Our tree monument project is still very much alive. Every week we check in with our documentation boards to assess our progress and to plan the next steps for our project. Presently, the children are experimenting with different patterns using mosaic tiles that we got from our home research early on during our school year. The children work in pairs to make patterns and designs that they think might be suitable for a tree monument. After all of the children have a chance to participate in design-making, the whole class will select a design.
After the children make designs in pairs, they transfer that design to paper. Each pair of children will present their paper design to the class for voting purposes. When a design is chosen, the paper design will be used to create an identical design on top of the tree part.
The children have worked so hard for so long on this project, and the excitement continues to grow. They truly feel empathy for this tree that gave 117 years of its life so that we might enjoy its glorious gifts. I am a changed man this year from this experience that the children have given to me. I see trees now as treasured resources, and I become an activist when I see one being cut down. My first impulse is to stop to find out why the tree is being cut down, just as the children did when they heard the saws cutting down a tree that they claimed as their own. They demanded an answer as to why their tree was being cut down. We should do no less.