Upland Heights Elementary Creates Thankful Tree

Pre-K teachers, Ashley Teague, and Tiffany Fullingim came up with the idea for the tree and said they wanted to do something special for students for Thanksgiving.

“We talked about things that we could get the kids involved with this year,” Teague said. “It started out as just a Pre-K project, but then we thought ‘why can’t it be a whole school thing?’”

Teague said that they started out with talking to their students about things we are thankful for, and by encouraging other classrooms to do the same.

“With everything going on, we wanted the kiddos to remember that there is a lot to be thankful for, too,” Teague said.

Fullingim said that she wanted to make sure that her students took the leaves home so they could discuss what they are thankful for with their parents too.

“We were really trying to figure out how we could involve the parents,” Fullinghim said. “Normally we would have parents come in, eat Thanksgiving lunch with their kids, and walk down and be able to look around the classroom. So, since we can’t do that this year, we have been really trying to incorporate the parents in what we are doing so that they don’t feel completely left out of the school year.”

Teague said that classes have come down the Pre-K hallway to take a look at the tree. She said it is fun to watch the different classes of kiddos read what is on each leaf and discuss it.

“We’ve had classes come down, kind of like taking a little ‘field trip’,” Teague said. “They look at it and just really get those conversations started about being thankful.”

Teague and Fullinghim both said that projects like this always get students thinking about the Frenship Way and the SERVE model.

“The Thankful Tree gives students from Pre-K to fifth grade reasons to smile during this 2020 craziness,” Teague said. “It is getting the whole school involved by engaging with students, families and teachers. It gets them thinking about all the things they have to be thankful for, and it opens the door for other conversations at school and at home.”

Fullinghim mentioned that the Thankful Tree also encourages students.

“It encourages us to look at the positives rather than the buckets full of negatives,” Fullinghim said.

Teague and Fullinghim said that the tree will stay up for a while so that students and teachers can walk down their hallway for a reminder about what we have to be thankful for every single day.

“We did not expect to get as many leaves back as we did,” Fullinghim said. “It exploded! It’s going to have to be something we do every year.”