Social-emotional skills are paramount to successfully participating and thriving in the world, but engaging in conversations about feelings, social situations, and conflict can be scary. Combining high-quality children's literature with creative activities in Wixie can help your students explore feelings and celebrate their unique personalities, while building self- and social- awareness, self-management, and skills with decision making.
Marshall Mellow by JJ Landis
Marshall Mellow was content living in his comfy home next to the graham crackers and chocolate until he fell off the shelf and was forced to encounter new friends.
Then, with the help of his new resourceful and clever friends grouchy raisin and 2-ply toilet paper, he was catapulted back onto the top shelf again and learned that getting out of his comfort zone and meeting new people isn’t so bad after all.
Assign the Wixie Comfort and Stretch Zone Activity to have students reflect on activities and skills they are already comfortable with and identify areas where they feel safe to stretch into new skills.
The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
The Color Monster is an adorable story about a Color Monster whose emotions are all over the place. To help make sense of the Color Monsters' feelings, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color.
As Color Monster learns to identify and sort his emotions, he learns more about himself and how he can respond in different situations.
Have students use the Color Monster activity to illustrate and record what each emotion and color represents to them.
All in the Same Boat by Wilkie Martin
In this tale about the aftermath of a shipwreck, a greedy Rat threatens the lives of his smaller companions (Mouse and Gerbil) as they move through shark-infested waters. Who will survive?
It is a great cautionary story showing how no one wins when success is achieved at the expense of others.
Ask students to complete the Team Member ID Card to let future team members know a bit about themselves as a person as well as a teammate. This is a fun way to instill the power that teamwork truly does make the dream work!
Ricky the Rock That Couldn't Roll by Mr. Jay
A fun rhyming book that tells the story of Ricky the Rock, whose flat shape prevented him from rolling until his friends took action and helped him out. This story shows the power of true friendship, teamwork, and persistence.
After reading, have students write a Friend acrostic poem to describe what being a good friend means to them.
After reading the story, brainstorm with your students what being a good friend really looks and sounds like. You might even use the 5 senses to help springboard your discussion. For example, a good friend:
• listens to what you have to say,
• looks after you and makes sure you are ok, and
• doesn’t put you down.
Assign the Friends acrostic poem for students to describe what being a good friend means to them.
It’s Ok to be Different by Todd Parr
This fun and colorful book shares a plethora of ways we can be different from one another from our hair color, to our personalities, to our family structure. And, that it is 100% OK to be just the way you are.
The kid-friendly images and scenarios provide a safe structure for diving into the important discussion around recognizing and celebrating our differences.
Students can use the It’s Okay to Be Different activity to draw a picture of themselves and include a sentence that shares how they are different.
Be You by Peter Reynolds
Be curious, be adventurous, be brave, but most importantly, be YOU is the theme of this wonderful book. Through whimsical drawings and simple prose, New York bestselling author Peter Reynolds reminds us always to cherish and celebrate our individuality.
Have students use this What Can You Be activity to choose an adjective (bold, curious, etc.) they feel represents themselves and then draw what it looks like when doing it.
We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
Auggie Pullman looks different than the other kids. Although frustrating at times, Auggie recognizes that the earth is full of all kinds of people, and if people can change how they see, perhaps they will recognize that he is also a wonder!
This clever story, based on the novel Wonder, reframes how students view themselves and others and give them ideas for being their best, most kind self.
Have students use the Kind Infoposter to share how they can show more kindness in the world.
Stand in my Shoes by Bob Sornson
When Emily barges into her older sister’s room for the 4th time, her sister, who is studying for a test, grows impatient and asks Emily if she knows what the word empathy means.
Emily had no idea what the word meant, but soon learned through daily encounters with others how to acknowledge what people may be feeling and how wonderful it is to be helpful.
Give students a list of open-ended questions they can ask each other to get to know one another. These interview questions may include;
• Who or what inspires you?
• What do you fear the most?
• When do you feel the happiest?
• What are some of your favorite activities?
Then, pair students together and have them design an empathy map for one another based on the answers to the questions.
Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Pig the Pug was selfish and greedy with his toys. That is, until he stacked them up away from his housemate, Trevor and suffers a great fall. Pig the Pug learns the hard way that it is much better to share and negative behavior can have serious consequences.
Use this story to help your students understand cause and effect and, more specifically, that behavior has consequences... both good and bad.
Introduce students to fables, like those from Aesop. Talk about how stories have always been ways for individuals and communities to share lessons and promote positive behavior. Have students use a book template in Wixie, like this one, to write their own stories or fables with morals.
If your students are struggling with writing an entire story, ask them to recount a valuable lesson they learned.
After students write about the real events, have them use personification to turn the experience into a fable with animals that traditionally represent traits and behaviors in the story.
Llama Llama Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney
When Llama Llama and his classmates start being teased by Gilroy Goat, Llama isn’t sure what to do at first. But, he quickly remembers what his teacher taught him to walk away and tell someone, which he tries and is successful.
This book is a fun and safe way to discuss the importance of pausing before a negative situation escalates and being a buddy, not a bully!
Ask students to work in small teams to choose a location at school, like the playground or cafeteria, and create a social story that helps other students learn how to be a good buddy.
More Ideas for Social-Emotional Learning
Students are engaged when they are making and creating to demonstrate understanding. The Wixie Curriculum library includes a folder filled with activities for social-emotional learning. Browse the Curriculum folder or type "SEL" in the search field at your Wixie teacher dashboard.