Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Friendship Tree

The beginning of the school year is the ideal time to begin establishing and promoting a sense of community among children in the classroom.  To foster this sense of belonging, I usually try to incorporate a group art project which can be admired in our classroom for the rest of the year. Last year, we made a "Circle of Friends" group painting with watercolors mounted on canvas.  This year, we made a "Friendship Tree" which serves as a pleasant reminder that while we are each unique individuals with different needs, we can come together to learn in a peaceful, harmonious environment and work together as a unit.

To introduce the activity, we talked about the importance of friends and working together.  Then, I showed them the following drawing of tree:

Only about a 5in. square...I drew this tree with a Sharpie pen on artist quality canvas paper. 
I explained that this tree was a little like our classroom with our beautiful materials and lessons.  I asked them to guess what might be missing from this "classroom."  "Leaves!"  they children responded.  Then, I told them how  each child is so special and brings unique qualities to our classroom.  I explained how they would be the "leaves" on the "tree" of our classroom and we would work together and grow as friends.  Lastly, they children took turns to represent themselves on our "Friendship Tree" by placing one green thumbprint on the tree.  Now, we have a visual reminder of our classroom community and how we will strive to work together in peaceful, nurturing ways.
"Friendship Tree" 
We placed this piece in a highly visible area of the classroom so that we all may be reminded of how fortunate we are to come together each day.  Would you believe that I salvaged this gorgeous frame from our kindling pile at home?  Apparently, my dear husband no longer needed this frame as the glass and hardware were missing...  When I saw it amongst the dried sticks and wood, I said to myself, "Surely I will find use for this someday!"  Without a doubt, this group "Friendship Tree" project presented  the perfect opportunity to utilize the salvaged frame! 

If you are a parent of one of my students, I welcome you to come in and take a look at our "Friendship Tree."  The children, with their keen attention to detail, will even be able to point out their own thumbprint!

Montessori Monday Link-Up

Montessori Monday

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Love the idea and your frame!

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  2. What a truly beautiful lesson!

    Kerri

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  3. I have several family tree ideas that we have done in the past but I think I'm going to add this one to our rotation! Thanks!

    Heidi
    www.workandplaydaybyay.com

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  4. Hi Sasha, What a beautiful way to concretely illustrate community - something organic and growing that is made up of many parts. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Wow! I am overwhelmed by all the positive responses to our Friendship Tree! Thanks so much for sharing your delight in our classroom community! Sasha

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  6. That's beautiful, Sasha! I love that it can be used for anything from a classroom to a family tree. Thanks so much for linking it up with Montessori Monday! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

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  7. Thank you, Deb. The children are attached to it as well and enjoy pointing it out to parents and visitors! Thanks for FB posting, too!

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  8. What a lovely way to symbolize your new community! Simple but profoundly moving.

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  9. We also plan to have our new students (those who have joined us afterwards)place their thumbprints as well - I love how it can evolve as the class does!
    Thanks for your lovely comment!

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  10. Yes, this is a beautiful idea, and I will try it. I think our little class "needs" this about now.

    Tommie

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