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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!

Pittsburgh Children's MuseumTeacher instructions

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.

Educational Standards

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
students should

  • Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to
    acquire, process, and report information from a spatial viewpoint
  • Understand how to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on the
    Earth's surface.

NSS-G.K-12.2 PLACES AND REGIONS As a result of their activities in grades K-12, all
students should

  • Understand the physical and human characteristics of places.
  • Understand that people create regions to interpret Earth's complexity.
  • Understand how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.

NSS-G.K-12.4 HUMAN SYSTEMS As a result of their activities in grades K-12, all students
should

  • Understand the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on
    Earth's surface.
  • Understand the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.
  • Understand the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface.
  • Understand the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.
  • Understand how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and
    control of Earth's surface.

NSS-G.K-12.5 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY As a result of activities in grades K-12, all
students should

  • Understand how human actions modify the physical environment.
  • Understand how physical systems affect human systems.
  • Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.

NSS-G.K-12.6 THE USES OF GEOGRAPHY As a result of activities in grades K-12, all
students should

  • Understand how to apply geography to interpret the past.
  • Understand how to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

CIVICS NATIONAL STANDARDS

NSS-C.5-8.3 ROLES OF THE CITIZEN

  • How is the world organized politically?
  • How has the United States influenced other nations and how have other nations influenced American politics and society?

NSS-C.5-8.5 ROLES OF THE CITIZEN

  • What are the Roles of the Citizen in American Democracy.
  • What is citizenship?
  • What are the rights of citizens?
  • What are the responsibilities of citizens?
  • What dispositions or traits of character are important to the preservation and improvement of American constitutional democracy?
  • How can citizens take part in civic life?

GRADES K - 12 VISUAL ARTS NATIONAL STANDARDS

  • K-4.1, 5 - 8.1, 9-12.1 - Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
  • K -4.3, 5-8.3, 9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating a Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
  • K-4.4, 5-8.4, 9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts in Relation to History and Cultures
  • K-4.6, 5-8.6, K-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
  • K-5-8.2, 9-12.2 Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
  • K-5-8.5, 9-12.5 Reflecting Upon and Assessing the Characteristics and Merits of Their Work and the Work of Others

NUMBER AND OPERATIONS NATIONAL STANDARDS
(Applies to making a Singing Tree from Scratch, 8th up)

GRADES 6 -12

  • NM-NUM.6-8.1, 9-12.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
  • NM-NUM.6-8.2, 9-12.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One
    Another
  • NM-NUM.6-8.3, 9-12.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
  • NL-ENG.K-12.1 READING FOR PERSPECTIVE Students read a wide range of print and
    nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United
    States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society
    and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic
    and contemporary works.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.2 UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE Students read a wide
    range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many
    dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.3 EVALUATION STRATEGIES Students apply a wide range of strategies to
    comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their
    interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts,
    their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter
    correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • NL-ENG.K-12.4 COMMUNICATION SKILLS Students adjust their use of spoken, written,
    and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety
    of audiences and for different purposes.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.5 COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES Students employ a wide range of
    strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate
    with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.7 EVALUATING DATA Students conduct research on issues and interests by
    generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data
    from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their
    discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.8 DEVELOPING RESEARCH SKILLS Students use a variety of technological
    and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and
    synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.12 APPLYING LANGUAGE SKILLS Students use spoken, written, and visual
    language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the
    exchange of information).
Contact Return to homepage Contact McKees Rocks Mural Children as a Source of Wisdom Homewood's Healing AngelsLaurie Marshall The Singing Trees George Mendel