Get ready to discuss, share, play, create, and read your way to developing and empowering a strong character.
You have just arrived at a strange and beautiful place filled with new challenges and adventures. Now it is time to make Breakers Island your new home.
Story Focus, Virtues, and Life Lessons
To provide assistance or help to others without personal gain.
Compassion – Courtesy – Truth
Honesty vs. Speculation, Gossip, and Rumor
Shelley, the spider, only shared what she knew was true.
“There were some old scary stories about the woods and mountain, but the spider would not tell them. No one even knew if they were true.” The spider stated her opinion but did not pressure the mouse. “Then you should visit all these places before you make your nest.”
The spider helped the mouse without personal gain.
“Shelley hoped that what she had learned would help them pick the best place to make their new home.”
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 mystical when reading the first sentence of the story.
- Sound happy and content when describing Shelley’s life with Farmer John.
- Sound mystical again with the fourth paragraph describing the special place.
- Use a high pitch, happy voice when Shelley welcomes the small brown mouse.
- Use a soft, slow, sickly voice when reading Mack’s first response.
- Show compassion in your voice when Shelley responds to Mack.
- Change the sounds and tones of your voice as Mack starts to feel better.
- Excitement, curiosity, and fearful sounds in your voice should reflect Mack’s responses.
- Sound compassionate and reassuring when reading Shelley’s responses.
- Use a calm and soothing voice when reading the end of the story.
Interject these questions to involve the learner:
- What kind of animal is Shelley?
- What do you think happened to the boats?
- Why do you think Mack was hiding in the boat?
- What did Mack want to know about Breakers Island?
- Why would Mack be worried there are a lot of cats?
Use the answers to these questions to recall points in the story.
- How did Shelley and Farmer John meet?
It may have been the wind that blew her web into the path of Farmer John. Or maybe it was the top of his hat that caught her web.
- Why was Mack seasick?
The captain did his best but the boat kept going up and down. Up and down!
- What did Mack think about the cats on Breakers Island?
Mack thought, “Oh no! Cats! This can’t be good. My new home is an island with a lot of cats!”
- Why didn’t the spider tell the old, scary stories?
There were some old, scary stories about the woods and mountain, but the spider would not tell them. No one even knew if they were true.
- Why did the spider invite the mouse to Farmer John’s Farm?
She said, “Mack, if you come with me right now, you can ride with us to our farm. You can stay in the barn with our mice until you feel better. Then you should visit all these places before you make your nest.”
Behavior/Social Development (All Ages):
- Ask your learner for examples in which they have been honest and helped others. Praise your learner for their examples.
- Ask your learner when they think they are helpful, truthful, and kind. Praise your learner for these example behaviors.
- Discuss the meaning of compassion. Share personal examples.
- Discuss the meaning of courtesy. Share personal examples. Brainstorm words and phrases that display the virtue, courtesy. Examples – Please, thank you, may I help you, etc.
Language Development (Younger Learners):
- Identify and label objects, shapes, and colors in the room that were contained in the story. Examples – Objects (box, wagon, hat, wheel, coat, blanket, real or stuffed animals) and shapes (circle, square)
- Colors (black, blue, brown, and red)
- Identify word patterns: Long E Sounds “– e”
Words used in Welcome to Breakers Island — be, he, me, she, we
- Identify the basic courteous words that should be in their vocabulary.
Examples are “please” and “thank you”
- Discuss a time when your learner was sick or hurt. Ask who took care of them and how did they take care of them. Have they ever helped someone feel better and what are some of the things they did.
- Ask your learner about their friends. What does it mean to be kind to a friend (animal)? How does it feel when a friend is kind to you?
- Introduce the following vocabulary words as you discuss what compassion means: “caring,” “helping,” “kindness,” “feelings,” “experiences.” Use these words in your discussion of compassion. Create scenarios and have your learner identify the compassionate act.
Language Development (Older Learners):
- Identify synonyms for honest and honesty. Use the synonyms in sentence examples.
- Example words are “truthful,” “sincere,” “straightforward,” “frank,” “candid,” and “openness.”
- Example sentences are “I have been truthful in my excuse.” “I am sincere in my thoughts.”
- Identify synonyms for courtesy. Use these synonyms in personal examples.
- Example words are “manners,” “politeness,” “civility,” “consideration,” etc.
- Example sentences are “I am polite to senior citizens.” “I have consideration for other people’s opinion.” I was taught manners.”
- Have your learner share a story or incident that happened to them or a friend. Encourage your learner to try re-telling the story from their friend’s point of view.
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/emotion faces (happy, sad, angry, hurt, lonely, confused, surprised, excited, etc.) on paper plates and attach them to Popsicle sticks. Images and patterns can be downloaded from various free online sites. You may also choose to use clip art.
- Paste the images to a paper plate. If artistic, draw the feelings and emotions on the plate.
- Give different scenarios that require your learner to think about their feelings and/or the feelings of others.
- Based on the scenarios, have your learner choose the plate that would express the feelings or emotions they think they would experience. Discuss their choices.
Arts & Crafts Activities (Older Learners):
- Make a word art collage of synonyms and/or specific acts that represent honesty – compassion – courtesy. (Materials needed are one poster board for each virtue, pencils, markers, stencils, magazines, clip art, scissors, and glue.)
- Extension – Have your learner give details in explaining their art collage.
Involvement Tips (All Ages):
- Learners watch how others are treated! Give a good and bad example of how you have been treated in the past and share the feelings you felt. Ask your learner for a personal example of both. Discuss their feelings. To introduce the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”
- Play the game Hangman where the learner has to guess letters and then solve the phrase.
- Have your learner repeat the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” Ask for and/or give examples of where this phrase would be appropriate. Refer the phrase back to the examples given in the discussion of re-telling a story from a friend’s point of view.
The mouse was very seasick. He said in a soft voice, “My name is Mack.”
Continue with learning experiences to extend your stay.
Follow-up Activities (All Ages):
- Count the number of similar shapes in one room. Examples of rectangles are tables, picture frames, books, etc. For older learners, you could bring in some geometry lessons with shapes.
- Reinforce the concept of different shapes in travels. Examples – Road signs that are rectangles and triangles, 3 round colors on the stoplight, the shape of a pedestrian crossing, etc. Have older learners identify the meanings of the signs.
- Play 2 Truths and a Lie – Take turns with your learner giving 2 facts and 1 lie about themselves. The object of the game is to identify which one of the statements is the lie.
Real-Life Activities (All Ages):
- Go on a shape search in your home. Find 3 round objects, 4 square objects, etc.
- Count the number of similar shapes in one room. Examples of rectangles in the kitchen are refrigerator, cutting board, box of cereal, etc. Choose a different shape each day or choose a different room each day.
- Reinforce the concept of different shapes in your travels. Examples – Road signs that are rectangles, round wheels on a car or bike, 3 round colors on the stop light, etc.
The mouse crawled up the wheel and into the back of the wagon to hide. Mack wondered, “Does Farmer John have a cat?”
Mack asked, “Which place would be best for me to live?”