Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
Imagine your home is a nest on a mountain top high in the sky. Everyone in your family is very good at flying. Would you be afraid to try and learn how to fly?
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
Listening to the advice of the elders/parents and respecting their advice.
Have learners share their thoughts on each topic and how they foster each of the values within their families.
Wisdom, Courage, Belief in Onself
- Listen to elders/parents. Have faith in yourself.
- She said, “Yes, they were great flyers. Ernie, know this to be true. You were born to fly. Don’t be afraid. Face your fear and have faith in yourself. Just open your wings and take a leap. The wind will do the rest.”
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:
- Sound like a stern father when reading the father eagle’s lines.
- Change your tone of voice to a proud girl eagle when reading Aerial’s lines.
- Change your tone of voice to sassy when Aerial teases her brother.
- Sound calm and soothing when reading the mother eagle’s dialogue with Ernie.
- Sound sad and humble when reading Ernie’s questions to his mother.
- Sound encouraging when the mother eagle tells Ernie to practice.
- Read loudly and excitedly Ernie’s lines, “I can fly. I can fly.”
- Move your hand and arm in an up and down swooping motion when reading while Ernie was flying: He flew low over Secret Spring Meadow and high above Sugar Sea.
- Make a honking sound when Ernie flies over the nest.
- Cheer for Ernie at the end of the story.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- Who was a good flyer?
- Where did the eagles live?
- Why did Ernie not want to leave the nest?
- What did Ernie’s mother tell him?
- When was it time for Ernie to go fishing with his sister?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- Why was it important for Ernie to learn how to fly?
The next day Aerial said, “I’m going fishing. Flying is easy. Just don’t look down. You have to learn to catch your own food.”
- What did Ernie do when he learned to fly?
Soon he was flying so high he felt like he could reach out and touch the sun. He flew low over the Secret Spring Meadow and high above the Sugar Sea. He looked down and saw boats enter the bay to the village of Red Haven.
- Why did Ernie want to find his sister?
Then he was on his way to find Aerial. It was time to go fishing with his sister.
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Words can make or break an individuals’ spirit and confidence. Discuss how we need to be cautious in what we say to others.
- Discuss words and phrases that can make a person feel good.
- Read books about courage to help your learner understand the concept of this virtue.
- Talk openly to your learner about things you may feel uneasy about doing. Share your feelings and explain why and how you go ahead and do it anyway. Tell them how good you feel about yourself when you accomplish the task at hand. Choose appropriate examples that your learner can understand.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonyms: above – below, high – low, up – down
- Colors: black, blue, white
- Identify word patterns: Long A Sounds “- ay”
Bolded words, among the following, were used in “Leap of Faith” – away, bay, clay, day, fray, gay, gray, hay, jay, lay, may, nay, pay, play, pray, ray, say, slay, spray, stay, sway, today, tray, way
- Identify and explain words that might not be familiar to your learner, such as “hatch,” “soared,” “cliff,” “leap,” “slay,” “gliding,” and “flapped.”
- Identify and list words that can make others feel good.
- Introduce the word, “BRAVE” and give the definition. Create little scenarios and have your learner identify whether the act was bravery or not.
- Mary was afraid to ride her bike without training wheels. She cried, kicked her bike and ran to her room.
- Johnny did not want to go to the birthday party down the street. He was new to the neighborhood and did not know anyone very well. He decided he would go to the party for a little while with his mother.
Language Development (Older Learners):
Ask your learner what “COURAGE” means to them.
Definition: Doing the right thing even if it is difficult. Facing your fears with confidence – being brave.
- Discuss some of the ways to show courage.
- Do the right things, even if others are not.
- Take on daily challenges.
- Be willing to try new things, even if you might fail.
- Tell the truth regardless of the consequences.
- Face your fears and work to overcome them.
- Do not give into negative peer pressure
- Look at real-life models – Have your learner identify a person who is an example of courage. They may chose a celebrity, historical figure, a friend, a policeman, fireman or a relative. Have your learner make up interview questions that they would ask that person.
- Take positive risks – Ask your learner to give examples of everyday situations that require courage suck as making new friends, admitting they were wrong, auditioning for the school play, or trying out for a sports team. Have your learner identify reasons (excuses) that make it hard to take positive risks. Examples are “I will look stupid,” “I don’t know how to do that,” “I’m not good enough.” Discuss the best and worst outcomes of each situation.
- Share the ways you have demonstrated courage in your life. Ask you learner to share how they have demonstrated courage in their life.
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):
- Materials: colored construction paper, pencil, scissors, circle tracers (bowls, lids, etc. of various sizes), 2 cut pieces of ribbon 5″ long x 2″ wide, glue, star stickers, crayons, and safety pin.
- What to do:
Discuss situations that make the learner feel scared. Talk about what bravery is and how it helps us stay positive when we’re trying somethings new for the first time.
- Have your learner pick colors of construction paper they like.
- Trace various sized, circle shapes for the badge.
- Assist your learner in cutting out the circles.
- Once the circles are cut out, decorate them with crayons and star stickers.
- Layer the different sized circles, putting one on top of the other – largest to smallest – and glue the circles in place.
- Once the glue has dried, assist the learner in writing a phrase on the badge denoting bravery. Examples: “I am brave,” or, “I can do it!”
- Glue the ribbon in an “X” across the back of the badge.
- Once the glue is dry, the badge is ready to wear. Attach a safety pin to the back and pin on your learner’s shirt.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Have your learner search the web for quotations and other writings about courage. Design a cover page and place the quotes into their own courage booklet. On the back page have your learner write “Face my fears and have faith in myself.”
- Create a personal mantra sign for being brave and decorate.
Involvement Tips (All Ages):
Help your learner see their own courage. Share and discuss feelings of fear and the triumph of overcoming those fears.
Building your learner’s courage and the self-esteem needed for courage to prevail is a lifelong lesson. As your learner grows, he/she faces new challenges that require him/her to have the courage to try and the belief that they can do it.
Build your learner’s courage and belief in oneself by:
- Focusing on and encouraging your learner’s assets and strengths.
- Making your learner fell that they are appreciated and loved “just the way they are.”
- Showing your learner the same respect you wish to be given.
- Praising efforts and improvements you learner makes.
- Communicating your faith and trust in your learner.
- Making sure expectations are set high enough that your learner will try, but not so high that they may be discouraging or cause failure.
“A few days sent by and Aerial became an even better flyer. Soon she was bringing fish back to the nest.”
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
- Read and talk about the book “The Little Engine That Could,” by Whatty Piper to younger learners.
- Play the “I Think I Can” game. Ask the learner to try different things like “Can you hop on one foot?” Use different examples. Demonstrate and say “I think I can, I think I can” as you hop together. Use this game when you are encouraging your young learner to do various tasks.
- Discuss whether courage is something you are born with or something you develop.
- Discuss the meaning of the saying: “Practice makes perfect.”
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
Journaling New Accomplishments
- Ask your learner to identify a new skill he/she is learning. Have them write, on a daily basis, one detail they accomplished toward that skill. Date each journal entry. Continue the journaling until you learner has adequately accomplished the newly learned skill.
- Younger learners can also journal with a little help. For the very young, write in their journal for them using their detailed descriptive statements.
“Ernie was so happy he could fly. His mother was filled with pride as she heard him honk as he flew over their nest.”
Don’t be afraid. Face your fear and have faith in yourself.