Tree

Autumn’s Beauty. The streets are lined with a parade of color.

Many times over the past few weeks I have stopped in my tracks to admire the beautiful fall colors. I find an even deeper appreciation for nature’s beauty when finding the balance, tree. This week I challenge you to get outside with your students for writer’s workshop. You’ll be amazed by the inspired poems that will emerge. To get started, download Tree from our Move Mindfully® Card Deck.

tree pose outside

While cuing tree, talk about grounding. How trees are rooted to the Earth and how we can find that same grounding. Talk about strength. How trees weather rain, wind and snow and how we weather the physical, mental and emotional seasons of life. Talk about stillness. How trees can stand still in the eye of a storm and how we can find stillness within chaos. Talk about community. In tree pose- we can hold each other up.

partner tree

Poetry Unit

My students were so moved that our movements inspired a mini poetry unit.  During morning meeting throughout the week, we compared our bodies to a tree. I prompted the students with a series of questions and recorded their responses.

How are your…

  • spine like a trunk?
  • hands like leaves?
  • feet like roots?
  • arms like branches?

tree to self comparisons

After our mind was full of comparisons, we embarked on a leaf hunt. Students carefully inspected leaves and finally chose one to bring back into the classroom.

outside tree pose in the fall

We traced the leaf with pencil carefully adding in all of the lines and intricate details…. the bug holes, the lobes, the veins. Then, we traced our hand. Again, carefully adding in the details… the hang nails, scars and veins. Next, we used water color to represent the various hues… crimson, gold, brown, leaves- peach, tan, ebnony skin.

Finally, we put it all together by revisiting our mind maps. Taking in all of these similarities, we wrote poems- “I am like a tree”. This inspired talks of similes (I am like a tree) and metaphors (My feet are roots). Once students have physically experienced the sensations, the poetic comparisons are no longer abstract.

We transferred these beautiful poems onto our work of art watercolors to create a masterpiece, worthy a permanent frame.

tree poem

The students not only experienced the ELA poetry standards, but also practiced holding a challenging balance. More importantly, we created an intentional opportunity to connect with nature and themselves.

Download our Tree Poetry lesson plan on our Teachers Pay Teachers site.

How have you integrated mindfulness into writing lessons? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

16 replies
  1. Annette Warner
    Annette Warner says:

    This is an incredible integrated lesson. I am a School Social Worker in a STEM school and I have wondered how I can integrate my work into the other academic areas and this is a perfect example, thank you!

    Reply
  2. Carli Andersen
    Carli Andersen says:

    I love the connection of the tree pose with nature. I also love how it was connected to the students to help them understand their own balance.

    Reply
  3. Janene Smith
    Janene Smith says:

    What a beautiful lesson! Thank you for sharing it. I especially like the connection of tree pose to an actual tree, and the poetry creations. I may use some of your ideas!

    Reply
  4. Jen Feriancek
    Jen Feriancek says:

    What an amazing lesson! I love that students were able to make a mind-body connection with tree pose and how it makes them feel. I also like that students were encouraged to be aware of each leaf, how each one is different, and they had time to find one that they were drawn to. Lastly, I love that students were encouraged to be mindful as they added the colors and details to the leaf and hand with watercolor. The whole lesson seemed to be a practice in mindful awareness and our connection to nature. Lovely. Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply
  5. Leah Christianson
    Leah Christianson says:

    I love the “strong and calm” like a tree comment. I used that phrase with two students today while we did tree pose to help our bodies get ready to learn.

    Reply
  6. Jenny Regan
    Jenny Regan says:

    I can’t wait to connect the tree pose with then moving on to getting out of their heads and getting them into their sensory body or intelligence body by connecting and centering to the ground and the feel of the earth. Its great for them to feel the pulse of the earth through the trees! You can have them release what is not working for them!

    Reply
  7. Jodi Carter
    Jodi Carter says:

    We took a hike and worked on words for this poem yesterday….an amazingly beautiful fall day on November 4th. Thanks for your template, Stephanie! Love the way students connected with nature!

    Reply
  8. Karen Bendtsen
    Karen Bendtsen says:

    I love having the students be apple trees too. We made apple sauce and tried different kinds of apples. Then I had students choose which kind of apple tree they were while in tree pose.

    Reply

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