Lines of Giving


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Ask students how many types of lines they can think of. Provide some examples if they need a prompt: straight, wavy, curved, zig-zag, spiral, fat, thin, dashed, dotted, etc. As they brainstorm together, have them create the lines either on the board or on a piece of paper.

Tell students that we will be reading a story with a tree as the main character. Take a look at an image of a tree from the story. How would we describe the lines that are found in this tree?

Lesson Process:

Step 1:  Read the story, The Giving Tree, aloud to the group. Ask students to watch how the tree changes throughout the story.

Step 2: After each new item that the boy asks for in the story, ask students to identify how the lines of the tree change. Then, have them look at how the text is written. How does the author use lines in the words of the story to communicate the tree’s changes?

Step 3:  Give each student 3 pieces of paper and a pencil. Ask students to think about what they would ask from the Giving Tree. On the first piece of paper, write down or draw what they would ask for. On the second piece of paper, have students practice drawing the Giving Tree with at least two types of lines that would communicate how the tree would change with the student’s request.

Step 4:  On the last paper, students will create their own Giving Tree page that contains their request and the tree’s response, using lines in the text and the drawing.

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:

  • Picture of a tree
  • The Giving Tree book by Shel Silverstein
  • Examples of line variations
  • 3 pieces of paper for each student
  • Pencils
  • Chalk/Dry erase markers


Students can share their Giving Tree pages with the class and explain how their lines in the tree and the text share what they are asking for in their request. Assess students on their use of line in the drawing and how their word choice also reflects that line.