Ethos Education

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Taking a Stand

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Assembly Objective:

  • Why should we stand up for the rights of other people? This assembly marks Saint George’s Day by inviting pupils to consider his courageous acts (both mythical and factual).

Film: 

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Twentieth Century Fox, 2010). Click here to buy a copy of the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty is based on the notion that we are free and responsible for our own actions. But the values of Democracy and Rule of Law recognise that we are part of a society whereby we support others. This assembly encourages pupils to consider how we can stand up for the rights of other people.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Create the Atmosphere (mood-setter)

Saint George Quiz (quiz)

Download the Saint George Quiz PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ask the following questions about Saint George. You can either ask the students to vote by a show of hands for each question, or have two or more volunteers who come to the front of the assembly to compete against each other. If you choose the latter option, you might want to have an appropriate prize for the winner, such as a Saint George’s car-flag (most widely available in the run up to major football tournaments, but available for sale throughout the year):
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • 1. Whose birthday is April 23rd? (Saint George, William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill). [click] William Shakespeare – but it’s Saint George’s ‘deathday’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • 2. Which organisation has Saint George as its patron saint? (Boy Scouts, SAS, Women’s Institute). [click] The Boy Scouts.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • 3. Where was George believed to have been born? (Winchester, Malta, Palestine). [click] Palestine – his mother was Palestinian, and his father Turkish.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • 4. Where in England is George thought to have first set foot? (Dover, Hull, Nowhere). [click] Nowhere – as far as anyone knows, George never visited England.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • 5. The most famous legend about Saint George tells of how he killed what? (a dragon, a hamster, a lion). [click] A dragon, of course.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • 6. What was George’s profession? (a soldier, a royal prince, a blacksmith). [click] He was a Roman soldier, and a member of the Emperor’s personal guard.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • 7. Which city contains the most sculptures of George slaying the dragon? (Madrid, Winchester, Moscow). [click] Moscow – George is the Patron Saint of Russia as well as England.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • 8. A shrine to Saint George in the village of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, is frequently visited by pilgrims of which religion? (Christian, Muslim, Jewish). [click] All three!

The Legend of Saint George and the Dragon (miming game)

  • Choose up to six volunteers, and send them out of the room. The first person comes in and you tell them (and the rest of the group) the legend of ‘Saint George and the Dragon’:
    • A dragon entered a city and made a nest that covered the city’s water supply.
    • The citizens had to offer human sacrifices to make the dragon leave its nest.
    • One day, the princess was chosen to be sacrificed.
    • But, just in time, George appeared and killed the dragon with his sword, saving the princess and the city.
  • (For KS1, ask them simply to act out a man killing a dragon.) After you have read this out, invite the second person in to watch the first person act out the story. The second person then copies what they have seen to the third person. The third person then copies what they have seen to the fourth person, and so on until one by one all those outside have come in. Finally, the first person repeats their act for the benefit of the other actors and the group’s amusement.

A Legend in Pictures (story-telling)

  • Give the children a sheet of A3 paper each and colouring pencils. Explain that they are going to write a story without words. Ask them to listen carefully to the questions and to draw a picture for each question (stress that the important thing is the story, not the quality of the drawing).
  • First, they need to divide the paper into six areas. Then begin on the questions.
  • 1. Think of a main character for your story – a hero or heroine; he or she can be made up by you, from a story or myth or from a film. Where does this character live? – a house, a castle – whatever you think. What is the landscape like?
  • 2. In every story the central character has a task or mission or a problem to solve. What is the task for your character?
  • 3. Is there anyone who helps the main character and how do they help?
  • 4. Who or what is the obstacle that stands in the way of the leading character carrying out their task?
  • 5. How will he or she deal with and try to overcome the obstacle or solve the problem?
  • 6. What happened and what is the end of the story?
  • When everybody has finished, invite the children to tell their story to either a partner or a small group.

Take a Stand for Someone Else (campaign/activity)

  • In small groups, the children come up with a cause they are passionate about. This could be anything from bullying to poverty, but encourage them to think of a cause that helps other people. Next the groups design a campaign to promote their cause. They could design posters, radio/TV adverts, dramas, fundraising events, presentations, etc.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Twentieth Century Fox, 2010)
    • Start time: 01:17:52 (chapter 23, the ring leader of the gang says, ‘You guys have no idea what I’m going to do to you’).
    • End time: 01:21:04 (‘cheese touch! Greg Heffley has the cheese touch!’ shouts a girl with pig tails, before all the children run away).
    • Clip length: 3 minutes and 12 seconds.

TALK

Download the Taking a Stand PowerPoint for use with this talk.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Welcome to our assembly everyone. Today we’re going to honour a very special man. Some say he is a dragon-killer. Some say he is a saint. All we know is: he’s called Saint George.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2] 
    • 23 April is Saint George’s day. George is the Patron Saint of England, but not just England. He is also the Patron Saint of [click] Canada, [click] Ethiopia, [click] Georgia, [click] Germany, [click] Greece, [click] Lithuania, [click] Malta, [click] Moldova, [click] Montenegro, [click] Portugal, [click] Russia, [click] Serbia, and even [click] the Boy Scout movement. There must have been something amazing about this man to make him an inspiration to so many nations.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Many legends have been told about George, but the most famous is ‘Saint George and the Dragon’:
    • The city of Cyrene in Libya was once terrorised by a dragon. The beast made its nest over the spring that supplied the city’s water. The citizens grew desperate. They needed to lure the dragon away from its nest long enough to sneak up and draw water. The only distraction that worked was a human sacrifice. So, every time they needed water, the citizens drew lots to decide who must sacrifice their lives for the city. One day, the princess was chosen. In spite of the king’s protests, she went to meet her fate, pushed forward by the thirsty townspeople. But, a moment before the dragon snatched her, a traveller called George appeared. Bravely he drew his sword and killed the beast, saving the princess and her city from its terrible reign.
    • This is a wonderful story, but it’s unlikely to be true. The real story of George’s life and death doesn’t include any dragons but it does involve an enormous amount of courage.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Historians generally agree that George was a Roman soldier, who fought under Emperor Diocletian. In the year 302 AD, Diocletian gave orders for all Christians to be arrested. George, a Christian himself, had a difficult choice to make: to look out for his fellow Christians or to look out for himself. Bravely George refused to take part, and told the emperor that he was Christian. The emperor had George killed.
    • Another Christian called Paul wrote a letter to Roman Christians like George, which now forms part of the Bible. In it, he wrote:
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10 (CEV).
    • George risked his own safety to stand against an evil order. He loved his God and the other Christians enough to honour them above himself. Standing before a dragon sounds pretty scary. But taking a stand against bullies can be just as terrifying.
    • You may not have faced a dragon before, but I bet you’ve faced a bully before. We’re going to watch a clip from Diary of a Wimpy Kid in a moment.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • But first, I must tell you one last legend: the legend of ‘The Cheese Touch’. Nobody knows when or how, but one day a cheese slice mysteriously appeared on the playground at Westmore Middle School. Nobody knew who it belonged to. Nobody touched it. Nobody threw it away. And so there it sat, growing more foul and powerful by the day. Until one day a kid named Darren Walsh made the biggest mistake of his life. He poked the mouldy slice with his finger, and somebody saw him. From that moment on, Darren had the cheese touch. It was worse than the dreaded lurgy! He became an outcast. The only way to get rid of the cheese touch was by passing it on to someone else. And so began the cheese touch frenzy. Friend turning on friend. Brother turning on sister. It was madness. Until a German exchange-student turned up and took the lurgy away. . . Now the cheese sits, patiently waiting for its next victim.
    • Play the clip from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Twentieth Century Fox, 2010).
      • Start time: 01:17:52 (chapter 23, the ring leader of the gang says, ‘You guys have no idea what I’m going to do to you’).
      • End time: 01:21:04 (‘cheese touch! Greg Heffley has the cheese touch!’ shouts a girl with pig tails, before all the children run away).
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 12 seconds.
    • If you cannot play the clip, read this description aloud instead:
      • Two friends, Greg Heffley and Rowley Jefferson, are cornered by a gang of older bullies. Spotting the cheese slice now encrusted with blue-green mould, they tell Rowley to eat it. Seeing no other option, Rowley bends down and picks up the sticky, smelly, slimy cheese. He takes a bite. Then the bullies turn to Greg, who insists he has a cheese allergy that can kill. At that moment, the bell rings for break time, and a crowd of children gathers around Greg, Rowley and the part-eaten cheese slice. A girl begins, ‘Rowley Jefferson ate. . .’ But before she can finish, Greg steps forward and announces, ‘I ate the cheese.’ Greg argues that by eating the cheese he has freed the playground from its curse. He calls for anyone who is sick of the ‘cheese touch’ to step forward and join him. The playground empties, leaving Greg and Rowley standing alone.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • What do you think of Greg’s decision to stand with Rowley? [Take suggestions.]
    • What would you have done if you were Greg?
    • What Greg did took sincere love and amazing courage. He put Rowley before himself, just as Saint George put the other Christians before himself. As we celebrate Saint George’s Day let’s remember his bravery and his sacrifice.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Taking a Stand PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • Introduction [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Welcome.
    • Today we’re going to honour a dragon-killing saint called George.
  • George: The Patron Saint [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • 23 April is Saint George’s day.
    • George is the Patron Saint of England.
    • But he is also the Patron Saint of 13 other nations. [13 clicks].
  • George: The Dragon Slayer [PowerPoint slide 3].
    • Tell the legend of ‘Saint George and the Dragon.’
    • This is a wonderful story, but it’s unlikely to be true.
    • The real story of Saint George doesn’t include dragons but it involves plenty of courage.
  • George: The Sacrificial Soldier [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Historians agree that George was a Roman soldier.
    • In the year 302 AD, the Roman emperor ordered that all Christians be arrested.
    • George, a Christian himself, had a difficult choice to make: to look out for his fellow Christians or to look out for himself.
    • George refused to take part, and told the emperor that he was Christian.
    • The emperor had George killed.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Introduce Bible passage. Read Romans 12:9-10 (CEV).
    • Taking a Stand.
      • George risked his own safety to stand against an evil order.
      • He loved his God and the other Christians enough to honour them above himself.
      • Taking a stand against bullies can be just as terrifying as standing before a dragon.
      • You may not have faced a dragon before, but I bet you’ve faced a bully before.
    • Introduce the film clip:
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Greg: The Boy With the Cheese Touch.
    • Tell the legend of ‘The Cheese Touch’.
    • One day a cheese slice mysteriously appeared on the playground.
    • Nobody touched it, so there it sat, growing more foul and powerful by the day.
    • Until one day a kid named Darren Walsh poked it, and from that moment on, Darren had the cheese touch.
    • Now the cheese sits, patiently waiting for its next victim.
    • Play the clip from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Twentieth Century Fox, 2010).
      • Start time: 01:17:52 (chapter 23, the ring leader of the gang says, ‘You guys have no idea what I’m going to do to you’).
      • End time: 01:21:04 (‘cheese touch! Greg Heffley has the cheese touch!’ shouts a girl with pig tails, before all the children run away).
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 12 seconds.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • The Bravery of George and Greg.
    • What do you think of Greg’s decision to stand with Rowley?
    • What would you have done if you were Greg?
    • What Greg did took sincere love and amazing courage.
    • As we celebrate Saint George’s Day let’s remember his bravery and his sacrifice.

Photo Copyright for Taking a Stand PowerPoint: Slides 1-5, 6 iStockphoto.com / Slide 6 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 7 image of  Greg by Colin Stark, image of Rowley  from IMDB

Photo Copyright for Saint George Quiz PowerPoint: Slide 1 Public domain Flag on each slide by Daniel Bagshaw / Slide 2 Willtron / Slide 3 Public domain / Slide 4 Public domain / Slide 5 Spischot / Slide 6 Ricardo Andre Frantz / Slide 7 Karen Turner / Slide 8 SI-Ziga / Slide 9 Public domain


RESPOND

Reflection

  • Think for a moment about a situation when you have the opportunity to take a stand for someone else. It could be a situation that would happen in the playground like in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or it could be one from the classroom, your home or somewhere else.
  • What would be the loving, brave thing to do? What might Saint George do? What would you do?

Prayer

  • I’m going to ask God to make us courageous and loving like Saint George. You can pray this prayer too by simply saying ‘Amen’ at the end.
  • Dear God, thank you for Saint George and for the stand he took for his fellow Christians. Please give us the love and courage to stand against things that are wrong. Amen.

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Twentieth Century Fox, 2010). Click here to buy a copy of the DVD online.
  2. One of the songs listed for Create the atmosphere.
  3. Taking a Stand PowerPoint.
  4. Saint George Quiz PowerPoint.
  5. A prize for the Saint George Quiz (optional).
  6. A3 paper for each child and colouring pencils for the Legend in Pictures activity.
  7. Drawing and writing materials for the Take a Stand for Someone Else activity.

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