Curators notes:In this exploration, students find ways to make and share wishes/hopes/ideas to celebrate the earth and its future by making, sharing, and writing to trees.
Before you begin, here are some things you will need for this activity:
- String or yarn
- Pencil or crayons for drawing
Take your class for a walk or have them look out the window. Ask them to find a favorite tree and spend some time with it; sit in its shade, touch its bark, listen to the leaves move in the wind. You may want to ask studentst to bring a pad of paper and sketch the tree or take a picture of it to bring back to class to draw from.
Make Wishes for Trees: You can use scraps of paper for this part. Ask students to draw a leaf on the paper and cut it out. Then ask them to write a question or wish for the trees. Next, allow everyone to punch a hole in the top of their paper leaf and thread a piece of yarn or thread through it. Then, ask them to hang tehir leaf with the written question or wish on a tree (this could be on campus, or at a neighborhood park, or at their own homes).
Example: Tree Wish, Child Age 5:
Write a letter to a favorite tree. Ask students to let the tree know what they appreciate about it. Or, ask it a question. Or, if ask them to imagine that they could give the tree a voice, then write what they think the tree would like to say!
Hang your wish or question leaf on the tree as an offering to share with others as they pass by.
Here are a few examples of letters kids have written to trees:
Dear Red Oak Tree,
You must’ve seen it all. You have been here for hundreds of years. You’ve seen many things rise and fall. You’ve seen smiles, joy, but also tears. Oh, beautiful Red Oak tree; please share your wisdom with me.
-Alex, Age 8
There are many things to thank you for. One of them is for providing us humans with oxygen. Another is for providing us with shade. Both of those things are important to me. Also, thanks for the wood and paper. I am so, so sorry that we use so much of each. Just wondering, do you guys like it when we build treehouses in you? I am 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% sure that you do not like being cut down. What is photosynthesis like? Also, how does sunlight taste? Most of us are trying to stop you from being cut down, but some of us just don’t care. I apologize on the behalf of the latter. I’d like to talk more, but I have more that I have to do.
Sincerely, Axel, Age 9
Dear palm tree,
Hi. My name is Han. I just want to thank you for making the desert look so beautiful. When I think of you, you make me think about the hot sunny day in Hawaii drinking lemonade. But people are hurting you because of people creating large cities, making the forest into farmland, etc. You’re so tall and so cool. You stand strong when a hurricane comes by. Anyways, thank you for making Arizona look great.
Han, Age 8
Dear Palo Verde Tree,
I can’t wait for you to bloom as many flowers as you can and to put Christmas decorations on you in my front yard for show. I love your bright green color and you make my yard so beautiful. You are the spotlight and the showstopper!
I’ll climb you soon, Grace, Age 8.
thank you for the oxygen we breath. we wouldn’t be here without you. thanks for the food when we need it. the fruit I like off you trees is a peaches,lemons,and chocolate. thanks for the shade when needed. I use the shade the most when my brother is doing baseball.
Ashleigh .W, Age 5 (dictated by parent)
Part of being a writer is sharing your work and ideas with others. Make sure that students get to share their writing in class, at a larger school gathering or with family or friends.