Twigs

Background:

Trees

Trees are the kindest things I know
They do no harm, they simply grow
And spread a shade for sleepy cows,
And gather birds among their boughs.

They give us fruit in leaves above,
And wood to make our houses of,
And leaves to jump in on Hallowe’en,
And in the Spring new buds of green.

They are the first when day’s begun
To touch the beams of the morning sun,
They are the last to hold the light
When evening changes into night,

And when a moon floats on the sky
They hum a drowsy lullaby
Of sleepy children long ago...

Trees are the kindest things I know.
Author Unknown

Trees Give Us?
  • Oxygen-Clean Air
  • Paper
  • Medicine
  • Hardwood Products
  • Food
  • Beauty
  • Homes for Animals
  • Prevention of Erosion of Valuable Top soil
  • Energy
  • Shade-Shade-Shade
  • Protection from Wind
  • Recreation
  • Jobs
  • Water
IMAGINE your school campus and neighborhood without any trees. LOOK at and FEEL the trees along your campus and streets that are standing proud with their branches outstretched trying to shake hands with passerbies. DISCOVER the many benefits these trees offer you and your families and friends. THINK about what your community would feel like if the people in the past had not realized how important it was to plant new and care for existing trees. CONSIDER what the trees in your area must endure daily from people, pets and technology. EXPLORE ways to keep your community green and healthy. LEARN how to plant a tree in the right place and how to help it grow and live long. SHARE your newly-found knowledge and enthusiasm for trees with others. ENCOURAGE others to take action on Earth and Arbor Day and every other day of the year. MAKE it easier for the trees in your community to be green by simply doing your part. CHERISH the nature around you and IMAGINE the possibilities as you learn and teach others to speak for the trees…
(adapted from a publication by Trees New Jersey) To help students understand the basic parts of tree flowers and their role in pollination.

The gifts of Trees
Objective:
To provide students with the opportunity to use tree products to give the "gifts of nature" to others.Use the Treeture, Twigs, as a guide, icon or symbol to help animate and enhance your "Gifts of Trees" activities. Twigs is a wise Treeture Teacher who instructs baby Treetures on the importance of trees and how to care for the forest life. You can do your part by appreciating the beauty of nature around you, learning how you can protect and preserve it, and taking action to share your thoughts with others.Share the book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Brainstorm as a class a list of things tree give us. You can refer to the list in the beginning of this lesson or to the lesson under the Treetures, Harve and Ester.

Use this season as a time to let students experiment with nature and make gifts for the special people in their lives. Share the book, Chicken Soup for Little Souls: The Goodness Gorillas by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Discuss the terms "Goodness Gorilla" and "Random Acts of Kindness." Talk about the feelings involved when others share and give (the feelings of the giver and the receiver). Let the students know that they will be making nature projects to share with others in their own "Random Acts of Kindness." Decide as a class who in your community would love to receive some special fruits of a tree’s labor as a way of saying "thank you" or "you are appreciated." Some ideas might include mail carriers, cafeteria workers, custodians, office staff, etc.

Cooking With Trees
Brainstorm a list of foods that trees give us. The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall could get you started. Pick or buy some tree fruits to make pies, tarts, muffins, cookies, or crisp. Make special tree shaped notes to attach to the treats and have your class deliver them to the special people in their lives.
Something New Out of Something Old
Recycled Notepads:
Collect used paper from around your school (one side or area must be clean/unused). Students will use the paper to make notepads to give to a special someone to keep near his/her phones or work area. Have each student choose 20 sheets of paper. Next, they need to decide on a shape for their notepads (e.g., tree, heart, world/circle, star, etc.). Using a stencil, cookie cutter, or free-hand pattern, students should cut out their shapes from each of their sheets of paper (making sure the area they intend to use is free from markings). Neatly line up the cut-out papers and staple them across the top. Remember to RECYCLE the paper scraps that remain

Potmaker:
Recycle newspaper into starter pots! Tightly wrap a sheet of newspaper (folded in half) around any cylindrical form and twist it near the top to hold its shape. Carefully pull out the form and you will have a newspaper pot which can hold soil and seeds. Plant tree or flower seeds in soil in the starter pots. Once sprouted, kids can share them with a special someone who can plant the whole thing into the ground since the newspaper will biodegrade.

Nature’s Beauty

Twig and Leaf Picture Frames:
Using a piece of cardboard (the cardboard back of a writing tablet is excellent for this), measure and cut a 3x5 or 5x7 rectangle out of the center to make a picture frame. Collect twigs, leaves, pinecones, acorns, etc. from the ground to decorate your frames. Use glue or hot glue gun to decorate the border of your frame with the twigs and leaves. Use a twig attached to the top backside of your frame to help it stand. You may even want to include a picture in the frame of you or a favorite tree.

Leaf Candles:
Gather leaves. You will only need a few for each candle depending on its size. Provide a candle for each participant. Melt paraffin wax over a double boiler. Hold leaf in place on the candle with one hand and lightly paint the leaf onto the candle using a paint brush and the melted paraffin wax.

Surprise Them With Seeds

Seed Wreaths:
Collect a variety of seeds or use a package of 15 dried bean soup mix. Stir the seeds in with a mixture of white glue and water. Stir until the seeds have a good coating of glue. Spread the beans inside of a Tupperware lid to make a wreath shape or form into a tree shape on a plastic lid. Allow the seed wreath to dry completely (usually overnight), then carefully peel away the plastic backing. Spray the seed wreath with a shellac to give it shine and to help your gift last for years.

Remember Your Roots

Family Tree:
Find a dead tree branch with several off springs (preferably on the ground). It should look like a miniature tree when it is standing on end. Place the branch into a small jar, bucket or container filled with sand or plaster of paris mixture if you want to set it permanently.Draw or gather pictures of your family. Make a notecard to attach to the bottom of each picture giving the name, relation and something special about that family member. Attach string through the top of each picture and hang one from each of the branches. Make a paper star for the top of your tree with your family name decorated on it.

I’m Thankful Poem:
Read the book, I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallinan. Discuss the things in your lives that make you thankful. Think about the things in nature that make you thankful. Using nature as your guide, write a poem or mini book sharing the things that make you thankful. Type up your poem and illustrate it with colorful pictures or photographs. Share this special piece of art with someone you love.

*The Treeture characters, as learning tools, can be adapted to any grade level. For example, students in grades K-1 could utilize coloring pages, finger puppets, and collages. Stories, poems, creation of new Treeture characters, newsletters, and plays could be fun and used as mentoring projects by 5th and 6th graders for younger students. Another entertaining and educational activity is to hold a Treeture Fair. This project has been successfully implemented in several schools. Each Treeture character can be enlarged and placed on an easel on a table with an appropriate experiment or example of its tree role.

Extension:
Use a cut-out colored picture of Twigs to create a personalized notecard to attach to your "Gifts of Nature."

Totally True Treeture Trivia:
It has been proven that patients can actually recover more quickly when they have a room with a view of a tree.

Suggested Readings:

  • NatureCrafts for Kids by Gwen Diehn & Terry Krautwurst
  • The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  • How To Make An Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Halinan
  • Chicken Soup For Little Souls: The Goodness Gorillas by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
Donations:
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