Talking Trees (2nd Grade)
In this lesson, students learn about the interconnectedness of nature and the impact of people on the environment. Students are motivated by literature to teach others the importance of trees in our ecosystem. In an optional Extension of the lesson, they design and make posters with a “Save the Trees” message.
The learner will:
- identify and describe the interconnectedness of nature.
- recognize the importance of environmentalism and his/her role in the effort.
- design and create a poster communicating his/her feelings about trees.
- communicate through body movement the imagined “feelings” of trees.
- Book: The Tree by Dana Lyons
- Poster boards (one per pair or small group)
Lyons, Dana. The Tree. Illumination Arts Publishing Co., 2002. ISBN: 0970190719.
Read “The Story of the Tree” found at the back of the book, The Tree, and ask what the children think about that story. Ask them what they think might be their song if they were a tree. Encourage them to use their imagination and think about a tree having feelings. Ask the children what they think a tree would say if it could talk. Then have the children close their eyes while you read the book through one time (don’t show the pictures). After reading, discuss the feelings of the trees.
Read the story to them again, but this time, show the beautiful illustrations of this book. Discuss how the pictures make them feel. Compare and contrast the feelings of children with those of a tree.
Ask the following questions to lead a discussion: Is it important to take care of our trees? Why? What can we (as children) do to protect our trees?
Explain to the students that taking care of our natural resources, in this case trees, is called stewardship.
Brainstorm uses of wood with the students. How could we cut down on wood usage? If we choose to take action for the trees, are we acting as philanthropists? (Review the meaning of philanthropy.) Does this book and discussion prompt any ideas (or motivate anyone) for a community project that based on being good stewards of plants or trees?
Optional Extension - Day Two Instructional Procedures:
Native Americans say that the trees have songs and the tree in this book has a song. Tell the students that they are going to speak like the trees without using words. They have to imagine they are trees and they are going to communicate a “sentence” using their bodies and facial expressions. Discuss body language and how you can tell how people are feeling even when they don’t use words.
Give students some time (in small groups or in pairs) to come up with a way to express a thought for the trees using only body language and facial expressions.They will present their sentences to the whole class using their bodies as a tool. Have them walk through the beginning, middle and end of the sentence.
The other students can guess the meaning of the “sentence.” Discuss what happened in their sentences and how it made them feel.
Put students in small groups in order to make “Save our Trees” posters. Tell them the posters should communicate the importance of trees, have a title or slogan that grabs attention, and include a drawing. After students present the finished posters in front of the class, hang them up around the school.
Put students in small groups in order to make “Save our Trees” posters.Tell them the posters should communicate the importance of trees, have a title or slogan that grabs attention, and include a drawing. After students present the finished posters in front of the class, share them with others in the school and display around the school.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.