Monday, 30 September 2013

Adopting a Tree

This week room 127 completed our tree adoption process. We are very excited to now be a proud class to own our very own tree to watch and nurture throughout the school year.

This is the tree we adopted  It's a Silver Maple.

We began our search with a walk through the parklands close to the school. On this beginning trip we collected leaves from various trees along our route. Once back in the classroom we saved the specimens on blank white paper with packing tape.

Leaf Snap app on the I-Pad
During the week, small groups of students worked with Ms Clark to identify the tree type and look at various parts of the tree - for example the leaves, fruits, and bark. This research was done in a couple of ways. Firstly we used an amazing app called Leaf Snap. The kiddos were thrilled to see our specimens come up on the screen and we classified them to our school zone. Secondly, as our classroom is sometimes lacking in a strong wireless service, and Leaf Snap wouldn't cooperate with us, we turned to library books with which to complete old fashioned research. This was great as some of the kiddos were able to quickly identify trees of acorns and pinecones that we had collected. It is great for them to see how both methods of research are successful and rewarding.

Once we had identified all our leaves, I narrowed down our choices to four based on conversations held with the kiddos during the week as to which they preferred and why. It was interesting to heard some of their responses.
I like this one because:
It is red
It is oval
It has 3 pointy ends.
It has 5 pointy tops.
This one is big.
I like this one so much.
This one is a maple tree.

With our narrowed down list, we provided the kiddos the opportunity to choose there favourite at our outdoor learning circle. This was a great way to authentically teach data management and graphing. The kiddos loved counting with the anticipation of finding out which tree would be ours.

After the teachers added their votes due to a tie - we went in search of where OUR tree was located. The kiddos were so excited it was hard to contain them not to run too far ahead.  Once we gathered around our tree in a circle, Ms Clark told the folklore story about the Maple Tree and the forest animals. All the kiddos listened intently to hear how the Maple Tree helped the animals live through the harsh winter months. At the end of the tale, each kiddo picked up their own leaf (off the ground, as we don't pull leaves of the tree - that would hurt) to bring back to the classroom for their own creative art expressions.

We finished our tour of the parkland with comparing OUR tree to others in the same area. We came to the conclusion that our tree is still a kid tree, while others we saw were mamas and papas, while others still were grandma and grandpa trees. During our walk we also witnessed a squirrel climbing up and down a tree. Many thoughts were tossed around.
She's looking for her nest.
He lives in that tree.
He's looking for food.
He eats nuts and things.

We wonder if any animals will live in our tree?

Once we got back into our classroom, the kiddos were allowed to take their leaf and create anything they wanted to remember our tree.
We also had some good discussions and wondering so about the tree.

We need to create a sign so everyone knows that tree is ours.
We need to give it a name.
We need to paint pictures.

I can't wait to see where this inquiry will lead us throughout the year.

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