From Sr. Maria Kolbe, O.P.
One other thing I found to be very helpful and successful with students is the creation of a “virtue tree” in the classroom, where the class actually “builds” a virtue tree (whether it’s 2-D or 3-D or made of construction paper or real branches, etc…) and practices virtue in order to “decorate it”. This can be done in a grade-level classroom or even in a multi-age parish setting. I’ve done this at VBS, and every time the kids loved it. We had the “older kids” build the tree itself and the younger ones cut out apples for the tree. Every time a child saw another person practicing a virtue, they wrote down that child’s name and the virtue they were practicing (some of the older kids wrote down the specific ‘deed’ they witnessed as well). To help the kids remember the different kinds of virtue (and how to spell them correctly), we decorated the “background” of our tree with “clouds” listing the different virtues discussed in the week’s lessons. During the summer mission, we made it our goal to cover the entire tree with apples by the end of the week. Every day when the kids showed up for class, the very first place they went to was “the virtue tree” to see how many apples were up. The parents also enjoyed looking at the tree and searching for their kids’ “apples.” It was a great way to teach the kids about virtue and they had fun “searching for virtue” in others as well as practicing the virtue themselves “in order to be seen.”
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