President’s Day is a great time to teach young students about the history of the American Presidents. Teachers can also integrate a character lesson with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. It is a perfect character lesson to teach that we do not lie, even when it is hard, and it is better to tell the truth, even when we are afraid.
This lesson and craft is geared toward Kindergarten to 2nd grade students. It is written at their level and the craft is a simple one. It would not be age appropriate for over second grade.
Read the Story and Discuss
To start, read the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. There are many books out there that you could purchase or borrow from a library, but the most simple version of the story can be printed out from an online source. Print out The Cherry Tree by M. L. Weems. Just click on the title and you will get there in another window. Print and read the story to your students.
Ask the students questions from the story. Ask the students, “What is a hatchet? You are checking their prior knowledge, to see if they know that a hatchet is an axe. Ask them, “Why was George Washington so glad to get a hatchet as a present?” The answer relates to the time in which George Washington lived. Tell the students when and where George Washington lived. Ask the children, “What might have happened if George Washington would have lied?” Also ask, “Do you think that it was easy for George Washington to tell the truth?” Ask the students to turn and talk to each other about whether they have ever done anything that they admitted was wrong.
Cherry Tree Art Activity
When you finish with the story and the questions have your children do the following craft:
- Finger Paint (red, green and brown).
- Finger Paint paper.
- A nearby sink.
- Lay newspaper across each of the student’s desks. This will protect the desks.
- Place an apron on each student. If you do not have enough, then have the parents send an old shirt from home for their child to paint in.
- Give each child a piece of finger painting paper.
- Set a dish of each color of finger-paint on the table or desk.
- Have the children first create a tree trunk with the brown finger-paint.
- Next have the children make a big green tree top as the leaves.
- Finally, to add the cherries, each child must dip his or her finger in to the red paint and then press in various places on the tree top.
- Lay out to dry.
When dry have the students write a title on the top of their paper, (Child’s Name )’s Cherry Tree
Reinforce the character lesson and say, “Students when we look at our cherry trees, we will be reminded to tell the truth, even when it is hard.”
This post is part of the series: President’s Day Crafts
- President's Day Crafts 1: Washington's Wig
- Make Lincoln's Log Cabin: A Fun President's Day Craft
- President's Day Crafts 3: George Washington and the Cherry Tree
- President's Day Craft for Preschool: The American Flag
- Make Presidential Puzzles in the Elementary Classroom