Friday, November 25, 2016

Don't Leaf It Alone!

I see leaves of green, red, brown and gold...
I see them changing, it never gets old,
and I think to myself, 
what a colorful world...

By now, most of us in the Northeast have seen the leaves change color and fall.  When my daughter and I visited Cambridge two weeks ago, the fallen leaves were fresh and soft, a composition of sycamore, red and white oak, sugar and Norway maple, aspen and elm.  Cambridge is very much a city, but the sidewalks and parks do not lack for trees.   Below is just a sample from outside the Harvard Museum of Natural History:

The shortening days had signaled the green chlorophyl to retreat back into the trunk, to let these food factories go.  The remaining yellow had always been there, the red were leftover sugars, the brown unneeded waste except for the worms and pill bugs who would digest it and return it to the soil.  We collected those that caught our eye and soon had more than we knew what to do with.  

 On bright copy paper, we made creatures with our findings.  With the rest, we stored them inside the pages of a phone book to keep them flat and dry.

My kindergarteners also collected leaves in our schoolyard, each choosing eight.  With oil pastels and my help with the glue, they created a menagerie of leaf critters and each had their turn to explain their creature to the class.

The fourth graders took it further, creating creatures but also labeling the leaves they used.  Again, oil pastel worked well for this.

So rake it up, jump in the pile, and save a few for later.  Happy Autumn!!!

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