Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
All your friends are coming to your home for a holiday party. There is so much to do to get ready. Should you make a “To Do List” so you don’t forget anything?
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
Celebrating the Holidays
Preparations are under way for a holiday celebration at the end of the year. There is so much to do before all the mice arrive at Farmer John’s barn.
Peace and Goodwill
The holidays bring peace and goodwill to all.
- A truce exists in the story between natural enemies. The cat and mice have a truce for peace during their holiday party. Story example: Uncle Mel was so happy he gave Kelly a chunk of cheese and said “Here’s to your good health!”
- Peace is maintained by established boundaries. As in the story, the mice will build their nests in the barn and fields, not in Farmer John’s house.
Interactive Discussion and Activities
Reading Story Techniques
First, pre-read the story before reading it aloud with your learner. Use expressive language, gestures, motions, and sounds to make the story come alive:
- Have the various mice sound excited and happy.
- Have Shelley, the spider, sound wise and cautious.
- Change your tone of voice for each animal.
- When reading Mack, the mouse’s lines sound wise and directive.
- Martha mouse should sound hurried and rushed as she is the one putting on the party.
- Father mouse should have a calming and directive tone of voice.
- As Martha mouse reads the “to do list,” you may want to consider reading the list aloud as well. Act as if you are checking things off the list.
- Sound bewildered as you read Kelly, the kitten’s thought, “I can’t believe there are so many mice on this island.”
- When reading the ending of the story, sound grateful and happy when reading Uncle Mel’s dialogue with Kelly, the cat.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- Where did the mice hold the holiday party each year?
- Who made a list of things to do and planned the holiday party?
- What did father mouse do to help?
- Why did some of the wood mice not make the trip to the holiday party?
- When did the cat get a chunk of cheese?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- How did the mice from the village of Red Haven get to the party in Farmer John’s barn?
If Farmer John knew the mice from the village of Red Haven were in his wagon, he did not let on. The mice came out from under the green blanket. They ran down the wagon wheel to the ground and into the warm barn.
- Who planned the holiday party?
Martha was a wise mother mouse who made all the plans for the Holiday Party.
- What did father mouse do to help?
He said, “Yes, and I will put the toys under the tree. Then I will take the baby mice to the nursery.”
- What did the mice do at the holiday party?
Now it was time to sing, dance, and tell stories. They gave thanks for a holiday of joy and peace.
- How did Kelly, the cat, get a chunk of cheese?
Uncle Mel was so happy he gave Kelly a chunk of cheese and said, “Here’s to your good health!”
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Discuss holiday traditions with your learner. The main focus of this story is the Christmas holiday, however, any holiday observed by the learner’s family should be the focal point of this discussion.
- Have your learner identify the purpose (reason) for some of the traditions their family observes. Include the family member who makes that tradition.
Examples are “My grandmother bakes the Christmas cookies with us every year.” “Uncle Tom always brings a turkey.” and “The family goes caroling on Christmas Eve.”
- Discuss the feelings you experience during the holidays. Ask your learner what makes the holiday so special for them. Expand the discussion by pinpointing the “who,” “what,“ “where,” and “why” the holiday is so special.
- Say the phrase, “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward all,” and ask your learner what that means to them. Why is it a tradition phrase during Christmas time? What is the origin of this phrase? When did it start?
- Begin a discussion on what the term, “goodwill,” means to them.
- Ask your learner how do people show goodwill and how can they show goodwill.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonym: up – down
- Contractions: can’t and here’s
- Colors: red, white, green, and blue
- Different spelling and meanings: hear and here; know and no; to and
- Identify word patterns: Long I Sounds “- ite”
Bolded words, among the following, are those used in “Holiday Party” – bite, excite, invite, kite, mite, polite, quite, site, spite, unite, white, write
- Identify and explain words that may be unfamiliar to your learner, such as “doe” and “loft.”
- Have your learner shout out one word responses – “To me Christmas is________.”
- Sing together familiar Christmas songs.
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Have your learner shout out one word responses to “Christmas is ________.”
- Ask your learner to identify the feelings they have during the holidays.
- List the feelings your learner said they experience during the holidays and then find synonyms to each of those feelings. Examples are – happy – joyful; excited – enthusiastic; merry – ecstatic, etc.
- Discuss the term,” goodwill towards men,” and ask your learner what that means to them. The term “goodwill” is defined as friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.
- Extend the discussion by asking how we can show goodwill throughout the year.
- Many Christmas cards state, “Peace on Earth.” Ask your learner what “Peace on Earth” would mean to them. Ask what they could do to bring “Peace on Earth.”
- Identify favorite Christmas carols. Pick one particular carol and examine the words. Discuss what the carol means to them.
Discover the values covered in this story through guided activities and fun projects that ensure learner involvement.
Arts and Crafts ideas for Creatively Understanding the Virtues
Arts & Crafts Activities (Younger Learners):
- Holiday-themed activities – Making Christmas wreaths using handprints cut out of construction paper, personalizing Christmas cards, creating various Christmas decorations (like tree ornaments), stockings, Santa hats, and decorating Christmas cookies, etc.
- Write a “to do list” of things your learner will do with their family during the holidays.
- Engage your learner in the art of giving by going through their toys and treasures to choose some to give away to those in need.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Make a “goodwill” poster, using pictures from a magazine that shows goodwill acts (acts of kindness).
- Create a collage that depicts “Peace on Earth”.
- Write a “to do list” of things your learner will do with their family during the holiday. Assign family members responsibility for particular items on the list.
- Engage your learner’s heart by giving them the experience of giving away some of their possession to the less fortunate.
Involvement Tips: (All Ages)
Your learners is watching and listening to you. Share your enthusiasm and excitement for holiday traditions and the preparation it takes. Discuss how overwhelming all the work can be to get ready but that the hassle is well worth it. This reinforces an another lesson of finding the bright side of things. Your openness and truthful discussions about your hard work will inspire your learner.
She said, “It is time for them to be here. There is so much to do! Where is my ‘To Do’ list?”
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
- Post the “to do list”.
- Check off the items on the list, as they are completed.
- Place a sticker or draw a star by the items that were done well by your learner.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
- Make a habit of creating “to do lists” for projects your learner is undertaking.
- Make a list of people who you will send holiday cards to.
- Make a list of people who you need to buy gifts for. Attach a budget for gift-giving and stay within the budget.
Now it was time to sing, dance, and tell stories.
We will want to hear all about the Holiday Party when you get back.