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As a teacher, we have so much to cover from math and reading to science and social studies. However, lately a larger emphasis is being placed on character education. Character education is very important because all students will need to be responsible and able to manage on their own in the real world. Children need to develop morals and know how to treat other people from an early age. But how do we teach these traits? This lesson using the beloved story of The Little Red Hen to teach cooperation in a PreKindergarten classroom.
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- A copy of "The Little Red Hen"
- A large, odd-shaped box or container
- 2 tsp. of yeast
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour
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Ask the students what cooperation means. If they do not understand the concept, explain that cooperation means people working together to complete a task together. Ask students to give examples of ways they can or have shown cooperation.
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Begin by reading the story "The Little Red Hen" to the students
After reading the story, review story elements with your students. At the preschool level, students will not know this term but will understand the concept. Some questions you may ask are:
- Who were the characters in the story?
- Where did the hen live?
- What was the hen trying to do in the story?
- What happened at the beginning of the story?
- What happened in the middle of the story?
- What happened at the end of the story?
After discussing the story, ask the children about cooperation. Do they remember what you said cooperation was? Talk about how things would have been different in the story if the hen's friends had shown cooperation. Would the hen have shared her bread? Discuss how showing cooperation is not only nice, but it can help accomplish a task in less time.
Give the students an example of cooperation. Ask one student to come to the front of the room. Give the student an oversized box, heavy object, or have a large table. Ask the student to move the object across the room. The child wil have difficulty with this task. Then ask one or two more students to come help the first student. The task should now be easily accomplished. Discuss how the first child could have accomplished the task very slowly with a lot of effort. Then point out that the task was finished much faster and easier when his/her friends helped.
Lastly, you will complete a class cooking activity using cooperation. Ask the students what the hen was making in the story. Then explain that you will also be making bread, but you will be using cooperation to bake it together. During the process, each child should be given a job, whether it is pouring in an ingredient, measuring the water temperature, cleaning the counter, or stirring. When the bread is done, tell the students that each of them will get a piece of the bread since they helped make it. A simple recipe that is child-friendly can be found at here.
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Cooperation at Home
Cooperation is a life skill that children will use throughout their lives. Therefore, cooperation should be applied at home, as well as school. To help provide this connection, include ideas in a newsletter home about family projects that include cooperation. Whether it be more cooking projects or helping their parents put away the dishes, teach children cooperation and responsibility requires a bridge between home and school. The Little Red Hen is just the beginning! This lesson witll help students integrate moral of this story in the class and home.