We started this at home and I then tried it in the classroom. It has worked like magic in both places. Basically, you need to give kids something to do for just long enough to calm down a wee bit. We played off the idea that trees can turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, as well as, Shel Silverstein’s tried and true, The Giving Tree.
I invented a story with their names in the place of ‘the child’. Feel free to change the story to fit your kiddos.
A long time ago in Denmark, there were certain magic trees that had very large hearts. Not every tree mind you but, the magic ones that you could find if you looked hard enough. These trees could take anger and bad feelings and change them into happier feelings. All because their hearts were so big and so powerful. These trees used to be easily found but people began to cut them down to build houses and to make fires. So the magic trees hid themselves deep in the forest.
This meant that there were fewer trees to help change bad feelings into good feelings. People began to become easily angered at each other and would sometimes even shout and hit. A small child decided that it was time to find the King of Trees and to ask if hte trees could come back to Denmark. After a long journey through hills, brambles, and bogs the child finally found the King of the Trees. The child bravely asked the King if there was a way to have some of these big-hearted trees closer to where humans lived.
The King thought about this idea and decided that humans can not always be trusted to take good care of trees. The child was distraut. Seeing this, the King decided to use his magic and create a small paper forest of big-hearted trees. He gave the paper to the child and told them to hang it somplace that they could find when they were angry, hurt, or simply feeling bad. The trees’ magic would start to work to to help the feelings go away and eventually change them completely. We can still find these trees today and their magic still works thanks to the King of Trees.
I then pulled out the the tree design I had made and attached it to a string. We let my class place the tree in a spot determined by the students.
And … they … used … it. It did help cut down on the little hits and mean words that can occur. I will admit it was unnerving at first to see them run across the room and blow at a tree, but it worked at home and in the classroom. Click the link below to get a copy of the tree we used, as well as, a shortened story.