This is just another take on a classic project, but I'm really happy with it. This project was done partly step by step, but in a way that each still looks different. I always try to get my students to fill the space when making artwork. Why would we want to make little tiny trees on big paper? First, we talked about trees! The students loved sharing things they know about trees. I pretended that I was a tree and showed the students how the trunk (my legs together) were wider than the branches (my arms) and how the branches had twigs (fingers) that were even smaller. I passed out paper and stuck a bigger piece up on the board for me to demonstrate on. To start the making part, I had the students paint one tall line (using tempera cakes) from the bottom of their paper to the top. I told them it could bend or curve, just needed to be really tall. Next, we made the bottom half of the line thicker to serve as the branch. After that, I had the students paint a few lines that started at the center line and went clear to one of the edges. When that was done, I showed them how they could add smaller branches or twigs that did not touch the edges of their paper. With remaining time, students could add grass. We talked about "planting" the trees instead of having floating trees.
The schedule around the time of this project was really strange with conferences, Halloween parades, etc. so the classes on each day had different versions of the project. I think my Monday classes got to paint their trees and glue torn construction paper pieces for leaves. (I tried putting out glue containers and giving the students q-tips to stick them down and felt that was a good introduction to liquid glue, no big blobs like I hate with bottle glue!) My Tuesday class had to leave Art early so they added leaves with crayon. Friday classes only had one class period so they painted the leaves after painting the tree. Before any students added leaves, we talked about the colors that leaves turn in the fall and I showed them how they are all warm colors on the color wheel. I know this project may make some Art teachers cringe but I stand by it! It was a good confidence builder and there was still room for each student to make their own unique tree. The end. :)