Lessons From the 100 Acre Wood

Lessons From the 100 Acre Wood

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I just recently finished reading A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner to a class of second and third graders. I am embarrassed to admit that at first I was hesitant in using these books as a classroom read aloud. I mistakenly assumed that a group of 7-9 year olds would find Pooh and his friends to be childish and infantile. I had no idea how immersed they would become in these characters and how much they would come to adore Pooh and his friends (especially Eeyore). They begged me to read every day. They drew picture after picture, usually at home, of each and every character and laid them on my desk. One child started a “Winnie the Pooh Club” in the classroom. We had a Pooh Fest the day before my students left for winter break.

 

We all fell in love (or fell in love again) with this Bear of Very Little Brain, and I believe we are all a little better and wiser for having experienced the story together. We learned so many things from Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.

 

I strongly recommend that you find time to share these books with your own children. Sharing stories together is a powerful way to make meaning of a text, and these particular stories make an excellent springboard for some honest and reflective conversations.

 

Below are 4 lessons I think we can all learn from life in the Hundred Acre Wood, along with some questions and quotes to ponder as you share the stories together.

 

1. Be brave and believe in yourself.

One could say that Pooh’s best friend, Piglet, is not very brave. He wants the world to believe he’s brave, and he usually does a great job at looking brave, but on the inside Piglet is often scared. The irony is that Piglet ends up being perhaps the bravest of all the friends in the Hundred Acre Wood because he believes in himself. He actually talks himself into being brave, and when he does, he ends up doing more great (and brave) things.

 

As you read, think about these questions:

  • What do you think it means to be brave?
  • Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt brave? How did it feel?
  • Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt less than brave? How did that feel?
  • The next time you are feeling less than brave, what could you do? Create a plan or a mantra for yourself. (A mantra is a word or phrase that can be repeated when you need to calm down or think before you act or speak.)

 

“There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

~ Christopher Robin

 

2. Be a good friend to others.

Pooh teaches us that being a good friend means you are there in good times AND in bad times. It means you always have someone to lean on, to share your thoughts with, to join you on adventures, or to help you find your tail when it’s missing.

 

As you read, think about these questions:

  • What qualities do you look for in a friend?
  • What qualities do you have that makes you a good friend?
  • What do you think you could do to be an even better friend? Think of one thoughtful thing you can do for a friend and then do it!

 

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”

~Pooh and Piglet

 

“Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.”

~ Pooh

 

3. Take time to get to know people and embrace their inner beauty.

When Kanga and Roo arrive in the Hundred Acre Wood, the friends are worried about these newcomers (even a little prejudiced against these unknown animals who [gasp] carry their children around in pockets). After Piglet tells his friends that Christopher Robin claims Kanga is One of the Fiercer Animals, Rabbit concocts a plan to kidnap Roo. Kanga thwarts the plan and the friends realize that there is much more to these Fiercer Animals than meets the eye. Yes, they are different but Kanga is smart as a whip, gentle, nurturing and motherly while Roo is adventurous and enthusiastic about everything. The friends find that these qualities make wonderful additions to the Hundred Acre Wood family.

 

As you read, think about these questions:

  • What words would you use to describe your inner beauty? Click here for an extensive list of character traits.
  • How are you different from people in your family or within your group of friends? How do these differences enhance your family structure or your group of friends?
  • Take time to get to know someone new. Make a list of his/her unique qualities or character traits and embrace their inner beauty!

 

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”

~ Piglet

 

4. Go out of your way to be kind to others.

When I think of being kind, I immediately think of Eeyore. Eeyore needs a little kindness in his gloomy life, and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood are often found trying to spread kindness in his direction. In The House at Pooh Corner, Pooh and Piglet come to realize that Eeyore does not have a house like the rest of their friends. He has always just lived in the Gloomy Place. So they decide to build Eeyore his very own house out of sticks. So what if Eeyore had already built himself a house that Pooh and Piglet mistakenly disassembled, and then they used those very same sticks to build him a new house? In the end we learn that it’s truly the thought that counts!

 

As you read, think about these questions:

  • How have you shown kindness to others? How did this make you feel?
  • How have others shown you kindness? How did this make you feel?
  • Make a plan to spread a little more kindness in your world. What could you do to be kind to someone else? How can you show more kindness in your family?

 

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

~ Eeyore

 

What other life lessons have you and your children learned from Winnie the Pooh and his friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Lessons From the 100 Acre WoodOriginal art work by E.H. Shepard, Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

 

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Nicole Clevenger

Nicole Clevenger is an imaginative mommy and 2nd-/3rd-grade teacher who believes that the best approach to life is hands-on. She is here to share her love for language, reading, and play by creating lessons that inspire. Nicole holds an MEd from The Ohio State University and a K–8 Teaching Certificate. When she’s not in the classroom, Nicole is diving into every picture book and middle-grade novel she can get her hands on, as well as learning alongside her two daughters.

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