Every year I read one of my favorite stories of all time, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I’m sure you all know the story and if you don’t, please do yourself a favor, click on the link and just buy it. You won’t be sorry. I even bought myself the phone case for my birthday last year.
Anyway, my partner teacher and I wanted to create some sort of assignment with this book. This is what we came up with and I love it. After reading the story the students each reflect on their own life and determine who is their giving tree. I have them write on a post-it (obviously, I have a post-it problem) who their giving tree is and the reasons why. I also explain that the reason has to be something deeper than…”My mom is my giving tree because she buys me stuff.”–Unacceptable. The students are trying to make a real and meaningful text to self connection at this point.
After I correct the post-it for conventions, each student is given a red apple. (Apologize for not have it here for you to download, but it’s on my work computer. So sorry.) It’s basically just an image of an apple blown up and we inserted lines over the image. I copy of red construction paper because I don’t like to spend time coloring in class, but you could just have them color it red if you so choose.
Then, each student is given a green leaf. On this paper, they are to reflect and decide what they are going to give to the class this year and it CANNOT be any material thing i.e. school supplies. I post these up the whole year and revisit them so I warn the students to chose something that they are truly planning on sharing with the class.
My students came up with some awesome ideas of what they are going to share this year: teaching origami, how to throw a football, kindness, teach organization, etc. On back to school night, parents can find their child’s apple and so many are filled with joy to see what the students said about their giving tree. I LOVE this activity.
Thank you Shel Silverstein!
Click on the above link for his Giving Tree read aloud.