Lesson 2-Adopt a Tree/Plant
Understanding: Children will spend time outside learning letter writing skills while developing a deeper relationship and understanding of their natural world.
Time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Materials: Letter writing format page (especially if it is their very first time writing a letter), clipboard and a pencil
Anticipatory Set:Depending on the age range read Sincerely Yours for 9-12 year old students or Messages in the Mailbox for 4-8 year old students. Talk about the different components of a letter and why they are a part of the letter. Show the students an example letter for better understanding.
Make sure to emphasize the conversational beauty of a letter. Have them tell the tree something about themselves in their letter and then ask the tree a question so that it is not one-sided. Have them throw out various questions that they would want to ask a tree and write them on the board. “Why do you lose your leaves in the winter? Does it hurt to lose your leaves in the winter? Do branches feel like arms? Do you get cold in the winter? Do you like having children climb you? etc…” (It may even be a good idea to write an example letter together on the doc camera/projector to solidify the students’ understanding!)
Lesson: After your students have a clear understanding of letter format and content to include, take the students outside and give them 5 minutes to check out each tree in the field and choose the one that they most connect with. If you have 6 trees in your field and 24 students in your class it may be a good idea to tell them that there can only be 4 students at each tree. Once they have decided on a tree and sat down they can begin writing a letter to their tree. As students complete the assignment, pair them up and have them read their letters to each other. They can also correct each others letters looking for proper punctuation, spelling and capitalization. It may be a great idea to have the students take a sheet outside with correct grammar on it so they know what they should be looking for!