Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
Fables teach lessons or morals through animal actions. The exaggerated human-like characteristics of animals make the moral lesson appealing. The story of the Lion and the Mouse illustrates that a kind deed is never wasted and whatever kindness we can do is related to good citizenship.
The learner will:
- discuss how people can help one another (even if smaller and younger).
- describe characteristics of a good citizen.
read-aloud copy of the fable "The Lion and the Mouse" for reading or to guide oral retelling
- Herman, Gail. The Lion and the Mouse. Illustrated by Lisa McCue. Random House (Paperback), 1998. ISBN: 0679886745.
- Jones, Carol. The Lion and the Mouse. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.
- Summary of fable to guide oral retelling: http://aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?srch&fabl/TheLionandtheMouse2
Talk about stories in which someone small and meek does something that helps others in a big way. For example, Frodo, a small hobbit saves Middle Earth (in Lord of the Rings by Tolkien) with his dedication to his task and by staying below the awareness of the major powers. Harry Potter, a young wizard, saves the world through his goodness. The Lion and the Mouse is a fable that illustrates this concept through the actions of animals. Say, "After we read this story, we are going to come up with ideas of things young people can do to make a difference to others."
Explain that fables are brief stories, often told orally, that teach lessons or morals through animals. The animals in the stories are demonstrating behaviors they are known for but with human characteristics. If you plan to tell the story rather than read it, tell students to use their ears and imagination since there are no storybook pictures to look at. You may help them picture the savanna habitat by desribing it or showing an online image.
Ask the students to show with their hands how big a mouse is. Then ask them how big a lion is. "Can a mouse do something to help a lion, or is the lion certainly going to eat a mouse that crosses its path?"
Tell the story to the class and discuss it when you are finished. Ask: What happened to the mouse? What happened to the lion? What is a trap? How did the mouse free the lion? Why couldn't the lion free itself?
Ask students to describe the lesson the story conveys. Relate the moral of the story to good citizenship.
Guide discussion to kind deeds the children may have done or seen. Ask, as good citizens, what kind deeds they could do.
Have the children brainstorm a list of animals and their characteristics. For example, a fox is thought to be sly. A squirrel hides things away. A rabbit keeps to itself and is afraid.
Looking over the list, talk about how some animal pairs could help each other. It can help to think about what a good citizen can do to help someone in need. Maybe someone who is lonely. Have the students draw a picture of two other animals helping each other. Label each picture with their description of "helping."