Classroom Tree Bulletin Board
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Creative ideas for a year-long seasonal tree bulletin board.
SeptemberRescue a rather large tree branch that has fallen to the ground in a wooded area. The bark can be left natural or spray-painted with white or muted green paint. Place it in a large coffee can, secure it with rocks, and pour plaster of paris into the can so that the tree will set up firmly. For September, have students make large apples from shiny red paper to hang from the tree with loopy green yarn. It adds an aesthetic touch to the classroom. Each month the items can be changed, and this will be addressed throughout the book. Occasionally change the location of the tree too. Sometimes it can be up high on a countertop, sometimes on a table with a book display underneath, and sometimes on the floor so students can crawl under it.
Observe the trees from the classroom windows. Go outside and observe them during recess. Note the size, leaf shapes, and leaf colors. Can students encircle the small trunks with their hands and larger ones with their arms? How many huggable trees are in the school neighborhood? How many are in the students own backyard? Make bark rubbings. We're getting ready to see quite a change in trees during the next month or two, and this sets the scene for an awareness of these giants in nature.
OctoberTake down the apples from September, and replace them with colorful leaves painted by the students. To make the leaves, give each student a sheet of 9" X 12" white poster paper, and have them dab two or three colors onto the paper with tempera paint and sponges. Then, when paint is almost dry, use paper toweling to have students wipe the paint off. This blends the colors just a little and gives a glossy finish. When the paper is dry, students can cut it into a big leaf shape and hang it from the tree with a piece of colorful yarn. The tree can be placed up on a countertop or tabletop and surrounded with books about autumn. (Perhaps the scarecrow that you made can lean against the wall next to the tree for a touch of autumn.)
NovemberThis month have the students make construction paper birds of a variety of colors. They can use the basic shapes of triangles, circles, squares, rectangles, and ovals. Staple a string to the birds and tie them to the tree branches. They are stopping over on their migration route to the south. Put a collection of bird information books under the tree. This can be an area that can be under the direction of Butch the Bird and the Wise Old Owl.
DecemberThis month the tree is bare after the colorful construction paper birds migrated and went south at the end of November. Children enjoy decorating the tree with red and green paper chains, and construction paper ornaments that they make during indoor recess. They can turn it into a classroom holiday tree by adding hand-made ornaments that represent various countries. If it is not appropriate to have a holiday tree in the classroom, select an area of study from the December curriculum and make appropriate items to hang from the tree. Now is the time to collect real bird nests from outdoor trees that have been vacated. They can be brought in and housed in the December tree. Scrunch newspapers into a ball, and wrap them with twine. Then stick real leaves or leaves made from brown construction paper all over the outside to act as a covering. This can represent a squirrel nest in the tree for the month, and may begin to interest students in the subject of hibernation. Since the squirrel is snoozing and does not want to be awakened, it is also a useful device for helping to keep classroom noise level at a low level during this very exciting month.
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