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Handprints symbolize students’ pledges at West Madison

Hundreds of handprints symbolized students’ commitment as good stewards during the Earth Day observance at West Madison Elementary School.
West Madison students used their handprints for tree leaves for their Earth Day pledges.

Several gifted, artistic students designed tree trunks in a combination of variations of gray, brown and tan. They painted a forest of tree trunks and limbs on a paper banner approximately 42 feet long that stretched between the gym and school building.

However, the trees had no leaves. All the students added leaves by putting their handprints on the banner, enrichment specialist Wendy Tibbs said. Tibbs and physical education teacher Joy Brindley coordinated the activity.

During their physical education time, all students in grades K-6 participated, or about 370 children. Tibbs and Brindley wanted to impress the impact of each child on the Earth.

“We broke the segments up into more manageable portions as we worked on them,” Tibbs said. “Then we assembled them as a whole, once they were dry and complete.”

“Students took a pledge to care for the Earth. The handprint is symbolic of each child’s pledge,” Tibbs said. “The resulting art will reflect the enormity of the commitment that we, as a school, can make when we work as a team for a single purpose.”

In addition, students viewed a video, “Forests – The Stuff of Life,” from Discovery Education (vimeo.com/39219318) during physical education class with Brindley. “We discussed the importance of trees and what they do for us on earth,” Brindley said.

The forest of handprints now is preserved on paper and displayed on an interior wall at West Madison.

Every April, West Madison students follow their tradition to plant flowers in the courtyard for Earth Day. This year, third-graders also planted strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. “We hope to harvest some edible rewards later this year,” Tibbs said.

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