5 Books, 5 Great Activities

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📕Is there anything better than a great book? Not for me. Picture books are one of my favorite ways to bring a lesson to life. 

Today I am sharing out some of the books I’m reading right now and what lessons I am partnering with them.

“Stuck” by Oliver Jeffers

This story is about a boy who gets something stuck in a tree and in an attempt to get it out, he gets more and more and more stuck.

Topics: problem-solving, teamwork, STEM, and perseverance

Grades: 3rd- 6th

Lesson idea: I partnered this book with my lesson on teamwork. To get students engaged we played “Saving Sam” and then debriefed on the qualities of a good team player. Afterward, we read part of the book, and then teams had to brainstorm and design (on paper) an invention that would help all the items become unstuck from the tree. 

“Mr. Peabody’s Apples” by Madonna

This story is about being mindful of our words and how quickly gossip can spread and ruin a reputation.

Topics: honesty, gossip, rumors, and consequences

Grades: 3rd-5th

Lesson idea: I partnered this book with my lesson on gossip and rumors. To get students engaged we did a classic toothpaste game. I challenged one student to get all the toothpaste out of a tube in 30 seconds, while the rest of the class cheered them on. Then I challenged another 2 students to work together to get it all back inside the tube in one minute. This was a perfect introduction to the book.

As we read we discussed the connection between the game and the story. Then we debriefed on what they could do if someone was gossiping to them and role-played standing up to the gossip.

Love this story but want something new to discuss the power of our words? Check out “The Iheards” by Emily Kilgore, author of “The What If’s.”

“Beat, Beat, Thump” by Allison Edwards

This story is about what happens to our heartbeat as we feel many different emotions. It’s a great book to introduce the mind-body connection. 

Topics: self-regulation, coping skills, and mindfulness

Grades: 3rd-6th

Lesson idea: I partnered this lesson with my mindfulness coping skills lesson. Before the story, we introduce the concept of our breath- how our breathing can tell us when we are dysregulated and also help us calm down our amygdala if we are “barking.” 

As I read the story, the students loved to pound on their desks and we read the “beat, beat, thump.” They were so engaged that we practiced slowing down our movements to calm our bodies. After reading we practiced and rated a variety of breathing techniques.

To wrap it all up with made a career connection and discussed how important it is for surgeons to regulate their breathing to stay calm before, during, and after surgery.

“Chester’s Way” by K. Henneke

Chester has a best friend who he does everything with, so conflict arises when there’s a new kid in town.

Topics: jealousy, conflict, and friendship

Grades: 2nd-4th

Lesson idea: I partnered this lesson with my lesson on safely resolving conflicts. Before the story, we learned all about how to give an I-message.

As we watched the story on Storyline Online we paused to practice writing and saying I-Messages. “Carla’s Sandwich” is another great video from Storyline Online you can use with this lesson. 

To wrap it all up the students made personal connections by writing about a conflict they experienced and an I-message they could have used.

“What If Everybody Did That?” by Ellen Javernick

Sometimes our choices don’t seem like that big of a deal, like leaving one piece of trash on the floor, but what if everybody made that choice? This is a super fun book to get students thinking about making helpful choices.

Topics: consequences, responsibility,  regulation, helpful choices, and citizenship

Grades: 1st- 3rd

Lesson idea: I partnered this book with a lesson on “Making Good Choices At School” from The Responsive Counselor. After reading and discussing, we used my activity packet to create our own example or page we would add to the story.

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