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I teach first grade art. I have my students do freehand drawings of
leaves, focusing on shape and line. Before doing any drawing, we really
study and compare the kinds of edges on the leaves (curved, smooth,
jagged, etc.) and what the veins look like ( some are curved lines, some
are straight, some are close together, etc.) We spent one class period
(50 minutes) doing this observation, then drawing leaves with pencil on
newsprint. I gather a variety of sizes and types of leaves for each
table. The second class period the children did drawings of leaves with
oil pastel on colored paper. The emphasis was on closely observing the
leaf shapes, drawing them. then filling them in with beautiful colors
with the oil pastels. Mixing colors was strongly suggested. The results
were truly impressive, and the cildren were amazed at how well they could
draw leaves (without tracing).