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4. Primary activity: The Man Who Planted Trees

Objective
To read excerpts from Jean Giono’s book The Man Who Planted Trees and answer the accompanying questions, which are aimed enhancing students’ understanding of the text. To imagine and draw the landscape before and after trees have been planted. To watch Frédéric Back’s film, The Man Who Planted Trees, and then compare the two landscapes (i.e. before and after trees were planted). To compare the children’s landscapes to those in the film.

Materials
• Jean Giono’s book The Man Who Planted Trees
• Frédéric Back’ film The Man Who Planted Trees
• White paper
• Yellow construction paper
• Colouring materials (coloured pencils, chalk pastels, oil pastels or felt pens)
• Charcoal
• Gouache
• Annex 4.1: Text 1 by Jean Giono – Before trees were planted Annex 4.1: Text 1 by Jean Giono – Before trees were planted
• Annex 4.2: Text 2 by Jean Giono – After trees were planted 	Annex 4.2:  Text 2 by Jean Giono – After trees were planted
• Annex 4.3: Answers to questions on texts 4.1 and 4.2 	Annex 4.3:  Answers to questions on texts 4.1 and 4.2

Instructions
This activity integrates fine arts instruction and techniques. Students should show progress in their representation of trees (i.e. their trees should be more detailed than in Activity 1.2). This should be kept in mind during the evaluation. The activities can be undertaken as an ordered series (4.1 to 4.4) or singly.

The Man Who Planted Trees tells the tale of Elzéard Bouffier, a Provençal shepherd who patiently reforests a barren piece of land. The narrator's fascination with the man and his mission leads him time and again to the mountains where the shepherd lives. There, he witnesses the gradual transformation of a windswept, forsaken landscape as springs, cultivated fields and thriving villages are regenerated by the incredible forest. 
(Summary from the DVD boxed set Frédéric Back Classics)

4.1 Readings from The Man Who Planted Trees before tree planting, followed by drawing
Read the beginning of Giono’s book, The Man Who Planted Trees (pages 6 to 13). Have the children draw what they think the landscape looked like before any trees were planted. The instructor can read aloud from the book (first reading), then hand out “Text 1” (Annex 4.1) to the class. Students can follow the text during the second reading or read it themselves. (Drawing with charcoal on white paper, 60 minutes)

Annex 4.1: Text 1 by Jean Giono – Before trees were planted Annex 4.1: Text 1 by Jean Giono – Before trees were planted

4.2 Readings from The Man Who Planted Trees after tree planting, followed by drawing
Continue reading from the book (pages 14 to 56). Have the children draw what they think the landscape looked like after the trees had been planted. The instructor can read aloud from the book (first reading), then hand out “Text 2” (Annex 4.2) to the class. Students can follow the text during the second reading or read it themselves. (Coloured pencils, felt pens, chalk pastels or gouache on white paper; oil pastels on yellow construction paper; 60 to 75 minutes)

Annex 4.2: Text 2 by Jean Giono – After trees were planted 	Annex 4.2:  Text 2 by Jean Giono – After trees were planted

4.3 Understanding the text
To enhance students’ understanding of the text, have them answer the three questions at the bottom of each text (Annexes 4.1 and 4.2). Their answers may be oral or written in an individual or group activity. Text 1 can serve as the preliminary activity (30 minutes) and Text 2 as the evaluation (40 minutes). The answers are in Annex 4.3.

Annex 4.3: Answers to questions on texts 4.1 and 4.2 	Annex 4.3:  Answers to questions on texts 4.1 and 4.2

4.4 Watch the film The Man Who Planted Trees and compare landscapes
Watch the film The Man Who Planted Trees (1987, 30 minutes). Using a comparative table, compare the students’ landscapes with Frédéric Back’s. Have students make comparisons (15 minutes). The instructor then makes a group comparison (15 minutes). Lastly, each student completes the comparative table their copybook, incorporating ideas from the whole class (15-30 minutes). Compare the ‘before’ and ‘after’ elements, the landscapes, the colours (happy/sad), peoples’ attitudes, and so on. Compare the students’ drawings to those of Frédéric Back.

  Simplified version of the activity
Below is a second version of Activity 4 for challenged or attention-deficit students. This version omits Giono’s texts. The film should be watched in two parts.

4.4.1.Before tree-planting
Watch the first part of the film. Discuss the landscape before the shepherd plants the trees. Review the first part of the film as needed, and have the children draw their landscapes. Help them choose colours (dark). (Charcoal or coloured pencils — 60-90 minutes)

4.4.2 After tree-planting
Watch the rest of the film. Review the film to draw attention to the landscape elements. Watch the second part of the film once again and have the children draw their landscape after the trees have been planted. Help them choose colours (bright, happy). Draw using felt pens, chalk pastels, or gouache on white paper or oil pastels with yellow construction paper. Choose materials that heighten the contrast between the before and after landscapes. (60-90 minutes)


 

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