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Holiday Lesson: Deck the Halls
With Literature Trees

Subjects

  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Literature
    --Visual Arts
  • Social Studies
    --Holidays

Grade

  • PreK
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

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Brief Description

"Deck-orate the halls" of the school with literature trees.

Objectives

Students will

  • develop a plan for decorating a tree in a theme related to a book they have read.

Keywords

book, book tree, literature, literature tree, theme, holiday, Book Week, Library Week

Materials Needed

  • materials will vary, depending on the book and activity that you build your "literature tree" around.

Lesson Plan

This is a simple lesson. Students decorate "literature trees." They select a favorite piece of literature and decorate a tree to represent themes, objects, and characters from the book. Let students brainstorm ideas; they're sure to come up with some great, creative ideas. How about a.

  • Strega Nona (Tomie DePaola) tree? All the decorations might be made from cooked pasta formed into shapes, dried, and then painted.
  • Shel Silverstein tree? Students type favorite short Silverstein rhymes on shapes related to the rhymes; they cut out the rhymes and hang them on the tree.
  • Rainbow Fish tree? Students decorate their trees with watercolor fish or fish made from coffee filters.
  • Dr. Seuss tree? All the decorations represent favorite Seuss characters.
  • Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder) tree? After reading one of the books, view the Little House on the Prairie: Christmas at Plum Creek video. Decorate with things that represent prairie life or that prairie folks might have put on their holiday trees.
For additional ideas, refer to a series called Summer Book-Tivities that was run on Education World a handful of summers ago. Each weekly article highlighted several books and extension activities for each book. For example, in Summer Book-Tivities #2, one of the spotlighted books was Arlene Alda's 1-2-3. Alda captured with her camera images of the numbers 1 to 10 found in nature. Students might decorate a tree with their own photographs of the numbers in nature.

Ideas for Adapting the Lesson

  • This lesson can serve as a whole-school activity; every class in the school can decorate a tree based on a different book. The books can be classics, popular favorites, or holiday related. If you're looking for some holiday related book ideas, see The Twelve Books of Christmas.
  • Or you might arrange students within a class into small groups. Each group of students can decorate a tree to represent a different book.
  • Instead of focusing on a single book, students might decorate an "author tree," collecting things that relate to any of a particular author's books.
  • Instead of using live trees, students might use branches cut from a dead tree. Spray paint the branches in different colors and hang decorations from the branches. On the night of the holiday concert, gather all trees in a central location or invite parents to tour the school's "literature tree forest."
  • A "literature tree" is not just an idea for holidays. The activity makes a great Book Week or Library Week activity, a nice activity for use around Earth Day, or an activity to coincide with a "tree" unit. This makes an excellent end-of-the-year activity too. In fact, this activity is a great idea any time of year.

Assessment

Students might vote for the most creative tree, most beautiful tree, most-closely-tied-to-the-theme tree, most-fun tree...

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
GRADES K - 4
NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.K-4.2 Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.K-4.5 Reflecting Upon and Assessing the Characteristics and Merits of Their Work and the Work of Others
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.5-8.2 Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.5-8.5 Reflecting Upon and Assessing the Characteristics and Merits of Their Work and the Work of Others
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.9-12.2 Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.9-12.5 Reflecting Upon and Assessing the Characteristics and Merits of Their Work and the Work of Others
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

Don't miss dozens of additional activities for teaching about the December holidays on Education World's December Holidays archive page.

Click here to return to this week's "Unwrap Five Holiday Lessons" lesson plan page.

 

Updated 11/17/2011