Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
A friend arrives with news for you. It seems that many of your friends have been talking about you. Now they have come to let you know why you have been the topic of so many conversations among the animals on Breakers Island.
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
The election process among the animals to support a candidate for president of the Council of Animals
The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; the quality or state of being humble.
- Haley looked shocked. She said, “I had no idea the animals saw me this way.”
- Shelley said, “Maybe we never see ourselves as others see us.”
- Humility/Humble – The ability of showing a modest estimate of one’s importance
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 warm and soothing voice.
- Change your tone of voice to sound strong and dignified for Haley’s lines.
- Change your tone of voice to sound light and squeaky for Mack’s lines.
- Show a big smile when Mack tells Haley the mouse vote is hers.
- Imitate Haley’s response by looking up and neighing like a horse before reading Haley’s question.
- Sound confident and proud with Mack’s response.
- Continue to make a neighing sound before Haley’s questions.
- Change your tone of voice for Belle, the dog’s lines.
- Change your tone of voice to match the sounds of Shelley that you have used in past stories.
- Continue to have different tones of voice for each of the animals – cow, hen, Kelly the kitten, and goat.
- Make the appropriate sound of the animal when indicated in the story.
(Ask your learner to make the sound as well.)
- Let excitement and enthusiasm be heard in the animals’ voices.
- Sound humble with Haley’s response in the end.
- End the story sounding wise with Shelly’s response.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- What did Belle, the dog, tell Haley?
- Who is Olivia?
- When did Haley learn that she had been named president?
- Where did Mack visit Haley?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- Where did the animals meet to discuss the election?
An old friend returned to Farmer John’s barn.
- Why did the animals support Haley for president?
The spider said, “Haley, you are known by your reputation. Your actions of kindness and wisdom have been noticed by others. Everyone knows how hard you work. The animals see you as a leader.”
- What was Haley’s response to Mack?
Haley was shocked. She neighed, “Who, me? Run for president? There must be a mistake.”
- Who is going to help Haley with the election?
The goat said, “The farm animals will help spread the word.” Kelly meowed, “We will all help you.”
- What was the purpose of the Council of Animals?
To ensure the peace among the animals and people on Breakers Island.
- Note: Close with a discussion on leadership. What are the characteristics of a great leader?
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Discuss the definition for “humility” – a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness. Share example scenarios that show humility.
- Discuss how humility shows gratitude. Discuss how it is important to have satisfaction rather than pride in their accomplishments.
- Give and share examples of humility. Examples are saying thank you when complimented on a recent accomplishment, giving a sincere compliment to others, performing acts of kindness toward others, etc.
- Discuss with your learner how to be a servant to others and participate in an activity that helps others.
- Encourage your learner to admit to their mistakes and to be a willing learner.
- Discuss the word empathy with your learner and ways to show empathy toward others.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonyms: can – can’t, in – out, yes – no, have – haven’t
- Colors: brown – black
- Identify word patterns: Short E Sounds “– et”
Bolded words, among the following, were used in The Council of Animals
— bet, forget, fret, get, jet, let, met, net, pet, set, wet, yet
- Identify and explains words that may not be familiar to your learner, such as “election,” “term,” “ensure,” and “reputation.”
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Ask your learner what they would say to a compliment given to them, a mistake they made, and a request for help.
- Discuss the meaning of humility with your learner. Share examples of humble actions.
- Brainstorm various words for humility. Examples are “humbleness,” “meekness,” “unassertiveness,” “lack of pride,” ”lack of vanity,” “servility,” and “submissiveness.”
- Brainstorm and identify words associated with being the opposite of humble.
Examples are “arrogant,” “boastful,” ”vane,” etc.
- Distinguish between ethical and non-ethical ways to reach a goal.
Examples are “ethical”— asking and eliciting help from others, thanking others, apologizing for mistakes, etc.
- “Non-ethical”— cheating, poor sportsmanship, lying, stealing, etc.
- Distinguish between words and phrases that are considered being humble and those considered arrogant, such as “I couldn’t have done it without your help.” “My time was well spent.” “I can handle this by myself.” and “I never need help.”
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):
- Create a “Happy Humbleness Chart” where you and your learner identify ways to act humble. Decorate a blank, monthly calendar page. Write the acts randomly on the calendar, eventually filling in each day.
- Create “Vanity and Humility” paddle signs. Using paper plates draw a big head with a crown and a boastful-looking face with a small body on one paper plate. Draw a proportionate head-to-body on the other paper plate. Have this drawing with smiling face and a thought bubble saying thank you. Glue Popsicle sticks to the back of the plates to make the handles. Use the paddle signs to indicate your learner’s behavioral reactions to praise.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Create an “Ask/Don’t Tell” rap song emphasizing humble lyrics versus arrogant or vain lyrics. Should rapping not be your learner’s talent, then create a jingle or poem instead.
- Create a comic strip about “Arrogant Annie.” Using continuous paper, such as calculator tape, paper towels, or even toilet paper, draw stick figures representing a story-line about an arrogant girl who learns a lesson in humility.
Involvement Tip (All Ages):
Make it a habit to talk about and praise acts of humbleness you have observed in others
Olivia, a barn owl in Fire Fall Woods, had worked hard to ensure the peace among the animals and people. Now it was time to vote for a new president.
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
- For younger learners, place little star stickers on the Happy Humbleness Chart when your learner performs one of their humble acts.
- Use role playing with your learner to demonstrate empathy toward others. Use puppets with younger learners.
- Make copies and post the words to the rap, poem, or jingle where it can be viewed easily. Praise your learner for creativity and hard work. Note how humble your learner’s reaction is to praise.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
- Create a rule of zero-tolerance for boastful language and vanity.
- Praise your learner each time they show humility.
- Teach your learner how to give a sincere apology — Identify through discussion and/or role play, tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, etc.
- Decide on a week that you and your learner will record the number of times you say “thank you.”
- Identify a community service project you and your learner can participate in.
- Participate in the voting process.
Shelley said, “Maybe we never see ourselves as others see us.”
She never forgot how kind you were to a stranger.