Last year, I read the story of The Little Red Hen to my first graders. Do you remember that story from childhood? Little Red Hen works very hard to make bread but none of her animal friends will help her. In the end, Little Red Hen does not share her bread with her friends because they did not help.
After reading the story, I ask the students whether or not they agree with Little Red Hen's decision to not share the bread.
"Who thinks Little Red Hen was right in not sharing her bread with her animal friends?" I ask. In most classes, almost everyone raises their hand. "Why do you think that?" I ask.
The answers vary:
"None of her friends helped make the bread so they shouldn't get to eat the bread."
"The animals made Little Red Hen feel sad so she should make the animals feel sad too."
"Little Red Hen was probably more hungry than the other animals because she did all the work."
"Little Red Hen had to feed her chicks."
"It's not fair for them to eat the bread because they didn't help."
Then I ask, "Who thinks Little Red Hen should have shared her bread with her friends?" In most classes, only about 2-3 students raise their hand. "Why do you think that?" I ask.
The answers vary:
"Because you should be kind."
"Because it's nice to share."
"Because even if they didn't help, they are your friends so you should let them eat the bread."
First graders are ALL about things being "fair". That's just where they are developmentally. But they are also taught to be kind to their friends and share, so this story really puts them in a dilemma!
In one class, NO ONE thought the Little Red Hen should share. "Okay, then I am going to try to convince you that she should share," I told them. "You don't have to change your mind, but I'm going to try to convince you." Ooh! Everyone liked this game!
I went through my spiel... trying to convince them the Little Red Hen should share.
Nope, I didn't get one six-year-old to change their mind. They were steadfast in their decision! No help, no bread!
Do you think the older kids would be more likely to think Little Red Hen should share? I want to ask my 4th graders and see what they think!