Suggested activities/lesson plan:
1. Provide your students - with sheets of colorful paper, glue, scissors, crayons, string (any/all decorative items will do). Have the students create and/or decorate a leaf. It is important to encourage each child to be creative and make whatever leaf they feel comfortable making. All materials are welcome. They can use tissue paper, clay, wire, cellophane, buttons, ribbon, etc.
2. Instruct your students – to decorate a leaf. Have the student inscribe each leaf with his/her own words. Offer messages of hope and notes of promise. Allow the student to create and leave his/her own personal imprint.
3. When the project is complete - have the students hang their leaves from the ceiling with string (you may have to use a hole punch). Every student’s leaf should be displayed.
4. Encourage conversation – Make sure the students understand that these were children, like themselves, with hopes and dreams and plans for the future, and that all that potential died along with them. Talk about choosing to do what’s right by others in their classroom, in their community and among their friends. Focus on stories of hope and lessons learned that came from the Holocaust. Ask the students how they would choose to respond if someone was hurting someone else. Talk about the courage to be an active ‘upstander’ rather than a passive ‘bystander’. Talk about the symbolism of a tree – how it relates to family, life, re-growth, hope, humanity.
5. Ask - the student to explain why he/she decorated the leaf as he/she did. Suggest that the student write a story or poem to express his/her feelings and share it with the class.
6. Collect – and finally - gather the leaves and send them to:
Vermont Holocaust Memorial
P.O. Box 436
Jeffersonville, VT 05464
We will collect, count the leaves and add them to the landscape.
We will acknowledge each contributor on our website by sharing their light.