Accompanying the delightful children’s book, Tom the Tomato Plant, written by author Dave Carroll, this guide features cross-curricular pre-reading and after reading activities highlighting themes of self-awareness, resilience, and kindness for primary students.
NB Curricular Connections
English Language Arts
- Strand: Reading – Big Idea: Reading Comprehension
Explore Your World
- Strand: Well Being – Big Idea: Belonging and Interconnectedness
- Strand: Well-Being – Big Idea: Emotional Health and Positive Identities
- Strand: Create – Big Idea: Aural Literacy
What You’ll Need
- Tom the Tomato Plant book (By: Dave Carroll and Illustrated by: Floyd Ryan Yamyamin) Click here to purchase your own copy.
- CD or online music playing for game
- My Own Giant printable sheet (included in PDF)
- Crayons or Pencil Crayons
- Smart Board to view “The Giant” music video. (QR code in the back of the book will also take you to the audio version of the song)
- Author Letter Page (included in PDF – or use Chart Paper for whole class letter)
1) Tiny, You, or Giant Freeze Game (PRE-READING): Before reading the book, have students stand in a spot in the room, arms width apart from another peer. Students will walk around the room when they hear the music playing. As soon as the music stops, the teacher will call out either: Tiny (students get as small as they can), You (students stand up), or Giant (students get as large as they can). Co-construct the actions together if you’d like. Students need to FREEZE into the position called or they are out (students who are out can help the teacher call out the next time and watch for un-freezers.) Once the music starts, students begin walking around again until just a handful of students remain.
2) Discussion (PRE-READING): Gather together as a group and discuss: Just like the game we played, does anyone sometimes feel tiny, or you, or giant? Are there things that happen that make you feel tiny (small, not important, not noticed)? What kinds of things help you feel more like a giant (like a big kid, strong, brave, full of purpose)?
3) READ ALOUD: Looking at the cover, have students share their knowledge around tomatoes and tomato plants. It may be helpful to share – seed to sprout to plant to fruit cycle. Teacher’s Note: The font and spacing was designed to be friendly to children with dyslexia.
4) Discussion (AFTER READING): Have the students pick out parts of the story when Tom felt tiny and discuss why. Then, discuss parts of the story when Tom felt like a giant and talk about why. Brainstorm times when all students can feel like a giant (helping a friend on the playground, making a beautiful painting, finishing a challenging Lego kit or video game level, giving an encouraging note or picture to someone, etc.). When we use our strengths to help others, it builds up the giant in us – the potential to do big things to change the world.
5) Giant Writing (AFTER READING): Using the printable below, have students complete the sentence, “I feel like a giant when ___________” and draw a matching picture. Allow any students who wish to share, present their picture and sentence to the class.
6) “The Giant” song (AFTER READING): Once students have completed their own giant page, have them watch and listen to the original theme song for the story – “The Giant” via the YouTube link in the materials section. Have students listen carefully to the words and every time they hear the word, “GIANT”, have them hold up their own GIANT picture. After listening, discuss: How can we help others discover the giant in them? How can we help our friends see just how great they are? Feel free to teach the words to students and sing along a few more times.
7) Wrap-Up: Discuss: Do you know that you can have more than one job? And more than one job that helps people find their own giant? Let the students know a little more about Dave Carroll: He is an author (and not just of children’s books), an award-winning singer-songwriter, a professional speaker, and a storyteller! If you enjoyed Tom The Tomato Plant, let Dave Carroll know by co-writing a class author letter to him on chart paper or the printable below and send to email@example.com. Check out more about Tom The Tomato Plant!
- Be a “Tomato-mate” – join forces with Tom and his family and plan acts of kindness to be done in your school and community. Invite another class or whole school to join in!
- Create a Tom Tomato Garden – plant seeds in recyclable cans or cups that can be nurtured, decorated, and then given away to sow seeds of kindness in the community
- Perform the song “The Giant” at a school assembly
- Create moments for students to share their GIANT stories each week or each month during morning meetings
Please see the attached PDF for several choices on how you and your learners can reflect upon today’s activity.