This Kindergarten lesson can be adapted to any time of year, any season, any subject matter. Last year, I had my students do a tissue paper collage in the shape of a heart during February. The real purpose of the lesson, rather than the finished product, is to help students learn to use a paintbrush. I teach them to hold it vertically like a pencil, use just a little glue-water, and to brush in one direction.
I start the lesson with a little song that I learned from a colleague when I was teaching Kindergarten:
Fall is here! Fall is here!
How do you think I know?
The leaves are turning
..... orange and brown....
.... yellow and red....
And so it must be so!
I have the words written out on a chart with the color words written in those colors and everything else written in dark green. It is posted on the wall surrounded by several pictures of fall leaves and trees. We talk about how we know it is fall, and look carefully at the colors of the leaves.
I use a variety of pre-printed leaf shapes so that no two leaves will be alike at any one work table. I create these on the copy machine on white construction paper. In the future, I might try these on light green, light blue, and yellow.
I use regular white glue, watered down to about a 50/50 proportion. The tissue paper I have is the "bleeding" kind so it can get pretty messy, but most students do understand not to paint glue all over the shape, just in the space they want to lay the small piece of tissue. I demonstrate for the students how to hold the brush, how much glue to use, how to tear the tissue paper, and how to paint over the color to make it stick to the paper, then I send them off to the tables to choose a leaf they like and to get started. As they work, I work with individual students who need help holding the brush, calculating how much glue to use, and/or how to tear the paper into smaller pieces.
When everyone is finished, we take some time to share all the work so that all students can see what everyone else did. I don't have space to hang them all so I choose a few that are different colors and shapes to hang on the wall along with the song chart.