Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden, One Book that Warms the Teacher’s Soul

Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, One Book that Warms the Teacher's Soul TITLE

It’s hard to believe we’re already talking about and thinking about Back to School, but alas, some of our colleagues are back in full swing already. Their gardens are all tended to, and the seeds are ready to be planted. Like Mrs. Spitzer in Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden, you’ll soon be working with care to make sure each of your seedlings gets just what he or she needs to blossom and grow this year.

Why Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden means a lot to teachers

Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden describes how good teachers work the soil, protect the seeds, nourish them with only the best “food”, water them with only the high quality work, and cherish the bounty of their achievements. Doesn’t that sound like the exemplary teacher you want to be?  I feel like this book sends such a positive message, and I hope that it will help you begin to explore using mentor texts to demonstrate literary elements and skills. I hope you’ll share it with your students and see if they see the connections.

Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden’s metaphorical language expresses just how important your job is this year. Most definitely, you’ll be pruning and fertilizing, watering and caring for those sweet “flowers” you’ll be growing this year. Some will sprout and reach toward the sky, while others may take a little extra care. The most important task we have is to find the special tools and materials to reach and grow each one.

Mrs Spitzers Garden cover


  • Mrs. Spitzer helps her students grow and bloom in different ways. How does she tailor her teaching to meet each child’s needs and talents? Why is this important?
  • What is the central message or theme of “Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden,” and how does the author convey it through the story?
  • In the book, Mrs. Spitzer nurtures her students like a gardener tending to her plants. How does this analogy enhance our understanding of the teacher-student relationship?
  • What are some of the challenges Mrs. Spitzer faces in her role as a teacher, and how does she overcome them to help her students thrive?
  • Explore the various learning styles and personalities of the students in Mrs. Spitzer’s class. How does their diversity contribute to the classroom dynamic?
  • The illustrations in the book play a significant role in telling the story. Discuss how the illustrations complement the text and add depth to the narrative.
  • Mrs. Spitzer helps her students discover their unique qualities and encourages them to shine. How does this affect the self-esteem and confidence of the children in her class?
  • The story encourages growth and development, not just academically but also emotionally and socially. What are some instances where Mrs. Spitzer helps her students grow beyond academics?
  • Why do you think the author chose a garden as the metaphor for learning and personal growth? What similarities can you draw between tending to a garden and nurturing young minds?
  • How does “Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden” inspire you as a reader? What lessons can we take from the story and apply to our own lives or educational experiences?

If you’d like to have a few printables and digital pages to go with the book, sign up with the form below, and I’ll send it to your inbox. It includes a focus on characterization, general comprehension, and a writing extension.

More activities to love for mrs. spitzer’s garden

If you are like me, one little lesson with a great book just isn’t enough. I actually expanded this unit to include much much more. Here’s the list of what’s included.

  • Making Predictions
  • Vocabulary Word Cards and Organizer
  • Fact and Opinion Anchor Chart and Activity
  • Making Connections Chart and Organizer
  • Cause and Effect Matching
  • Sequencing Events Organizer
  • BME Chart
  • Character Traits AND Organizer
  • Question Task Cards and Response Form
  • Writing Prompt

40 pages in all (1/2 PDF and 1/2 Color for Google Slides TM) (Purchase on TPT)

Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, One Book that Warms the Teacher's Soul PIN

grab your mrs. Spitzer’s garden resource:

Others who inspire like mrs. Spitzer:

As you inspire your little people, be sure to fill them with positive messages and lots of great skill modeling. Recently, I came across this sweet inspirational poster(linked to the TED talk).  I just love Rita Pierson’s TED talk, and if you have a minute, be sure to check that out. This poster hits the highlights. I just love it!


other back to school posts you might like:

Thanks so much for taking time to read the post, and I hope you’ll enjoy the freebie. Have a great back to school season!


Carla is a licensed reading specialist with 27 years of experience in the regular classroom (grades 1, 4, and 5), in Title 1 reading, as a tech specialists, and a literacy coach. She has a passion for literacy instruction and meeting the needs of the individual learner.