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Good Habits Grow in Room 3


Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year

Return to Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year


  • Arts & Humanities: Art History
  • Arts & Humanities: Visual Arts
  • Science: Life Sciences: Botany


  • PreK
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Go out on a limb with these ideas for using a tree to recognize good behavior, celebrate holidays, and build skills.


Students will
  • recognize and celebrate the positive behavior of their peers.


Behavior, work habits, tree, Arbor Day, spring

Materials Needed

  • large branch of a tree mounted in a small bucket of cement or plaster
  • miscellaneous art supplies

Lesson Plan

This activity can be a year-long activity; or you might introduce it around Arbor Day as a way to emphasize good habits and behavior for the balance of the school year (a time when many students' good habits slip into remission).

Bring into the classroom a large branch from a tree. "Plant" the tree in a bucket of plaster or cement. You also might give the "tree" a coat of paint to make it stand out.

Share with students that The tree might be bare right now, but soon it will begin to grow leaves. Explain that the tree is a special one; it is a "tree of good habits." You might even attach a sign on or near the tree announcing that Good Habits Grow in Room [insert your room number]! Each week, students add new leaves to the tree. Those new leaves recognize the good things their peers do.

Students might be allowed to add leaves to the tree at any time. Or you might make this a weekly activity. If so, you might

  • Provide each student with a leaf.
  • Give students time to write on their leaves a good deed performed -- or a specific instance of good behavior exhibited -- by one of their peers during the week.
  • After students have written their special commendations on the leaves, have them pass their leaves to the students they are commending.
  • Students share with their classmates the commendations they received, and then hang their leaves on the tree.
Note: You also might want to add a few leaves to the tree each week -- to recognize students who were not recognized by their peers, and to model the types of positive behaviors and work habits the tree was established to honor.

Extension Activities
You might:

  • remove the leaves at the end of each month, and then have students count the leaves and set a goal to "grow" more good habits in the following month.
  • change the color and or shape of the leaves each month to tie in with a theme of the month. (For example, September might be green, October orange, November gold, December red, January white... or September could be leaves, October pumpkins, November turkeys, and so on.)
  • change the theme of the tree each month, or alternate months -- Good Habits one month, an alternative theme the next month, Good Habits again the following month Following are a few examples of alternative themes: -- During October (the month in which Noah Webster -- of Webster's Dictionary fame -- was born), the emphasis might be on building new vocabulary. Provide a list of vocabulary words. Each day, students choose a word from the list and write a sentence with that word in it. Every error-less sentence gets added to the tree. You might even keep track of the number of perfect sentences each student writes and award prizes to students who add the most sentence leaves to the tree. -- During November (Children's Book Week) students might hang minibooks bearing the titles and authors of books they have read. -- During December, you might transform the tree into a mitten tree. Let students bring in pairs of new mittens or gloves to hang from the tree. Just before Christmas, those mittens and gloves will be donated to a local shelter.


The Good Habits tree will encourage students to recognize their peers for the positive behaviors; serve as a model of the types of behavior that will be rewarded in the classroom; and result in measurably improved behavior by all students.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

NL-ENG.K-12.12Applying Language Skills

NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

GRADES 5 - 8
NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
GRADES 9 - 12
NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

Find more great springtime lessons on Education World's Spring Lesson Plans page.
Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year.

Originally published 04/18/2003
Last updated 02/21/2008