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.
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.
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!