Cloudette teaches to Repair The World and Be Grateful
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Cloudette teaches to Repair The World and Be Grateful

Book Title: Cloudette

Author: Tom Lichtenheld

Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld

Book Summary:

Sometimes being small can have its advantages. If you’re a little cloud like Cloudette, people call you cute nicknames and you can always find a good spot to watch the fireworks. But sometimes Cloudette felt sad because the big clouds ran off to do big important things, like helping a garden grow or making a brook babble. One day, as she traveled through the sky to discover how she could make a difference, Cloudette spotted a frog who was dying of thirst. She was able to squeeze out just enough rain to save its life and realized that she could make a difference, no matter what her size!

Enduring Understandings:

  • No matter who we are, how big or little, how shy or outgoing, each of us can make the world a better place. 
  • We each possess a special quality or ability, and by sharing it we make a difference in the lives of others.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Tikkun olam—to repair the world is the notion that we are G-d’s partners in perfecting the world and we can repair and transform a broken world. Tikkun means “repairing”; olam means “world, cosmos, eternity.” The Mishnah tells us that we need to help others beyond what may be required, “for the sake of tikkun olam.” In the Aleinu prayer we express our hope for a repaired world through recognition of G-d’s dominion over us. In the 16th century, Isaac Luria expanded our understanding of tikkun olam: With each mitzvah, we help repair the world around us. Today, the words tikkun olam are often used as shorthand for “efforts to better the world,” such as reading to an at-risk child, serving meals at a homeless shelter, or speaking out on an important matter of public policy.

The mitzvah of tikkun olam obliges us both to serve immediate needs and to work toward the prevention of hunger, homelessness, disease, ignorance, abuse, and oppression among all people, as well as working toward preserving the health of the environment upon which all life depends. While individual acts of tzedakah and g’milut chasadim manifest a commitment to making the world a more caring and compassionate place, there are occasions when tikkun olam, the healing of our world, may most effectively be achieved by taking collective action.

Questions for Reflection

1. How much of our commitments should be dedicated to tikkun olam over other values?
2. What motivates you to fix or repair the world?
3. What does an ideal world, fully repaired, look like to you?
4. How can you incorporate the value of tikkun olam within the classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

It is important that each child begin to recognize his or her ability to make the world a better place; each has the potential to add beauty to the world, show kindness to others, and “lift the world’s spirit” by sharing laughter and having fun. Each week, set aside time for students to share their interests and talents—they may bring in a favorite book, sing a favorite song, bring in a plant that they planted and took care of, etc.

Materials and resourcesmore



  • Introducing Cloudette, about big dreams and what one little cloud can do: 
  • “When Mr. Pot Cracked,” storytelling video by award-winning storyteller, Vered Hankin Kaufman: (For more information about the storyteller and her work, visit

Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Involve students in a discussion of things they can and cannot do because they are young or because they are little.

  • Ask students to think about the things they can do because they are little. Say, “Raise your hands if …” 
    • you were allowed to sit in the front at the movies so you wouldn’t have to stand up in order to see over the heads of the grown-ups; 
    • you got to board first on an airplane because your parents or family members were traveling with children; 
    • you were asked to reach for something because you have little arms that will fit where a grown-up’s arm was too big. 
  • Now ask students to consider some of the things they cannot do because they may be too young or little. Say, “Raise your hands if …” 
    • you wanted to go on a ride, but they said you were too little; 
    • you were with a friend who got hurt and the grown-ups said that you should “wait over there” while the adults helped the child; 
    • you wanted to surprise your parents and make breakfast, but you knew you were too young to work in the kitchen by yourself because it’s dangerous. 

Show students the cover of the book Cloudette and explain that you are going to read a book about a little cloud who felt many of the things that they just talked about. The little cloud was very happy being small most of the time, but sometimes she felt bad and wanted to be bigger in order to do things to help others.

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address comments, clarify, predict, and guide students’ understanding of the story and the value to repair the world—tikkun olam.

Focus on the little cloud’s expressions throughout the reading of the story. Provide scaffolding as you discuss what she may be feeling—sad or lonely, happy or surprised, etc.—and why.

  • When the bigger clouds asked Cloudette to join them to make a huge storm or to make mighty rivers flow, why is she sad? (She realizes that she can’t do those things because she is too small.) 
  • After a big storm comes and she is blown away, how does she feel as she looks at the eagle? (She looks surprised—she realizes that she is in a new place.) 
  • When Cloudette hears a strange sound and sees the frog sitting in a puddle of mud, why does she look sad again? (She is concerned about the frog.) 
  • How does Cloudette feel after she is finally able to make it rain, and the frogs say, “Thank you.” (She feels tired but happy— she has saved a life.)

After The Story

Involve students in the following to generate a discussion about big dreams and the idea that each of us can make a difference—no matter who we are, no matter how big or small we are, no matter how old we are. Discuss the following questions:  

  • Why was Cloudette finally able to make it rain? 
  • Did Cloudette make just as big of a difference as the big clouds when they made a mighty river flow or created a great storm? 
  • Helping the frog was a really nice thing that Cloudette did. Were the big clouds angry with her or happy that she was able to help? 
  • Cloudette realized that there are some other “big and important things that a little cloud might be able to do.” What could some of these things be? 
  • In Judaism we believe that by saving one life, you save the world. Cloudette saved one small frog. Why is this so important? 

“When Mr. Pot Cracked”
  • Share the video in which award-winning storyteller Vered Hankin retells this age-old tale of Mr. Pot. The story underscores the Jewish value that each of us makes a difference and in a sense, “saves the world.” After watching the video “When Mr. Pot Cracked” at, or after creating your own storytelling version using the text of the story you can access here:“When Mr. Pot Cracked”, discuss the following questions: Each of us is special and unique. What was special about Mr. Pot? How did this help him do something important? 
  • What do you think is special about you? How can you use this to make a difference and help others?
Don’t Let the Light Go Out
It’s one thing to tell students how each of them is important and valuable to your classroom community—how each life is important—it’s another to demonstrate in a more tangible way! You can demonstrate this by using an Energy Stick, such as the one from Steve Spangler. (The Energy Stick is a fairly new tool in experimenting with open and closed circuits and is available online. Check package label to ensure safety.)
  • Have students join hands to form a large circle. Select two students, standing next to each other, to each hold one end of the Energy Stick. If everyone in the circle is holding hands, the Energy Stick will light up. 
  • Break the chain of the circle between any two other children in the circle. (These two students should each continue holding hands with the students on either side.) What happened? (The Energy Stick went out.) Have them hold hands again. What happened? (The Energy Stick lit up again.) Experiment by having the circle broken in different places.  
  • Point out that no matter how near or far students are away from the Energy Stick, when the circle is broken, the light will go out. Using the same procedure, experiment with different numbers of students in the circle. 
  • Remind students that regardless of the number of students, it only takes the loss of one in the circle to end the magic! Each of them is valuable and special and without each one, your classroom community would not be the same.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Read aloud Today Is the Birthday of the World, by Linda Heller, and discuss how the world is a better place because all the creatures in the story did their parts to be the best animals or people they could be. Discuss what each of them did. For example, what did the little boy do? (He put seeds in the soil to plant a garden, painted a big picture to add beauty to the world, shared his toys to be kind to others, and lifted the world’s spirit by sharing laughter and having fun.) Talk about ways students can “lift the world’s spirit” (for example, singing a song, dancing a dance, baking a cupcake, sharing a toy, etc.). Set aside time for students to share their interests and talents. (See Jewish Every Day and Home Connections.)

IT’S RAINING! Science 
Involve students in this simple demonstration to give them a sense of why it rains.

  • Fill a small jar or plastic cup with a small amount of water. Cover the container with a paper towel and use a rubber band to hold it in place. 
  • In another container, add some blue coloring to water. 
  • Using a dropper, have students take turns collecting the blue-colored water and then have them drop the water onto the paper towel. 
  • At first the paper towel will absorb the water, but as it gets saturated, eventually the blue drops will fall into the container—as does water, in the form of rain, fall from clouds when they are saturated. 
Create a class ABC puzzle that is missing several pieces to underline the difference each individual makes. Explain to students that they are going to design their own puzzle piece which will become part of a large classroom puzzle about the ABCs.
  • Cut poster paper into different shapes and sizes to create puzzle pieces. (As an alternative, blank pre-cut puzzle pieces can be purchased.) Give each student a blank puzzle piece and a letter or letters of the alphabet. Leave out one or two letters that you will draw and design yourself, but don’t allow students to see them until the end of the activity. 
  • Ask students to decorate each puzzle piece with the alphabet letter and to draw something that represents that letter. (For example, model this by saying, “I have the letter C. I am going to draw a C on the corner of the piece and draw a picture of a cup in the middle of the piece.”) 
  • When the students have completed their puzzle pieces, have them work together to put the puzzle together. What do they discover? (There will be a few pieces missing—the ones you put away!) 
  • Bring out these missing pieces to make the puzzle complete. 
  • Reiterate that even though the pieces were different sizes and shapes, each piece was important in making the puzzle complete—each made a difference. 
Select a piece of classical music and encourage students to move to the music. Next, ask students to imagine that it is raining. Have them move as various aspects of nature. For example, they can move as raindrops, falling leaves, the wind blowing, or thirsty frogs on their lily pads drinking the cool water.

Line up cotton balls (representing little clouds). Count up the number of cotton balls to get a total number. Demonstrate what happens if we take away one: It makes a huge difference in the total number because one is now missing from the group of cotton lined up. Explain that each one makes a difference when we add them or take any away. Have children play with the cotton balls, counting up the total number, then taking away a few, and counting the number left. 

Science, Art
On the copyright page of Cloudette, author and illustrator Tom Lichetenfel wrote, “The illustrations are rendered in ink, pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor. The water part of the watercolor was collected in a bucket during a rainstorm, so this book is partially made of clouds. Thank you, clouds.” Involve students in collecting rainwater and mixing it with water colors. Take them outside to watch the clouds and create their own cloud pictures.

Visit Have students look at the different types of clouds. (Focus on those that are illustrated in the book Cloudette.) How would they describe each cloud? Then take a picture walk through the book and share with students the names of some of the clouds, such as cumulous (which is the kind Cloudette is), cirrus, and stratus. Whether looking out the window or during recess, see if students can identify some of the clouds.

Author Tom Lichtenheld blogged that the making of Cloudette began as two little scraps of paper. “The scraps of paper came out of two bags I use in my bookmaking workshops with kids. One bag is labeled ‘characters’ and is filled with scraps of paper with words like ‘a walrus,’ ‘an artist,’ or ‘a banana.’ The other bag is labeled ‘settings.’ It contains scraps of paper with settings, like ‘under water,’ ‘in outer space,’ and ‘up a tree...’ You can find the blog at

Involve students in creating their own characters for a story. 
  • Label two similar bags “characters” and “settings.” With students, brainstorm ideas for characters and settings. Write student ideas on small slips of paper and place in appropriate bags. 
  • Allow each student to select one character and one setting to create their own drawing using a variety of art supplies and crafts. 
  • Provide time for students to share their pictures and tell something about how their characters are special and how each can help others and make a difference. 

KIDS MAKING A DIFFERENCE Community Service, Literacy
Read books with the class such as Kids Making a Difference in the Lives of Animals, by Nancy Furstinger and Sheryl L. Pipe. As appropriate, share stories that relate to what children are doing to make a difference in their own community. Your students may want to become involved in similar projects. Simply determine a specific need in the community and then help them consider ways in which each can do their part “to save the world.” This could be a school-wide effort as well.

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Do A Little

by Miss Emily Aronoff Teck

Inspiration Text

Rabbi Tarfon used to say, “It is not your obligation to complete the task, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it entirely…” -Pirke Avot 2:16


Use pointing fingers and motion to encourage interactivity and physical engagement while you listen to the tune. It gets trickier when the song speeds up!
Point to a boy on the word he, to a girl on the word she, and then use both pointing fingers to point to multiple children on they. Make a plus sign by crossing the forearms for adds to a lot. Point to any person for you and to yourself for I, and then make a big circle to symbolize the world.



If he does a little, then she does a little
Then they do a little, it adds to a lot
If you do a little and I do a little,
Then we do a little, a better world is what we’ve got!
I’ve got so many ways I want to give,
Because I want to make the world a better place to live
Through learning and loving, respecting and sharing,
I can change the world through these kind acts of caring


I’ve got so many ways I want to give,
Because I want to make the world a better place to live
For the people, the flowers, the plants, and the trees,
For all kinds of animals, the skies and the seas


Additional Music Connections

Evidence of Learningmore

Compile student picture portfolios that capture times throughout the year when students have demonstrated the value of tikkun olam—to repair the world.


Send home a letter describing what you have been talking about in school in terms of tikkun olam—to repair the world, which implies that we are each capable of making a difference. Explain to parents that you are going to begin recycling in your classroom, because every little thing that we can do helps the larger world be a better place. Ask parents to help by logging onto and to see how they can help the class recycle at home, too. Encourage parents and students to work together to create a list of possibilities.

We often talk about “Mitzvah Day,” but why not make “Mitzvah Day” something we are involved in every day? Encourage parents to talk about ways their child can share their interests and talents to make a difference (for example, singing a song, dancing a dance, baking a cupcake, sharing a toy or favorite game, etc.). Ask them to help their child determine what he or she might do or share and accompany their child to school on a specified day to share the joy and laughter! (See Explore, Discover, and More Activity.)

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
The Curious Garden Peter BrownPeter BrownThe Curious Garden tells the story of “one boy’s quest for a greener world.” In a drab city of concrete, a young boy unexpectedly finds plants struggling to survive. He patiently nurtures them and as the garden thrives, the boy’s world is transformed.
Today Is the Birthday of the World* Linda HellerAlison JayG-d created each animal, bestowing upon each a special gift to share with the world. At the end of the book, G-d is pleased with the ways in which the creatures’ efforts shaped the Earth.
Miss Rumphius Barbara Cooney Alice Rumphius wants to see the world and live her dreams. Many years later, after fulfilling her dreams, she realizes that there is one more thing she still must do. She must make the world a better place in return for all that it has given her.
Kids Making a Difference for Animals (ASPCA Kids) Nancy Furstinger and Sheryl L. Pipe This wonderful book relates the stories of kids who are making a difference in the lives of animals every day. They’re rescuing homeless pets, raising money for shelters and charities, making jewelry, and holding bake sales to support animal-friendly causes. They’re also volunteering their time to educate others, and so much more.
26 Big Things Small Hands Do Coleen ParatoreMike ReedGo beyond “A is for Apple” with an alphabet book that builds character. As children learn and review their ABCs, they discover positive actions they can perform with their own small hands—like applauding, building, giving gifts made with love, helping, planting, recycling, and volunteering. These are simple things even toddlers can do for themselves and others. The message throughout is that everyone, no matter how young or how small, can make a difference in the lives of those around them. The book ends with big hands clapping.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Shari D. Silverstein Director of Professional Development & Educational Resources, Orloff CAJE