Emma's Gems

story by Anne Renaud , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning Intention:

I am learning to consider my personal experiences and opinions so that I can develop a deeper connection to the text that I am reading.

Success Criteria:

  • I can consider my own moral values prior to reading a text.
  • I can make connect my opinions and morals with the content of the text.
  • I can discuss my moral values and actions with my peers to further develop my understanding of a text.

Essential knowledge:

More information about how to present views in a sensible and persuasive manner can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Argument.

Prior to reading the ‘Emma’s Gems’, define the concept of moral values to students. Explain that the moral values we hold help us decide between the right and wrong thing to do. Discuss a range of playground examples, such as:

  • What would you do if you saw someone throwing their rubbish on the ground?
  • What would you do if you saw someone playing alone in the playground?
  • What would you do if you forgot to do your homework?

Explain that the decisions they make are based on their moral values. Moral values are an individual thing, but many people share the same moral values.

Provide students with a range of moral values that are important to most people. Ask students to come up with personal examples of how they uphold these moral values in their daily lives. For example:

  • Respect (following teachers’ instructions, following the rules of their weekend sport)
  • Patience
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Courage
  • Cooperation

As a class read the ‘Emma’s Gems’ Explain to the class that the story has a moral (lesson) about moral values. Discuss the main events in the story, then ask students to identify the moral. Provide scaffolding, as necessary. This could take the form of narrative arc graphic organiser. Once students have summarised the main events of the narrative ask them to identify Grandpa Phil’s message: physical objects (in his case gems) are a daily reminder to do good deeds. Move students’ thinking beyond the surface level moral, that it is good to be generous.

Finally, ask students to consider what actions they take in their lives to uphold the moral value of generosity. These actions may be connected to school routines, their family schedule or cultural/religious commitments. Then ask them to evaluate whether Grandpa Phil’s daily reminder system would be a useful tool in their lives, or if they feel that they do enough generous deeds without it.

Pair students up and instruct them to discuss how the moral of the story relates to their own life. Provide the following prompts to structure their conversation:

  • I believe that the moral value of generosity means …
  • Some ways that I uphold this moral value is …
  • I think that Grandpa Phil’s reminder system would / would not be useful for me because …