2 Great Books About Manners

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I have discovered several great books while cruising the boards on Pinterest for school counseling ideas. I ordered several late in the school year and decided to “test drive” a couple of lessons with my first and second grade friends.

One book I discovered and ordered is If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover.  I used this book during a second grade lesson and followed it with a drawing activity. This story illustrates what would happen if everybody did certain things like plucked flowers, slammed doors, and squeezed the cat.  The consequences brought laughter throughout the classroom. As we flipped through each page, we discussed why it is important to think about the choices we make.  Would there be flowers to look at and smell if everybody plucked them? Even though the over-the-top illustrations elicited laughter, our discussion helped my friends to really think about what would happen if they made poor choices and what a catastrophe the choices could lead too.  This lesson tied in very well with our discussion about our character trait of the month- good judgment.

After listening to the story, I gave each child a piece of drawing paper and asked them to illustrate some “If Everybody Did” statements. Some questions were- What would happened if everybody ran in the hallway?  What would happen if everybody threw garbage on the ground?  What would happen if everybody left their trays on the table in the cafeteria. The ideas they came up with were really cute.  Here is one student’s interpretation of what would happen if everybody was late to school:

Another great book about manners is the cute and funny Do Unto Otters, by Laurie Keller. This book is about a rabbit who discovers that otters are his new neighbors.  Unsure if they will get along, he talks with owl about it.  Owl tells him to treat otters the way he wants otters to treat him.  Mr. Rabbit then goes on to name several characteristics he would want the otters to have including being kind and considerate.  They should also know when to say please, thank you, and when to apologize.  This book reminded me of Simon’s Hook because of the extra dialogue and commentary throughout the book which were created to give examples and to evoke a few giggles!

I printed and copied writing paper from Do2Learn.com and asked the students to write a sentence or two about how they show good manners.  After writing, they illustrated the sentence(s).  I gave them a list with several options to choose from just in case they couldn’t come up with an idea.  Here are a few samples of their work:





Those students who finished before the lesson concluded flipped the paper over to a Do Unto Otters coloring page on the back.  I found the picture online at the author’s website.  You can find a Do Unto Otters  multiple choice, word search, and quiz there as well.

I plan to use these books at the beginning of the next school year and would love to hear of other ideas to try! Connect with me!

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When a Volcano Erupts…In Class!

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As I visited our six first grade classrooms for guidance this month, it wasn’t hard to discern which students had problems with “erupting.”  Many of them “erupted” during my lesson.  It was fun to watch their volcanoes simmer down as I read this great book by Julia Cook.  My Mouth is a Volcano focuses on those little ones who blurt out and interrupt.  This book has an activity guide which has several wonderful activities to use with the kids.

paperback and activity book

The story is another book about Louis.  If you are familiar with It’s Hard to Be a Verb, you already know him well.  When he has something to say, he feels all of his important words rush from his head down onto his tongue. After some rumbling, grumbling, wiggling, and giggling, those words push up against his teeth and before he can stop it, he erupts. Louis doesn’t quite understand why this upsets his friends and family until a couple of his classmates “erupt” him during his moment in the spotlight.  After getting a dose of his own medicine, Louis talks with his mom.  She suggests that when those words push into his teeth, he should bite down hard to keep them in, push them out through his nose, and let them float there until it’s his turn to talk. Louis was so surprised those words waited there until he was ready to breathe them in and speak!

I chose a couple of ideas from the activity book to share with the class.  One activity suggested having the students take 3 1/2 x 5 index cards and coloring one side red and the other side green. On the red side, the students would glue a button or a picture of a button to the left.   An up arrow is placed to the right of the button. This stands for “button up.”  On the green side, the students would write “Speak With Good Purpose.”  Because our guidance time wouldn’t allow for this, I decided to make a larger card for the teacher to use in his or her classroom. When the teacher wants students to wait before asking questions, the red side can be displayed.  Once the floor is open for questions or discussion, the teacher can display the green side.  I reminded the students that although the green card is displayed,they should still raise their hands and wait until the teacher calls on them.  I also shared a tip called “Sqoooze it or Lose it!” This strategy simply suggested that when you have something to say, “sqoooze” it between your fingers (fingers crossed) and place it in your lap until it is your turn to speak.  The students liked the idea and some even began “sqooozing” as I continued on with the lesson.

Front and back of the card

I enjoyed doing this lesson with my first grade friends.  This book can be used across grade levels.  The activity book has a variety of ideas including ways to politely interrupt when it becomes necessary. There are also writing extensions and even directions for building a volcano.

Have you ever had a volcano erupt during your guidance lesson? 🙂 As always, I would love to hear from you.  Connect with me!