Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Lesson Plan: The Giving Tree



The Giving Tree is a book written by Shel Silverstein; it emphasizes the virtue of giving.  Key concepts will include writing and reading skills.  In writing, we’ll concentrate on word and sentence structure and the meaning of words and uses, i.e. similes, metaphors.  In reading, we will include discussion on identifying how the book

relates to anyone in the world, the genre, plot, characters and conflict/resolution.




■ v.6 .04



R E A D I N G Word Recognition and Word Study

Students will…


·        Explain how to use word structure, sentence structure, and prediction to aid in decoding words and understanding the meanings of words encountered in text. R.WS.04.01


·        Determine the meaning of words and phrases in context (e.g., similes,

metaphors, content vocabulary), using strategies and resources (e.g., context clues, semantic feature analysis, thesaurus). R.WS.04.07


Narrative Text

Students will…


·        Describe and discuss the shared human experience depicted in classic

and contemporary literature from around the world recognized for quality and literary merit. R.NT.04.01

·        Identify and describe a variety of narrative genre (e.g., poetry, myths/

legends, fantasy, adventure). R.NT.04.02

·        Analyze characters’ thoughts and motivation through dialogue; various character roles and functions (e.g., hero, villain, narrator); know first person point of view and conflict/resolution. R.NT.04.03


·        Explain how authors use literary devices (i.e., flash forward, flashback, simile) to depict time, setting, conflicts, and resolutions that enhance the plot and create suspense across a variety of texts. R.NT.04.04




Journal Entries Must Include:


·        Title of literature

·        Author’s Name

·        Genre

·        Brief Summary of book including:

                   Characters and their roles,

                   Explanation of the human experience of the text

                   Analysis of each character’s response to the other character



·        Daily Entries of Opportunities to Give including: (Seven entries)

                   Description of opportunity situation

                   Whether you gave or not

                   Why/Why Not

                   How you felt




Materials Needed


The Giving Tree, journals, pencils










To get the students ready for the lesson, first read The Giving Tree.  Following the reading, pass out construction paper of different colors and ask the students to create a tree with leaves that represents themselves and the gifts or virtues they have to offer. Tell them to use different color leaves for the gifts they possess right now and for the gifts that they know are good and would like to possess in the future.  To link the lesson to their past experiences, ask if they have ever received from someone when they clearly didn’t deserve it.  Ask if they continued to receive even if they gave nothing in return and finally ask the class to give examples of those times.



(1)     Ask for a volunteer to pass out the Giving Journals.

 Say:  “May I have a volunteer to pass out the Giving Journals?”

Choose a volunteer and say:           “Thank you (student’s name).”


(2)     Explain the use of the journals. 

Say:  Beginning today and continuing for the next seven days, you are going to keep a journal that lists all the opportunities that you have to give of yourself to someone else.  You will organize your       journal by each day and list each opportunity whether you choose to take the opportunity to do something for someone else or not.  Each day you will also provide a brief explanation of the situation where the opportunity presented itself and why you          did or did not use the opportunity.  Each entry should also include how you felt.  For example, why you wanted to help, why you didn’t want to but had to           because your parent asked you to or perhaps you did it and was really hoping to be rewarded.  The journal must include the title of the book, a brief summary, the author’s name, characters and their roles, the genre and an explanation of the human experience of the text. The student must include an analysis of each character’s response to the other character, the plot and the conflict/resolution.  The journals are due in seven days; they should be complete, neat and well written.”  Ask if anyone has any questions and provide them with a format so that each journal is set up the same way.  Perhaps, the students can suggest a format.


(3)     Ask each student to pass their Giving Tree to the front of the room.  Ask for volunteers to come to the front of the class and explain their tree.


(4)     Highlight as many as time will allow.  Tell the class the rest will be highlighted during the next class.



In order to facilitate understanding for each student, the lesson can be done in parts.  First, the story can be read and discussed and other virtues can be defined.  Second, the art pre-activity can be done on the following day and the student’s work highlighted.  On the third day, the journals can be introduced. By this time each student has been inundated with communication about giving, similes, metaphors, sentence structure and parts of a story.  Ask questions each day to make sure each student is on the same page.


Check for Understanding

To check for understanding, you can randomly choose students to define the virtues discussed, parts sentence and literary terms and a different student to provide an example.  The main check for understanding will be done in their journal entries.



The close will include highlighting the Giving Tree art of each student as described above.



Evaluate each student’s understanding by the class discussion of giving and thru their journal entries.  The defining factor will be the journal.  The word and sentence structure should be appropriate, proper grammar and the use of similes and simple metaphors, the elements of the book including plot, conflict/resolution.  Use the rubric as a guide.