Giving Back: Based on the book Milo and the Magical Stones
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Key Stage 1/2
To ask that we reflect on the actions we take and their effects on the wider community.
Preparation and materials
- Familiarize yourself with the story of Milo and the Magical Stones, written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister (North-South Books, 2009). Briefly, it is as follows. On a small island in the middle of the sea, a mouse named Milo makes an extraordinary discovery – a magic, glowing stone, hidden in a deep crevice. How this discovery changes the lives of Milo and the other mice is left to the reader to decide. The book gives readers the choice of two alternative endings – one happy, one sad. Each offers opportunities to reflect on the implications of our own actions for the communities in which we live.
- You will need:
– a copy of the book Milo and the Magical Stones
– collection of pebbles that are large enough to decorate (one could be coloured already or covered in gold and a second might be decorated with a symbol, picture or pattern, but they should, initially, be hidden)
– mouse puppet, if possible, as this can enhance the telling of the story
– flipchart or whiteboard (optional).
- You could use the prayer 'Father God, the more that we explore the wonderful world . . .' from Prayers for a Fragile World by Carol Watson (Lion, 1997) or another prayer of your choosing for the ‘Time for reflection’ section.
- Have available 'The eagle and the hawk' by John Denver on Earth Songs, though several of the other songs would also be appropriate, and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.
- Note: The book could be used as the basis for three consecutive assemblies. The first could explore how greed can destroy a sense of community. The second could look at the long-term benefits of a sharing approach and the difficult decisions that each individual might face. The third offers the possibility of reflecting on how famous figures, such as Mother Teresa, have followed this second route as an expression of their Christian faith. These assemblies would easily link with PSHE lessons and circle times so the themes of the assemblies could be reinforced in the rest of the school day.
- Tell the story of Milo, explaining that there will be a choice of two endings. You will need to decide whether to state that one is a happy ending and one sad or allow the children to go through an extra stage in their thinking by deciding which is the preferred solution.
- Ask the children to judge which is the best ending and identify the reasons for this. You could expect suggestions relating to greed, making the island beautiful, sharing warmth and enjoying spending time together.
Older children may be able to identify principles such as the equal distribution of wealth and making decisions for the long-term good of everybody.
Their contributions could be recorded by a child on the flipchart or whiteboard, if using.
- Draw from the discussion the message that we have to give back to our world or community to ensure there are good things for the children who come after us.
- Take the classroom to be our world or community. Ask the children what it gives them and then what they can give back so that everyone benefits.
Refer to Mother Teresa as an example of someone who did this, someone who lived out her Christian faith by constantly giving back to her community. She wrote these words about giving and receiving from God in her book, A Simple Path (compiled by Lucinda Vardey, Ballantine, 1995):
So take whatever he gives and give whatever he takes with a big smile.
Accept the gifts of God and be deeply grateful.
If he has given you great wealth, make use of it, try to share it with others, with those who don't have anything.
Always share with others.
Time for reflection
Hold one of the pebbles in your hands and ask everyone to pretend they are doing the same. Invite them to draw something on the pebble with their finger. This should be their way of giving something back to the island.
You may ask several children or adults to describe what they have drawn and why.
Alternatively, ask them to share their decoration with the person next to them.
Prayer of your choosing (see Preparation and materials)
'The eagle and the hawk' by John Denver