Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Higher Level Thinking: The Giving Tree

I found this gem last year and think I enjoy that version much more than my students even do. I love to hear authors read their stories, because I know that's exactly how they were meant to be heard!

I will typically talk about ethics with this story. I ask the students to write about who is right/wrong in this scenario the tree or the boy. They often come up with some good arguments. Sometimes I'll even assign half the class to one side and half to the other.

We also used the Kaplan concept of Depth and Complexity for Over Time. How does the relationship between the tree and the boy change over time? A difficult one for them to think about.

Comprehension questions you can ask:

1) Why didn't the tree ever say "no"? If she had said no, how would that have changed the outcome?
2) What would you have said to the boy if you were the tree? Why?
3) What would happen if all trees were "Giving Trees"?
4) Why do you think Shel Silverstein wrote this story?
5) How could the story have ended differently? 
6) Do you think kids and adults judge this story differently? Why is that?
7) Compare the perspective of the tree and the boy, or the perspective of the boy from both the boy's and tree's point of view.

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  1. Your posts always help me make my next plan for my students. I love how much complex reasoning you require of your first graders. Thank you.


  2. Thank you Kimberley--that means a lot to me!