Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
Imagine the seasons are changing. The warm weather will soon be gone. Now is the time to prepare for the cold winter to come.
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
The story focuses on the wisdom of recognizing the value of both work and time, and compassion to help others.
Wisdom and Compassion
Recognizing the value of work and time:
Baxter was wise and kind. He replied, “It’s time for you to work as hard as you play. It’s not too late to work on your lodges but you must hurry.”
The willingness to help others even when they have not listened to your advice.
- Baxter said, “I’m sorry. I wish I could help you. My lodge is full. There is only room for my family.”
- “I will help you if you are willing to work. Others may also be willing to help. You must show them that you are willing to work.”
- Sayings related to work:
“Many hands make light work.” “Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.”T.
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:
- Start the story by sounding annoyed and irritated when reading Baxter’s thoughts about the other beavers playing.
- Add excitement, enthusiasm, and laughter to your tone of voice when reading the playful beavers’ dialogue.
- Change your tone of voice to a deeper and wise sound when reading the line that Baxter’s father always said, “Son, trust me. Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.”
- Show two fingers when reading “Two things happened that night.”
- Show facial expression and actions of being scared and cold to imitate the beavers that came to Baxter and asked to stay in his lodge. Have your tone of voice sound scared and cold.
- Change your tone of voice to sound wise and kind when reading Baxter’s response to the other beavers.
- Use hand signals to reflect Baxter’s response on where to start (start at the top and work down).
- When reading the conclusion of the story, change your tone of voice to reflect safety and comfort.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- Where did Baxter start working on his lodge?
- Who did not work on their lodges?
- What colors were the leaves in Fire Fall Woods?
- Why were some of the beavers scared and very cold?
- When did the other beavers join in to help the playful beavers?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- How did Baxter know the seasons were changing?
Baxter looked at the beautiful leaves floating in the pond. The hot summer was over. The soft autumn wind was cool.
- Why did Baxter work on his house instead of play?
Baxter looked over his lodge again. He still had work to do. This was not the time to stop and play.
- What happened to the playful beavers?
Strong gusts of wind had cut into their homes. They were scared and very cold.
- Why did Baxter help the playful beavers?
Baxter said, “Our friends are in danger and need our help. Many hands make light work. All the lodges will be safe this winter if we work together.”
- Note: Close with a discussion on why it was important for the playful beavers to show they were willing to work.
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Come up with ideas that make others feel happy.
- Talk about feelings together. Come up with various good and bad scenarios and ask your learner how that might make them feel. Increase their “feelings vocabulary.”
- Watch and then discuss a movie in which compassion to help others is evident. Movie examples – Free Willy, Happy Feet, etc.
- Recognize and praise acts of kindness performed by your learner.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonyms: up – down, top – bottom, cold – warm
- Synonyms: Add new words to the learner’s vocabulary by using synonyms for some of the words in the story.
Examples are “House/home/lodge,” “good/excellent/fantastic,” “scared/frightened,” “watch/look/see,”
- Colors: gold, green, orange, red
- Identify word patterns: Short U Sounds “– ust”
Bolded words, among the following, were used in Home Sweet Home — bust, crust, dust, gust, just, lust, must, rust, trust.
- Talk about feeling words (happy, sad, scared, lonely, loved, etc.) and describe situations that would make you feel that feeling.
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Introduce the following words and see how many terms your learner can define: “benevolence,” “condolence,” “empathy,” “generosity,” “humanity,” “kindness,” “mercy,” “philanthropy,” “sensitivity,” and “understanding.” Discuss how these terms convey compassion. Share personal examples.
- Discuss the following ways to show compassion. Have your learner identify their strengths and weaknesses in each of these ways. Discuss other ways to show compassion.
- Demonstrate active listening during conversations.
- Say encouraging things to cheer others up.
- Do nice things for others without expecting anything in return.
- Respect the privacy of others.
- Avoid gossiping.
- Show interest in others by reaching out and listening to them.
- Talk about feeling words and describe situations that would make you feel that feeling.
- Begin a discussion on all the violence in the media today. Ask your learner if they think violence has lowered the ability to have compassion? Share feelings and examples.
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):
- Make a set of feeling faces on paper plates and glue them to painter sticks. Draw faces or print out emoticons from your computer. Include feeling faces such as happy, sad, mad, surprised, confused, frustrated, scared, etc.
- Build a Beaver Lodge.
- Introduce different art materials, tools, and supplies for your learner to use in constructing their beaver lodges.
- Experiment with different materials to see what happens to the beaver lodges. Which ones seem more sturdy and stable? Which ones would keep out the cold winter winds the best?
- Extend the activity by writing two lists on large paper as your learner calls out the items they collected to build the beaver lodge. Sort the items into Natural (twigs, leaves, etc.) and Man-made (plastic, pieces of toy building sets like building logs, etc.).
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Make a collage representing the saying: Many hands make light work.
- Draw or paint a scene representing the saying: Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.
- Create a poem, song, or rap verse describing the value of work and the value of time.
Involvement Tips: (All Ages)
- Advocate and encourage sweetness. Show how to be gentle. Speak softly. Refuse rudeness and always say, “I’m sorry,” when the situation calls for an apology. Your kindness is the way to model how to treat others to your learner.
- Different situations require different types of compassion. Discuss various situations and acts of compassion that would go with that specific situation.
- Identify the truth that we first have to feel good about ourselves to turn those positive feelings towards others. Acknowledge your learner’s compassionate behaviors and actions.
Baxter replied, “It’s time for you to work as hard as you play.”
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
Who Lives here?
When walking with your learner in the outdoors, talk about how all animals and insects have homes too. Try to spot as many animals or insect homes as you can. Look to find animal and insect homes, such as burrows, nests, hives, cocoons, anthills, and holes in trees. Discuss how animals and insects use their homes, how they find food in their habitat, and why each species has a particular type of home in a certain area. These answers can be researched together on the internet and books.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
At home have a “chore chart,” assigning each family member a chore that they are responsible for. Praise your learner for completing their chores. Giving a sticker or star on the chart is a great visual clue for younger learners that they are being compliant and helpful. Taking it one step further by giving rewards for a week of consistent compliance is a prerequisite to teaching the value of work and earning money. For older learners, creating incentives or an allowance schedule begins the process of teaching the value of work and earning money.
Treasure Chest of Words
- Animals: Beavers, Baxter
- Don’t, I’m, It’s, Let’s
Expressions ~ Idioms ~ Sayings:
- Busy as a Beaver, Freeze to death, From the top, Inch by inch, It was time, Nick of time, Not too late, Safe and warm, Out of Time
Natural Science: Animal Group Names
Male – Male
Female – Female
Baby – Kit, Kitten, Pup
Group – Family, Lodge, Colony
a, and, can, come, down, for, help, here, I, in, is, it, look, make, my, not, play, red, said, the, to, two, we, where, you
all, are, at, ate, be, but, came, do, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, now, on, our, out, saw, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, was, went, what, will, with
- First Grade
after, again, as, ask, by, could, every, had, has, him, his, just, know, let, may, of, once, over, put, some, stop, take, them, then, were, when
- Second Grade
around, been, call, cold, don’t, fast, green, made, many, off, right, their, us, very, why, wish, work, would, your
- Third Grade
about, cut, done, fall, full, got, hot, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, never, only, show, start, today, together, warm
day, father, fire, fish, hand, home, house, night, rain, snow, thing, time, top, tree, way, watch, water, wind, wood
“When the winter snow fell on the pond, all the beavers were safe and warm in their dry lodges.”
“It is time for you to work as hard as your play…” said Baxter.