Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Tree of Compliments

Jennifer Marshall


Build your students' self-esteem along with their writing skills in this fun activity.


The student focuses on a central idea (for example, familiar person, place, object, experience).

The student writes legibly using manuscript form (for example, prints numbers and upper- and lower- case letters; uses left to right sequencing; spaces between words and sentences).


- THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein, New York; Harper & Row,1964
- Pre-cut leaves and apples
- Small pictures of students
- A large paper tree
- Pre-cut words that read -Our Compliment Tree-
- Pencils


1. Use the Ellison Dye Machine or patterns to make two leaves for each student and one apple for each student.
2. Place a picture of the students on two of the leaves and one apple.
3. Make a large paper tree.
4. Cut out the words -Our Compliment Tree.-
5. Display the tree and words on the bulletin board prior to the lesson.
6. Obtain a copy of THE GIVING TREE.


1. Ask students to close their eyes and think about their best friends. Ask students to share why they like their best friends.

2. Tell the students the following: We are going to read about an unusual friendship of a boy and a tree. Do you think it's possible to be friends with something that cannot talk to you?

3. Read THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein.

4. After reading the book, ask the students to orally identify or list characteristics of the tree that made the tree a good friend.

5. Use the students' characteristics to lead a discussion of the progress of the friendship throughout the book. Which friend was more giving? Did one friend learn to appreciate the other friend in the book?

6. Brainstorm additional characteristics to add to the list that make people good friends.

7. Talk about the importance of classmates being good friends to help make learning conducive in the classroom. Tell students that they are going to focus on the positive traits of their classmates and give everyone a compliment.

8. Explain what a compliment is and give several examples for modeling.

9. Allow each child to give an oral compliment about someone in the family for practice.

10. Give each student two pre-cut leaves that have a picture of a classmate on them. The student will write a one sentence compliment about that person on the leaf. Review how to capitalize a sentence and put a period after it. Remind students about spacing and spelling. For those who are having difficulty, write a model sentence on the board about someone in the school.

11. Write a compliment about each of the students on a pre-cut apple that has a picture of the student on it. Walk around the classroom, giving students feedback on their compliments, pointing out ways to improve spacing, capitalization and legibleness. (You might want to have extra leaves for those who have to erase or make errors.)

12. On a bulletin board or outside the classroom door, display the brown paper tree with the words -Our Compliment Tree- above it. Use the leaves and apples with compliments on them to cover the tree.


Assess this activity based on students' knowledge of using capital letters and periods as well as using correct letter formation for handwriting and spacing between words. The teacher can also assess each student's writing to ensure that the central idea of expressing compliments was met. This activity can be used to reinforce the skills the students have already learned.
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