The other day I went out to check on my sheep and gather chicken eggs when I could not help but notice beautiful autumn leaves drifting down from above my head. I instinctly began picking them up, like I do seashells at the ocean shore. Red ones, yellow ones, half green and half brown ones. Oak leaves, pecan leaves, what are these funny ones? My pockets were full.
I went inside and placed them in my huge white teacher’s bag. It is full of all kinds of stuff-- usually papers to grade, zillions of pens, Advil, anti-itch cream, Frosty coupons, a sharpie, my camera, my clipboard, my choir music because I can’t learn the last page of that hard song, food, my coffee cup, and now, leaves.
The next day I gave every student one of each kind of leaf I had gathered. We examined them, drew pictures of them on the board, taped them to paper, and wrote their names next to them. I grew up in Texas, but I never knew the difference between the leaves of a red oak and a white oak until yesterday. We discovered that two of the unknown leaves were aspen and sweet gum.
The following day the students showed up with baggies of leaves-- one of each kind for each one of their classmates. We added magnolia leaves, holly leaves, cedar “leaves”, and maple leaves to our collection. Then we put them in between waxed paper and ironed them on top of an old t-shirt.
My husband walked in the room to get a book and asked me, “What are you doing?” I told him we were ironing leaves. I felt a little silly, but anatomy can wait for another day or so. We are having a wonderful time examining different kinds of leaves.