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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 3-5:


Get to know Red — a very special oak tree living at the center of a neighborhood that has welcomed newcomers and immigrants for many generations. Red tells the story of what happens when Samar, a young girl whose family settles in the neighborhood, is met with conflict and hate because of her Muslim identity; Red is compelled to help Samar feel more welcome in their community. We chose this novel for its thoughtful attention to some powerful social and emotional themes: welcoming others, resilience, community, and the immigrant experience. Students will find themselves relating to and being inspired by Red’s storytelling; this curriculum will help students build connections between Samar’s experiences and their own.

wishtree is the story of Red, an old oak tree who lives in a neighborhood that has welcomed newcomers and immigrants for many generations. Once a year, people hoping for a better life tie their wishes to the tree, in hopes they come true. Red watches over a number of animal friends and families, and some human ones, too, including a girl named Samar whose family has recently moved to the neighborhood. Samar is lonely and wishes she had a friend. But unlike Red, not everyone in the neighborhood is so welcoming—
someone even carves “LEAVE” into the tree, sending a hateful message to Samar’s family. Red has a plan to help Samar make a friend, and feel more welcome in the community.

Author: Katherine Applegate

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • 11 individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 80
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”


Companion Student Workbook:


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