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Mr. Walloby's Christmas Tree


Questions of the SeasonDecember is a wonderful time for teachers!  There is a sense of natural curiosity and excitement from students as we approach the Winter celebrations ahead. For the next few weeks, we will focus our lesson plans on holiday activity. I found our featured lesson plan this week from Kimberly Emminger and appreciate the emphasis on utilizing found objects to make creative and wonderful holiday crafts!  Enjoy!

Mr Walloby's Christmas Tree Lesson Plan
By Kimberly Emminger

When I was a little girl, I remember reading "Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree" by Robert Berry. First published in 1963, this story is lovely tale about how a Christmas tree was too too tall and tossed aside. Throughout the story, many people and creatures found this little discarded tree, provided a home for it but once, chopped it as it too tall for their homes. In the end, a mouse who lived in Mr Wallowby's house was thrilled to have a tree for Christmas just like Mr Wallowby!

The lesson: When I planned a lesson for the children, I thought this would be a perfect story to reinforce the power of recycling, sharing and giving away unwanted things during Christmas time. That someone's "trash" maybe someone's "treasure". We must be aware of what we throw away. During the story ask them the following questions to get them thinking and interacting:

What happens to things when it goes in the trash? The goal is to have them understand it's larger than just going in the dumpster and a truck picks it up. Explain the trash is taken to a landfill and the length of time it sits while decomposing.

What are things we should "save" instead of throw away? Ask the children to think of things they know are good to recycle. Egg cartons, paper products, glass, soda cans are good examples.

What are things that you can share with others that you no longer need or enjoy? The goal is to have the children think about things around their house they may not need. for instance if they have a friend that likes Barbie dolls but they do not like Barbie dolls anymore, rather than throw them away, give them to their friend.

The Craft

We decided to make bells out of egg cartons. I explained to the children that just like the animals in the story, we can take something we no longer need, cut it, decorate it and make it into something that someone else will enjoy.

What you need:

Old egg cartons
Scissors
string or pipe cleaners
Jingle bells or small bells
Glitter
Craft paint

Preparation: Cut the egg carton into separate cups. With the point of the scissors or a sharp pencil, poke a hole in the bottom of each cup. Before you paint, string the bell and push both ends though the hole of the bottom of the cup. Tie at the top. As long as the hole itself is smaller than the bell, the bell will be secure and jingle.

Decorate each cup however you like. Mix glitter into your paints for a quick colorful sparkle effect or simply sprinkle the glitter on top of the cups. By stringing the cups prior, it makes the bells much easier to move and relocate while drying.

In the end, the children loved their bells and couldn't wait to hang them on their trees or doorknobs at home. I was happy that my favorite story was passed along to other children to enjoy.

About the Author:
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