Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Picture Books for CARES skills

   My school is a Responsive Classroom school. In my opinion, every school should operate with the Responsive Classroom model; one that directly teaches social skills just like academics.  The world would be a much better place.  Our social skills curriculum is bottled up in the acronym CARES, which stands for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy and Self-Control.  Here are a few picture books I use for each!

The Blind Men and the Elephant by Karen Backstein  This is a retelling of an Indian Folktale (Bonus common core connection to hear and read stories from other cultures!) about 6 blind men who try to understand what an elephant is by touching only part of it.  When they put all their knowledge together is when they get a better picture of what an elephant is.
Fire Race: A Karuk Coyote Tale of How Fire Came to the People by Jonathan London. A Native American myth about how the animals worked together to get fire for the people.
Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth  The classic Chinese folktale (are you seeing a theme here....) about a community who learns how to work together to create a delicious meal.  When my teacher read this with me we actually made stone soup....that was a highlight of my 2nd grade year.  I will have to think about how I could make this happen.  Crock pot perhaps?
An Operation of Cooperation by James McDonald  This book is based off the John Donne quote "No man is an island..." and is about two children who live along on floating islands.  One day their islands pass each other and they realize that life is much better when shared.  They use cooperation to then join their two islands.
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens  This book is great because it can lead to a discussion about how working together doesn't always mean you are cooperating.  This could also be used to teach Responsibility, as Rabbit tricks Bear out of his land and crops.  This is a Common Core text exemplar for 2nd-3rd grade.
What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick


I Just Don't Like the Sound of No! by Julia Cook  A book that teaches students strategies to use to respond to others when they are told 'no.'  This is a great discussion starter, as most students (and sometimes adults) don't realize the consequences of not accepting no as an answer.
Thanks for the Feedback, I Think by Julia Cook  A much needed book about how students can respond to other people's comments about them, both good and bad.
The Principal's New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson A school-version of the classic tale "The Emperor's New Clothes."  Our principal reads it to each third grade class every year and talks with them about the importance of speaking up, even when (and especially when!) no body else does.  Recently I read a book by Malcolm Gladwell, called the Tipping Point.  In it he talked about research that showed people are less likely to act on something when there are others around them, as they assume someone else will say or do something.  That is why you can have someone fall on a busy street and people will just keep walking.  This book is a perfect example of that research.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt  A great story, told in letters from all the different crayons, sharing what they liked/didn't like about being used by Duncan.  As we go, we compare the tone of voice each letter uses, and discuss which are more respectful uses of assertion.

Why Do I Have to Make my Bed? by Wade Bradford  This book travels through time from cavemen through present day, with children asking their parents "Why do I have to make my bed, when I've already...."  Each child then lists all their chores that they would have done in that time period.  My team already has our students interview someone from their family, preferably a grandparent, about what chores they did growing up, and this was a great connection!
The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Tony Ross  The classic tale about telling the truth.  There are many versions available, this just happens to be the one I own.  The ending is a bit dramatic for smaller ears, but it certainly impresses the consequences of not being responsible! 
What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick


The Worst Best Friend by Alexis O'Neil    A story of how two friends weather the experience of the 'new kid' coming in and almost breaking up their friendship.  It is a story of both forgiving our friends, and the power of friendship.  All students will be able to relate to this one!
Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine    This is the story about a girl who wakes up one night to realize that someone is stealing lemons from her tree.  Her tree then becomes sick.  She travels far and wide to find a cure for her tree.  She also learns that the thief was simply trying to provide for his family.   In the end, the girl is able to save her tree, and share her lemons with the community, including the thief. 
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts A story about a boy who wants to fit in so badly, that he buys a pair of cool shoes even though they are a size too small.  Through this process of trying to fit in, he meets another boy who accepts him as he is.  In the end, he gives him the shoes, which fit him perfectly.  
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett  A story to remind students that everyone messes up once in a while, and that its ok.  When students understand that everyone, including them, makes mistakes, they are more likely to extend empathy to those around them. 

Soda Pop Head by Julia Cook  A practical story about how a boy learns to control his temper.  We pair this with the diet coke and mentos experiment :)
Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell  Most people read this book when talking about assertion, as it is all about being confident, despite being small.  However, we read it during Self-Control week and discuss how it is a lot easier to remain calm and in control when we are confident in ourselves.
Armadillo Tattletale by Helen Ketteman A myth about how armadillos came to have such small ears, as well as to teach about the consequences of gossiping.  

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