Lesson 9: Words of Wisdom

Getting Started

In the previous reading, Min says that he will never teach Tree-ear how to be a potter because it is something that is only passed down from father to son. Do you think people can love people who are not related by blood as much as those who are? What makes a family? Are Tree-ear and Crane-man a family? Are they related? Do they love each other?

After you have finished your reading, remember to add details to the "Elements of Korean Culture" pages in the "Centuries Past" column.

Stuff You Need

  • A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
  • art paper* (Activity 1 - Option 1)
  • journal
  • paints and other art materials* (Activity 1 - Option 1)

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed

Ideas to Think About

  • How do our relationships with others affect our decisions and emotions?
  • What makes a family and why are familial relationships important?

Things to Know

  • Wisdom is a deep understanding of people, things, or situations.


  • Write responses to literature and develop an interpretation exhibiting careful reading, understanding, and insight. (LA)
  • Organize interpretations of literature around several clear ideas, premises, or images from the literary work. (LA)
  • Develop and justify the interpretation of literature through sustained use of examples. (LA)
  • Extend understanding by creating products for different purposes, different audiences, and within various contexts. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Ask your child to explain what happened in the last two chapters he read. Review how the glaze on Min's pieces was brown and he had nothing to show the emissary. But the emissary said he would still consider Min for royal commission if Min could bring his work to the palace in Songdo. Min was too old to travel, so Tree-ear volunteered to take it for him. When Tree-ear asked Min to teach him to be a potter, Min refused because the tradition is only passed down from father to son.
Reading and Questions
Materials: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
Read Chapters 9 and 10 and then answer the questions below in complete sentences.
  1. Why does Tree-ear decide to go on the journey despite knowing that he can never learn to be a potter?
    He is doing it for Min's wife, for the kindness she has shown him.
  2. Why does Min's wife invite Crane-man to come to her house to work while Tree-ear is on his journey? Why does Crane-man refuse her offer?
    She knows that Tree-ear is worried about how Crane-man will eat while Tree-ear is gone. Crane-man refuses the offer because he is proud and does not wish to be fed out of pity.
  3. How does Tree-ear try to convince Crane-man to work for Min's wife while Tree-ear is on his journey?
    Tree-ear says that Min's wife really needs Crane-man and that if Crane-man doesn't help her, Tree-ear will worry about her his entire journey.
  4. What animal comes upon Tree-ear when he is sleeping in the woods? What does Tree-ear learn from this experience?
    A fox. He learns that the fox is not evil, as others believe, but is just an animal and needn't be feared.