SynopsisA polar bear arrives in an unfamiliar habitat where he/she is feared by the other animals. Eventually they listen to polar bear’s story and help him/her return to his/her family.
Lesson accessvia url-link or QR-Code
Equipment tablet, phone or laptop, internet connection, perhaps headphones
Resourcesdictionary (online or paper), craft materials
Language SkillsListening and viewing, asking and writing questions
Cross-curricular LinksScience and geography
ValuesEmpathising, kindness and helping others, accepting and welcoming newcomers, tolerance, inclusion, overcoming fear of the unknown
World Event DayInternational Polar Bear Day

Mini Picturebook e-Lessons: Guidelines

STEP 1: Look at the Cover

NoticeWhat do you notice first on the front cover? Do you think this looks like a polar bear’s natural habitat? Where would you expect to see a polar bear?
Observe and countHow many different leaf shapes and colours can you see?
ResearchFind out three facts about polar bears. For example, where do they live, what do they eat and where do they sleep?
PredictWhere do you think the polar bear is and why do you think he/she is there? Why do you think the story is called Leaf?
Check Look up the meaning of these verbs: to dare, to flee, to fear, to stomp
Step 2 and Step 3: Listen and Watch
Part AListen and watch for general understanding and enjoyment.
Part BListen and watch again and answer the questions. Pause and replay when you need to.
Pause and look at the endpapers. Find a crow that is flying, swooping, pecking, cawing, standing.
Who does Sandra Dieckmann dedicate the book to?
On the first double spread, who sees polar bear first? How does crow describe the polar bear? What do you think crow is thinking? What do you think polar bear is thinking?
Where does polar bear make his home?
How do the other animals feel about the polar bear? Why do you think they are afraid of him/her?
Why do the animals name polar bear LEAF?
At the meeting of the crows and the animals, two different points of view are presented. How do the crows feel and what do they suggest? How do the animals feel? What do they decide?
What does polar bear make with the leaves? Why?
When the crows listen to polar bear what does he/she tell them?
How do the crows help polar bear and what do they promise to do?
Who is LEAF reunited with at the end of the story?
Step 4: Add your Voice
Observe and calculateWatch the film again. Sandra Dieckmann explains that there is one more crow on each page. So, on the first double spread there is one crow, on the second double spread there are two crows, etc. How many crows are there altogether in the story? NB Do not include the crows on the front cover or on the endpapers. Use the pause feature to stop and count.
SpeculateWhy do you think Sandra Dieckmann includes crows in the story?
ResearchFind out how climate change and global warming in the Artic Circle are threatening polar bears.
DesignDo you know of any campaigns to help save animals, e.g. ‘Save the Rhino’ or ‘Save the Whale’? Design a slogan for polar bears. You can use some of these words or words of your own:
verbs: save, protect, be kind to, care for, give… a chance, matter
nouns: bears, rights
adjectives: fair, unfair
Take actionWhat can you do to help polar bears? Make an action plan with your friends or classmates. For example, Let’s join the WWF or a local protection group! We can organise a competition or sponsored run in our school and send the money to an organisation that protects polar bears. Look at some of these websites for ideas:
WWF – the global environment network:
Friends of the Earth:
CreateWhat questions would you like to ask polar bear in the story? Write your questions in leaf shapes, cut them out and create a question wall at home or in your classroom and create a display. You can copy leaf shapes from Sandra Dieckmann’s activity page. As Sandra suggests, you could create a flying costume for Leaf by sticking your leaves on polar bear:
ReviewWatch the read-aloud again and listen to the different words used to describe polar bear. For example, strange white creature. How do these words show the bear is different to the other animals and is unwelcome?
PersonaliseHow would you feel if you were separated from your family?
EmpathizeHas someone new ever arrived in your class or street? How did you feel? What did you do to welcome and help them?
ImagineChoose an illustration from Leaf and imagine the different noises you might hear.
Step 5: Share and Evaluate your work
ShareSend your work to your teacher or share in your virtual classroom.
EvaluateComplete the evaluation sheet to reflect on your learning.

Need Help ? Part A: Read and complete. You can write or say your answers. You can do this on your own, in pairs or in a class discussion.
Part B: Think about how well you did. Choose and draw the smiley face that fits best.

Teacher Notes

Want More?
1Sandra Dieckmann quotes Friedrich Schiller at the beginning of the story. He wrote a poem in 1785 called ‘Ode to Joy’ which Beethoven used in his Ninth Symphony in 1824. Watch a children’s orchestra performing the symphony. How does the music make you feel?
2Watch the film about a baby polar bear: Film 1 and Film 2.

©Ellis, G. & Gruenbaum, T. for PEPELT 2021

Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann published by Flying Eye Books 

Video © Sandra Diekmann