Fall 2015: I’ve always loved the autumn season, even though I live in Southern California where the start of the this season does not segue into cooler temperatures. But leaves and acorns do fall from the trees, and Grandpa Jim rakes the leaves in our backyard into piles so the grands can jump into them.
We visit an apple orchard in the local mountains and take hikes. In October we carve pumpkins (and this year our garden produced four of them) and make pumpkin pies. So, yes, autumn is still a wonderful experience for all of us.
I decided to build upon these experiences by creating “autumn” themed lessons for the grands. After ordering several books from the local library, and looking at the plethora of autumn activities that other educators and homeschoolers are posting, I created some lesson plans that I will share with you in this post.
As always, I planned a variety of lessons in each intelligence to have differentiated activities for each grandson: Tigger (7), Kona (5), and Tahoe (3). We spent three weeks on this study unit, and completed at least one activity for each intelligence during that time.
Fall 2016: I revisited this topic with the grands this month and so I have updated the post with more books and activities that I used with the grands in 2016. (In the fall of 2016 the grands are ages 4, 6, and 8.)
I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.
Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)
Read and discuss books- I read and discussed at least one of these books to the grands each day during the three week period. The first few times I read the books to the grands, our discussion centered on vocabulary, using pictures to predict what was going to happen next in the story, and then pointing out “describing” words such as colors, shapes, and numbers. After those initial discussions, I had specific reading skills I used as a focus for each book, depending on my grandsons’ individual needs. These are the books I borrowed from the library and the skills I chose for further discussion:
Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk is a great (backwards) counting book, mostly about autumn leaves, with amazing illustrations. Each page focuses on a different type of leaf and has rhyming verses.
Discussion Focus: Rhyming Words-This skill was adapted for each grandson. With Tahoe, I explained the rhyming words on each page and had him repeat them after me. For Kona, I would give him one of the words from a rhyming pair on each page, and he would have to listen and tell me the rhyming word that matched. Tigger had to give me the rhyming pair as I finished (or he finished) reading each page.
Fall (Seasons of the Year) by Cynthia Amoroso and Robert B. Noyed covers other aspects of autumn such as picking apples at orchards, birds flying south, and squirrels gathering food for the winter . Beautiful photographs accompany the text.
Discussion Focus: Sight Words-I had Kona (5) pick a few pages and tell me (and write down) all the sight words he knew (a, and, the, it, see). For Tahoe (3) I showed him the sight word “a” when we came across it in the book. (Tigger has pretty much mastered sight words.)
Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson is another beautifully illustrated fiction book about two mice playing in some autumn leaves. This is a great book for preschoolers, including Tahoe, aged 3.
Discussion Focus: Main Character (Who) and Setting (Where and When): I still need to break down “Setting” into “Where” and “When” for Kona and Tigger. I have Kona discuss these with me, while I have Tigger write them down. Tahoe and I talk about who, where, and when as I read this book to him.
Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber focuses on the different types of trees and their leaves. This book is nice for younger children interested in matching the fallen leaves with their trees. It has lovely illustrations.
Discussion Focus: Finding details-This was more of a discussion only item for Tahoe, but with Kona and Tigger, I chose three different leaves and after reading the page on each leaf, they had to tell me at least two details. I had Tigger write down the details.
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins is a terrific non-fiction book that also matches the autumn leaves with their trees. It would be better for school-aged children rather than preschoolers. The photographs and text cover such trees as the sweet gum, hickory, red oak, linden, and dogwood. It would be a nice resource to take on hikes or trips to the park.
Discussion Focus: Finding Details- I had the grands look for details on the “shapes of leaves” as I read Autumn Leaves with them. Tigger had to write this information in his journal.
Why Do Leaves Change Colors by Terry Allan Hicks is a non-fiction book that is full of scientific explanations, photographs, and an activity for older elementary aged children. It was a wonderful resource book for me, and I did read a few pages to my grandsons and show them the illustrations. However, the grands weren’t ready to have the entire book read to them, even though it is only 30 pages long.
Discussion Focus: New Words-I used this book with Tigger to pick out words that were new to him and had him write them down so we could discuss them.
Fall Harvest by Gail Saunders-Smith is a great short book for vocabulary development and for early readers. It has wonderful photographs of people and machines harvesting a variety of foods including pumpkins, apples, sugar beets, wheat, corn, potatoes, and cranberries. There are short sentences on each page, so it is a good book for those children who are just beginning to read books and a glossary in the back.
Discussion Focus: How is Food Grown- I used this book with Tahoe to help him understand how food is grown (some in the ground, some on stalks of leaves, some on trees). Since the sentences are short, Kona was able to read most of the sentences once I had read the book to him several times and he began to recognize words such as harvest, people, and machines. Tigger and I discussed how many non-fiction books have a glossary in the back of it.
Animals in Fall by Martha E. H. Rustad (All About Fall series) is similar to Fall Harvest with its fantastic photographs and short sentences on each page. This book differs because it focuses on the many ways animals prepare in the fall for the upcoming winter season.
Discussion Focus: Similarities and Differences-I had the grands give me details from each animal that was discussed in the book and discussed how these preparations for similar or different from each other.
Fall Ball by Peter McCarty is a cute story about some children who can’t wait to get off the school bus so they can enjoy their favorite fall sport: football. As the children get of the bus, they start organizing a football game at the park, although one boy decides to stay behind because there are too many leaves on the ground. Another character in the story is their dog, Sparky, who also loves football. My grands loved the dog’s antics during the football game.
Discussion Focus: Making Predictions-There are many opportunities in the story to ask, “What do you think will happen next?” so this a great way to practice making predictions with all of the grands.
Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)
- Walk around neighborhood and pick up some of the fallen autumn leaves. The children can later categorize them by color, shape, or even tree.
- Create math problems with autumn themes such as: The squirrels in the neighborhood park are collecting acorns to store for winter. If five squirrels each collect six acorns today, how many will that be? What if one of these squirrels is very ambitious and collects nine acorns instead of six. How many acorns would be collected by all five squirrels now?
- Have the grands throw a football and measure the distance it was thrown.
Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)
- Play Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons-Autumn” as you read one of the stories aloud.
- I found some great rhymes and songs including “All the Leaves are Falling Down” using the tune
“London Bridge is Falling Down” and “Saw a Leaf” using the melody from “My Darling Clementine” at this link:
Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)
Autumn Leaf craft projects-Since most of the books focused on leaves, I designed some autumn leaf crafts for Tahoe (3). Among the art supplies that I frequently use are Creatology foam stickers and circle punches. I buy the buckets of foam stickers from the craft store whenever they are on sale or I have a 50% off coupon because the boys love to work with them. I also have three different sizes of circle punches because (again) the grands enjoy punching out circles from construction paper and the circles can be used in so many craft projects.
Tahoe, age 3, drew brown crayon lines to make his tree and then added stick-on leaves and acorns.
Here is Tahoe’s finished project.
Another autumn tree craft was made using circles I punched out for Tahoe. My 3 year old grandson used the larger brown circles to make a tree trunk.
Then he used a glue stick to place all the smaller circles as leaves. Can you see the leaves falling from the tree?
Scarecrow and Spider Crafts-My grandsons also enjoyed making autumn themed crafts for a scarecrow and a spider.
You can get the directions here from my other blog posts:
Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)
- Dramatic play-Reenact the story of Mouse’s First Fall or Fall Ball with siblings.
- Work together with others (such as siblings) to rake the leaves and create a large pile of them. Then take turns jumping in the leaves.
Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)
I found several physical activities on websites for autumn and created one of my own.
- Acorn Race: I gave my grandsons one acorn and a wooden spoon. I had them hit the acorns with the spoons to move the acorns from one side of our front sidewalk to the other side. They got to practice first before an “official” race began.
- Leaf Blowers: My grandsons were given each a leaf and a straw. The object of the game was to blow the leaf across the width of the table. After they raced several times and were getting really good at this, I challenged them to race along the length of the outdoor table.
- I found the Leaf Blower idea and many other physical activities for autumn at this link:
Football Activities: Since one of the books we read together about autumn is focused around the game of football, I have included some bodily-kinesthetic ideas for football. One idea is to have the grands practice throwing a football through a hula hoop. Of course, the grands are at a good age to start passing the football to each other as well. I looked for other easy activities they could do with a football and discovered some excellent ideas on this website: http://fitfamilytogether.com/fun-games-for-kids-football
Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)
- What is your favorite autumn activity? Draw a picture or write about it in a journal.
- Discuss: Which is your favorite autumn leaf in the books that we have read?
- I leave the library books in a convenient place for the grandsons so they can browse or read them on their own.
Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)
- Visit a pumpkin farm or an apple orchard. Grandpa Jim and I usually take our grandsons to the local apple orchards for a picnic, hiking, and buying apples. We also visit a nearby pumpkin patch.
The grands enjoyed the “Kid Quizzes” on the nature trail we took next to the apple orchard.
Grandpa Jim is demonstrating for Tigger why one should not pick up a pine cone from a Coulter pine tree.
The grands always enjoy a trip to a nearby pumpkin patch.
- Walk around your neighborhood and collect fallen leaves, seed pods, acorns, or other natural materials. I had the grands start a nature journal using natural materials we found on our walks or hikes.
I hope the children in your care enjoy these activities as much as my grandsons did.
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