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A Tree of Thanks

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am getting caught up! I’m about to share with you a lesson I did right before Thanksgiving! Thank goodness I’ve at least gotten out of my October lessons. But don’t fear you really could use this lesson at any time of the year, just change those leaves to green and a spring tree you’ll have!

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A Tree of Thanks

Topics Covered: Responsibility, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Respect

The basic idea for this 3rd and 4th grade lesson is actually pretty simple:

1. Find a print out of a tree.

2. Find a cut out of different shaped leaves.

3. Photocopy enough for a whole class (I averaged about 5-6 leaves per child) on whatever colored construction paper you want

4. Bring extra glue sticks and scissors with you to class because even though you may assume that the children have these in their desks. . . they won’t.

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Basically I organized the activity to ensure that every boy got 2-3 leaves on their tree. So, once the boys cut out their tree trunks and glued them onto another colored sheet of construction paper, I handed each one of them 2 leaves (or however many people sit at their table, not including themselves). I tell them to thank the people at their table for something and to place that person’s name on the back of the leaf. I assure them that the leaves are anonymous, so their name can’t go anywhere on the leaf.

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“Thank you for not disturbing me on a test.”

Next round, the boys have a little more room to choose who they want to thank. But, I still keep it semi-structured so that all of the thank you’s don’t go to A. your best friend and B. the most well behaved kid in class. I handed them 4 more leaves, one leaf for each group of tables in the room. I tell them that they need to thank one person from each group of tables. Same rules as above apply. Remind them, because unfortunately I had to, that they can only thank a person ONCE! Oh and on that note . . .  another reminder, especially with boys, something like “Thank you for being nice,” is too general and could be written for anyone in the school. These thank yous are meant to be something specific and special to that person.

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Once all the leaves have been written on, the boys walked around the room and placed the leaves onto the classmate’s tree. When they returned to their seat they had at least 2, maybe 8, leaves that thank them for something they’ve done for their classmates.

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I hung the final product in the hallway for teachers and parents to see. I also noticed the 3rd and 4th grade boys revisiting their trees to be reminded of the things they do for which their classmates are thankful.

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