Trees are just a natural follow up to units about saving the earth and springtime! It is fun to learn facts about them because kids already have a lot of personal experience with different kinds of trees. I often brought out my puppet Roxie Heart when we were using information books. Here she is in her tree dress!
I usually put something in her purse that went along with one of the facts about trees that we were learning, maybe a little sponge to talk about how trees help clean the air, or a feather to talk about animals who live in trees, etc.
Each child made a book about trees, and this gave me another chance to reinforce informational text features as well as stuff about trees!
For the cover the children cut a tree out of scrap paper and added details.
When I gave the children their book it already was stapled with the following pages inside. Of course we couldn’t complete the Table of Contents until we finished the book, and added page numbers.
On the next page the children drew a tree and labeled the parts. I really reminded them to make a tall tree with the leaves at the top of the page and the roots at the bottom. They used phonetic spelling to label the parts.
We re-visited the seasons of a tree, we had talked about this in the fall with The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, and our Apple book (see my Fall section.)
We brainstormed and read books like A Tree is Nice, then drew and wrote about what we could do with a tree.
The final page in the book contained facts about trees. We learned 5 or 6 new things about trees and I asked the children to write about 3 of them.
By making this book we reviewed text features like labels, captions, table of contents and page numbers. Some of the children included bold print in their writing too!
Here are the pages if you’d like to print this book:
I always wanted to “adopt” a tree for my classroom – to choose a tree on our school property and take the class out to observe it over the course of the school year. I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the children with the tree as the seasons changed, and closeup pictures of the branches, etc. I didn’t get around to it, but I always wanted to! I did take the children outside to look for signs of spring – I gave each child a clipboard and pencil (with lots of reminders about safety) and we were scientists making observations and looking for signs of spring!
They really loved doing this! When we went back inside the children shared their observations with a partner, and then we made a list of important things we observed.
I hope it’s looking like spring where you are … here in Michigan we are still waiting!