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The Hummingbird


Tale typology
Intercultural traditions

Age Suitability

Tale summary
The Little Hummingbird is a beautiful short story to use as a jumping-off point to explore themes of kindness, compassion, helping, and altruism with children. Little Hummingbird may have been one of the smallest animals in the forest, but she was the only one brave enough to help her friends in a seemingly helpless situation.
Educational potential / Learning Outcomes
Each of us can make a difference, no matter how small we are and no matter how big the problem seems.
The activity encourages each individual child to be kind.
The children are developing a habit of acknowledging and recognizing kindness – and not taking each other for granted.
The teacher hears about all of the kind things, and gain a deeper understanding of how each child interprets kindness, and in turn, love.
Full Plot
“One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by raging wildfire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can't put out this fire."
And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."
One Lesson Plan
Introduction Activity: The teacher play the video with the story Hummingbird and ask the pupils the following questions:
Why do you think Hummingbird tried to stop the fire, even though it was so big?
How do you think Hummingbird felt after helping put out the fire?
Can you think of a time you felt like the other animals, where a problem seemed so big you felt you couldn’t help?
How about the Hummingbird? Have you ever tried to help even though the problem may have seemed too big?
What did you learn from reading the story about the Hummingbird?
Main Activity: Many of us will likely not be faced with the same dire situation as Little Hummingbird. But we can still model and encourage our children to take small actions to catalyse a kindness ripple-effect in our communities.
A (Paper) Chain of Kindness
This activity is:
visually encouraging – something all of the children would see often and feel encouraged by
ongoing – nothing that I would need to limit or could potentially run out of, because kindness never runs out
collaborative – something that acknowledged that a single act of kindness contributed to the whole group
beautiful – something that the children would love and cherish and want to nurture
open-ended – something where children could acknowledge each other, themselves, or others
Give several colourful A4 papers with stripes already drawn on to pupils and ask them to cut them with scissors. Just straight lines on various pieces of construction paper, and a basket to receive all of the finished strips.
(Lesson Plan picture 1)
Once you have a good rainbow of colours in the basket, you can gather the children together for a talk about kindness.
You can talk about what kindness is and how it made us feel. You can talk about all of the different forms of kindness – kind words, kind actions, kind hands, and kind thoughts.
When they can’t think of anymore things to have you write, you can start making a paper chain out of the strips.
The teacher can show them how the chain gets constructed, and talk about how when someone does something kind to us, we feel good and want to do something kind for another person, and then that can make them feel good and want to do something kind themselves.
When the teacher finish adding all of the strips to the chain, she/he ask the children if they thought that they could do more kind things so these could be added to the chain.
(Lesson Plan picture 2)
You can hang the paper chain of kindness up in the work room, and that whenever someone did or experienced a kind thing, that they could come to the teacher and we would add another “link” to the chain.


The Hummingbird Story

Media Gallery

Lesson Plan Picture 2
Lesson Plan Picture 1


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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