EARTHKEEPERS  - paper leaf  activity

ACTIVITY :  “Foto-Synthesis”

[[ An activity for engaging groups after receipt of ‘K’ key ]]


• Central station with box of coloured pens and pencils. (or own if Steiner )

• 8 stations set at the eight poles (plus the video screen wall as required)

• Each Station has : scribble pad , pen, & Large cut out paper leaf.

INTO: (10mins)

SCRIPT : “Words are used to communicate: explanations / expression / excitement”

Explaining  - Help us Recognise what we know or need to learn

Expressing  - Help us reveal what we feel or perceive how others feel

Exciting – stimulates our desire to recognise or reveal by describing       something that is happening

“This evening your group will get a chance to explain , express and excite us trainers, the guardians and each other and with your words.

Yours words will help us recognise what you have learnt, how you are feeling and motivate us to move into tomorrow.

DESCRIBE ROOM: “Around the room on the old tree poles are large papers leaves . Onto these leaves you will shortly be writing the your words. “

Words that will explain , express and excite. But these leaves will only have a few words on them so you will need to select the very best words you can.

How many words ?  - The number of words on your leaf will be the same as the number of people in your group.”

So yep…. Each person in your group will contribute one word each to your Leaf.

“But wait a minute….not only will you be writing your one word each, you will get a chance to colour and decorate your word. In fact, after each of you finishes your word, your group may wish to colour and illustrate your whole leaf. You can do this in a manner that highlights the meaning, the feeling and style your words.


• ** So….how will the words be written on your groups leaf?

“You will have to write your word BIG . I mean REALLY Big ! Your group needs to fill the whole leaf with your words. Write them large on the page so your leaf can be read it from the door over there.

It is probably best to do your word as an outline so you can colour it in later.”


“So…you will have to decide on the words from your group BUT also, you have to decide on the order that the words appear on your leaf.

You see, you are actually making a phrase that expresses something from your group about what you learnt today.”


You only have one large paper leaf, but at each station there is a scribble pad to try out various words, their spelling and to practice the order that your group wishes to place the selected words.

So use a page of the scribble pad to work out your own word, and then together work out the set of words your group will use, and then place those words in best order. Try to make the words you use make sense when said in that order.

FOCUS (on Foliage)

• ** What sorts or words might these be?

“We want you to try and [ *distil  *compose * select ] three words.

One that will be an explaining word,

One that will be an expressive word

And one that might help excite the reader to recognise what your group now learnt, or felt, and did today.”


“Each of you contributes one word so that when you finally write on the leaf it makes sense - as a kind of phrase. Though each word is important in itself, we want to see all three words makes sense together when read out in order.”

“* So really, I guess you are actually writing a ‘Mini poem’ on a large leaf.”

“Shortly… you will move to the pole with has a leaf numbered the same as your group . There you will find as scribble pad and pencil(s). 

Remember, leave the leaf on the pole until you have used the scribble pad to decide on each members word, and have worked out different combinations of your groups words. “

If your group has less than three people, work together to pick your third word.

If you group has more than three members, work together to select the most meaningful three words from the ones suggested.”


Once you have worked up your selected words and their order, and have been checked by the guardians, you will get the o.k to take down your leaf from the pole and start illustrating your words .

THE EXAMPLES  (Leaf and scribble pad pages)

“Here is an example of the leaf that my group came up with.”

Show a prepared finished leaf sample.

“Here are the notes we prepared to try out various orders of the words .”

Show a prepared notes

“So is that understood you ‘Foliage Writers’ ?  -

[[[[ --Three large words drawn onto your leaf in a meaningful order that highlights what you have learnt, felt or experienced today._]]]]



*** But before you go to your groups learning station…there is one more important piece of information ****

During this session, as you rustle up your words  - something very special will be happening elsewhere. I can’t tell you much about this, but I have seen some peculiar happenings out there….in the dark.


“At various times throughout our creative session this evening, groups will be called out two at a time, to go out into the night  - for a very important event. “

“ Like I say, I’m afraid…I can’t tell you about that right now. But let me assure you. You will shortly be completing an important step in becoming a EarthKeeper. When you return (IF you return ) quietly continue colouring and forming your leaves. ………..

“But for now until the time for your group to venture into the night…let’s begin by seeking our three words for expressing, explaining and exciting each other with meaningful, powerful, carefully selected and positioned words.

To help you start thinking…. put the initial of your first name on a page in your scribble pad.

You might like to use this initial to stimulate your thinking of that special word that explains, expresses or excites you. “

“Now we go to your station and take the time for each of you to think of a word.

  • Begin by taking a moment to get to know what each of your group wishes to share. Find out who would like to write the explaining word, or the expressing word or the word that will sound exciting.”

Then, with your group,  work out how your words will sound and work together to: -

  help others recognise what you know.

      help express or reveal what you are feeling

        excites others or tell us of a happening..

(learning, feeling, sharing)

“The Guardians will move about to help you select the order of words so they make a bit of sense when read out.

Remember, on your page it will be two or three REALLY large words in a readable order.”

Remember, When your group is called…make you way out to the special and secret event.

When your group returns – quietly and privately continue to colour and illustrate your words.

“Away you go – go shed some light on your paper leaves.”   

  - Groups move to their station poles



A Synthesis of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

( Set up )

Previously prepared ‘Stem’ words are only put up in the last groups head out for their keys.

* (STEM WORDS are : Prepositions and other joining words  written on cut out, long curvy lengths of paper : – ‘and’ / ‘but ‘/ ‘because’ / ‘of ‘/ ‘from’ / ‘with’ / ‘so’ / ‘are’ / etc.

These words are written on long, thin pages and blue-tacked to the wood panelling of the video wall.  These will be used to join the leaves in various clusters to make the final Poet-Tree)

Just before that last groups return from receiving their ‘K’ key, all previous groups assemble in front of the video wall with their completed leaves. All the groups place their on the floor at the foot of the video wall. (Any order)

Add the leaves from groups still out getting their keys.


Delivered from in front of video wall. Perhaps with a projection of photo of a branch with some leaves.

All groups gathered. Torches in pockets.

** TURN OFF ALL LIGHTS ***  and wait for silence

Shine a single torch on the presenter.

“Congratulations. Each of you has now received you ‘K’ key. It represents the knowledge that you have acquired today at the EarthKeepers.”

“– Your final task tonight is to assemble a whole group, collaborative poem that explains, expresses and excites us all by presenting, not only a sign of the knowledge that you learnt today, but also some of the feeling and excitement of what you experienced.


“Today you saw the composition and decomposition of life in different forms as specks move through systems powered by the energy of the sun.”

So, working quickly, compose a group-poem

– Your own Earthkeepers leaf page FOTO-SYNTHESIS.

You will be using the resources in front of you.  The leaves that you have illustrated and the assembled joining words on these stems.  (Point to the words with the torch)

“I guess you too are now partaking of composition and decomposition that will grow your Foto-Synthesis. “

As you work together, place the stems and leaves on the wall to form branches of your Foto-Synthesis.

But first, lets us now review the leaves that you have composed to inform, inspire and engage us tonight.”

“Group one – JUST GROUP ONE - Turn on your torches and shine your light on your leaf. Read out together what you have written. Thanks you….lights off.”

“Group two - Turn on your torches and shine your light on your leaf. “

Work through all the groups.

Finally, have groups turn on their torches.

“Let us now compose Foto-Synthesis with all these specks of light and energy”

“You will now work together to place your leaves up on the wall. Use the stems as connecting words to compose and grow your paper leaf’s FOTO-SYNTHESIS.”


Purpose : Evoke and Observe collaborative interactions within participants.

Leave the participants to work out this part of activity on their own.

Value: Observe the power play and leadership demonstrated. The teacher or main guardians can participate , but the trainers should refrain from interfering as it is a chance for the participants to self arrange their collaborative interactions.

~ Photograph the finished poem. Teacher takes a copy for school newsletter. ~


• Cut leaves  x group number

• Get note books  x group number

• Get pencil  x group number

• Prepare joining words on thin paper slips

• Blu-tack

• Numbered leaves

• Stick leaves to the poles

• Place tables near to the poles

• Place pen and scribble pad at stations.

• Practice delivery  - Intro = ‘Words -Synthesis’ 

• Tick off the task instructions

• Build tension and expectation for the mystery venture into the dark.

• Place all the groups’ leaves at the video wall

• Torches

• Record the completed poem  (Camera, Video, Journey or Diaries)

By Dominic Farnworth