Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
You stumble across a young boy who has lost his way. He has fallen asleep and you know he is in the wrong place. Should you wake him? Do you want to help him find his way home to safety?
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
Coming to the rescue of a small child in need of assistance. The fireflies show the child the way to go to ensure his safe return to his family.
Determination, and Cooperation
The fireflies decide to intervene and save the child they find sleeping in the meadow.
Laura flashed a signal to the other fireflies. They formed a cloud around the child. Laura said to them, “We must wake him before he is found by others.”
- Cooperation – Working Together
He found himself in the center of a cloud of fireflies. They led him on a path through the meadow.
The flashing cloud of fireflies moved toward the voices in the night. They formed a path for Michael to follow.
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:
- Begin the story with a soft and mystical-sounding voice when reading the description of twilight on Breakers Island.
- Have a slight tone of excitement in your voice when Ryan announces the fireflies are back.
- Change your tone of voice to sound like a mother squirrel when reading her lines.
- Have excitement in your voice when reading the response of the baby squirrels.
- Change your tone of voice to sound like a father squirrel telling the story.
- Change your tone of voice again to sound like a female when reading Laura’s lines.
- Call Michael’s name in a low sound as if it came from the distance.
- Yell “Daddy” with excitement, for Michael’s responses.
- End the story by using both your arms and hands to demonstrate fireflies scattering in the wind across the meadow.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- What is the legend of the fireflies?
- Who tells the kits the legend of the fireflies?
- When does Ryan see the flashing lights?
- Where does Laura find the child?
- Why does Laura want to wake the child?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- When does Ryan tell the story to the kits?
It is twilight in Fire Fall Woods. Ryan comes home and tells the kits a bedtime story.
- What is the legend of the fireflies?
Lightning gave them the gift of light because they were humble.
- Who are the “others” that Laura does not want to find the child?
They represent nocturnal predators hunting during the night in the meadow.
- Where do the fireflies hear voices calling for the lost child?
Now, they were close to the farmlands. “Michael!” echoed in the air.
- Why does lightning decide that the fireflies deserve of a special gift?
Lightning watched the humble beetles. They were small bugs and no one thought much of them.
- Note: Close with a discussion on how we decide if someone or something has special value. Also focus on how we make conscious decisions of when to intervene or become involved in a situation or issue.
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Praise your learner’s effort more than their accomplishment.
- Read stories of people who worked hard to accomplish great things. Examples are:
- Thomas Edison, who failed a thousand times before he discovered the light bulb.
- Abraham Lincoln, who failed at business and lost more elections than he won.
- Teach kids to recover and grow from failure. Through discussion, share personal examples.
- Assign age-appropriate chores and praise your learner for their effort and the time it takes to complete a chore.
- Discuss and share skills that took awhile to learn, like tying shoe laces. Discuss your learner’s progression of feelings from frustration when first learning the task to accomplishment when it was finally conquered.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonyms: cold – hot, day – night, he – she, in – out, light – darkness, sleep – wake, sun – moon, yes – no
- Colors: yellow, blue, pink, purple
- Identify word patterns: Long I Sounds “– y”
Bolded words, among the following, were used in Fireflies — by, cry, dry, firefly, fly, fry, my, shy, sky, sly, spy, sty, try
- Identify and explain words that not may be familiar to your learner, such as “ flashes,” “legend,” “humble,” “spark,” “swatted,” (demonstrate the action), “stumbled,” “scattered, “spark,” “swatted,” and “twilight.”
- Talk about the meaning of “determination.” Determination is never giving up, no matter what! A determined person decides to do something, and then does it.
- Ask your learner for examples of their behaviors that show determination and strong will. Praise them for their accomplishments and the effort it took to get them.
- Discuss and create a personal determination mantra, like Nike’s “Just Do It” and “Just Be It.”
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Finish what you start. Brainstorm examples where this is applicable — projects, artwork, sport leagues, etc. Share personal examples where you lived up to the saying. What was the outcome? How did you feel? List all the feeling words.
- Brainstorm or look up words that speak about the meaning of “will.” Examples are “determination,” “desire,” “will power,” “motivation,” “spirit,” “perseverance,” and “self control.” Boast about a personal experience/scenario that justifies description with those words.
- Discuss and create a personal determination mantra, like the Marine’s “Be all that you can be.”
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):
- •Challenge your learner to complete an age-appropriate activity that takes a while to complete. Examples are paint by numbers, a potholder loom activity, and fabric art. These kinds of craft projects promote concentration, fine motor skills, and the satisfaction of completing a craft. Should your learner get tired of doing the activity, encourage them to take a break from it, but don’t allow the project to go unfinished.
- Paint a picture of what “will power” would look like.
- Work on age-appropriate puzzles.
- Draw and color an image of a firefly.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- “DETERMINATION Poster” identifying related words for each letter:
- D- Devoted
- E- Enthusiastic
- T- Tenacity….
- Decorate in an art medium chosen by your learner, but one that would take some time to complete.
- Repeat the poster concept with the word “COOPERATION.” Display the posters in a place that will make them observable, and continue with impromptu discussion. Hopefully, the learner will refer to and use the vocabulary words appropriately!
- Work on a challenging puzzle together.
Involvement Tips (All Ages):
- Perseverance and determination go hand in hand. One is a mindset, the other is an action.
- Compliment your learner. Listen and support the emotions your learner feels. Teach perseverance by sharing personal examples. They need to know that everyone feels frustrated at times and how others dealt with it.
“Somewhere there is a bed missing a young sleeper.”
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
Give your learner an opportunity to practice determination with a building project. Pick an age-appropriate building project (from stacking building blocks to making paper planes to constructing a birdhouse kit) to experience the satisfaction of creating something with their own two hands.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
- Challenge your learner with an age-appropriate math problem, word puzzle, or some challenging but doable situation. Refrain from helping them too much. Cheer them on to finish the challenge and teach them to take breaks, refresh, and try again.
- Walk the talk. Consider taking a leisurely walk with your learner to build some determination. Encourage your learner to walk “just a bit further” each time you take a walk together, increasing the distance by a little bit.
The flashing cloud of fireflies moved toward the voices in the night. They made a path for Michael to follow.
Michael found himself in the center of a cloud of fireflies.