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The Giving Tree: A brief lesson in allegory

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Jason Stiles

on 13 May 2015

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Transcript of The Giving Tree: A brief lesson in allegory

Warm up - 10 minutes
Essential Question
How does the author use creative language to explore human nature?

1) Warm up- Pick three people you know well. Write down who they are, what animal best represents them, and why. You will then discuss this with an "elbow partner."
By the end of the session, you will be able to define allegory and explain how Silverstein uses it to explore human nature.
Group work - analyzing text

1) Read The Giving Tree individually.

2) Work in groups of four or five to answer the questions on the sheet.

3) Once everyone is finished, we will review your work as a class.

4) I will use the white board for notes as you discuss your answers.
2) Characterization- Provide textual evidence!
3) How do the characters change? What do we learn through them?
In what ways do the two characters change? (Two for the boy; one for the tree)
1) Summarize the story- no personal opinions!
The Giving Tree:
A brief lesson in allegory

2) As individuals, you will read
The Giving Tree
by Shel Siverstein. Then you will work together in small groups of four or five on the worksheet provided.

3) We will then have a class discussion about the information you found.

4) Finally, you will complete an exit card in which you provide a definition of allegory.
Definition of allegory:
Think about everything we went through today (warm up, group work, discussion.) What do you think an allegory is?

Exit Card
On a blank piece of paper, define allegory:
This story and the characters within could represent many things. What are some possible interpretations this story could have? (Think of at least two...)
A) What kind of character is the boy? The boy is selfish. He constantly takes from the tree until the end of the story. He is often ungrateful for what the tree offers. "I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money"...And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away."
B) What kind of character is the tree? The tree is selfless. She constantly provides for the boy in the best way she can. " I am sorry," sighed the tree. "I wish that I could give you something...but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am very sorry...."
A little boy grows up with a tree. At different times in his life, he wants different things from the tree. The boy constantly takes until the tree eventually has nothing more to give. Only then does the boy seem to understand the tree's sacrifice.
A) The boy- He starts as fun-loving child. He becomes more self centered as he grows. Finally, he seems to appreciate the tree by the end of the story.

B) The Tree- Her character remains the same. Her transformation has to do with physical change.
The story could represent the relationship between a parent and child or the relationship between mankind and the planet.
Did we achieve our objective? (Thumbs up or down)

By the end of the session, you will be able to define allegory and explain how Silverstein uses it to explore human nature.
Full transcript