Monday, September 5, 2011

The Tree of Life finally has some Life

Last week was long.  I wasn't feeling well for half of the week and I had my first experience teaching while feeling ill.  It was a valuable experience in the end because I ended up altering one of the projects I was doing with the Kindergarteners because I felt too ill to face all of the steps the project required.  Although the altered project wasn't as rich as the original project, everything worked out fine and it was good for me to see that I could improvise when I need to.  This week was also challenging because both the First and Second graders were at the tail end of a project.  I am in the process of teaching each grade a clean-up procedure because clean-up is one of the biggest challenges for me as a new art teacher.  I have always find that when I lose a class, it's at clean-up time.  Therefore, I decided to make a very clear clean-up procedure to teach each grade and to keep reinforcing this procedure until they know what to do.  I hope it works!  I'm new at this, so I can only imagine what I hope my students will be able to do with a few more weeks practice.

A part of the clean-up process is the Tree of Life.  When the children finish early and clean-up their spots (and pass my inspection), they can choose to free-draw, read a book, or work on a piece of art for the Tree of Life.  This past week, I wanted to teach the first and second graders what this might look like.  Therefore, the students who had already finished their projects were required to make something for the Tree of Life.  I'm a little worried that by the end of the year there will be so much paper on the Tree of Life that it won't look like anything and there won't be any wall left.  Honestly though, even if that's what happens, it will be fun.  I want the children to be involved in an ongoing art installation.  I want the entire school to participate and I want them not to care who made what- but just to marvel in what we all made, all of us together.


  1. Regarding overloading the tree of life, maybe you could have the tree change with the seasons... They can take home some of their leaves/tree-stuff when the fall stumbles in, and make fall-relevant material; winter dumps on you, and they can make frosty, snow-clad art, etc.

    That way they can show off their stuff to their parents (or just let go), and keep the tree fresh when it's getting overloaded.

    It will henceforth be named the "Tree of Life and Seasons"... ;).

  2. smartest idea ever! seriously. i'm totally going to do that!

    thanks for following along with me, steve!

  3. jessie, the tree of life is so great! i am so happy that you are continuing to post here... i feel like i am talking to you in person :) love it! miss you, sweet friend!

  4. Love your postings, Jessie! I just caught up on your blog and it was so refreshing. It is wonderful to be able to follow along as you start your teaching career. And I love how you are so open about the struggles and ups/downs of the job. You are a wonderful teacher--your students are lucky to have you!

    Also, love the part about wanting to channel the students' energy rather than fight against it...I think I'll try that philosophy in parenting as well :)