This week’s blog post writer is Jill Rockwell. Jill is a Curriculum & Instruction Specialist with Learners Edge. Prior to joining the Edge, Jill was a special education teacher with experience teaching grades K-12. She appreciates and embraces the four seasons of Minnesota and can often be found hiking on nature trailswith her husband and 17-month old son.
My Seasonal Tree
Season’s greetings! Looking for an easy (and perhaps “natural”) way to decorate your classroom? Rather than a Christmas tree, how about a tree to celebrate the changing seasons? I love, love, love the holidays-the lights, the food, the music, and especially the decorations…I just can’t get enough of it. However, as a public school teacher serving a diverse student population with a rich blend of religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, I focused on seasonal decorations, rather than holiday decor, in school, but you could easily take this concept and use it for anyclassroom holiday.
My seasonal tree was nothing fancy (simply brown butcher paper for the trunk and a variety of die-cut shapes for the canopy), but it was student-centered, engaging, and always transforming. In the fall, students-and visiting staff members-responded to the prompt, “What are you thankful for?” by writing on leaves and adding them to our tree. The picture below on the left was taken with about a week’s-worth of responses, and it continued to “grow” with leaves added by my grateful students every day. Some of the responses included: my family, my teachers, my dog, books, and pie.
In the winter, students responded to the prompt, “Winter is a wonderful time to…” by writing on snowflakes and adding them to our tree. Not pictured was our spring tree with the prompt, “Spring is a tree-mendous time for…”. Our spring tree included flowers, the sun, and even a squirrel. Along with our tree, which served as a concept anchor, my lesson plans were filled with engaging, learning activities centered around the changing seasons.
My seasonal trees were placed on a wall, this concept could easily be converted into holiday classroom door decorations. While visiting Santa and singing “Silent Night” are valued traditions with my own family, celebrating the seasons in school was a joyful way to involve and unite my students, regardless of their diverse backgrounds. How will you celebrate and decorate this season?
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