Tag Archives : dealing with feelings

Teaching happiness in elementary?

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Are you a happy person? Do you remember yourself, siblings, friends and classmates as relatively happy children?

When you think back to your own friends and elementary school classmates, those you have taught over the years, does there seem to be an increase in students struggling with anxiety and / or stress, social and /or emotional issues?

It was once assumed that happiness was a child’s birthright, and thankfully, many children do continue to live happy, carefree lives. Some live very difficult lives.

Many of our students live in that grey,middle zone, where a combination of factors, sometimes one’s models, experiences, genes or things we may not yet be aware of,  might sway their perspective on whether one’s glass is half empty or half full.

Years ago, I taught a child who had fled from Syria with his family, and despite having so little, still stands out in my mind as the most content and grateful little boy I may have ever met. I can think of a number of others who appear to have everything, yet rarely seem genuinely happy. Of course, there are children who seem to have more challenges.

The children we collectively teach are unique individuals from different countries, lifestyles, belief systems, religions and experiences. While they are so different, they are still all the same. They’re children. Children with growing, open minds, who respond to humor, positive attention, role models and respect. And stories.

Many of us have worked with a number of very young, struggling children throughout our careers.

This book is for all children, but especially the glass-half-empty kids. There is so much hope there.

Happy Kids Preview

(And I thank those of you who have requested a ‘Happy Feelings’ book for prompting me to get it done!)

It is similar in style and structure to the popular Dealing With Feelings introductory color story All About Feelings with two child narrators interacting with the audience and each other as they observe some of The Secrets of Happy Kids. 

As I was preparing to write this post, I was curious to see if there was such a thing as a Happiness Curriculum for kids, and was so happy to see that there is! In case you wonder why That Fun Reading Teacher writes about #EmotionalLiteracy, I’ll give it to you straight: Research and experience prove that many children who are overwhelmed with emotional concerns have little to no energy, attention or drive to give to learning to read and write.

Let’s start with happiness. Here are some FREE mini-posters from me to you, with thanks!

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The Dealing-With-Feelings Series: The ‘how-to manage tricky feelings’ stories for kids

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The Dealing-With-Feelings Series by That Fun Reading Teacher #DWF

Let me start by thanking those of you who have made these stories so popular over the past six months. This post is dedicated to you in gratitude. You have buoyed my confidence to continue along this path.

This is how this series came to be.

For the past few years, I have been a Special Education teacher to young children. Just a few years ago, while using social stories in integrated kindergarten classrooms with my students with autism, I noticed that their classmates were benefiting from them, too! The  social stories I was using were written specifically for the child they were being used with, and parts of these stories had little relevance to their classmates. They seemed to be very interested in, and to find comfort in other parts of them.
It occurred to me that many children could benefit from stories that were like social stories, but meant for more of a general audience of young children: Characters role-modeling the how-to’s of dealing with tricky feelings. (We all know how motivated we are when someone TELLS us how to handle something!)Even in kindergarten, some children were already uncomfortable about discussing feelings. Research, parenting, teaching and talking to each other tells us that natural conversation only comes from a willing participant, especially one who initiates it.

AAF thQ: Where can one find kids who can naturally name and discuss a variety of feelings, involve other kids in the conversation without alienating them?

A: In a picture books. All About Feelings is the foundation story for the Dealing-With-Feelings Series. Child narrators introduce kids to a range of emotions by showing them examples of kids feeling them in various situations.

Below are the stories with characters  figuring out how to identify and options they have for dealing with specific tricky feelings:

When I Feel Sad girl full version angry girl th frustr girl
Sad boy th angry boy th frustr boy
Sad bundle th angry bundle th frustr bundle
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I find myself turning to these stories more often recently.

In September, there were a few sad little people who found comfort in reading about another boy or girl who was sad to say good-bye in the morning, too.

When big kids kicked down snow forts and others were ‘stealing’ snowballs in January, reading about how kids dealt with anger was received a lot better than some of the strategies I’ve used in the past.

Who knew that the phrase ‘use your words’ could result in an airborne chair?

When the temperatures took a dive resulting in clusters of indoor recesses, well, let’s just say that it wasn’t only students benefiting from the When I Feel Frustrated books.

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What feelings would you like to see dealt with in upcoming books? What are some strategies that you think should be included?

Watch for new titles Summer 2015…

Thank you to Rebekah Brock, whose clip art brought these stories alive!


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