Looking for a book to read on the first day of school? The Empty Pot by Demi is a fantastic book that emphasizes the importance of HONESTY and living with INTEGRITY.
Book synopsis: The Emperor needs to choose a successor and decides to host a contest. He gives all the children in the kingdom a seed and tells them to bring back their best in one year. Ping, the main character, is very excited because he loves to garden and knows he can grow a beautiful flower. However, Ping plants his seed and nothing happens. He replants it in a larger pot with fresh soil. He waters it and looks after it every day, but still nothing grows. After the year, the other children all make fun of Ping because they have beautiful flowers, but all Ping has is an empty pot. Ping’s parents encourage him, telling him they’re proud of him for doing his best. The children all come to the Emperor, but he is not pleased with their beautiful flowers. When he sees Ping’s empty pot, he smiles. The Emperor tells everyone that the seeds he handed out had been boiled, so nothing could grow from them. All of the other children had swapped out their seeds, but only Ping was honest and brought an empty pot. Ping, praised for his honesty and courage, is crowned the next Emperor
It’s a fantastic story with a great message – I love hearing my students’ gasp when they hear the plot twist!
After we read the book I had my students do several activities to drive home the message of the book and sneak in some important reading skill practice.
At the end of our unit I give each student an empty terra cotta pot for them to take home as a reminder of our important study this week:
I love running into students from previous years and they tell me they still have their empty pot sitting on their desk and it reminds them of our class!
If you’d like to try these activities with your students you can download this print-and-go resource here
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