The Carpenter's Gift picture book is perfect for older students and here's why | Mentoring in the Middle

The Carpenter's Gift picture book is perfect for older students and here's why

 You can read picture books to sixth graders.  For fun.  To teach a lesson.  To expand their horizons.  

That's why The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel is such a perfect fit for this grade.  

Rubel tells the story of a poor family during the Depression who cut down pine trees on their land to sell in New York City on Christmas Eve.  When evening comes, they have a few trees left, so they give them to the men who helped them unload the trees earlier that day.

That generous gift comes back to them on Christmas day when those same men show up to help build a better home for them.

The young boy who accompanied his father into the city takes one of the pine cones and plants it near his new house.  Years later, the tree has gotten too big, and when he hears that Rockefeller Center is looking for a Christmas tree, he donates it to them.

And then, after Christmas, they share what they did with the tree.  They donated the wood to Habitat for Humanity, where it was used to build someone else a new home.

This is a tree that keeps on giving!  

Want to know what's even better?  You can go to the Habitat for Humanity website and read more about this generous Christmas tradition that was started in 2007.

Then, have your students:

  • Write a letter from a child whose home had some of the wood from that Christmas tree
  • Research what Habitat is doing in your local area
  • Figure out how long it takes to grow a tree that's typically selected for Rockefeller Center

And then?  Give your students a STEM challenge to build a tree - the tallest, the one that can hold the most decorations, you decide!  You could use:

  • toothpicks and gumballs.
  • nuts, bolts, and washers
  • pipe cleaners
  • construction paper
  • paper bags,
  • pompoms
  • craft sticks
  • Q-tips
  • straws
Any one of these or some combination would be a fun activity for students to finish up with.

If you didn't get a chance to look at this special bundle, take a look at it now!  It'll take care of all of your ELA needs for this month.  Click here or on the picture to take a closer look.

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