The Empty Pot… teacher lesson plans and carryover activities!

The Empty Pot by Demi is a tale of a Chinese boy named Ping and his quest to be emperor. The Empty Pot contains an important lesson about patience, honesty and strength within yourself. The book begins with the emperor who wants to find a successor to his throne due his old age. How will he choose such an important position? The emperor loves beautiful flowers, so he decides to let the flowers choose the emperor by giving out one precious flower seed to each child in the land. He says to the children “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time, will succeed me to the throne.” All of the children rush off to plant their valuable seed and take care of it for the year.

Ping takes his flower seed and plants it in the richest soil he can find. He takes care of it by tending to it as best as he could, but no flower grows. He tries many things throughout the year to get this flower to grow but has no success. When it comes time to bring the flowers to the emperor, Ping only has an empty pot. All of the other children in the land have beautiful flowers except for Ping. He feels ashamed about this outcome but still joins the other children at the palace. When the emperor sees all of the beautiful flowers, he frowns until he gets to Ping’s empty pot. The emperor asks him why he brought the empty pot and Ping says “It was the best I can do but I couldn’t make it grow”. The emperor smiles and tells the children that all of the seeds were cooked and were unable to grow, so therefore Ping is the only child who was telling the truth. What was Ping’s reward for telling the truth? He becomes the emperor!

The Empty Pot is an excellent book to read both at home and in the classroom. It is also a book that would benefit from repeated reading. To learn more about how repeated reading benefits your child, click here. This book contains valuable vocabulary that can be targeted such as “emperor”, “successor”, “ashamed”, “sprout”, etc.

Do you want to check out the book before purchasing it? Here is a video of a read aloud by a 1st grade teacher.

The Empty Pot
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