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An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools


To reflect upon the fact that expected and unexpected events can bring both joy and disappointment.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. You will be reading from the chapters entitled 'Charlie's Birthday', 'The Family Begins to Starve' and ‘The Miracle’.


  1. Ask the children if they have a favourite book.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that you are going to read a passage from one of your favourite books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Remind the children of the main storyline: Charlie Bucket is a very poor boy who gets one bar of chocolate a year. Mr Willy Wonka, the mysterious owner of a large chocolate factory, announces that he has hidden five Golden Tickets in five bars of chocolate. The finders of the tickets will be allowed to visit his chocolate factory. When it is Charlie's birthday, he is given a bar of chocolate and readers expect a happy ending . . .

  2. Read the part of the story where Charlie opens the wrapper and finds nothing more than a bar of chocolate (in the chapter entitled 'Charlie's Birthday'). At the end of the extract, discuss with the children how they think Charlie was feeling when his hopes and expectations, and those of his grandparents, came to nothing.

  3. Explain that the story doesn't end there. Read the part of the story where Charlie is walking down the road and finds some money (in the chapter entitled 'The Family Begins to Starve'). Finding this money leads to him, quite unexpectedly, finding a Golden Ticket!

  4. Point out that sometimes things happen when we least expect them to. The chapter where Charlie finds a Golden Ticket is called 'The Miracle'. It must have seemed like a miracle to Charlie to find the Golden Ticket because it was something totally unexpected.
    Ask the following question.

    - How do you think Charlie felt when he found the ticket?

  5. When unexpected things happen, they can leave us full of joy and happiness. However, they can also leave us feeling disappointed. We often look forward to events, expecting them to be good or exciting. However, if the event goes wrong, we feel disappointed.

  6. You may wish to sing the song 'Give me oil in my lamp', drawing particular attention to verse two, 'Give me joy in my heart'.

Time for reflection

I wonder if you have ever felt disappointed or let down. Let’s pause for a moment to think about those times.

I wonder if you have ever been given a wonderful surprise - perhaps something totally unexpected that has made you feel happy. Let’s pause for a moment to think about those times.

After a few moments, say the following prayer:

Dear Lord,
When we feel disappointed and let down or we feel that life is unfair, help us not to blame other people.
When we see others who are feeling sad and disappointed, help us to share their feelings and encourage them to feel strong.
Thank you for all the times when we have felt happy because something good has happened that we didn't expect.
When we see others who are happy and joyful, help us to share in their joy and not feel jealous.


'Give me oil in my lamp' (Come and Praise, 43)

Curriculum links

  1. Creative writing and poetry: consider the theme, 'Tales of the Unexpected'.

  2. Art: look at some abstract paintings based on shades of different colours that convey feelings of disappointment, sadness, hope and joy.

  3. Music: listen to music that conveys particular moods, especially the feelings of disappointment and joy.

  4. RE (Upper Primary): discuss a miracle story from any religious tradition. What was the miracle and in what ways was it unexpected?

Publication date: May 2016   (Vol.18 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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