An amazing book about how the first tree got to Rockefeller Center | Mentoring in the Middle

An amazing book about how the first tree got to Rockefeller Center

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

The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel is a perfect picture book for upper elementary and middle schoolers.  

Here's Why You'll Love it: 

 ðŸŒ²Rubel 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.

 ðŸŒ²That generous gift comes back to them on Christmas day when those same men show up to help build a better home for them.

 ðŸŒ²The 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.

 ðŸŒ²And then, after Christmas, they share what they did with the tree.  They donated the wood to Habitat for Humanity, to be used for building someone else a new home.

This is a tree that keeps on giving!  

Have your students do this:

  • 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
  • Go to the Habitat for Humanity website and read more about this generous Christmas tradition that started in 2007.
STEM Challenge:

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
This would be a fun activity for students to finish up with!

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