A Lesson Plan for The Giving Tree
By Shel Silverstein

 

Created by Glen Dawursk, Jr., 8/21/06

 

Analysis

 

6+1 Trait Strengths

 

Voice

Word Choice

Sentence Fluency

 

 

Way with Word Crafts

 

Conversation Text :

 

“And the tree said, Come boy, come, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches, play hide and go seek, and eat apples.”  “I am too old to be swing on trees.  I want some money.  Can you give me some money?”  “I’m sorry boy…”

 

 

Repeated – Wraparound Paragraph Structure:

 

Repetitions - Repeated Lines or Phrases:

The tree always says, “Come boy…”

The boy always responds, “I am too…”

The tree always says, “I am sorry boy…” but she always gives the boy something he wants.

 

Artful Sentences – Artful use of AND:

The trees response always reflects a variation on “and the tree was happy.”

The end brings the boy back to the tree just as they had started.

 

Wonderful Ways with Print:

Single words and incomplete phrases pepper the story next to an extremely simplex cartoon line art. 

There is no color.  Silverstein simply lets the use of space contrast the basic line art against the child-like text.

 

Ways with Punctuation:

Silverstein has not kept to traditional conventions of grammar. 

The flow of the story is the emphasis and sentences are interrupted on pages, often lack complete or proper punctuation or simply reflect a single word.

 


Lesson Plan

Intended Age  

 

Middle school grades 7-8; high school grades 9-10

 

Prerequisites 

 

Taught as part of the short story unit; short story terms explained (see power point handout for definitions)

 

Objectives

 

The student will be able to:  

Identify personification in the story

Identify the theme of the story (Giving vs. Selfishness)

Identify the 6+1 Traits predominate in the story (see analysis)

Identify the word crafts used in the story (see analysis)

Be able to use “comparison” and “contrast”

Plot diagram the short story using the attached handout

 

Materials Needed

 

Copies of the text: THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein

CD/Cassette: THE GIVING TREE from Bobby Bare's "Singing in the Kitchen", 1974

CD/Cassette: THE GIVING SONG  from Shel Silverstein's the Giving Tree by the The Learning Station

Copies of the 6+1 traits and the Word Crafts descriptions

Copies of the  plot diagram worksheet

Identify the word crafts used in the story (see analysis)

Plot diagram the short story using the attached handout

 

Time   

 

1-3 days (depending upon student responses and class participation)

 

Process

 

Explain the term “personification” (giving human qualities to animals or objects). Ask the students to identify examples of this literary tool in cartoons, video games, or videos.  Discuss why a writer would use an unreal character instead of the real character to emphasis a story.  Ask the students if they ever treat a pet as if they were “human.” How?  Why? Why would an author use personification?

 

Say: Shel Silverstein in his most popular book, The Giving Tree uses personification. Tell the students “fast facts” about the author Shel Silverstein.


 

Fast Facts About Shel Silverstein

  1. Shel Silverstein began drawing cartoons while serving in the Armed Forces in Japan and Korea in 1950.
  2. It took 4 years to get one of his most popular books, THE GIVING TREE, published because of its sad ending and appeal to readers of all ages making it difficult to categorize.
  3. He wrote a number of highly popular songs for performers like Johnny Cash, Dr. Hook, and Waylon Jennings.
  4. Silverstein's narration of his poetry collection WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS won a Grammy Award for Best Children's Album.
  5. He received an Academy Award nomination for the music he composed for the film Postcards From the Edge.
  6. His books have sold over 20 million copies and been translated into 20 different languages.
  7. Silverstein illustrated his own poems with whimsical black and white drawings.
  8. His poetry has won numerous awards and honors including ALA Notable Children's Book Award, New York Times Outstanding Children's Book, Association of Booksellers for Children Notable Titles and A Library of Congress Children's Book selection.

Taken from: http://www.kidsreads.com

 

Choose two students to represent the characters in the story (the tree and the boy).  While the teacher reads the story using character voices and inflection, the students pantomime the story for the class keeping close attention to the details of the story as portrayed by the narration. Ask the students to identify “personification” in the story [the tree].

 

Pass out the text of the story. Break the students into groups of 3-4.  Pass out the 6+1 and Word Craft description sheets.  Have the groups identify the most significant 6+1 traits and the Word Crafts used by the author.  The group must be able to explain their answers.  Discuss how the trait or the word craft affected the writing.  Was their any other word craft that the author could have used? 

 

Play the songs written about the giving tree.  In their groups, have the students answer the following questions about the songs: How are they similar to the actual story (compare)? How are they different (contrast)? Discuss the answers as a class.

 

Homework:

 

Pass out the plot diagramming worksheet. If necessary, review the elements of a short story.  Students may check the previous notes on the elements at www.mrdclassroom.com.

 

Write a one page story in your journal which uses at least two different word crafts used by the author of The Kissing Hand.

 

Evaluation:

 

   Unit quiz on short story;

   Plot diagram worksheet;

   One page journal essay using word craft skills


The Giving Tree - http://www.banned-width.com/shel/works/giving.html

 

barekitchen.jpg (25064 bytes)

 

SONG: THE GIVING TREE

Shel Silverstein from Bobby Bare's "Singing in the Kitchen", 1974


Once there was a giving tree who loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come to play
Swinging from the branches, sleeping in the shade
Laughing all the summer’s hours away.
And so they love,
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

But soon the boy grew older and one day he came and said,
"Can you give me some money, tree, to buy something I’ve found?"
"I have no money," said the tree, "Just apples, twigs and leaves."
"But you can take my apples, boy, and sell them in the town."
And so he did and
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

But soon again the boy came back and he said to the tree,
"I’m now a man and I must have a house that’s all my home."
"I can’t give you a house" he said, "The forest is my house."
"But you may cut my branches off and build yourself a home"
And so he did.
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

And time went by and the boy came back with sadness in his eyes.
"My life has turned so cold," he says, "and I need sunny days."
"I’ve nothing but my trunk," he says, "But you can cut it down
And build yourself a boat and sail away."
And so he did and
Oh, the tree was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.

And after years the boy came back, both of them were old.
"I really cannot help you if you ask for another gift."
"I’m nothing but an old stump now. I’m sorry but I’ve nothing more to give"
"I do not need very much now, just a quiet place to rest,"
The boy, he whispered, with a weary smile.
"Well", said the tree, "An old stump is still good for that."
"Come, boy", he said, "Sit down, sit down and rest a while."
And so he did and
Oh, the trees was happy.
Oh, the tree was glad.


The Giving Song - http://www.songsforteaching.com/charactereducationsongs/givingsong.htm

 

SONG: THE GIVING SONG

Inspired by Shel Silverstein's the Giving Tree by the The Learning Station

 

Chorus:
I get a good feeling when I give,
that’s how the whole world should live.
I get a good feeling when I share,
sharing shows that you care.

I’ll give you a wave,
wishing you a good day.
And I’ll give you a wink;
two eyes would make it a blink.
Now, I’ll give you a smile,
a smile as big as a mile.
Add a pinch, gentle pinch,
a pinch to grow an inch.

 

Chorus:
I get a good feeling when I give,

that’s how the whole world should live.
I get a good feeling when I share,
sharing shows that you care.

 

I’ll blow you a kiss;
I hope that I don’t miss.
And I’ll give you my heart,
hoping we’ll never part.
Now, I’ll give you a wish,
I hope that you’re granted this.
So I’ll give you a hug,
snug like a bug in a rug.

 

Repeat Chorus

 

I’ll give you my hands
and now you understand.
And I’ll give you my feet,
my giving is all complete.
Well I can’t, give no more,
there’s nothing left like before.
I gave you, everything,
and I’m still happy to sing.

Chorus:
I get a good feeling when I give,
that’s how the whole world should live.
I get a good feeling when I share,
sharing shows that you care

 

I feel good, and it’s true, I’m happy to share me with you
I feel good, how about you, (giving’s the best thing to do.)


Student Name:  __________________________________________ Period: ____    Date: ___/___/___

 

Story Title: ______________________________________________ Author: _____________________

 

Short Story Plot Diagram 

 

Instructions:  Complete every blank below for the short story assigned.

 

 

Protagonist: _________________________________   Climax: ______________________________

 

Antagonist: _________________________________                   _______________________________

 

Other Important Characters: __________________                           Falling Action:________________

 

_________________________________________                                     _________________________

 

                                                                                                     Dénouement: __________________________

Conflict:  Man versus ____________________                                         

                                                                                                    ______________________________________

                                                     

Setting / Place: _______________________          10 _______________________________________

 

__________________________________           9__________________________________________

 

________________________________            8____________________________________________

 

Time: _________________________             7_____________________________________________

 

_____________________________           6_______________________________________________

 

Pre-action: __________________          5 _________________________________________________

 

_________________________            4___________________________________________________

 

________________________          3_____________________________________________________

 

______________________           2 ______________________________________________________

 

____________________           1 ________________________________________________________

 

Exposition (above):          

                                                         Inciting Moment:___________________________________________

 

                                         ________________________________________________________________

 

                                         ________________________________________________________________

                                                      

Poor          OK           Great

   1       2      3       4       5

 
 


Rank the story:                                                                                                                       ã 2006 Glen Dawursk, Jr.

www.mrdclassroom.com

 

Short Story Unit Power Point: Terms (www.mrdclassroom.com)