The Classroom Tree

You can find ‘Making a Classroom Tree” here  and here, and “Decorating a Classroom Tree” here and here.

Today I want to show you my classroom tree.  When I was subbing last year I saw a tree and someone's room, and thought that a tree was a wonderful idea.  So, I asked the teacher who has a morning class if I could put up a tree in the room, and she was all over the idea.  Then I told my friend Gay (who taught preschool for many years) that I wanted to make a tree in my room, and she said, "Oh, I had a tree in my room, too."  Which automatically signed her up for my Official Tree Co-Builder. 

I wanted my tree to be as 3-D as possible, so I decided to start with a cardboard base that I could wrap up with the brown tree paper.  Fortunately, it was the week before school when we built it, and I found a whole dumpster full of discarded cardboard boxes behind Jericho's school.  We rummaged around in the dumpster for the perfect-shaped box (without Jericho, of course.  We didn't want to "humiliate" him before he even started his first day as a freshman".  We found a very long and skinny box, which we folded in half to look like this:

In the "crotch" of the fold I put an old flower pot for the hole.  Before I put the pot there I covered the inside of it with brown paper.  (Actually, I took a piece of brown paper and shaped it around the outside of the pot.  Then I pulled it off and glued it onto the inside. )

We then used three long pieces for brown butcher paper to "wrap" the tree.  We glued the pieces together at the bottom so it was like one big sheet, but we still basically tried to use one width for each of the three sides of the cardboard base.  We left the top part separate, so each could later be a main branch of the tree.  We then scrunched up the paper for the trunk, and hot glued it all over to the cardboard.  Then we scrunched up the three main branches and attached them either to the wall with staples, or the ceiling with yarn.  Finally, we added extra, smaller branches with staples, and leaves.

Last week the kids did their first "tree" project by making their hand prints for more leaves.  Everyone was happy with this except for one little one who seemed truly horrified by the idea of having his hands painted, and one whose favorite color is orange, and really wanted to make an orange leaf.  I told her to wait and month or two, and then she could make all the orange leaves she wanted.

Here is the current state of the tree now:

It will have apples in a few weeks, then fall leaves, then perhaps snowflakes later...we'll switch out animals soon, too.

Who knew a tree could be such fun?

Sarah  – (3 September 2010 at 17:43)  

What a fabulous pre-school teacher you are. That looks precious - and the amount of work makes me want to take a nap. How great for your kids.

Anonymous –   – (5 September 2010 at 06:49)  

That is beautiful and amazing! I wish one of my son's teacher's had a classroom tree I could pose him next too for an adorable pic.

Anonymous –   – (5 March 2012 at 01:34)  

I love your idea. I have seen many room trees but needed one with specific items_ boxes and butcher paper- we are overseas and finding items is hard. I am going to use your idea but craft it around a ladder for my Sunday School class. The lesson is on Zacchaeus (the wee little man that climbed the tree to see Jesus).

Paula Hubbard  – (9 October 2012 at 06:13)  

This is such a lovely idea. We would love to use your photo of the tree in our magazine Springboard Stories (based in the UK).

Let us know if you are interested.

kinder kids –   – (10 October 2012 at 13:35)  

Thanks so much for your creative idea im going to use the box idea to make the box base idea that really saves the waste of butcher paper we have a very high ceiling at our school so i think to make the branches arch and give it a 3d look i will use coat hangers the wire dry cleaner ones to make the branches at the top, just wrap butcher paper really tight around them and glue gun the paper in place.

Julie  – (11 October 2012 at 09:21)  

Oh, I think that using metal coat hangers is a great idea. You could get so much dimension and shape with them. I can just picture it with your high ceiling...thanks for sharing!

Anna  – (18 February 2013 at 04:39)  

This is exactly the sort of help I have been looking for. It looks wonderful. I love the coat hanger idea too. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

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