Last spring, I applied for and was awarded a grant within the district whose parameters were basically that it have to do with bullying and/or SEL. Being a bibliophile, I jumped at the chance to get more books in the classrooms. I wrote the grant for getting a mini-SEL library for each classroom with books specific to the issues I see each grade level face most commonly/pervasively.
After we got the books (and oooed and ahhed over them extensively), we ordered some of our favorite book boxes for them, and consulted with our literacy coach. Our hope was that by including some standards-based discussion questions and writing prompts, we could garner additional investment from our teachers for the books usage. Then started the task of compiling (and sometimes creating) short extension activities for each book.
The end result was this:
box included a handout with both standards based and counselor created
discussion questions and a handout briefly explaining activities the
teachers could use to reinforce the books’ lessons, as well as any
accompanying materials (task cards, master copy of worksheet, etc.
We introduced these to the teachers very early in the year…to mixed responses. A handful of teachers were excited, a handful were frustrated (our daily classroom’s schedule is maxed out and anything that appears “extra” is stressful for the teachers), and most were apathetic. While we were hoping for lots of joy, we also recognize that everything new has a learning curve, both for us and for the teachers. When we first started doing regular classroom lessons, we had push back, and now they’re usually jazzed for us to come in. Things take time to build, and a strong culture of SEL (and incorporating SEL into literacy!) is just in the growing and building stages still.
That said…about three or four months since introducing them…and we’ve gotten some GREAT feedback! The activities don’t seem to be being used, so in the future we won’t put time into them, but the books have been a huge hit. Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade in particular have been big fans.
Curious as to what books we selected for each grade?
I would love to learn more about the discussion questions and activities! I can think of at least a few teachers who would be into this, and I think it's a great idea overall.
Hey Nancy! Give me your email and let me know which books in particular you're interested in and I'll share what we came up with!
Hi Sara, sorry it took me so long to respond! I'm just seeing this now. My email is nancymwang at me dot com. I would love the activities for: Recess Queen, Clark the Shark, the Most Magnificent Thing, the Invisible Boy, and Simon's Hook? I know that's a lot so if you can only do a few I totally understand. Thanks so much!
I just sent some things your way!
Thank you so much! These all look so good and I've already used a couple with one class in particular. I think I found you through a FB group for school counselors – I have loved following your blog since then!
Grif – my school only goes up to 4th so I'm not a 5th/6th expert, but I would say all of Trudy Ludwig's would be a great fit for those levels, as would many of Patricia Polacco's books.
Hi Sara! This is my first year as a counselor AND the first year the school has opened. I love this idea of resources for teacher, so they can pop in, grab, and go! I want teachers to feel empowered to take SEL into their own hands. Is there a place I can view and/or access the activities for each book? Thank you!
Hello! Unfortunately, my computer hard drive crashed and so I only have fragments left of what I had originally given to teachers – I’m having a tough time locating all of them. I did later turn some of them into full lessons for the grade levels on my caseload, I’ll link them where they are in my shop here:
And here are a couple blog posts where I talk about some activities for a couple more: