Meet Joe, Our Tree

 I'd like you to meet Joe, our Ginkgo tree.  Since the beginning of school, we have been watching this tall, skinny tree wave in the wind and slowly change. Recently, he turned bright yellow.
Why "Joe"?  When we first visited him, we found this marker at the bottom dedicating the tree to Joe Felix, a former Sexton at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church.  I chose Joe not only because Ginkgo trees dramatically change through the seasons, but also because we pass him daily on our way around campus.
 To document the tree's changes, we made simple paper bag books following these directions.  We bound the books with yarn and cut the ends of the closed parts, so that every page also has a pocket.  Then, the kids labeled each page by month from August - May. 
 Each month, we go out for awhile, draw a picture of Joe, and put little mementos in the book pockets.  This month, was leaves, lots of yellow leaves.  In our Science Lab, we also post pictures of the tree to further track changes.
Documenting Joe and learning about a specific tree has become an important part of our classroom life. We say Hi to Joe as we pass him, the kids write about him in their daily journals, and make sure to introduce their families to him and explain his changes. 

Joe also tells the story of the seasons.  When we began in August, he was bright green and full.  Now, his leaves are sunny and slowly falling.  What will happen next?  When will all of his leaves be gone?  Then what?  How long will it take?  These are questions that a kindergartner can explore and answer.

No comments: