall season. My students enjoy creating a class book of the things they see, smell, and hear in the fall.
- In fall I can see...
- In fall I can smell...
- In fall I can hear...
I use "The Colors of Fall," a poem by Victoria Smith in my pocket chart center. After reading the poem together, students match each fall object with the correct sentence strip.
The Symbols of Fall
Scarecrows and pumpkins are fun symbols of the fall season, and kids love them! They inspire a number of the activities I use in my class.
Students enjoy reading the poem entitled "The Floppy Scarecrow." I write this poem on sentence strips and place it in my pocket chart center. Students say the poem several times, replacing the blank with "hands," "feet," "head," "arms," "legs," etc. My students also like performing the actions with the various body parts presented as I read the poem.
Students also delight in making many different kinds of scarecrows in our class. We use construction paper, fabric scraps and other crafts to create our scarecrows.
My favorite book about pumpkins is Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. I read this book to my students every year.
Here are a few activities I use to go along with the book:
- Make a predictable chart by having each child look at and touch a pumpkin and then use descriptive words to complete the sentence: “A pumpkin is..."
- Use a Venn diagram to compare a pumpkin to an apple.
- Use pumpkin seeds to make a picture
- Make a paper bag pumpkin
One of the highlights of our fall unit is having the students carve a pumpkin online.
Always end pumpkin activities by giving your students a piece of pumpkin pie. YUM! YUM!
Fall brings shorter days, vivid colors, brisk winds, and crisp clear evenings for boys and girls to experience and enjoy. I hope the activities I’ve provided will help bring the great outdoors inside your classroom!