The ee Tree
by Patricia Polacco
Web lesson designed by Katelin Harvey and Alice Bennett
Intended for 3rd and 4th grade readers
Welcome to our web lesson which will help you to understand and enjoy Patricia Polacco’s The Bee Tree.
Please follow the set of directions under each heading AND do each activity in the order listed. You will need to print off all worksheets to show that you completed each activity. Make sure to follow the directions carefully.
The rubric for your evaluation is posted at the end of the activities.
* copy of Patricia Polacco’s The Bee Tree (Philomel Books, 1993)
* computer with Internet capability
* school email address
Mary Ellen is a little girl who tells her grampa that she is tired of reading and that she would rather play outdoors. Mary Ellen's grampa suggests that they find a bee tree. After collecting some bees in a jar, Grampa lets one out, and he and Mary Ellen follow that bee. Along the way, they meet other members of the town who want to join them on their quest for the bee tree. After a long chase, the bee tree is found. The bees are then smoked out and the honey is gathered. After a honey party, Grampa places some of the honey on a book. He tells Mary Ellen to taste it. She discovers that there is sweetness inside of books and that knowledge, like honey, must be pursued.
Patricia Polacco is originally from Michigan and lived on a farm with her mother and grandparents until her grandmother died in 1949. She has said that “living on that little farm with [my Grandparents] was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.” In 1949 Patricia and her mother and brother, moved to Coral Gables, Florida and lived there for three years. Then they moved to Oakland, California where she lived for thirty-seven years. Patricia is the mother of two children, Steven and Traci.
Patricia always struggled in school, especially with reading and math. She did not learn to read until she was almost fourteen years old! She has a learning disability called dyslexia. Before writing books, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. When she was forty-one, she started writing books and illustrating them.
Patricia Polacco now lives in Union City, Michigan (her home town) and is still writing books.
Use the beehive below to do a quick-write on how much you know about bees or what you would like to know. Use the tree branch and each section of the hive to list an individual idea. (Print off the worksheet from this link.)
Bee Fact Sentences Worksheet
1. Click on the start button and then read about honey bee hives.
2. Then click next.
3. Choose two of the sections listed on the page (These are pollination, developing larvae, storing honey, and about the
4. After choosing your sections, click one of them and read through the information. Then write down a fact you learned
from that section.
5. Do the same for your second section.
PBS website on honeybees
During Reading Activities
Use the following chart to help you with vocabulary words from the story.
Follow these directions:
1. The vocabulary word is listed in the first column. Say the word to yourself and think of what that word means. Remember to use context clues to help you write the definition.
2. Write your definition for the word in the second column.
3. After you have finished defining all the words, look up the words using the online dictionary link below to check them. Write a corrected definition only if your definition is incorrect.
Word Central Dictionary (click on student dictionary once you have reached the homepage)
4. Use the lines on the page following the vocabulary chart to write a sentence for each vocabulary word.
5. After you have printed off the chart and completed it, turn it into the teacher.
Create a plot map explaining where the action starts at the beginning of the book.
Print out the plot map link below
1. In box one write Grampa and me and hunting for bee tree.
2. In each of the next boxes, list in order the people who they come across on
the way to the bee tree. Tell who they were and what they were doing.
3. After all of the people are listed, write bee tree in the second to last box
and where they found the bee tree.
4. The last box includes where all the people ended up and what they did.
Click on the link below and print out the similes worksheet. MAKE SURE TO READ THE DIRECTIONS! Once you complete the worksheet, hand it in to the teacher.
Go to the website link below. Once there, you need to email the bee keeper a question. Your question should be something that you wanted to know about bees from your quick-write from the pre-reading activity.
Once you have picked your question, go the link below (Beekeeper email) and find the "How do you ask a question section?" Then, click on the email address in this section.
The email screen will pop up and you will need to type in your question using the proper letter format below:
Dear Bee Expert,
(Type your question here)
BEFORE you send the email, you need to PRINT IT OFF! When you receive a response from the beekeeper, you need to print that off as well.
Assessment of your work
Print off the rubric below and staple it to the back of your activities. You will have seven activities in all to turn in.
Make sure you have your name on all of your papers and turn them in to the teacher.
(Remember: You should have seven activities in all)
(All honeybee images found on Google images.)