Start a New Singing Tree
By following the instructions in the book, you can make a Singing Tree in your area, with all the kids in your school or in your community. Laurie will be glad to talk with you and your art teacher or Girl Scout Leader or Boy Scout Leader or YMCA or Children's Museum or whomever might like to help make this symbol of UNITY AND CREATIVITY.
You may come up with new ideas to make it better, bigger, smaller..... Great!
When you're done, please send pictures of the kids making it; the whole tree; details of the leaves, trunk and world; the stars, all the names on the stars and a list of all the words on your Singing Tree. We'll add the new tree to the website for the rest of the world to see!
COMPLETE DIRECTIONS ARE IN THE BOOK FOR MAKING YOUR SINGING TREE FROM SCRATCH !!!!
Teacher Instructions for "The Singing Tree" Made possible by the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. Thank you for including your students in this international collaborative mural project! The goal is to give children around the world a common creative experience that helps them see a unity while expressing their individuality.
The image of a tree on the earth in space was inspired by a wonderful book about World War I by Kate Seredy called The Singing Tree.
Please share the following true story with your students:
One night in World War I, soldiers in Hungary crawl on their bellies through the dead landscape of war, trying to avoid the enemy. Because of the fighting, there are no standing trees, no rabbits, no birds, no houses or buildings, no squirrels, no people, no evidence of life as they inch mile after mile in the mud and darkness. Not a single creature crosses their path through the weary ordeal. At dawn, when the sun breaks through the darkness of the terrifying night, the soldiers come across one tree that is still alive. All the birds in the area have come to the only shelter that still exists for miles around. Birds that don't normally occupy close quarters are sharing the tree. And the birds are singing. One by one, the soldiers stand up. Their fear of being shot by the enemy is not as strong as their gratitude for the signs of life before them. The image of the mural is based on the idea that the earth is the "Singing Tree" of the solar system - perhaps of the Milky Way and beyond. The third planet from the sun is teeming with different life forms in unlikely combination, surrounded by emptiness for billions of miles. Life seems to be a rare and precious occurrence. Everything that divides us is not as important as this fact.
For K- 5th Graders: Using colored pencils, your students are invited to make a picture of what is important to them or a self-portrait on a leaf which will be glued to the mural. To guide them, please ask if they were to meet someone from another planet, what is the first thing they would tell that they care about the most on our planet. You will a blank leaf from a particular tree which will be identified, chosen by the teenagers. This is how the murals are named - Elm Singing Tree, Gingko Singing Tree, etc.. Please ask the students to fill up all the white space and encourage them to blend with the soft Prismacolor colored pencils, putting a lighter color over a darker color. It is fine to write words, as long as all the space around them is filled up with color. It is also fine to just do designs. Encourage them to let their imaginations sing. Mail the finished leaves and colored pencils back in the envelope provided.
For 6-8th Graders: Your students are invited to make a picture of what is important to them or a self-portrait on a piece of the tree trunk which will be glued to the mural. They have a challenge because they will be drawing on the brown bark, some times with strange shapes. Before they start, have them locate the number on the back of their piece so they know which way is up. The light Prismacolor colored pencils work well on the dark brown squares. Gold and silver paint pens are fun to use on the trunk. Students may want to trace their shape and draw a preliminary sketch of their idea if your have time. Please let some of the underlying color show through. It is fine to write words, as long as all the space around them is paid attention to. It is also fine to just do designs. Mail the finished artwork and colored pencils back in the envelope provided.
For 9-12th Graders: Your students are invited to make a picture of what is important to them or a self-portrait on a piece of the earth which will be glued to the mural. Some squares are all ocean (blue), some are all land (white), some are both ocean and land. Before they start, have them locate the number on the back of their square so they know which way is up. Please ask them to fill in all the white space on the land and to not use blue for the background because it will then read as water. There are some clusters of four squares together for your outstanding artists or someone with a powerful message that needs to be heard. It is fine to write words, as long as all the space around them is paid attention to. It is also fine to just do designs. Encourage them to let their imaginations sing. Mail the finished artwork and colored pencils back in the envelope provided. EVERYONE IS INVITED TO MAKE A STAR TO HONOR SOMEONE WHO IS GONE. Please write a story about the person being and send your star paper-clipped to the story. Teachers, you are also invited to make a leaf, tree trunk section or square for the mural. Please tell your students that the leaves and tree trunks were prepared by the art students of an inner city and suburban school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who also have prepared the earth and the background galaxies of the mural.
Five Singing Trees have been shown at the U.S. Botanic Gardens in Wash., D.C. as part of their commemoration of the victims of September 11th.
The plan is to make "Singing Trees" with children around the world.
Please contact Laurie Marshall if you have any questions.
The Singing Tree Project can be used to address the following National Standards of Learning:
GEOGRAPHY NATIONAL STANDARDS
NSS-G.K-12.1 THE WORLD IN SPATIAL TERMS As a result of activities in grades K-12, all
NSS-G.K-12.2 PLACES AND REGIONS As a result of their activities in grades K-12, all
NSS-G.K-12.4 HUMAN SYSTEMS As a result of their activities in grades K-12, all students
NSS-G.K-12.5 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY As a result of activities in grades K-12, all
NSS-G.K-12.6 THE USES OF GEOGRAPHY As a result of activities in grades K-12, all
CIVICS NATIONAL STANDARDS
NSS-C.5-8.3 ROLES OF THE CITIZEN
NSS-C.5-8.5 ROLES OF THE CITIZEN
GRADES K - 12 VISUAL ARTS NATIONAL STANDARDS
NUMBER AND OPERATIONS NATIONAL STANDARDS
GRADES 6 -12