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We actually have the same issue at one of our day cares. if you are looking for a "permanent solution" and have the money to put into this, there are a couple of sites on the internet that sell artificial tree bark that comes in a sheet.
Depending on how much you want to spend and how tall your tree will be, it could run as much as $ 400 for the bark. We have four columns to deal with, so we are going to cut the sheets in half to make the bark around 5 feet high, and then get a net to attach to the ceiling and to the area where the bark will end.
We plan to fill out the net with something bulky and green and then tie silk leaves to the outside of the net and hang apples, etc off the ceiling through the tree. if we had gone all the way up to the ceiling with the bark, we were going to paint a mural of the foliage and staple some silk leaves on the ceiling and hang the apples, etc off the ceiling to make it look like it was hanging from the branches in the foliage. Good luck!
By Barbara Petty 10/09/2008
One of our son's favorite teachers used the floor to ceiling column to make a "tree house" for 2. This was used as a reward. Only those who read the books from her list, or from the school's library could read in the Tree House. Boy! They ALL wanted to read so they could get in the tree house!
Her husband made a small rectangle of wood, that fit around the pole, for the floor. Just like you'd have in a tree house. He made supports that reached up into the ceiling, that looked like branches. They were quite stable, and structurally could hold two 60 pound kids. There was a wooden ladder to climb into the tree house(along the line of those ladders that go to a bunk bed).
There was a railing all around the rectangular floor, with slats close enough together that the kids couldn't get through them. Large cardboard boxes from a store that sold appliances were used to cover the Tree Trunk. Other cardboard pieces, reinforced with thin wooden slats became other branches. The ceiling around and above the tree house was full of tree leaves. This gave the impression that the tree continued higher and higher. At season change, the kids made new leaves for that season. Fall was especially beautiful, all of the colored leaves. Tiny white Christmas tree lights were wound around the bare branches for the winter.
One of the carpet stores gave her the large round cardboard centers that carpet and vinyl were wound onto. She used these to look like branches, too. This tree was beautiful! I can't do it justice in describing it. The kids all loved it! And boy, did they learn to read.
Sometimes she would have a very good reader go into the tree house with another child who was struggling to read. By having a Helper, even those who had reading problems at the first of the school year, were reading on grade level.
There were many many daddy-helpers that constructed this tree so that it would be safe. They even had an engineer working with them. And they even had it inspected before the children were allowed to use it. So have lots of fun, decorate your column.
By Tammy Goodwin10/09/2008
At my daughters school, I saw a tree made from wrinkled and twisted brown tissue paper for the trunk and the branches too. It looked really neat.
By CP (Guest Post)10/05/2008
How about getting children to draw around their hands onto green paper to be the leaves? You could maybe get them to write messages on them to inspire other students, get some older students to do some too perhaps to fill it out?
Hope it works out the way you want it to. Best Wishes
By melody_yesterday 10/04/2008
This will require a trip to somewhere you can get a few branches nothing bigger around than a large thumb & can be cut at the bottom to fit standing floor to ceiling.
After you get your branches (I recommend 4 but if your column is round 3 might be enough) & they are tied in place to the column with binders twine below where the paper will be & will hide the tying on wrap crape paper or brown paper (roll sheeting) around it all about midway up for the trunk.
Use markers or paints to add bark or a knot hole.
The branching out part will be the fattest possibly in the way part but some of the widest of it could be trimmed back out of the way so it doesn't get in someones eye. You could hang students pictures on the tree using small clips or paperclips or tie some bows.
There are several free mini printable books at miniature printables sites you could use : http://www.mrsjonesroom.com/teachers/minibooks.html or sit a "wise old owl" in the branches or dollar store birds or a little deco nest Any number of items could be displayed in & on the branches! Sounds very fun & exciting!
By Jean in GA (Guest Post)10/04/2008
I have no suggestion on how to make the tree trunk, but wanted to say that you sound like a good teacher that wants to encourage her students and to make learning fun. Thank you for letting me put my 2cents in.
I was thinking some heavy duty florist wire...say about 3-4 pieces, twisted together for branches. Attach them high enough on the column so that it won't interfere with someone's view to the front of the room. I would wrap the wire in either some brown colored duct tape (they have lots of colors now) or some tissue paper spray painted brown. You won't be able to make it heavier than the wire can support. Twist the final "branch" in a limb type fashion and attach to the column. I use duct tape for so many things because it is strong and should have no problem holding this branch in place. Cut some construction paper leaves and tissue paper leaves for variety and hot glue to your branch. On the truck of your tree, write words verticallly to simulate bark. Your idea is great, go with it! Good Luck.
By Lynda (Guest Post)10/04/2008
The Tree of Knowledge signifies God's Knowledge, so once you find the physical design, you would do the children a great service to add beneficial Scriptures to the leaves, pointing out that symbolically, Scripture says that God is the Vine and those who accept and believe in Him are the branches. You could have a large vine up the brown tree, and have branches off the vine with a child's name and applicable Scriptures attached on hanging strings all over their big leaf.
God bless and guide you. : )
By Dawn (Guest Post)10/03/2008
Our library has done this, they painted the column brown and hand different lengths of colored flags from the ceiling. The colors can change for fall. The children love it, I think it is unique.
By Christine Biernat 10/03/2008
You could use corrugated cardboard to wrap the column and hang paper leaves from the ceiling. You could even write the names of your students on the leaves or themes of education that you are using through the year such as morals (honesty, helpfulness, etc), science (planets), etc.
By Jill 10/02/2008
How about using some of the large sheets of green paper (the kind on a big roll) and crumpling them slightly and fastening them to the upper portion of the column and onto the ceiling? You might similarly wrap the "trunk" with crumpled brown. I have seen this done quite effectively up the wall (no column); non-permanent; and inexpensive.
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