MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern

Students gather a variety of leaves and use them to make stencil prints in a small 8-page book, then add patterns to their prints and write about the leaves, finding a way to connect them with at least one number.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 4


Language Arts
Visual Arts


contrast negative shape pattern positive shape shape stencil print


Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Oil Pastels, 16 Count Small Pieces of Sponge, about 3 cm x 4 cm (1" x 1 ½") Copy Paper 27.9 cm x 43.1 cm (11" x 17") - 1 per student

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MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern - Step One

Step One

  1. Gather lots of different leaves.
  2. Place the leaves between parchment paper and put some books on top of them.
  3. Allow them to dry for one day.
  4. Laminate the leaves. 
  5. Cut them out.
  6. Leave a small border around the edge so the laminate won't separate.
MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Follow the instructions to make an 8-page book. (Downloads – 8PageBooklet.pdf)  
  2. Roll a small piece of masking tape into a loop with the sticky side facing out.
  3. Stick it to the back of a leaf.
MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place the leaf on top of the first page of your book.
  2. Use an oil pastel to colour ON the leaf – NOT on the paper.
  3. Hold the leaf with one hand.
  4. Use a small sponge to drag the colour off the leaf and onto the paper.
  5. You can add more and different colours if you want to.
  6. Be sure to use lots of colour.
MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Gently remove the leaf from the paper.
  2. You have made a stencil print.
MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Use fine line markers to add pattern to your leaf.
  2. Write about your leaf.
  3. Add something that includes at least one number.
MY LITTLE LEAF BOOK – Shape, Contrast, Pattern - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use a different leaf for each page.
  2. Fill the book with leaves, patterns and numbers.
  3. Make up a 'Questions' card to go with your book, e.g.,
    - What is the sum of all the numbers in the book?
    - What is the rule for the pattern on the oak leaf page?
    - How many different leaves are in the book?
  4. Write the answers on the back of the card.
  5. Share your book with a partner and take turns answering the questions.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a small book of 5 different leaf stencil prints;
  • create 5 different patterns and explain their rules;
  • write about their leaves and make number connections;
  • create 5 questions about the information in their books; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • use a similar technique to make small books about geometric and organic shapes;
  • share their books with another class, and teach a peer how to make stencil prints;
  • explore other ways to make stencil prints, for example, by using the Greetings lesson plan available on this website.



  1. Gather and make available books about fall and Canadian trees, for example, Trees in Fall, by Jenna Lee Gleisner; Autumn is here!, by Heidi Pross Gray; Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, by Kenard Pak; We're Going on a Leaf Hunt, by Steve Metzger, and Miki Sakamoto; Look What I Did with a Leaf!, by Morteza E. Sohi; Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert; Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson, and Tiphanie Beeke; The First Red Maple Leaf, by Ludmila Zeman; and Maple Trees, by Rebecca Stromstad Glaser.
  2. Provide time for students to read the books and share ideas about fall.
  3. Download and display the ShapeContrast and Repetition Posters available on this website.
  4. Review, or introduce the idea of contrast by showing some examples of colour contrast.
  5. Review the concept of pattern and have students practice making patterns using the Patterns worksheet. (Downloads – Pattern_Worksheet.pdf)
  6. Teach students how to make an 8-page book from a single sheet of paper. (Downloads – 8_PageBook.pdf)
  7. Go on a nature walk and gather different kinds and sizes of leaves.
  8. Press and laminate the leaves.
  9. Make a sample book.


  1. Have students share their leaves and tell about where they found them.
  2. Show students your sample book.
  3. Ask students to guess how you made the stencil prints.
  4. Demonstrate how to make the print.
  5. Explain the difference between positive and negative shapes pointing out the shapes in your print.
    - the positive shape is the object – the leaf
    - the negative shape is the shape around the leaf – the background
  6. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create an 8-page book.
  2. Create 5 different leaf stencil prints.
  3. Create 5 different patterns and explain their rules.
  4. Write about your leaves and make number connections.
  5. Create 5 questions using the information in your books.
  6. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - folded the paper carefully when making my book
    - used 5 different leaves
    - created contrast
    - made crisp stencil prints
    - made 5 different patterns
    - explained my pattern rules
    - made number connections
    - made 5 different questions about information in my book
    - constructed my book with care
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into partners.
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Share their books and take turns answering the questions they have created.
    - Discuss the things that are especially effective in their books and why.

    - Talk about what they found difficult and what they found easy to do.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the books and answer each other's questions – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – LeafBook_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – LeafBook_self-assessment.pdf)