I LOVE the beginning of the year because it gives me a chance to teach my students about character education and social skills. I teach my students about C.A.R.E.S. and I can integrate these themes into our social studies unit about citizenship! C.A.R.E.S. stands for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. If you miss my posted introducing CARES and covering the bulletin board that accompanies these five topics check it out HERE!
Using C.A.R.E.S. topics during the first few weeks helps build a positive classroom atmosphere, while teaching my students about our class expectations. I have created five lessons, each one covering one of the C.A.R.E.S. topics. Each lesson introduces the topic and hooks students with a read aloud by Mo Willems. I like using Mo's Elephant & Piggie series because these two characters are in each book and show my students that a character can display each one of our CARES traits. There are other great books out there for teaching CARES traits but my students really enjoy the Elephant & Piggie series because they are kid friendly books with not a lot of language. The drawings in these books grab their attention and the simplicity of the stories allows me to get right to the teaching topic.
In "Today I Will Fly!" Piggie wants to fly but Gerald isn't too willing to help. With the help of another friend Piggie shows Gerald that flying can be possible when working together. This makes for a fantastic read aloud when teaching cooperation!
"There Is a Bird on Your Head" is perfect for teaching assertion because Gerald becomes frustrated when two birds make a nest and lay eggs on his head. He doesn't know what to until Piggie suggests that he kindly ask the birds to go somewhere else. To Gerald's surprise speaking up solves the problem and the birds go find a new place for their nest.
In "My Friend Is Sad" Piggie discovers her friend Gerald is sad. She works really hard to cheer Gerald up because she understands that being sad is no fun! The simplicity of the story helps students to focus on the meaning of empathy while getting a good laugh at all the silly things Piggie does to make Gerald happy again.
Gerald realizes he is getting cranky and the only thing to help him get out of his cranky mood is a nap! In "I Will Take a Nap!" Gerald teaches us that taking care of our self and being responsible is very important.
Self-control is a theme displayed through out "Waiting Is Not Easy!". Gerald learns that surprises can be worth the wait even when it is hard to use self-control and be patient. I like reminding my students that waiting to be called on or waiting your turn in line can be challenging, but just like Gerald experiences in the story, the wait can be worth it.
If these read alouds interest you and you are looking for some new lesson ideas to teach your student's all about C.A.R.E.S, click on the pictures below check out these lessons:
Don't forget, if you want all five lessons and the bulletin board, make sure to grab the bundle in my store and save $4!