Giving Back Like a Mouse

K, 1, 2

This lesson introduces the idea of giving back. Students hear an oral retelling of "The Lion and the Mouse" and relate the ability of the mouse to help the lion with the empowerment of children to make a difference.

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • tell an oral story(may use a storybook that doesn't have words).
  • compare the lion/mouse relationship with an adult/child relationship.
  • brainstorm the time, talent, and treasure children may have that can make a difference in the world.
  • describe the concepts of "giving back" and "paying it forward."

Copy of the fable The Lion and the Mouse (see Bibliographic References).


Some of these books are for reference to get familiar with the story. The Pinkney book contains no text.

  • 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. ISBN: 0395869560.
  • Pinkney, Jerry. The Lion and the Mouse. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0316013567


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students,"Do you think you can help someone who is bigger, stronger, or older than you?" Listen to their ideas. Write some of their examples and sort their ideas into the following categories: talents, time, and treasure. For example, someone may share their talent for social media; share their time with a sick person; share their treasure in the form of a good book or food for lunch. Tell them the fable, The Lion and the Mouse, tells how someone very small helped someone very big and powerful.

  2. Ask them to raise their hands if they have ever told or been told a story. Tell the students that people have been telling stories aloud for thousands of years, long before there were written books. Family and friends enjoyed hearing stories because they were interesting and because stories taught them about the world.

  3. Ask the students how books and stories make our lives better. Ask what they think it would be like if they didn't have easy access to books that tell stories or give them information.

  4. Explain that you will be telling them a story rather than reading aloud. Students will use their imagination and picture the story in their heads if you are telling it without the picture book. If you are using the picture book that has no text, you may ask the students to participate in the storytelling as much as possible.

  5. Tell the story to the class using engaging language and expressive voices.

  6. Discuss the story What did the lion do for the mouse? Why? What did the mouse do for the lion? Why? Do you think the mouse would have helped the lion if the lion had not freed him? Why or why not? What do you think it means "to give back"? How is this a story about being good citizens?

  7. Tell the students to compare and contrast a mouse and a lion (you may use a Venn diagram). Then ask the students how the mouse and lion are similar to a child and an adult. Ask, "what can a child do to help an adult?"

  8. Discuss things children can do that are good for the community. Brainstorm the time, talent, and treasure children may have that can make a difference in the world.

  9. Describe the concepts of "giving back" and "paying it forward." When someone does something nice for you, you can pass it on by doing something nice for someone else. Ask. "How does that make the whole community better?"

  10. Challenge the students to look for opportunities to help when it is not expected of them. Tell them to bring stories of helping in this way back to the classroom over the next couple weeks. Write a description of what they do on an index card and post the cards on a bulletin board.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.