My Mouth is a Volcano – Interrupting – 2nd Grade Lesson

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Everyone knows that My Mouth Is a Volcano! is a gem of a book. It worked in perfectly to 2nd grade’s friendship and social skills theme; good listening is an important skill!

Jigsaw puzzles used as an activity when introducing interrupting and good listening.We started off with an activity from Julia Cook’s activity book for the story – the most worthwhile activity from any of the activity books if truth be told. Students were put in small groups, given (dollar store) puzzles, and told they were in a competition to see which group could complete their puzzles the fastest. Because these kiddos haven’t mastered teamwork, sharing, or taking turns yet, we spent a few minutes reminding them of the expectations. Then we set them loose…and interrupted them…a lot. Turned the lights off, made an “important announcement” (that we like cheese), switched group members, etc. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they caught on to our aim. Note: make sure to use puzzles there is no chance of them completing in the time given – some of these kiddos are super good at puzzles!

After a couple minutes of debriefing how frustrating it was to be interrupted, we read our story. We pre-taught/reviewed how a volcano works and then showed them some gestures to use while we read the parts about Louis’ volcano rumbling. A couple questions we used during/after the story as well:

  • pg. 11 Was it really his volcano’s fault? Whose fault was it?
  • pg. 13 Is that something he needed to say out loud right now? Why or why not?
  • pg. 29 What did mom suggest he do? (see note below)

***I don’t love the book’s tool for not interrupting – all the breathing is confusing. I read it to the  students and tell them to close their mouth hard, swallow their words, and take a deep breath. This seems much clearer/simpler for them.

One applied practice activity was to do a couple listening action stories. These are short stories read aloud that include several verbs and action phrases that students are meant to act along with. Catching them all requires listening, concentration, and a lack of interruptions. The goal was to challenge the students both in their attention to the activity but also in their not interrupting one another through laughter, talking, or losing self-control. I pulled these out of an old Marco products book from my office. The students enjoyed doing these but I’ll admit they were more about listening and following directions than making sure not to interrupt.

An example of a listening action story challenging used to reach the goals of students paying attention and not interrupting with laughter, talking or losing self-control.An example of a listening action story challenging used to reach the goals of students paying attention and not interrupting with laughter, talking or losing self-control.

The other applied practice activity we used in some of the classes was to discuss some different scenarios and have students identify whether or not the example is interrupting or ok. We used hand signals for students to give their answers for this, but the white boards could also be used. If time allows, you could have students explain why they gave their answer. We used the scenarios from this (free!) TPT product we found. We had some student volunteers pull a scenario slip that we then read aloud (some classes would be able to read these themselves). This was definitely more specific to the social skill of listening/waiting instead of interrupting, but it also didn’t have the same level of rigor or challenge we normally try to incorporate with our applied practice.

*The book Interrupting Chicken is also great, but the story is less school specific and our students often have trouble generalizing skills.

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Hello, I’m Sara!

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