Learning Spanish for Kids with the Giving Tree Book or El Arbol Generoso, Written Activities in the Spanish Learning Classroom

El Arbol Generoso: The Giving Tree

This book is well known both in English and in Spanish. Because of its ease of language you can have both versions available to compare. The Giving Tree is a beautiful story which gives an idea on the power of love and giving. It is a simple story , relating to a boy’s journey with a tree, and how the tree gave so much of himself that eventually he gives everything of himself and all but a stump remains.

It is not a book to read with small children, but it is appropiate for 8 -10 year olds. The drawings are also quite illustrative, and you can start with this activity to get them to reflect on the book.

El Arbol Generoso Regala Manzanas

The giving Tree gives apples

First Step: Visual Recognition

Turn to the first page and look at the picture. Show the picture to the class. Ask some questions

¿Que ven en la foto?

¿ Creen que el arbol y el niño son amigos ?

¿ Como es el arbol? ¿ Es grande o pequeño?

¿ Pueden nombrar las partes del arbol? ( You can mimic or give clues for each parts of the tree)

After you do a visual recognition of some parts of the book you should go into the more abstract concepts of the book i.e. generosity and love. Try to form a discussion about the book.

¿ Ustedes que creen que significa ser generosos?

¿ Son generosos con sus padres?

¿ Son generosos con sus hermanos o con sus maestros?

A veces amamos sin condiciones. ( Explain the vocabulary word, this might be a bit too hard for elementary spanish but you can do it for the more advanced students)

¿ Que significa amar a alguien incondicionalmente?

Now the good thing would be to introduce the story for younger readers it can go something like this :

Ahora vamos a hablar de un arbol , y el amor que tenia hacia su amigo. Es una historia muy bonita. ¿Estan listos para escucharlo?

Second Step: Reading out Loud

Read the book out loud, making sure that all the children have a copy of the book in front of them. If you can, try creating a powerpoint presentation with some of the most beloved drawings. While you are reading, make sure you change voices when you are speaking the part of the boy and the part of the tree. At certain pivotal moments stop the story and show them the images and ask the students questions :

¿ Ven al arbol ahora?¡¡ Ya no tiene manzanas!!

¿ Porque le regalo al niño las manzanas?

As the tree loses essential parts of itself, you can keep talking about it and reemphasizing that he does this for love of the boy. As time passes in the book, point out how the boy ages, and what kind of ways his life is different now from when he was a boy. At the end of the story, ask them to reflect on how the old man and the trunk change , and how much it is because of love.

Third Step: Pairing Up

Children should go in pairs. At times you should pair a weaker reader with a stronger one so they can help each other out. Have students read over the book again in pairs. Walk around the room and make sure they are doing this. Students should be underlining the words they do not understand and looking them up in the dictionary. Ask them to write sentences with those words.Once this is done the students can then go on to writing a small summary about the book with their partners. Hand out a small worksheet that goes a bit like this :

Llene los espacios con el verbo apropiado

El arbol ____ generoso y le gusta _____ todo de si ______ . El crece con un niño y le ___ sus manzanas, sus _____ y sus ramas. Al final de su vida el niño y esta ____ y el arbol ya ___ un tronco.

You can keep adding with vocabulary activities and verb associations.

A continuacion, conjuge el verbo ¨ Dar ” en tiempo pasado perfecto en distintas oraciones.

Tu das

Yo doy

El da

Nosotros damos

Vosotros dais

Ellos dan

Haga 10 oraciones con el verbo ” ser” en tiempo presente perfecto

El es generoso

Tu eres generoso

Nosotros somos generosos

Vosotros sois generosos

Ellos son generosos

Fourth Step: Creative Activities

Students can then express the book with a puppet show or drama activity. If the students are younger you can photocopy the book and have them colour the pages. You can also have them create a collage with magazines about their tree. Some students also like to make a version of their own with a play or song. The sky is the limit with this but make sure the comprehension is in place to do them.