The Giving Tree Lesson Plans for Elementary School Teachers
Welcome to The Giving Tree
lesson plans page of my website.
On this page, you will find a set of creative writing lesson plans and worksheets to use with Shel Silverstein's beloved story. In addition, you will find a set of teaching resources and unique tree templates for students to use so that they can design their own family trees.
The Giving Tree is a heart warming story that provides morals and lessons for children of all ages. This book of few words and simple line drawings has become a classic. The story will touch your students' hearts as they listen to The Giving Tree and share in the journey between the boy and the tree.
Few books are as simple to read and open to interpretation as The Giving Tree, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. Out of such a simple story, many lessons can be discussed that are appropriate for all age groups.
Shel Silverstein takes the reader on a very heartfelt journey, a journey through life with a boy and a tree. To say that this particular apple tree is a "giving tree" is an understatement.
The concept of giving is revealed as the tree continues to give to the boy throughout their journey of life. In spite of receiving nothing in return, the simple act of giving to the one that he loves, makes the tree happy.
I read The Giving Tree for the first time over 35 years ago when I was an elementary school student. This story is just as powerful now to me as an adult, as it was back when I was a child.
When I read this story to my students, I refrain from sharing my own interpretations of the story. Instead, I sit back and listen to my students as they discuss Shel Silverstein's story.
With each reading, and during my many years as a classroom teacher, I have gained new insights into the story as I have listened to my students' interpretations and the emotions that the story has stirred within them.
I often read The Giving Tree to my students in November. This book fits well with an autumn theme because of the leaves. It also ties in well with a Thanksgiving theme because students are thinking about people that they are THANKful for and how they can be more GIVING. There are fall leaves in this set of teaching resources that will help you to create an eye catching Giving Tree fall bulletin board display.
Above: This photograph shows a Giving Tree bulletin board display designed by Amy, a Grade 4 teacher in Texas, using the teaching resources that are found on this page. Amy reads The Giving Tree with her students in the fall and designs a huge fall tree.
After the fall, Amy takes the leaves off of her tree display, sprays the tree with spray snow, and adds puffy snow around the base of the tree. Then, she has a wonderful tree for a winter bulletin board display that did not take her very long to create.
This set of The Giving Tree lesson plans will help your students complete a creative writing activity based on Shel Silverstein's book.
This set of creative writing teaching resources contains the following:
Below are examples of the direction worksheets
that are included in this set of teaching resources:
Before my students begin writing their essays, they use an idea web to brainstorm and preplan their ideas for this creative writing assignment.
This is a two paragraph essay, so the idea web is divided into two sections:
Below is an example of the idea web worksheet that is included in this set of creative writing teaching resources for The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
For creative writing assignments, I believe that it is important for students to go through the writing process.
For this reason, my students never begin their creative writing assignments by writing on their final draft worksheets, instead they write on first draft worksheets. Then, they edit and revise their work on their own, with a partner, or in writing conferences with me.
Below is an example of the first draft writing worksheet that is included in this set of teaching resources. The writing lines and spaces on the first draft worksheet match the lines and spaces on the final draft worksheets.
After your students have edited and revised their first drafts,
you should give them their final draft worksheets.
This set of creative writing lesson plans includes a grading rubic which has
sections for both a student self-assessment and a teacher assessment.
I know that it takes teachers a lot of valuable time to assemble their classroom bulletin board displays. Many teachers spend hours of time cutting out large display letters or making a banner on their own at home on their computers.
This time is valuable and better spent on developing your classroom curriculum and grading papers, so I have designed a matching 5 page banner for your bulletin board display (shown below).
If you have access to a laminating machine, you can laminate this banner so that it is more durable and you can use it year after year for bulletin board displays of your students' The Giving Tree creative writing assignments.
This set of The Giving Tree lesson plans includes two shorter writing assignments that are written inside leaf templates.
Below are the leaf templates, which have the topics written on them and the lines for students to write their responses on.
These student response leaves will help you to create a colorful autumn tree for your The Giving Tree bulletin board display. I have designed leaves with fall colors for you to use, or your students can color their own leaves using the black and white leaf templates (not shown).
There are 3 different shapes of leaves, each facing left and right, for a total of 12 different leaves. 4 leaf templates are shown below.
The leaf writing templates are also provided in black and white (not shown) so that your students can color the leaves themselves.
After your students have completed their final drafts and written their responses in their leaf templates, you will be able to create a dynamic and colorful autumn bulletin board display.
Above and Below: These two pictures will give you examples of how to design your bulletin board display. You will be able to create a fall bulletin board display using this set of Giving Tree lesson plans that will grab everyone's attention!
Are you looking for a unique idea and way for your students to create their own family trees? Have you used traditional one page worksheets for this activity in the past?
I have created a Family Tree lesson plans set that will have your students excited and branching out to learn about the members in their own family trees.
In order to assemble the tree, there are two branch templates and a trunk template that are glued together to form a family tree that measures 18 inches in height and 13 inches in width.
Explain to your students that each family is different and their "planning worksheet" (shown below) is meant to help them plan their family tree. Students may have to add additional boxes if there are more members in certain sections of their family tree.
I designed this family tree project so that it is not too taxing on parents to help their child with the names required for this project. Parents should know the names of their own brothers and sisters and their children, their mothers and fathers, and their own aunts and uncles (hopefully!)
If you want to go farther back in the family tree for your students' projects (great grandparents, great cousins, etc), there are blank leaves so that you can add this component to your students' projects.
This set of family tree lesson plans includes two branch templates and one trunk template.
When these 3 templates are assembled together, the Family Tree measures 18 inches in height and 13 inches in width.
The Family Tree is divided into two parts:
the left side is for the mother's family and the right side is for the father's family.
There are 6 branches for the key family members: mother, maternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, father, paternal grandmother, and paternal grandfather.
The student leaf is already on the trunk and students should glue leaves for their brothers and sisters in this same trunk area.
After the three pieces of the tree have been assembled, students glue the vertical title "My Family Tree" in the middle of the tree.
There are two sizes of leaves. The larger leaves are for the closest family members: student, brothers, sisters, mother, father, and four grandparents. The student, mother, father, and 4 grandparent leaves are already on the branch templates. (see above)
The smaller leaves (see below) are for the more distant members of their family tree: aunts, uncles, cousins, great uncles, and great aunts. You will need to print out extra worksheets of the leaves because some students will need more leaves for their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, great uncles, and great aunts.
Below I have provided a large visual example of how this family tree project works to illustrate the members of a person's family.
This is an example of the mother's branch. The mother's leaf is already on this left branch. Directly opposite (not shown), on the right hand branch, is the father's leaf.
Students write the names of each family member inside each leaf.
For this example, the mother has one brother and one sister, and these family members are the student's uncle and aunt. The student glues an aunt and uncle leaf onto the mother's branch.
The uncle has one child, so one cousin leaf is glued in this place. The aunt has two children, so two cousin leaves are glued in this place. The cousin leaves should be glued so that they are touching their parent's leaf.
If you use this format in gluing the leaves on the tree, a student may have a branch that only has their mother's leaf on it, if their mother has no brothers or sisters. On the other hand, the father's branch might be very full if he has 6 brothers and sisters, and they have a lot of children.
This unique family tree project provides a very good visual image for your students of what their family tree actually looks like.
In the example below, this student has 16 leaves/family members on her mother's side of the family and 20 leaves/family members on her father's side of the family.
There is a set of Family Tree color templates (shown below) for you to use for your example that you share with your students provided in this set of Family Tree teaching resources.
It is a bit time consuming to color all the branch and leaf templates. I hope that these color printable worksheets help save you time in designing your own example that you display for your students so that they understand how to complete these fun Family Tree projects.
I have provided blank branch, trunk and leaf templates in this set of family tree lesson plans so that you can have your students design this project in any way in which you choose.
In this set of templates, the names of the family members are not written on any of the leaves and the 6 closest family members' leaves are not already included on the branches.
These family tree lesson plans work well in conjunction with a social studies unit. While students are studying a particular event in history, they could be discovering about their own roots and creating their own family tree.
This assignment works well as a week long homework activity for students to complete at home with the help of their parents. Parents will enjoy working on this very different type of homework assignment with their child and sharing information with their son or daughter about the members of their own family.
You will be amazed at your students' finished Family Tree projects and the creative ideas that they incorporate into their individual projects.
Below: This student has included photographs of her family members on her family tree project. I love that she has included photographs of her dogs laying in the grass and that she considers her dogs as important members of her family.
I try to always include a creative writing component to any assignment when I get the chance. My students need all the writing practice that I can squeeze into my lessons.
While my students are finding out the names of the members of their family tree from their mothers and fathers, I have my students ask each of their parents to share something interesting about one member of their family they may never have heard about before.
Then, my students create a newspaper and it contains two articles. One article is about a member from their mother's side of their family tree, and the other article is about a member from their father's side of the family.
I have included all of the components of this Family Tree Newspaper in this set of Family Tree lesson plans.
This Family Tree Newspaper set includes an assembling
directions printable worksheet and a grading rubric.
This Family Tree Newspaper teaching resources
set includes three first draft worksheets.
Students write two newspaper articles about someone on their mother's side of their family and then on their father's side of their family.
Students also have to create a comic strip for their newspapers about something interesting that happened to someone who is in their family tree.
Below is an example of two of the three
first draft printable worksheets.
For the final drafts of their newpaper projects, students have two templates that are glued together to form a large Family Tree Times Newspaper.
After the templates have been assembled together, the student newspaper project measures 13 inches in height and 10 inches in width.
Picture Books To Read All Year Long:
Fun Read Aloud Books For
the Beginning of the School Year:
Thank you for visiting my Giving Tree Lesson Plans page.
Please be sure to check out the other pages on Unique
Teaching Resources for a large variety of fun lesson plan activities
that will engage your students in learning and save you valuable time.
Creator and Website Manager
Unique Teaching Resources
I have been buying your unique teaching resources for a few years now, and I just love them! My students are much more engaged in doing book reports as well as other creative writing assignments because of you. Thank you.
Name: Marla (Grade 4)
From: New Jersey, U.S.A.
Hi Heidi. I just want t say that my class is year one in Australia and they just love all of your work. We use your book report projects religiously and it has made my teaching and the students' learning improve by about 100%. The students just love it. Thank you so much for your help.
Name: Catherine (Year 1)
Hi there! I just found your website through Pinterest, and I am looking forward to using your book reports that I just bought to help motivate my fifth grade students! Thanks for putting these out there. I'm a relatively new teacher and need all the help I can get!
Name: Noell (Grade 5)
From: Illinois, U.S.A.
What a delightful and informative site!!! I'm having so much fun browsing and I've been teaching for 32 years!!! You can always teach an old dog new tricks, especially if you're creative and making learning FUN!!! You must be a VERY SPECIAL TEACHER ... how lucky your students and parents are!!!
Name: Kathy (Grade 4/5)
From: Oregon, U.S.A.
I stumbled across your website over the weekend and I'm SO glad I did! Some great ideas and an extra thank you for the UK spellings! I bought the back to school pencils, punctuation puppies, Willy Wonka group project and the characters! I think these are great resources and even though it's the summer holidays, I've been into school to get my display paper up and have put up the title banners - they look brilliant! Thank you!
Name: Jemma (Year 4)
Heidi, I just had to write and let you know that your website has helped me create the most awesome author study of Roald Dahl's books. My students loved completing the big animal shaped projects you designed for The Enormous Crocodile, Esio Trot, and The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me. For the final project, they had so much fun writing and drawing about the characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory using your Willy Wonka Factory project. Thanks for sharing your scrumdiddlyumptious ideas !
Name: Jennifer (Grade 4)
From: California, U.S.A.
I feel so fortunate to have found your website and I have referred several of my co-workers to your website. Just for the month of January, there were three teachers displaying your book reports. I had the trophy reports, my neighbor to the left had the computer reports, and my neighbor to the right had the birthday cake reports. Thank you so very much for all of your work!
Name: Mary (Grade 4)
From: New York, U.S.A.
I just wanted to say thank you for the most amazing teaching resources that I have ever come across in my thirty years of teaching. I have used many of your book report sets this year and my students absolutely loved them. What was particularly pleasing was seeing some of my reluctant readers (especially the boys) really wanting to read books and complete the activities. Keep up the great work!
Name: Margaret (Grade 5)
From: Victoria, Australia
Click the "Like" button
below if you want to
join our Facebook group
of over 70,000+
Click here to view:
Cheeseburger Book Report
Click here to view:
Sandwich Book Report
Click on the book titles
below to view each project.
Click on the book titles
below to view each project.
Click here to view:
25+ Book Report Projects
To join our fun
of over 70,000 teachers,
click the "Like" button below.
Copyright © Unique Teaching Resources 2009 - 2014