To help promote Respect For All Week, students and staff at PS 102 The Bayview School, created Tree Affirmations, a large birch branch decorated in student-created messages depicting Respect. This lesson was inspired by a visit from Yoko Ono's Wish Tree formerly on exhibit at MOMA.
After their visit to the exhibit, students discussed the use of an actual object from nature as an art form; the symbolism of a tree as a strong and sheltering presence; and the impact of text on visual art. Using the exhibit and discussion as inspiration, students carefully selected a word that conveyed a positive thought, action, or attribute and created illustrations that reflected their word through bright and dynamic images. These designs became burlap tree hangings which would create Tree Affirmations. Working collaboratively as a class, students ceremoniously decorated the tree paying careful attention to color, balance and harmony. Principal Theresa Dovi and assistant-principals, Ms. Fasanelle and Cornelia Sichenze also participated by contributing their tree hanging which generated a great deal of enthusiasm and reinforced the message of respect throughout the school.
In addition to promoting Respect for All Week, this activity is noteworthy in that it supports the school’s overall anti-bullying campaign. The finished product not only embodies a creative collaboration of their knowledge of text, illustration, and design, but it radiates a message to viewers that inspires congeniality and the power of positive thoughts and actions.
Tree of Affirmations will be publically displayed in the school with an open invite for the addition of more decorations that reflect the theme of Respect.
This story is part of a series to promote the ongoing school-based programs and activities through the Respect For All initiative.