Personification Leaves


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Typically, this book is used in Kindergarten or 1st grade as the sentences are short and often times you can use the book to help with prediction: where will the leaves blow next?  But in this lesson seed, I’m actually using it with 2nd and 3rd grade.

Why?  Because we don’t really start to dig into the nuances of personification art and its other forms until the end of 2nd, beginning of 3rd grade.  As we’ve shared before, there are many ways to extend the life of a book and this is one of them.  Your 2nd and 3rd grade students will be able to see more details and pick up on the variety of ways that both the illustrations and the text highlight this concept.  Plus, there are some scientific connections that you can make with leaf study (investigating the leaf veins and how they are related to the circulatory system in humans) which are better done in the older grade levels.

Ask students to view the art print Vertumnus by Giovanni Arcimboldi. What do they notice about the work? What is being used to create the face of the man?

Explain that when artists and authors choose to use objects to create human characteristics, that is called Personification.

Lesson Process:

Step 1: Read aloud the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Ask students how the author is using personification in the illustrations and in the text.

Step 2: During the read-aloud, ask students to predict where the leaves will go next. How do they think the author might show that with the leaves?

Step 3: Have students think about an object or food that would be found on their Thanksgiving table and create a list of phrases that could personify that object (such as “the candle danced in the breeze”). Select their favorite phrase and write it down.

Step 4:  Take students on a nature walk to collect a variety of leaves. Be sure to select examples with different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.

Step 5:  Bring the leaves back and refer back to their selected phrase. Organize the leaves on a blank sheet of paper in a what that would best capture the phrase, based on size, shape, color and texture.

Step 6:  Once happy with their design, students can glue down their leaves into their personification phrases. Use oil pastels to complete the background.

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:


Students should present their finished artwork to the class and share their selected personification phrase.

Assess students based on their use of language to reflect personification, as well as their choices and arrangement of leaves to communicate their selected phrase.