Giving Tree Lesson

Submitted by Cynthia; Groton, CT
This lesson plan is designed to go along with the book, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.


1. The students will listen to the story, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

2. The students will observe how the apples, branches, and trunk are removed from the felt tree.

3. The students will discuss the story using Bloom’s Taxonomy.

4. The students will reflect their feelings of empathy in their letter to the tree. (Another time they can write a letter to the boy).

5. The students will share their writings with the class.

6. The students will compile a class book of their letters.

Grade Level:


Scope of Activity:

Classroom literature project


To explore the aspects of empathy for living things.

Materials Needed:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Felt board with shapes for a tree trunk, branches, and apples.


The children will be presented with the felt “Giving Tree”, and will predict how the tree will be used as the story, The Giving Tree, is being read to them.


1. The students will predict how the felt “Giving Tree” might be used.

2. The students will listen to the story being read aloud to them, and as each part of the tree is taken away by the boy, the teacher will stop the story and take off the apples, the branches, the trunk, leaving only the stump.

3. The students will have wait time to absorb the impact on the “Giving Tree” losing its parts.

4. The teacher will lead the discussion by following Bloom’s Taxonomy.

5. The students will write a letter to the tree, using standard letter form, about their feelings for the tree.

6. The students will share their letters individually as they sit in the Author’s Chair.

7. The students will produce a bound class book of their letters to be shared with other classes in the school

Check for Understanding:

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, the following six levels will be discussed:

a. Knowledge: Find a page that shows the boy or the tree befriending each other.

b. Comprehension: Identify all the ways the tree gives of itself.

c. Application: Tell about what it means to be a friend. Tell about a friend of yours.

d. Analysis: Think about how you are a friend to other people.

e. Synthesis: Rewrite the The Giving Tree with a different beginning, or middle, or end of the story.

f. Evaluation: Is it acceptable to continue “taking” from a friend? If so, for how long? If not, why not?

Guided Practice:

Using multiple copies of The Giving Tree, the students will divide into Literature Circles with groups of four children. Each child has the following roles:

1. Passage Illuminator: (page number, paragraph number, and why this passage is special).

2. Vocabulary Scout: (two new words with page number(s), and the Definition.)

3. Illustrator: (draw a scene that is on page __, and group guesses what it is and why it’s important.)

4. Connector: (Page number, paragraph number, and why you can connnect and/or relate to this part of the story.)

Independent Practice:

The children will write about what is means to be a friend, write about their friend, and complete a Venn Diagram about their friend and themselves.


Discuss how the class will rewrite another version of the story, The Giving Tree, whereby the tree receives as much as it gave.


Evaluation of the children’s writing with a fourpoint rubric:

4 points Full Progression of beginning, middle, and end with detail and elaboration within structure of complete grammatical sentences.

3 points Adequate progression of beginning, middle, end with adequate detail and elabo ration within structure of complete sentences with adequate grammar.

2 points Some progression of beginning, middle, end with some detail and elaboration within incomplete sentences with some grammar.

1 Point Vague, list-like, random events lacking organization with little detail or leaboration within incomplete sentences lacking grammer.


This portion of the lesson plan is reserved for the teacher after the lesson have been completed. The teacher can reflect on how the lesson was taught and if there were parts of the lesson to keep, change, or delete.

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Your Comments

This is my favorite by far thus far- I LOVE THIS PLAN! Colleen O'hara from Oklahoma City

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