Making Curriculum Pop

This unit was created by first grade teachers.  The differentiated lessons are appropriate for primary students.  The book entitled, The Treasure Tree by Gary and Norma Smalley and John and Cindy Trent 

was used as a tool to explore a variety of personality traits.  The complete unit includes artifacts such as a student personality inventory and choice board activity supplements.  The activities were differentiated by using Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences.  Attention in planning was also given to the emotional needs of students.  It is our hope participating students will gain a feeling of safety in the classroom, joy in learning, and will feel challenged as they grow.  

I.KNOW: This unit focuses on children’s unique individual personality traits and characteristics. Honoring the traits that each of us shares and those that create differences in us. Teamwork, friendship, cooperation, and problem solving are also integrated topics.

II. UNDERSTAND: After listening to the story, The Treasure Tree and participating in a variety of multiple intelligence activities students will be able to identify personality traits that make them unique. They will understand why it is important to be part of a classroom team that includes a variety of personalities. Lessons will provide connections to strengthen understanding of our differences among classmates. The experiences will aid in their sense of joy and feelings of security in the classroom and in their interactions with friends.

III. DO: Children will participate in a variety of self chosen activities that incorporate the personality traits uncovered throughout the story. Activities will use a range of multiple intelligences to anchor each trait and build familiarity.

KNOW: (Children will be able to identify with one of the four characters from the story.)
a. Lion: This character is daring and unafraid of new situations, a leader, likes to tell others how to do things, enjoys a challenge, is firm, serious about what is expected , and makes decisions quickly.
b. Otter: This character talks a lot and tells wild stories, likes to do fun things, enjoys being in groups, likes to perform, full of energy and is always eager to play, happy and sees good in everything.
c. Golden Retriever: This character is loyal and faithful to friends, listens carefully to others, likes to help others, feels sad when others are hurt, is a peacemaker and doesn’t like arguing, is patient and willing to wait for something.
d. Beaver: This character is neat and tidy, notices details, sticks with something until it is done, doesn’t like to quit in the middle of a game, asks lots of questions, likes things done the same way, tells things the way they are.

Incorporated vocabulary: teamwork, friendship, cooperation, problem solving, unique, differences, connections, treasure

UNDERSTAND: (Essential Question: What are the treasures that make each of us special and unique?) We all have treasures that make us special and unique. We need to understand what these qualities are so we can find how we all fit in. 

Non-Negotiable Items (Core activities that all students will do.)

• Use the Character Organizer after each chapter is read
• Fill out the checklist to see which character the student is most like
• Learning Styles/Intelligences Survey
• Cooperative Learning Job Cards
• Write a response of character the students is most like
• Character/Personality reflection
• Computer Lab-Kidspiration-Create a story word web

Negotiable Items (Negotiable items are activities that all students will do with some choice.)
Each student will receive a choice board and be able to choose activities after we read the chapter for that day. They can do as many activities as they would like. (They may choose to do this with a partner.) 

• Make a Character Cinquain (Verbal)
• Make a Word Web about the character (Visual)
• Research one of the animals (Naturalist)
• Make a list of quotes from the book (Intrapersonal)
• Use puppets for role playing a character (Bodily/Kinesthetic)
• Make a list or draw pictures of what sounds that animal can make. Then say them out loud. (Musical)
• Identify the problem and write a new way to solve it (Logical)
• Write how they can be a better friend (Interpersonal)
• Draw a picture of the setting (Spatial)

Optional (Optional are activities students may choose to do.)

• Draw a map of all the places the characters went
• Make addition, subtraction sentences, or a problem solving story to represent a setting in the book
• Make a ”Wanted: A Friend” poster
• Make a list of occupations that this character would be good at.
• Three block cartoon to retell a chapter
• Create a song or short rhyme to tell about the character
• Cut and paste pictures and words from magazines to make a collage
• Listening Station-The Treasure Tree retold on tape

Daily Lesson Plan: (Day by day lessons organized in sequential order to build upon students understanding and skills.)

Day 1:
A. Introduction of unit- Map appears in the classroom with directions leading the class on a journey to the library. There the librarian entrusts the class with a precious book to be read and shared together.
B. A poem is attached that tells of four friends that will be learning about themselves and each other. It also has directions for the students to find out a little bit about themselves.
C. Teacher will read the first chapter of the book to the class.
D. A personality inventory is taken in the classroom. The precious book is stored in a safe classroom spot for the next day.

Day 2 - 5:
A. KWL is introduced- noting the journey that will be taken and information gathered throughout the unit.
B. During each lesson a character chapter will be read to the class and the class will complete the “Character Organizer.”
C. Students will then self select a negotiable activity from the “Choice Board” to work on.

Day 6: 
A. Class will read the closing chapter
B. Class will complete the character reflection questions.


A. In class students will complete the written response connection.
B. The parent note will be sent home including a personality checklist for the students to complete.

Attached: Treasure Tree Choice Board 

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Replies to This Discussion

I have not read the Treasure Tree, but Looking at this lesson motivates me to read it. I think that this book is a good choice because hopefully the students can relate to one of the personality traits that you will be talking about.

Also, ladies a Shout out to chapter 8-Emotional Brain "It is our hope participating students will gain a feeling of safety in the classroom, joy in learning, and will feel challenged as they grow."

Thanks, Kyla
Very detailed and thought out. I hope to use this for my second grade class. Great lessons!
Looks Great! I am so glad we were able to do this together. I will tell my first grade teachers to look at this lesson. They would love it!
A great lesson that encompasses all learning styles! Your students will be engaged the activities and have opportunities to learn in a way that best meets their needs.
It is cool to see that the four characters seem to correlate to the four temperaments.
Mercedes-Thanks for sharing this website and lesson with me! Hopefully this is get my students back on track and working as a team. Colette :)
Are the "character map/organizers" and surveys attached? Our school is using the "second step"- (non-violence) curriculum and this sounds like a great complement!



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