Autumn Leaves, Back to School, Columbus Day
Songs & Fingerplays
Great songs and finger plays about squirrels, owls, leaves, and more.
Print the apple shaped lined paper and the brainstorm words having to do with apples. Use the paper to write your finished poem.
Write an acrostic poem about fall things. Begin each line with a word or phrase that starts with the letter on that line. What fall thing can you think of that starts with F? How about A? Write it down and keep it going. Get the printable.
Falling leaves, a brisk gust of the fall breeze... this time of year lends itself well to the clean, crisp style of haiku poetry. Haiku is a traditional Japanese poetry form consisting of only three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables. The goal of haiku is to paint a concise, clear expression of images, feeling, and meaning.
Similes are a useful tool to powerful writing, especially for poetry. In this lesson students create descriptive autumn similes and write them on fall-themed paper:
Simple writing exercise for young students (1st and 2nd grade).
What words can you think of that start with the letter S? Can you put them together to make a silly poem or story about a silly scarecrow or other fall things? Print this scarecrow themed lined paper to write down your creation.
The fascinating true story of the man who helped make the apple tree so widespread in the U.S.
Designed to help U.S. 5th grade students gain an understanding of the process by which we elect our leaders, relate government principles to students' lives through diverse activities, and instill in students an appreciation for their responsibilities as U.S. citizens.
A wealth of Columbus related history resources from Kids Domain.
The largest factor in why leaves change color in the autumn is photoperiodism-the length of day and night. As the nights get longer in Autumn, the process of senescence becomes apparent through color change and the falling of leaves, leading the tree into it's winter dormancy. Read more (Middle School and older)
This site explains how plants get ready for winter, including why leaves change colors. Then it talks you through a simple do-at-home experiment that allows you to separate colors in a green leaf using chromatography -- very cool!
With all these leaves falling to the ground, what a great time to go on a nature walk and collect different types to sort and identify. Check out this page from the Arbor Day Foundation or this one from Discover Life with drawings that guide you through identifying different types of trees -- or just get a book from the library. Be sure to notice the different kinds of shapes the leaves have as well as what tree they came from. (A book showing trees as well as leaves would be perfect.)
To turn this into a math activity, have the students count up how many different kinds of leaves each student found. Do some graphing about who found how many leaves and/or how many of each kind of leaf was found. For older students, do a mini bio-blitz try to count the number of trees of each species within a given area.
Now that you have all those leaves laying about, be sure to scroll down this page for great leaf arts and crafts projects.
This worksheet helps students review and test their knowledge of fall.
This lesson plan uses the book The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Treeby Gail Gibbons to teach seasonal changes. Includes instructions for story discussion plus a fun art project that reinforces the lesson about the different seasons. (Pre-k through - kindergarten)
This comprehensive site also includes a page of history , photos, games, and more.
Students gather fall leaves, sort and count them according to color, and then create a bar graph to display the results.
Favorite Apple Survey and Graphing
Print the survey form (or make your own) and then ask people to name their favorite kind of apple. (A variety of apples could be purchased, and then sliced into small pieces for taste testing. For example: Granny Smith, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, etc.) Then tally up the results. Which was the most popular apple? Least favorite? Now print the bar graph form and fill it in with your information so everyone can easily see the results of the survey.
Just select the age and type of problems you need (addition, multiplication, etc.)
Games & Fun
Bobbing for Apples
To play this game you'll need an extra, extra large bowl (try a party supply store for an inexpensive version) as well as an assortment of apples, and of course water. To bob for apples, your hands must remain behind your back while you bend over the bowl and try to catch the apples with your teeth only. Then the apple must be dropped into another bowl, or a basket, towel, etc. before going back for the next apple. Let kids take turns to see who can get the most apples. For older children, use a timer and see who can get the most in the allotted time -- or time them to see how long it takes each child to get all the apples. For more fun, have two bowls side by side and let kids race, two at a time, to see who can clear their apples first.
Please note, this is not an ideal activity for a classroom setting as there will be considerable germ sharing. But for an at home event, where no one has a cold... it's great fun. Especially if you have video recorder rolling.
You'll find songs, games, poems and more in this lesson plan for pre-k and kindergarten.
More online fun.
Fall Arts & Crafts Ideas
This activity can be adapted for any age, toddler through adult, for a fun fall craft. It's really easy to do, very hands on sensory for the kids, and it looks great!
For this craft you need:
Slice the apples in half, slicing some from top to bottom and some crosswise to create a fun variation of shapes. Select your paint colors. You may want to use traditional "apple" colors like red, yellow, and green. Be sure to use only a thin layer of paint in your paint tray. Now gently press the flat, cut side of the apple into the paint, and then press it onto your paper or cloth surface. If you are making a cloth project -- such as a T-shirt, tablecloth, or tote bag -- you will want to practice your print making on paper first! This will help you get a feel for just how much paint to use and hard to press.
After your project dries, you can embellish it by painting on some little leaves and stems. Or better yet, you might try adding some leaf prints or gluing on some actual leaves (dried or silk)
This is a fun project for young kids to experiment with color mixing and texture.
For this project you need:
Cover your table with old newspaper, and then squirt one color of tempra paint into each paper plate or container. Roll an ear of corn in a color of paint, then roll it onto the paper -- just like using a rolling pin to roll out cookies. Now repeat with another color. Use 2 or 3 colors that mix well. For example, try primary colors (red, #0066CC, yellow) to create shades of purple, green, and orange. Let dry.
Note: easel paper or old newspaper for this project to create homemade wrapping paper for upcoming holidays.
Dried flowers are a wonderful home decoration all by themselves, or use them as the basis for creating lovely crafts for gifts or holiday decorations.
Pumpkin Seed Art
Don't know what to do with all those
pumpkin seeds you scooped out? Well, you could
roast them on a
tray in the oven for eating
... or... you could just dry them and use
them to make interesting collage art. Draw simple shapes on
paper, like a flower, and glue the dried pumpkin seeds on to fill up
the shapes or follow the lines. Make silly faces, strange
designs, or a big creepy crawly spider for Halloween! When
you're done, you can paint your art work.
Print out these leaf patterns then use them for coloring projects or as patterns for cutting out construction paper, crumpled paper bag material, or cloth. Click here for more ideas.
Fall Leaves Collage
This is an art activity that can be coupled with a neighborhood "nature walk" to gather the necessary leaves. The leaves must be completely dry however, so make sure that they sit out on some newspaper to dry a day or two if they are damp. Choose some nice fall colors for your background, like orange, brown, red, or even purple. Have your child glue the leaves to the paper. Don't worry if he decides to crumble them and sprinkle them on this way -- it's all about exploration. Other elements that could be added to the project include acorns or dried seed pods, glitter or fall-themed confetti sprinkles, or even feathers, natural or dyed. Paint could be incorporated as well. Your child could first "do a fall painting" (whatever that means to him or her) and then, when dry, glue on the leaves. Or the paper could be stamped/painted with either sponged shapes or cookies cutters that have been dipped in paint. Another option is to let your child paint the collage, after the glue has dried. Experiment!
More Fall Collage Ideas
Fall is a great time to visit the garden for flowers and leaves that have dried. Nature walks too may have yielded an interesting collection of dried seed pods, feathers, leaves, acorns, pinecones, and etc. All of these items can be combined into beautiful collages. But while young children will be contact with simply gluing these items onto construction paper or cardboard pieces, older children can find more of a challenge by using their finds to create a beautiful scene. Items from nature can be combined with scraps and materials found around the home, including glitter and paint.
Thus an older child could make whimsical collage images of strange creatures, using dried flowers and seeds and pipe stem cleaners. Or a beautiful 3-D garden with sand or gravel path winding along a cardboard backing amidst clumped arrangements of dried flowers with dried moss atop sticks serving for trees. A little paint and glitter on the dried flowers will bring out new splashes of color.
If you've been collecting leaves, try making leaf rubbings! Place a sheet of white paper over the leaf or leaves and, using the side of a crayon whose wrapper has been removed, rub the crayon back and forth over the hidden leaf. Experiment with pressing harder or softer. Use different kinds of leaves and notice the different shapes and patterns of veins that each has. If you use a really large sheet of paper, try filling the whole sheet with rubbings of different colors; then save the result to use for gift wrap.
With some wrapping paper and a small box, like a pop tart box, you can make a handy container for your locker to keep extra pencils, pens, and other supplies.
Great way to make text books more fun! Note that the "arms" can be used to mark your place in the book, and don't need to be sticking out all the time.
To print, color, and attach to the top of your pencil. Very cute...
Personalize Your Back Pack!
Lots of people have really plain back packs -- because their school gives them out free the first day or simply because they need something really large that comes with wheels (and those are usually plain, solid color). But your back pack doesn't NEED to stay plain! You can decorate with fabric paints, sew on special patches, sew on pony beads for splashes of color, attach Shrinky Dink Art, or glue on silk flowers using special fabric glue (in the sewing department at Wal-Mart or your local fabric shop). If you're not in to beads or silk flowers, maybe you have something you like to collect that could inspire your backpack. Many different small objects can be either sewn on with needle and thread to glued on with fabric glue.
A great way to personalize and decorate your backpack -- plus it will help people know who it belongs to! Don't forget to add your name, your homeroom number...
Use some cardstock or use regular paper and cut and glue onto something thicker. This is an excellent way to use old cereal or cracker boxes as a cheap source of think but stiff cardboard. Glue one image to each side, finish the edges with a bit of glitter paint.
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