Joy and Heron

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Area: Film, History and Social Studies, Other Areas
Grade Level: Primary/Elementary School
Topics: ethics, friendship, law, politics, Right/Wrong, values
Estimated Time Necessary: 30-45 Minutes

Lesson Plan

To think together about morality, friendship, and empathy
This short film gives students an opportunity to reflect on whether it is right to do the "wrong" thing to help someone in need, what empathy is, and why we help others.

“Joy and Heron,” Animated Short Film by Passion Pictures

This lesson plan can be used either in a classroom or online.

Plot Summary: In this short, animated film a fisherman sails out with his enthusiastic dog. They are quickly joined by a heron, who lands on the boat. At first, the dog and the heron are curious about one another, but when the heron takes the fisherman’s worm to eat the dog becomes angry. The heron returns, taunting the dog and taking more worms. Meanwhile, the fisherman reprimands the dog for making noise. When the fisherman catches the heron taking his worms, he shoos her away. The dog is satisfied until he notices the heron fly back to a nest with three hungry babies. Noticing the babies prefer worms to the fish the heron catches, the dog leaves worms for her. The heron returns the favor by dropping a mouthful of fish into the boat.



Discussion Questions

  • Is the bird stealing?
  • Is it permissible to take things from someone if you are in need?
  • What is it about the bird having hungry babies that changes things for the dog?
  • Why does the dog help the bird?
  • Why does the bird help the dog?
  • Is it fair for the fisherman to be angry with the dog for making noise?
  • Think of a time you helped someone. Why did you help them?
  • What is joy? How do we make it happen?