Elementary Crafts to Teach Humility

Humility is considered one of the chief virtues in many cultural traditions.
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In a society that values personal accomplishment and renown, it can be difficult to ensure that children take in the virtue of humility. However, by weaving engaging crafts into your lesson plans, you can ensure that your students have easy-to-remember visual reminders of the value of being humble.

1 The Tortoise and the Hare

The classic fable of the tortoise and the hare is an excellent example of the difference between pride and humility: The proud hare is so confident in his speed that he takes a nap in the middle of the race and lets the slow tortoise pass him and win. To illustrate this story, have your students make models of the tortoise and hare out of modeling clay or paper.

Your students might decorate the hare with shiny stickers or plastic crystals to illustrate his boastful nature, and portray the tortoise in drab colors, such as green or brown. Set up a finish line in your classroom and have your students re-enact the story with their models, and then explain how the fable illustrates humility's long-term advantages over pride.

2 Trees of Pride and Humility

This is a craft that helps students tell the difference between prideful choices and humble ones. Before class, create a list of both proud and humble behaviors.

Have your students cut out two large trees from green construction paper and several dozen small red apples out of red construction paper. Have them mark half the apples with brown and black markers to indicate they are "rotten apples." Tack the two trees to a piece of poster board and label them "Pride" and "Humility."

Then read the list of behaviors you made before class to your students. For each behavior you present, have your students decide whether it's proud or humble. If it's proud, have them write out the behavior on one of the rotten apples and tack it on the "Pride" tree; if it's humble, have them write it on one of the good apples and tack it on the "Humility" tree. This provides your students with an excellent visual illustration of the difference between proud and humble actions.

3 Peaks and Valleys

Provide your class with white paper. Have each of your students cut a circle out of the white paper, and then cut a wedge-shaped section out of the circle. When they're done, they should be able to fold the paper so the two edges where the section was cut out can touch each other, forming a cone from the paper.

Have your students write "Pride" on one side of the paper with markers or crayons, opposite where the section was cut out, and "Humility" in the same place on the other side of the paper. Have your students color the "Pride" side as a mountain, with a snowcap around the inside of the circle, and draw flowers on the "Humility" side, sprouting out from the inside of the circle.

Then, instruct your students to fold the paper into a cone, with the "Pride" side on the outside. Ask them what they're capable of holding with their pride -- explaining that, if they're standing on the mountain of pride, there's no room to learn new things. Then have them turn the cone over, and ask what they can hold with their humility. Students learn in discussion that, by being humble and keeping an open mind, they have a vessel that is open to new ideas and growth.

4 Things I Do Not Know

Give your students each a piece of construction paper and some markers, and have them draw an outline of their head. Instruct them to leave most of the space on the paper outside the outline. Then read out a list of items that may or may not be known -- such as "my own name," "how many stars there are in the sky," "what my parents are thinking" -- and ask your students whether they know those items.

If they know, have them write that item inside the outline of their head; if not, they should write it outside the outline. When they're done, your students will have a powerful illustration of how limited their knowledge is in the scope of the universe, an excellent reminder to be humble.

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.