Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
Imagine you find yourself in a very dangerous situation that you were not expecting. How would you react? Do you think you would be brave? Would you like a friend to step in to help you?
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
Identifying character based on actions rather than appearance.
Courage and Wisdom
- “The story of his bravery soon spread and was retold many times. That is how he became the Frog King.”
- Courage enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. Someone with courage is bold and brave, unafraid to face tough challenges.
- “I also took a second look at your uncle that day. I found that what was on the inside was far more important than what was on the outside.”
- Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
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:
- Add excitement to your voice when the young frogs asked Aunt Lilly to tell the story of how she met Uncle Fred.
- Have a smile as Aunt Lilly begins the story.
- Add laughter to Aunt Lilly’s story.
- Demonstrate with your hands an action of swimming and jumping when she describes Winston.
- Make a gasping sound and show an expression of fear when reading about the opossum.
- Shake your head with a sad expression on your face when Aunt Lilly tells of how she was trapped.
- Demonstrate a jump and leap with your arm when reading how Uncle Fred saved Aunt Lilly.
- Make a hissing sound for the mad opossum.
- End the story with a calm and wise-sounding voice for Uncle Fred’s lines.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- When did Aunt Lilly tell the story?
- Where did the story take place?
- What did Fred do to help Lilly escape from the opossum?
- Who did Lilly like? Why?
- Why did Lilly give Fred a second look?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- Who was popular in the story?
I had my eye on another handsome frog named Winston. He was from a good family of excellent jumpers. All the girls liked him, but for some reason, he paid attention to me.
- When did the story take place?
As Aunt Lilly told the story, the cold winter outside their burrow seemed to melt away. The young frogs felt like they had been carried back in time to a warm summer day on Breakers Island.
- Where did the frogs live?
In burrows in Fire Fall Woods.
- Why were the young frogs in danger?
We knew it was time to go home to safety, but we stayed late.
- What happened when Fred became a hero?
Everyone gave your uncle a second look. After that, they all wanted to be his best friend.
- Note: Close with a discussion on first impressions and popularity—judging character based on actions rather than appearances.
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Discuss words associated with various feelings, such as happy, sad, scared, excited, worried, brave, courageous, etc. Ask your learner what makes them feel those emotions and describe how they acted on them.
- Share your personal examples to help the learner express their feelings.
- Ask your learner if they have the courage to:
- Stand up for a friend that may be bullied or teased by others; Admit you are to blame for an accident you caused;
- Refuse to join your friends in a prank;
- Tell the truth about someone who has taken something that was not theirs;
- Tell a parent or teacher that you know someone who is being abused at home (choose age-appropriate scenarios).
- Extend the discussion by asking how they would handle each scenario.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Antonyms: cold – hot, in – out, inside – outside, he – she, summer – winter, up – down
- Identify word patterns: Short I Sounds “– im”
Bolded words, among the following, were used in The Frog King – dim, him, important, impressed, rim, skim, slim, swim, trim, whim
- Identify and explain words that may not be familiar, such as “gliders,” and “impressed.”
- “Brave” or “Not Brave.” Create scenarios and have your learner identify whether the action taken was brave or not.
- “Susan helped the class nerd pick up the books he dropped.”
- “Bobby knew who was bullying another child but did not tell the teacher,” etc.
- “Wise” or “Not Wise.” Create scenarios and have your learner identify whether the action taken was wise or not.
- ”Mary borrowed her sister’s sweater without asking permission.”
- “Johnny broke his friend’s X-box but didn’t tell him he broke it,” etc.
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Brainstorm or look up synonyms for courage (bravery, courageousness, daring, daringness, dauntlessness, gutsiness, guts, heart, heroism, fortitude, intrepidness, nerve, and valor). Use the synonyms in a sentence that describes a courageous act.
- “Mary had the nerve to disagree with her boss.”
- “Steven had the guts to stand up for his friend who was being bullied.”
- “Jose showed his valor in fighting for the right to bear arms.”
- Brainstorm or look up antonyms for courage (coward, cowardliness, spineless). Repeat the above activity with antonyms. An example is “Mark is spineless by letting Jim take the rap for the break-in.”
- Make up short scenarios of someone showing (or not showing) courage and ask your learner to identify whether or not courage was a factor. Examples are “Sharon collected signatures for petitioning against a tax increase for animal license tags.” and ”George walked away from an assault attack on a young black man waiting at the bus stop.”
- “Wise” or “Not Wise.” Using the same format of making up short scenarios, have your learner identify whether or not the person’s judgment showed wisdom or not.
- “Mary withdrew $75 from her checking account to buy a pair of shoes she wanted, despite the fact her balance was low and not all the checks she had written had gone through.”
- “Gregory asked his girlfriend’s cousin, Mary, to go with him to a movie when his girlfriend was out of town.”
- “John and Jake took their father’s car out for a joyride without permission.”
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 collage of things your learner may fear. Use pictures, your learner’s drawings, and words to identify their fears. When completed, discuss why these things scare him. Discuss ways to handle each scary thing.
- Gallery of Friends poster. Have your learner draw pictures of themselves and their friends having fun. Have your learner tell you something nice about each friend. Help write positive captions for each drawing.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Create a Solution Box. Decorate a shoebox, cut a hole in the top and label it, “Solutions.” On pieces of paper, have the learner write things they can say or do to combat their fears or stresses.
Involvement Tips (All Ages):
- Model courage. Let your learner see you try a new challenge, like speaking up for something you believe in.
- Share words of wisdom at appropriate times. An example — Don’t judge a book by its cover – when discussing a person who may have a physical disability.
- Knowledge helps reduce fear by increasing understanding. If, for example, your learner is afraid of thunder, then provide a learning opportunity to discover what makes thunder. With young learners, give a calming “magical” reason for the thunder like, “the angels must be bowling in heaven.
The water splashed up and hit the opossum in the face. In that moment, the opossum couldn’t see a thing.
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
Remind your learner that being afraid of trying new things is okay and that we all feel afraid at times. However, being afraid should not stop us from trying and learning new things. Reinforce that they will overcome their fears and gain confidence by trying and practicing. Share your personal experiences.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
Encourage your learner to:
- Learn a new skill, like sewing, playing a new sport, learning a new language, or learning to play an instrument, etc.
- Introduce themselves and make a new friend.
- Keep a journal and make a list of ways to show courage.
- Be and stay true to your passions and beliefs.
- Tell someone how much they mean to you.
- Try new foods they have never had before.
- Stick with activities that are challenging.
- Sit with someone new at lunch.
- Invite a new friend home.
- Write a thank-you note to a person who is special in your life.
- Use a blindfold and take turns leading each other around a safe place, like the backyard of your home.
What is inside is far more important than what is on the outside.