Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

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Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is a book I often read to my son at night. Although I’m sure he likes seeing all of the animals, I think it’s more about how, when I read the story, it’s a different adventure each time.

There are few words to this book. In fact, you’ll be saying “good night” and animal names throughout the book. So, if you’re looking for a lot of vocabulary, you may not feel that it’s here.

However, there is plenty of vocabulary. With no words, there are opportunities to add your own words. You know, take the story further by adding your own quotes.

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For example, I have the baby gorilla talk up a storm. When I read this book to my son, the baby gorilla is constantly laughing and giggling, because he knows he’s getting away with what’s going on. I’ll say “You want out baby elephant? You got it! How about you little armadillo? There you go!”

Fun little, creative asides makes wordless (or mostly wordless) books interesting and entertaining. You can have creative freedom to make each reading a little unique each time.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

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Five Little Monkeys is one of those books that stand the test of time; probably because jumping on the bed is a right of passage for childhood.

The book follows a mother monkey trying to get her five children to go to sleep (when one child is hard enough). Upon leaving the room, the children jump up and down on the bed. When one monkey falls off the bed, consequently getting injured, the mother quickly calls a doctor. The medical advice: “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.”

As the story progresses and, upon each time the mother leaves the room, the children continue jumping on the bed and getting injured, resulting in more phone calls to the doctor. Finally, after all the children are resting – technically, bedridden and nursing their concussions – the mother can finally relax.

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Besides the always sound advice of avoiding major injury just before bedtime, there are some learning elements that a teacher could draw from this book:

  • Counting down the number of monkeys jumping on the bed.
  • The singing element with repeated words.
  • Dramatic play, such as with puppets or stuffed animals.
  • Exposing how parents spend their time when their children finally go to sleep – i.e. celebrating likes it’s 1999.

Finally, the book can easily extend into a circle time activity, demonstrated in the following video clip.

As long as you distinguish that jumping on the bed is dangerous – and that hitting your head would actually result in an E.R. visit – then children will have great fun singing along with this book.

If you’re interest in purchasing this book, click the link here.

Feet Are Not for Kicking by Elizabeth Verdick

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Getting kicked in the ribs hurt. And when you see a child kicking another child, it’s code red for teachers. There are a lot of children’s books that can help prevent such situations, and one of my favorites is Feet Are Not for Kicking by Elizabeth Verdick.

The book playfully shares about feet, such as what they look like and what you can use them for. There are also examples for activities, such as counting toes and gross motor movements.

However, the portions around kicking are the ones I focus on the most. The book shares that kicking other children is not preferred. There is even a sample message about what a child can say when someone is kicking them. From there, the book gives examples of what you can kick, such as a ball or leaves.

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This two step process – explaining what children shouldn’t do and instead what they can do – is a solid process for changing behaviors. We tend to tell children what they can’t do, such as not kicking others, and leave it at that. Children who hear this may not do it again, but may extend your message to mean that all forms of kicking is negative; and that is not true.

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Separating the physical development skill from an emotionally fueled outburst is important: kicking is fine and can be great fun, just make sure you don’t kick other people.

New Page: Children’s Book List

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Recently, I was teaching about social and emotional development to early childhood educators.  This led into a discussion into CSEFEL, a great website for teacher resources and material to teach social and emotional skills to young children.  I used these tools in the classroom and I cannot express how much they helped me with my student’s.  Best of all, you can find the resources on their website: here.

If you search through the site, you’ll find a PDF of recommended children’s books that focus on particular social and emotional areas, such as “Being a Friend”, “”Angry and Mad Feelings”, “Happy Feelings”, “Bullying/Teasing”, and other topics.  These books are great and, although I have not read them all, I hold the CSEFEL organization in high regard, so it’s easy to recommend their list.

I went through the trouble and converted their MASSIVE book list into a page on this blog.  I value CSEFEL that much.  I want to share their work through this blog and I really hope you check out their site.  For the Children’s book list, you can look on the side tabs or click here.  It’s a large list, but these books can seriously help any classroom and students.

Hope this list helps you like it did me.

Peace.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

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If any book lends itself to movement activities, it’s this book: From Head to Toe.  When I was in the classroom, I read this book a couple of times.  Rarely, however, was I able to turn the page without a child lifting their leg or looking upside down.  Very soon, every page was a moving activity.

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And that is the point of this book: to get up and move around.  Shake your arms and move your legs.  The more the children dramatize the animal, the louder the sounds and the crazier the laughter. Alongside the timeless quality of Eric Carle’s artwork, this is a book I recommend.  When my son get’s older, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun with this book.  Until then, my son will continue to look at his daddy with concern; because his daddy is reading words and sounds like a zoo.

You can check out the book here. Oh, and it comes in Spanish too.

P.S. There is a song that you can sing with this book.  Here’s the YouTube link.  Enjoy!

Quiet Loud by Leslie Patricelli

Have you ever asked a child to quiet their voice?  Ha, who hasn’t.  Even if you don’t have children, I’m sure you’ve seen children in public wailing in the grocery market.

You can’t just tell children to lower their voice.  Additionally, their going to be loud anyways.  They’re children.  They’ll need some kind safe place to let out those screams.

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That’s why I like this book Quiet Loud by Leslie Patricelli.  The book breaks down to the lowest common denominator what it means to be quiet and loud, as well as the places for each of those.

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The books gives example after example after example of activities and situations that are applied to a child’s everyday life – or will even give you ideas of things you can do with children.  Although this is a teaching book for children, the skills taught won’t work unless the parents reinforce the skills.  The book gives you a great foundation to work with; you take it the rest of the way.

This book is part of my family’s personal collection.  Props to my wife for finding this little treasure.  You can check out the book here.

Disclaimer: Getting this book does not give you the green light to approach random parents and teach them how to quiet their screaming children.  Grande no no.