Feelings Through Art “Expressing Gratitude”

MINDING OUR P’S AND Q’S … MOSTLY OUR Q’S – Expressing Gratitude

Today my mother forwarded an article to me (as she does quite often and which I usually tend to ignore) titled “Today, Go Say an Overdue Thank You. It’ll Make You Feel Better”.

I am not sure what made me click on the link but I did. The article reminded me of a book that we had read in the library class in class 5 – “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. By the way, if you have not read the book, you must. I am sharing the link to the read-aloud video of the book below.

After watching the video, I am sure you are thinking, “Why was class 5 being made to read such a simple book?”

There is always a method behind the madness or so they say. Our library teacher was trying to get us to go beyond me, myself and I and using this book to do so. She wanted us to think of the “tree” in our life – the one who gives without expecting anything in return — recognize all that they did and to let them know that we appreciate them. It worked (at least while that project lasted). We all got thinking and wrote letters. The school then mailed these letters to our “tree” — mine was my helper, Liza, who had brought me up. Not only was she my tree, but she was my OAK tree.

Our next activity takes a page out of my library teacher’s planner. But before we start, remember in art there are no mistakes and nothing that you make as art is wrong.

Materials needed:

The Giving Tree (video – link above or a copy of the book)

A4 size sheet of paper

Set of marker pens/crayons/paints and brushes

After reading the book or watching the video, it’s important to start thinking and talking about what happened in this story. There are a couple of talking points (similar to what my teacher used with our class) that can be used to start a conversation

  1. The first thing is to talk about what happens in the story.
  2. The next talking point (which will become the basis of the art activity) is doing the characters remind us of anyone we know / Is there a “tree” in our life – someone who gives us whatever we want without asking for anything. It can be a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, a friend, teacher or even a helper in the house.
  3. Why is this person our “tree”

Having identified the “tree” in our life, we are ready to do our art activity (and this is where I take a different route from my library teacher!). The aim of this activity is to show gratitude to the person who has been identified as the “tree”. There are a couple of ways that this activity can go forward…

  1. Draw a picture of the person who is your “tree”
  2. Draw a picture of you and your “tree” doing something that is special for both of you
  3. Draw a picture of a tree
  4. Having completed the drawing it’s time to do the most important part…write a few lines letting your “tree” know why you think they are special. And while doing this, don’t forget your Q’s. Remember to say a big thank you for everything your “tree” does for you. To make it more meaningful include some examples to show that you remember all the little things that they do. Once you are done, go on over and give this very special present to your “Giving Tree”.

    Have a bet they are going to love you even more than they already do after seeing this piece of artwork and reading your note. (I know my “Giving Tree” did!!!)

    Rhea Grewal

    A student of art and psychology, Rhea is currently studying in Singapore. Art has been her happy place for as long as she can remember. While using art for therapy is nothing new, Rhea wants to explore how simple art exercises can be used at home or in the school to express feelings and teach values to kids who like her fall in the middle of the bell curve.

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