This is my favorite assignment of the year. I do it every autumn. I have used this assignment from 7th grade all the way through AP Literature. These are the kind of assignments students remember. Mine former students always come back and ask if I still do this.
The students write a funeral speech for a leaf. It is supposed to be farcical, so they develop their tone and practice using imagery and figurative language in their own writing. The student handout has instructions, and I usually give then time to finish it as homework, because they get into it.
Instruct students go outside and find a leaf. Make it silly. Tell them that they can only choose one, and that they need to bond with it.
When they come back into class, inform them that their leaf is dead and hand out the Leaf Eulogy Assignment. All of the instructions are included, and you can change the requirements depending on your grade level or student ability level.
I have them press their leaf in a book to preserve it, and depending on the class size, I have them all present, or I take volunteers. For my AP Lit class, we had a legitimate funeral. Everyone wore black, I played, "My Heart Will Go On," and they shared their funeral speeches. Half of them made a casket for their leaf.