"Baditude" Lesson Plan

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Since I'm a strong believer in the power of thought, one of the lessons for 3rd grade's problem solving unit is on positive attitude/positive thinking. Enter: Julia Cook's Baditude.

The kiddos were all excited to see another book with the main character Noodle from our But It's Not My Fault! lesson. I sometimes skip a couple pages because it's wordy, but it's a really clear (and entertaining, especially if read in a whiny voice!) example of negative attitude. These are some of the questions I ask them while we're reading:

  • What do you think a “baditude” is?
  • Pg. 18: What is a “pity party”?
  • Pg. 24: What is Noodle’s mom trying to say here, about getting back what you give?
  • Pg. 30: What helpful thought can Noodle have about no video games in school? What helpful thought can he have about sitting by a girl?
  • What were some of the unhelpful thoughts Noodle had?
  • What were some of the helpful thoughts his mom suggested he think instead?
  • I also have to stop and explain "unibrow"! Even my non-ELL students were baffled at the word before we practiced making the face!

Once we finish with the story, I task them with working in small groups (3-4) to sort 20 of these thought cards into "baditude" and "positive attitude".  My students all try to be very fair about things, so their first instinct is to pass out the cards so they all have the same amount and then they read them independently and sort them. Not excellent - they don't hear one anothers' cards and even if they did, they'd be too distracted fiddling with their own to get anything out of it. Lesson learned? Model keeping the cards in a pile and taking turns reading and sorting them one at a time. It's the little things sometimes!

"Making Friends is an Art"

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

There's some awesome books out there about friendship, but not as many about how to attract friends (and not repel them), especially fiction ones. That makes Julia Cook's Making Friends Is an Art a rarity and one many of us own. And so it's a bit sad that...well...there's a potential race issue.

Must Have Books - Anger/Frustration

Monday, April 17, 2017
This is Part 3 in my must have book series. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here!

Part 3: Anger/Frustration

Needless to say, there are a lot of books to choose from in the area of anger. Top faves, all of which also have a regulation component, are below.

Gossip/Rumors Lesson - Part 1

Sunday, April 9, 2017

To go along with our THINK theme, I put a gossip/rumors themed lesson into 4th grade's curriculum map. As expected, spring time has gotten these soon-to-be middle schoolers chatting about others' business and stirring the drama pot. A couple classes in particular have been struggling with this so I decided to give them two lessons on the topic.

Last year I tried the cool glitter hand sanitizer thing. I couldn't quite get it to work out how I wanted to though (not fine enough glitter? sanitizer too watery?) so I scrapped that as an opener. Because I was planning on a longer activity this go around, I went with the staple "cross the line if" hook. They all crossed the line for every single one - they're an honest group!

Cross the line if...

  • You’ve ever heard someone talking about someone else.
  • Someone has ever talked about you behind your back.
  • Someone has ever said something about you that wasn’t true.
  • You’ve said something about someone else that wasn’t true.
  • Someone has gotten into your business.
  • Someone has told you to mind your own business.

Then we read What James Said. I mentioned before that I had to pick which book that would best fit our gossip and rumors lesson. I surprised myself when I decided What James Said was the best option for this lesson. It works because it's short and because it, alongside Cross the Line, sets the stage for my wisdom. I project this and have some students read it aloud.

After discussing these ideas, I introduce them to my new favorite collaborative learning activity: fan and pick! I made some "what would you do?" gossip/rumor scenario task cards to go with it. I tell the students to use my words of wisdom when they're answering and either project the mini-poster or give each group their own smaller version. The first time I did it, I just had cards with scenarios and left them open ended with "what would you do?". My students needed some more structure and scaffolding however, so in the rest of my homerooms, I used cards with multiple choice options.

Fan and Pick is essentially a structured way for small groups to answer questions. Each group has four jobs:
  • Fan: Fan the cards out and say "Pick a card, any card!"
  • Pick: Select a card and read it out loud.
  • Answer: Answer the question!
  • Respond: "I agree because...." or "I disagree because..."
After each question, the jobs rotate. I made the groups little mats to use to help them remember who is in which role each time. I posted the activity here on TpT (50% off for the first 24 hours).

I tried something new this week during our lessons...shooting little video clips of them in action. Instead of being hams, they were actually a bit camera shy and I ended up pretending I was just casually holding my cell in my hand. I loved being able to capture this live though and hope to continue this, especially if it's something I could use for my professional evaluation.


Snoots Toots Game of Empathy and Manners: Review

With some of the money the counseling department was so excitedly given this year, we beefed up our collection of therapeutic games. "Snoots Toots Game of Empathy and Manners" was one that had been on my wishlist for awhile, given the ever present need for social skills resources and the fact that it looked bright and engaged and modern (compared to some more outdated looking games). Here are my thoughts on it.

Gossip/Rumors - Book Options Breakdown

It is both a blessing and a curse that there are so many great books out there. Lots of options, hurray! Tricky decisions, boo! I was in this situation for my 4th grade gossip/rumors lesson and it got me to really delve into the options. I'm a lucky lady that I own all of these. Here's a quick little guide of when to pick (and not pick!) each of these that will hopefully help you when you're trying to find the right one for your kiddos.

The Lowdown: Old timey tale, all male characters. Main lessons are that things aren't always as they seem and that it's nearly impossible to 'take back' rumors once you've spread them. Boy sees coach take an apple without paying, tells everyone he's a thief. Turns out, coach pays in advance! Coach tells boy to spread feathers from pillow everywhere then pick them up as an allegory for undoing the gossip.

Personal Space Camp - 2nd Grade Lesson

It's been awhile, friends! I returned back to the wonderful world of school counseling at the end of March after a wonderful 9 weeks of baby snuggles. First up: 2nd grade and personal space.

We'd originally planned on doing a "what to do when someone says mean words to you" lesson...but then we found ourselves in the surprising but amazing position of having a cohort of kiddos that don't (usually) have this problem! After chatting with the 2nd grade team lead, we decided to replace it with a lesson on personal space, fitting in perfectly with our friendship and social skills theme. Of course, we used Personal Space Camp.

Before beginning, we explained what the book was about to students. This was key with our large EL population because without understanding Louis' confusion about personal space vs. outer space, the book is confusing and lacks humor. We also chose to read the book in chunks with our discussion questions and activities built in. Helped a lot with the springtime squirm, if you know what I mean!
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