Teaching Moments: Leaf Wreaths and a Fall Walk Through Morningside Heights


Check out those colors on the trees on our street!  I have so enjoyed fall in the city, being from the west coast I am used to everything staying lush and green for the most part throughout each season.  So watching the colors alter and fade as the months wear on has been wonderful to experience.  They have also served as a bit of teachable inspiration.


On Saturday afternoons I help teach an autism education program in Chinatown with a group of some of the most exceptional teachers on the east coast, to an equally special group of students. I have been working hard to choreograph and rehearse three dances for them to preform at a fundraiser this coming February.  It has been a challenge, but one that I am enjoying undertaking.  After we tire them out with solid minutes of jiving and grooving we do a little art followed by some down time with games and centers.


Before Thanksgiving we tackled a fall art project that my friend Ryan found for us to do (This guy is going to be one stellar teacher. Anyone who can should hire him immediately).  I am so used to using natural materials in my classroom for everything from art to science to math, but what I forgot when selecting this particular project was that I no longer live in a densely forested, organically lush corner of the world.  Nonetheless Jay and I scoured the parks near our apartment to collect leaves for our tree Tree themed art project and had a whole lot of fun doing it.

20131205-201348.jpgBelow I have included a description of our project.  However, I forgot to snap a photo of the sample (which I sent home with a student) or any of the student’s finished products.  This idea is in no way an original by us, so as such I  borrowed a photo from another location to give you an example of what a completed wreath. The URL is on the image as to give credit where credit is due.

Leaf Wreaths

Making an Autumn Leaf Wreath


  1. Fresh, dried leaves that have fallen to the ground
  2. Paper plates
  3. White glue
  4. Stapler


  1. Fold each paper plate in half and cut out the inner circle to give you a wreath shape.
  2. Spread glue along the entirety of the wreath
  3. Select your leaves and collage them along the wreath.
  4. Carefully set to the side and give ample time to dry.
    • If time isn’t able to be given I staple the leaves in place otherwise they will not be secure and will fall off the wreath during transport.

Notes to Consider

  • Make sure the leaves are dry
  • Try and find paper plates that have a relatively flat lip so that the leaves are able to contour to the plate easily.
  • Encourage your students to collage the leaves, rather than just placing them absentmindedly.  The look when you cannot see any of the plate is really effective. You can see an example of what I mean here.
  • Another neat effect is to collage the leaving with all the leaf points facing outward.  You can see an example of what I mean here.
  • If you have the time cutting the wreath shape out of sturdy construction paper would be an even better alternative to paper plates because they will remain flat and allot the leaves to adhere better.

4 thoughts on “Teaching Moments: Leaf Wreaths and a Fall Walk Through Morningside Heights

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