Book of the Week: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Why we love this book:
What can I say about The Giving Tree? I’m sure most of you are quite familiar with this classic story about a tree who loved a little boy. As a teacher, The Giving Tree inspires endless lessons about our environment, love, giving, sharing, being thankful . . . . Through the years, I also find more and more metaphors hidden in this story of love. When reading the story to the children this week, MacGyver commented at the end of the book, “But he’s not a boy anymore, he’s an old man. Why did the tree still call him a boy?” I laughed and told him that some day when he’s a man, I’ll still think of him as my little boy. Then I wiped the tears from my eyes.
This Thanksgiving I decided to take The Giving Tree in a new direction. If you’ve spent any time here at waddlee-ah-chaa, you know I’m not an artsy – crafty kind of teacher. Art yes, crafts not so much. You won’t find any turkeys, Pilgrim hats or Indian feathers around this house. These Thanksgiving Trees are about as crafty as we get around here! But they are so sweet we might have to make them an annual tradition. Each year I can watch their hands and ideas grow.
- The Giving Tree
- white card-stock or paper
- black marker (we used a fine tip sharpie marker)
- watercolor paints
- green paper
- Read books about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving
- Checkout post: Teaching Children the True Story of Thanksgiving
- Brainstorm things the Pilgrims had to be thankful for that first Thanksgiving
- These are the children’s ideas, not mine
- Read The Giving Tree
- Pose question
- What did the tree give the boy?
- Did the boy thank the tree?
- At first MacGyver began to shake his head yes, then realized that the little boy never actually showed the tree how grateful he was for all that the tree had given him.
- Discuss the importance of being thankful and not taking for granted all of the good people and things we have in our lives.
- Brainstorm things we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
- MacGyver noted that we are thankful for many of the same things the Pilgrims were: family, food, shelter . . .
- We also discussed how luxury items like toys are nice to have but they are not necessary for us to live a good and healthy life.
- I showed the children a little trick I learned as a child: How to trace your hand and arm to make the trunk of a tree.
- Miss Enigma asked me to help her trace her arm and hand.
- Watercolor paint the tree trunk and tree canopy.
MacGyver decided to splatter paint the green leaves on his tree.
- Cut green leaves.
- I showed the children how to fold a small piece of paper to create symmetrical leaves.
- The children labeled their leaves with the things they are thankful for this year.
- I wrote Miss Enigma’s words for her.
- Glue leaves to tree.
Thanksgiving Tree Collage, Miss Enigma, age 5
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Miss Enigma’s Mommy looooooooooooves cheesecake! A LOT! Rumor is grandma is making a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving. It’s okay to be thankful for cheesecake, isn’t it?
Thanksgiving Tree Collage, MacGyver, age 8
What would we find on your Thanksgiving Tree this year?
Life with Jeannine