As my students learn about the different seasons, I like to do a craft along with all of our research and stories, as we learn about the season. The craft is not only fun, but allows for great conversations about the topic. For example, we did this fall craft activity this week. It's quite simple with fall leaves, a pumpkin, spiderweb netting, and plastic spider. The total cost is probably 5-6 dollars, as I bought the items in bulk.
Procedure for Fall Craft Activity
We started by examining different types of fall leaves and arranging them. Leave can be collected by the students, if possible, or purchased from a crafts store. This is a great chance to practice basic matching and sorting skills, as well as more advanced skills, such as identification of different types of tree leaves. Braille and large print can be added to the paper.
Next we examined small pumpkins. Again, if possible it is preferable to go to a pumpkin patch and pick the actual pumpkins, but, if not, these can be purchased locally. This is a good opportunity to explore the parts of the pumpkin (stem, ridges, hard outside, orange color, etc.)
Finally, we put it all together, placing the pumpkin on the fall leaves, and arranging the cotton spiderweb, along with plastic spiders on top. We worked on sequencing steps and positional concepts (on, under, next to, left, right, above, etc.)
We did a number of different extension activities related to this craft, depending on the goals of individual students. We worked on language and literacy, as well as science, technology, health and safety.
One student made a book telling about our experience making the craft. The speech teacher joins a lesson once a week, as the student is a life skills student whose language has just started to explode. Our collaborative lessons have helped me to be a more effective teacher and I am learning how to "pull" the language out to reinforce these goals.
We researched the following topics for the fall lessons:
- Is a pumpkin a fruit or vegetable? https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/pumpkins-fruit-vegetable-dif...
- Why do spiders make webs? https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-spiders-spin-webs
- Why do leaves change colors? https://www.esf.edu/pubprog/brochure/leaves/leaves.htm
We also reviewed safety tips for crafting:
- Safety tips for glue guns: https://www.doityourself.com/stry/4-safety-tips-to-consider-when-working...
- Rules for safe crafting: https://www.familyeducation.com/fun/crafts-kids/rules-safe-crafting
While we don't teach science, I do like to use these sites to give them practice with technology skills, learning new skills or expanding on what they’ve learned. This might include using screen reader software, such as JAWS, or VoiceOver on an iPad. Sometimes we also print or emboss them and work on reading speeds in large print or braille. The vocabulary is similar to what they will be encounter in their gen ed classes, so this provides some pre-teaching that helps them to be successful in those classes.