If Trees Could Talk

Teacher(s):   Ready to Grow
Main Contact: ______________________ Email: ____________________
Date: _____________ Building: __________________ Grade Level: ________________
First Trimester: __________ Second Trimester: __________ Third Trimester: __________
First Semester: ___________ Second Semester: __________

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

This project uses trees as a vehicle through which students can explore the history of their community, US History, and World History. Other curricular areas that can be addressed with this project include Science, ELA, and Art.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

The communities within the Youth Engagement Zone have gone through dramatic changes in the past 20 years. From a thriving part of the city filled with business and industry, to a now economically depressed area. The demographic make-up has changed dramatically as well. It is now much more diverse ethnically and generationally. The project is designed to help students and eventually the community understand the rich history of the area and its people and work together to restore the area as the vibrant community it once was.

What service will you provide to address the need?

Students will create “history” books of the area from the viewpoint of local trees, utilizing research and interviews with people who have lived in the neighborhood for many years. These books will honor and preserve personal histories of local residents.

Other services may include: Planting trees, community beautification, appreciation of elders.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project could tie into ELA, Social Studies, or Science. Teachers in each area will need to determine the curriculum relationship.

What are the educational goals?

Each teacher will need to determine this based on their curriculum.


Curriculum Crafter Connections www.curriculumcrafter.com

Strand: 09-10, 11-12 ELA: (Writing)
TLW: Participate in shared research to build and present knowledge. (Gist: Research to Build and Present Knowledge)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Strand: 09-10, 11-12 ELA: (Writing) Demonstrate the production and distribution of Writing
TLW: Demonstrate the production and distribution of writing. (Gist: Production and Distribution of Writing)

Strand: 09-10, 11-12 ELA: (Writing)
TLW: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. (Gist: Range of Writing)

Strand: USHG: (History)
TLW: Explain the impact of globalization on the United States’ Economy, politics, society ad role in the world.(Gist: Impact of Globalization on the US)


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

A variety of reflection methods could be used in a project like this. Class discussions, journals, continually changing community map, photography, drawing, etc.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

(i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc)

Primarily cultural and generational.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

The students will start by selecting a tree in their neighborhood. From there, they will search for and choose who to interview to learn about the neighborhood throughout recent history. Students will portray their tree through photography, drawing or another printable art form. They will then write a tale of what they “see” as the tree throughout its life.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

• City Government
• Senior Citizen Organizations
• Wittenbach Wege Center or another expert on trees
• Local artist or photographer

How will students benefit from this partnership?

The students will learn about the rich history of their community and try to see what it once was, what caused the changes over the past 20 years, and hopefully appreciate the positive aspects that remain today.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The community will benefit by having the history of individuals and the community preserved in a permanent record, as well as having a group of young people who feel more invested in the community and inspired to improve the neighborhoods.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

Written work will be graded on ELA concepts and historical accuracy. Teachers will need to determine other assessment methods based on their educational goals.

How will you assess your service goals?

Teachers will need to determine, but may be based on community and student feedback to the various aspects of the project.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

• How will you prepare students for this experience?
• Community mapping
• Discussion of local history, changes, results
• Presentation by long-time community member
• Presentation by city DPW representative
• Photography introduction
• Tree identification lesson

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

• Map older trees in the neighborhood.
• Determine the age and species of the trees.
• Photograph or draw their tree of interest.
• Create a historic timeline throughout the life of the tree highlighting major events along the way.
• Interview people who live(d) near the tree about major events that happened locally, nationally, or globally while living there.
• Write a historical narrative from the tree’s viewpoint as if the “tree could talk”
• Create tree markers with approx. age and species of tree.
• Compile stories and photographs in a book that can be printed and copies stored at the school, at City Hall, at Senior Neighbors Building, and local library.



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

This project addresses primarily the environmental and social progress arms of sustainability directly and economic growth indirectly.