A Planting We Will Go

K, 1, 2

The learners will use their time, talent, and treasure for the common good by transplanting trees in a common area.

PrintThree 30 Minute Class Periods; Plus a 1 Hour Field Trip

The learner will:

  • discuss the benefits of nature.
  • give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with these actions.
  • make a map of the area of where the trees are going to be planted.
  • plant the trees in a common area.
  • illustrate and reflect in writing on the planted trees.
  • write thank-you notes for the opportunity to plant in the common area.
  • shovels
  • soil or compost
  • gloves
  • potted trees
  • water source
  • TV, DVD player, and video clip from Pocohantas
  • colored pencils and paper
  • journals and pencils
  • snapshots of public places
Home Connection 

Parent volunteers will be needed for the planting. Visits to the public area where trees were planted would be a good home follow-up.



  1. Anticipatory Set: Play the song "Colors of the Wind" from Walt Disney's "Pocahontas." You can watch a clip from the movie or play the music from the Internet. Tell the students to listen carefully to the lyrics and be prepared to talk about her relationship with nature. What does nature (animals, trees, and the earth) mean to her?

  2. Discuss what nature provides for us. How do we benefit from the gifts of nature? List student responses on the chalkboard.

  3. Tell the students that it is time to plan to plant the little trees outside so you can benefit the community with gifts of trees. Review how planting these trees will be an act of philanthropy. The students will be sharing their time as they plant the trees. They share treasure in the form of valuable trees that grow up and benefit the common good.

  4. In Lesson Two, the class discussed some public places around the community. Recall some of the places that would welcomethe planting of your little trees. If there is more than one place, discuss the merits of the different places and allow the students to vote on the best place to plant the potted trees.

  5. Sing the song "Growth of a Tree" (see Bibliographical References). The students can use their bodies to act out the growth of the tree as they sing.

  6. Day Two:

    Teacher Note: When you have permission to plant the trees in the common area, take some photos to show the students where they will be planting.

  7. Have learners look at pictures of the area chosen for planting. Discuss how far apart the trees should be planted and what other plants are around that will be affected by the growing trees.

  8. Provide paper and colored pencils and challenge the students to create maps of the area. The map should include symbols representing the paths, existing plants, and other landmarks. The students should indicate on the map where they will plant the trees. (Count the number of potted trees and include all of them in the map.)

  9. Have more advanced learners create individual maps while younger students help to create one group map. To engage the younger students, have them create the symbols which they cut out and glue on the group map. The maps should be attractive, neat, and labeled.

  10. Day Three:

    Teacher Note: In advance of this day, you should have parent helpers and permission for each student to go on a field trip to plant the trees in the common area of the community.

  11. Before leaving on the field trip, outline the procedure for planting the trees in the ground. Have learners gather their potted trees, gloves, shovels, map, water, and journals and pencils.

  12. Take the planting supplies to the public place. On the way, sing the song "A-Planting We Will Go" (see Handout One).

  13. When you get to the location, have the learners refer to the map to find the areas they are going to plant their trees.

  14. With the help from their teachers the learners will dig the holes where the trees are going to be planted, transplant the trees from the pots to the ground, fill the holes with compost where the trees have been planted, and saturate with water after planting.

  15. Pass out the journals and pencils. Have learners draw pictures of the planted trees in their new location. Ask students to reflect in writing on the new life of the trees. They may write from the perspective of the trees or the people who benefit from the trees.

  16. Return to the classroom. Encourage the students to check on the trees with their families.

  17. Day Four:

  18. Provide paper and colored pencilsfor students to create illustrated thank-you notes for the opportunity to plant the trees in the public area. Younger students may dictate the written part of the note. Encourage the students to draw what they think their trees will look like 10 years from now.

  19. Prepare a large Manila envelope with address and stamp for drawings and thank you notes. Walk with the students to the closest mailbox for mailing.

  20. Reflect with the students onthe following question: What did we do to help the community?


Assess student comprehension through observation of student participation in activities and discussion. Student writing, drawings, and maps can be assessed for recognition of the value of trees.

Cross Curriculum 

The learners will give their time, talent, and treasure by transplanting trees in a common area.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.