In the summer of 2019, 50 third through 8th graders led this STEAM project, serving 350 students in South San Francisco. It’s the Lemon-Cherry Singing Tree of Peace, sponsored by Young Audiences of Northern California at Sunshine Gardens Elementary School. The students came up with theme ideas including saving animals from extinction, celebrating one’s heritage, friendship, belonging, working together in harmony and peace on earth. Through discussion and voting, they chose PEACE as the main theme, though we worked in the other themes as well.
The project included studying ecology, visual art, neuroscience, engineering, math, current events and communication skills.
Here is the statement the students shared with 800 family members at the culminating performance on July 12, 2019:
“We have created the Lemon-Cherry Singing Tree of Peace. 50 of us helped design and paint it. Please stand up if you were in the mural class. Over 350 people contributed to it.
This is the 77th Singing Tree mural in a Forest of Singing Trees. The murals have been made by 19,000 people from 52 countries. The project began when an 8 year-old girl asked our teacher Ms. Laurie “What if the whole world made a painting together?” She loved the vision of everyone working together.
The name of the Project came from a story in a book called The Singing Tree”: One night during World War I, soldiers crawled all night long on their bellies to escape the enemy. Everything had been destroyed by war. There was nothing left alive. When the dawn came, one tree had survived. There were birds that aren’t normally together, singing a song that had never been heard before.Our Earth is the Singing Tree of the Galaxy. We can destroy it and each other, or create something beautiful that has never been seen before, like the Cherry-Lemon Singing Tree of Peace.
We chose the theme of our mural to be Peace. “Peace is Conflict done well!” means we prepare ourselves to be Peace Leaders. We use our breathing, our listening and our art to calm ourselves. We stand up for ourselves without being mean.
We also drew pictures of our ancestors on the birds, for we wouldn’t be here without them.We honored the animals and insects that are going extinct. Life is trying to survive, but it’s getting rejected by our doings. That’s why we put 350 on the mural. It stands for the 350 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide we need for life on Earth. It’s 415 and going up.
If we work together, we’ll get it done, like we got the Singing Tree done. We’ll protect the Earth and each other.
We stand for Peace and Love and Helping Everyone.
We stand for Peace.