Leaves for Learning 2
Perhaps today you talked about the meaning of the first official day of fall with your learners. You discussed the autumnal equinox, and how the seasons occur because of the tilt of the earth on its axis and our shifting position relative to the sun. Perhaps, you also used our Autumnal Equinox Manipulative to explain how right now the day and night are pretty close to the same length, but day will soon start getting shorter. If not, think about adding it to the menu for tomorrow. What a blessing to be able to share an example of God's perfect timing with our learners. God LOVES math, and is the science behind it. :)
I have to say, there's nothing like that gorgeous fall weather to make your spirit soar. Fresh, crisp morning air. Leaves starting to change color. School settling into a steady routine. Plus, it's stew season!
In the spirit of the season, we recently shared with you some ways to bring leaves into your learning. Today, we wanted to give you some visuals of what that looked like for us.
With our kindergarten learners, we are really working on helping them recognize their names. The letters in them. How to spell them. How to write them correctly. It always astonishes us how much they grow throughout the year, and this one area is a solid testament to that growth.
So far, we've
- Practiced writing names using ESL writing wizard. We like this one because it isolates their name, thereby making it the true focus. Also, it gives them plenty of tracing practice before they are expected to write it on their own. And, when finally asked to write it independently, they only write it twice. Achievable. Encouraging. Simple. We will move to more complicated ones later, but for now this one is just what our learners need.
- Sorted letters in their name and not in their name with this idea from Simply Kinder
- Clipped clothespins to popsicle sticks (also from Simply Kinder)
And now, we're bringing leaves into learning with this idea. Using the template from our Leaves for Learning download, we wrote letters on, colored, cut, laminated and hole-punched each leaf. Next, we cut a length of string for each learner at our center.
When learners arrive at the leaf center, they will hunt through the leaves to find all the letters in their name. Next, they will string on the letters (in order) to spell their name. So, if your name was Wolfe Stew, your string would look like this:
When finished, they will remove the leaves and choose someone else's name to spell. One of our learners started challenging herself to spell other classmates names on her own during the popsicle center. We love how they push themselves!
Why didn't we just have the learners make their own necklaces to take home?
- They are still learning to cut.
- This center develops fine motor and visual discrimination skills.
- It provides multiple opportunities to practice spelling their name with seasonal context.
After making the center, we thought of ways to make it easier for you. Consider:
- Printing the leaves on colored paper. This would remove the coloring step.
- Using a die-cut machine (if you have access to one) to remove the cutting and coloring steps.
- Going on a leaf hunt and collecting God-crafted leaves, writing the letters on and laminating those. This would also save the cutting and coloring steps. Plus, you'd have the added experience of meeting God in nature.
- Inviting your learners to color the leaves, which would develop their fine motor skills.
If you teach a different grade level, or are looking for other ways to bring leaves into your learning, read our "Leaves for Learning" post. You'll find multi-grade, multi-subject area suggestions there. Or, perhaps you have a different way you love to use leaves in learning. We'd love to hear it! Please, feel free to add your flavor to the stew pot!
Here are some ideas we're currently stewing on, and will soon serve up for taste-testing:
- The October Calendar with an idea for every day. (Check out the September Calendar.)
- Highlights from some already shared resources. Some of our downloads seem like they only serve one purpose, but have hidden gems that reach a broader audience. We'll be pulling these pages out and re-framing them for you.
- Activities to complement The Big Five by Bella Makatini for grades 2 & 3. (Find PreK-1 activities here.)
- A "Made-to-Order" form. We would love to serve up resources to delight your unique taste buds. To make it easier for you to submit a request, we are working on crafting a form. We are dying to know how to best serve you.
We're looking forward to serving you some new dishes along with a warm welcome to our fellow leaders. Happy Fall, Ya'll! We're glad you're here.
With Love from the Kitchen,
Interested in even more educational resources? Then stop by our Learning Lab. It's here where we store all the educational resources we've cooked up to date.