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Friday, October 19, 2012

From Pinterest to Real Life: Paper Bag Trees

Our Tree and Leaves unit sent me looking for some new art and learning ideas that I hadn't used before.  And where did I look?  Well, Pinterest of course.  

It was there that I saw this tree made out of a paper bag.  It's from the blog Fairy Dust Teaching, and it's a great idea.

Source: fairydustteaching.blogspot.com via Teaching the on
It only takes a paper lunch bag, some glue, and a base to set the tree on.  I had all of those things, so I decided to give it a try with the Little People.

Although my kids would have done a great job twisting up the bags, I knew that they wouldn't be able to make the branches very easily.  Therefore, I decided to make the actual trees before school.  

Here is my tree factory:

I cut a hole in the bottom of the bag so I could "spread out" the base of the tree on the base (which in this case was a paper plate). I then poured a little glue down into the bottom of the (now cut open) bag, as well as applied some glue to the paper plate.  I then squished the bottom of the bag down onto the plate.  It was really very easy, and needed no adjustments - that's the beauty of making an old, gnarled tree.  It's supposed to look - gnarled.

I then cut down the sides of the bag, from the top of the bag to about halfway down.  I cut about seven or eight "branches" on each tree.  I then applied a little bit of tacky glue to the inside of each branch and then twisted it up.  (Yes, you can use hot glue - as long as burning your fingers on hot glue doesn't irritate you like it does me.)

Here are the branches twisted up.  I then poured a little bit of glue down into the middle of the open tree trunk and then squeezed the trunk together.

To prepare for the tree decorating, I tore up fall-colored tissue paper into little bitty pieces.

I made these with my Little People during our small group time, as a mixed art/language activity.  Since our time was limited during this time, I went ahead and applied glue to all of the branches and around the base of the tree before they began working.  In regular circumstances I would have let them put the glue where they wanted.

It was interesting - some of them applied the leaves one by one - very carefully.  Some of them adopted a "rain" technique, dropping down showers of leaves onto the tree and watching them stick.  At least one the Little People became highly agitated when the leaves stuck to their gluey fingers and just started shrieking - holding their leaf-laden fingers out at me in distress.   (This is when we had a secondary language lesson about using our words when we are upset about something - not our shrieks.)

Whichever method they used, the trees came out beautifully.  Here are some examples:

Besides the beauty of the finished product in the project, there was lots of rich fall language occurring as well.  Despite the fact that it was extremely heavy on the teacher preparation side of things, it's definitely a project we will do again.

Here's my Pinterest Project "Review":

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