“The wish I put on my wishing tree was for everyone to be kind,” said Ella Dean, a second-grade student at Love Elementary School. “It was so much fun making my own wish tree. I love to read, I love creating things and I love to sing, so reading Wishtree and doing all those fun things has been great.
Ella was creating her own wishing tree based on the book, Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, which all JPS elementary schools are currently reading in class and at home with their families. The Love Wishtree Project was created by PUK teacher Beth Strong and led by area teachers Jennie Vaughn and Jennie Cross.
In addition to fun activities, elementary schools filmed YPS staff and community volunteers reading chapters from the book to share in English and Spanish. It’s all part of a unique national family literacy program called One District, One Book by nonprofit Read to Them, designed to strengthen the educational bond between home and school. Elementary schools organize fun activities to enhance the reading experience – from art projects to learning a song or planting a tree.
Jamestown City Parks Superintendent Dan Stone joins the Wishtree Project by helping kids plant a tree in every elementary school. The Jamestown School Forest Fund, made up of retired and active teachers and environmentally conscious members, provided the funds needed to plant the trees.
“I was contacted a few months ago about the project and that the main character in the book is a red oak. Of course, I was excited to participate and get the chance to plant more trees in Jamestown,” said Mr. Stone. “I think it’s great for the kids not only to read the story, but also to have the opportunity to see and plant a red oak in their school. The red oaks will be there for 100 years and it’s a great bond for students. They can go back to their elementary school, bring their kids and grandkids, and maybe even read them the Wishtree book one day. A very cool way to share the experience with future generations.
In addition to planting trees, each primary school carries out art projects around the book and learns a song. Plant a tree, by Teresa Jennings. Love music teacher Jennie Cross created hand movements to accompany the song’s signature.
“I think anytime we can connect music to learning in the classroom, that’s a win for everyone,” said Cathy South, a music teacher at Lincoln. “Music is such a powerful tool for building community. The Music Department is thrilled to be part of the District’s Wishtree Project! »
Fletcher art teacher Darryl Mallanda and his students view Gustav Klimt’s work and create their own “Tree of life” based on his work. Students learned about symbols and how the idea of a “tree of life” is a symbol of their experiences and the changes they will see in life; some shared, some unique.
Ring teacher, Becky Sorenson, did a “From Trash to Treasure” project with his students. In Wishtree, Bongo the crow flies and finds “treasures” that people have thrown away, such as bottle caps, game pieces and trinkets. The class “treasure waste” the activity followed this idea to connect with the story. They asked people to donate recycled materials, which were washed and sorted. Students choose from materials to create their own “treasures” using their imagination, creativity, problem-solving skills, and teamwork.
It was very important for the elementary schools to create a “live” around reading Wishtree.
“We are very excited to bring this experience to our students and our families,” Lincoln Elementary School principal Katie Russo said. “Our hope is that this is just the beginning of our involvement with One District, One Book. We plan to continue this program every year in our schools.