on a break

We will not be doing any lessons between now and the Christmas break. December is a short month with lots of schedule-changing activities.

We will start back up in January with lesson 6: D.O.F.
Destroyer of Fun is the unthinkable that pops up during games involving competition. He wants kids to be overly competitive, always have to go first, only play games they want to play. Check back next month for some strategies to defeat D.O.F!

social detective work

With lesson 5, we are asking students to be good social detectives and try to decide if interruptions are “fair” or “rude.” We do this by asking them to raise their magnifying glasses when they think a “case” is fair or rude. We do 6 cases with this lesson. The students love the magnifying glasses, and they are a great way to reinforce keeping brains and bodies in the group (i.e., if you are playing with your magnifying glass, your brain is probably out of the group).

We created 6 scenarios. Some are really clear in terms of being fair or rude, while others spark some discussion. It has been so interesting to listen to the thoughts of the students. And, I am so proud of the students that confidently raised their magnifying glasses even when a lot of students do not.

The favorite case involves some props that most boys love – Beyblades! The boys see them on our cart and immediately ask what we are going to do with them. I guess I should thank my 2nd grade son for being a “thinking about others” kid and sharing them 🙂

The fair interruption starts off with Ginny talking about her beyblade. It has a red tip, special wings to make it spin faster…then I interrupt to tell her that when you want to battle, you need to say “3, 2, 1 let it rip!”

When talking about Superflex strategies to defeat Collider, we also talk about the “back down.” Now, most adults do the back down without even knowing it. So, here is what it is: one person is talking, another person bumps (collides) with their words. They recognize they interrupted and back down from the conversation. When the other person finishes, they can say what they wanted to say.

Fair interruptions happen all the time, so it is important students know what to do when they happen. We also stress that just because it is a fair interruption that does not mean it is ok to interrupt. It just means the person interrupting is excited about what the other person is talking about.


today I laughed way too much!

How many people can say that at the end of the day? How many people can say that after being in one 2nd grade and three 3rd grade classrooms in a day? Well, today I can. Here are some of the funnies.

Ginny and I are reading Interrupting Chicken to introduce the Group Buster Collider. Since Ginny was Lilly during the last lesson (acting very silly), I was given the job of being the little red chicken who interrupts his Papa when he reads bedtime stories. One of the stories is Chicken Little. As Ginny read about the chicken racing to tell Henny Penny and other friends that the sky was falling, she called Ducky Lucky “Lucky Ducky.” I felt myself giggle, then looked over at the 3rd grade teacher who was doing her best to control her laughter. Ok, as I am writing this, it does not sound that funny but it was one of those situations when I needed to *not* laugh and keep my brain in the group but could not stop laughing. We all laughed thru the reading of the book and got back on track as we talked about how interruptions make other people feel. Whew. I really did need that laugh, though.

The laughter did not stop then. Later, when we were in another 3rd grade classroom Ginny brought out a fly swatter to illustrate the Superflex strategy to defeat Collider: SWAT. A girl blurted out as I was writing out the letters S-W-A-T that those were illegal in schools these days. Again, laughter from me, Ginny, and the teacher. I composed myself and asked the student (who immediately recognized she had interrupted to share her thought…yes!) to be a good social detective and to check what she knew about us when making a guess about what the fly swatter was for.

Lastly, I got some mean looks from teachers today. To help students understand the difference between fair and rude interruptions, Ginny and I did some role plays and then had students be good social detectives and try to decide if the interruption was fair or rude. One of the rude examples involves Ginny asking the teacher for help with a math problem. I interrupt and say I need help with a problem and the teacher needs to help me check my work. Every single teacher looked at me like they wanted to reprimand me, but not sure if they should because we were role playing. One teacher did say that if I was in her class I would have been asked to go back to my seat! Getting the “evil eye” from teachers was funny, and I had to work hard to stay “in character.”

We are going to record a reading of Interrupting Chicken tomorrow, so check back in later in the week to watch. I am also going to try to get some videos of the fair and rude interruption examples. So far, students have been excellent social detectives and have been able to figure out which ones are fair and rude.


it worked!

Look at all the home challenges that were returned this week!

I made another visit to a bunch of classrooms today and gave out lots of treats from Superflex. I got a lot of “I think I lost my home challenge.” Some “the teacher did not give me one.” Haha. And some “I am doing mine tonight!”

It will be interesting to see what the final #s are in terms of how many lesson 4 home challenges are returned. Students have until we come to their classrooms for lesson 5 to turn them in.


home challenges and motivational ideas

We are calling the homework from each lesson a “home challenge” but we think students have figured out that it is actually homework. We are good social detectives and figured this out after we got some groans when home challenges were mentioned in lesson 4 (we sure are smart, aren’t we?)

We are making the lesson 5 home challenge a little more fun (think drawing vs writing) but we also want the students to be reinforced for doing the home challenges. After all, the home challenges are our best way to reach out to parents about what we are doing at school.

Superflex sent some small treats (nothing distracting like candy) for students who complete the lesson 4 home challenge. I have visited 9 of the 13 classes this week with our “Thinking About Others” bucket filled with goodies from Superflex for students who completed the home challenge. I also said I might be able to stop by again later in the week to see if more students completed the home challenge.
Check out the goodies:

2 students when hearing about the rewards, raced to the back of their classrooms to retrieve completed home challenges from their book bags. And, a teacher at the school who has a 2nd grade son said that he came home yesterday afternoon wanting to do the home challenge in case I come back later in the week. Score!

I am keeping track of the dates I go in the classroom and # of home challenges returned to see if we do in fact get a better return rate with a little incentive attached 🙂


reflections about classroom challenges

Ginny and I have gotten feedback from teachers about the classroom challenges that needed to be addressed. I guess we both thought that the challenges would fit nicely with some of the rewards teachers already had in place with the school PBIS plan, etc. For whatever reason, this is not happening. I am guessing teachers might think our rewards need to be separate? We want to survey teachers mid-program and at the end, but want to find a time that is not crazy busy with other obligations (like right now…report cards!)

Another issue with rewards is that students are not often aware of what they are working towards. Again, not what we anticipated. So, during our Friday planning time we brainstormed how to revise the challenges and rewards to make it easier for the teachers to keep up with, while also honoring what we are saying to the students. What we came up with is awesome (if I do say so myself 🙂

We are going to offer 2 rewards for the remaining lessons 5-12. When classes earn challenges from lessons 1-6, they can have an extra special class (art, music, or PE). Thankfully the specials teachers have time in the school day to do this and are willing to help out. Completed challenges 7-12 gets classes a Superflex celebration.

The next step was to figure out how to visually show students they were completing the challenges and getting to the 2 rewards. Ginny and I both initially liked the idea of a bottom to top visual, but we both played around with this idea over the weekend with no luck. The next idea was to use the picture of Superflex and have the challenges on the sunbursts behind him. Again, no luck. But that idea led to a gameboard-like visual (think Candyland). We both instantly loved this idea and decided to put pictures of Unthinkables on the board near the challenges where students need to defeat an Unthinkable. Students will color in each star on the game board when they complete the challenge.
Check out what we came up with:

The gameboard idea led to another idea of having a challenge game for students to play during the Superflex celebration. Maybe 2 teams, buzzers (think Family Feud). Sounds like fun, huh? And, a great way to review what students have been working on during the school year.

All to say, we are trying to listen to teachers and adjust our program accordingly. The last thing we want is for teachers to view what we are doing as extra work, something they dread, etc. I hope our ideas help!



We are finishing up with lesson 4 this afternoon, and I have actually been working on lesson 5 before our Friday after school planning time. Go organized Kristan! It happens every now and then 🙂

Lesson 5 is about another Group Buster called Collider. Check him out:

Collider was actually created by a former Perry Harrison student, and he will be included with the Unthinkables published in the revised Superflex curriculum due to be out in June 2012.
10 Unthinkables were submitted from Perry Harrison and 8 made the publication. Go Mariners!

As I was working on the parent and teacher handouts last night, I realized that a lot of adults are not aware of the different kinds of interruptions. Below is an overview from our handouts. More on some strategies from Superflex to defeat Collider next week.

From the time our children our little, we teach them not to interrupt others. The reality is that people interrupt others often during conversations, usually as an indication of high engagement. As the speaker is about to finish a thought, a highly motivated conversational participant interrupts to add his next thought. The “interrupter” typically says, “oh sorry,” and then one of the speakers stops talking. While it is a good thing to teach our children not to interrupt, it is also important to help them understand that sometimes people still interrupt and why, and how we should respond. Interruptions are when our words bump together or collide. There are two types of interruptions: fair and rude.
Fair Interruption – Occurs when someone interrupts a speaker because they are highly engaged and motivated to connect on the topic with the speaker. This person usually perceives that the speaker is “winding down,” and begins to add his own thought as the speaker is still talking. The speaker then typically realizes that he was about finished, stops talking, letting the conversational partner add his comment. So, when someone interrupts you this way, consider it a sign that they are really listening and excited about what you are talking about. Try not to become upset when you have been “fairly” interrupted, but understand that it happens and the person does not mean any harm. Even though it is a fair interruption, it is expected that the person interrupting say, “I’m sorry” and make sure it is okay to continue talking.

Rude Interruption – Occurs just as a speaker begins to talk or when the speaker is not allowed to express the majority of his message. It does not happen because someone is interested or excited about what the speaker is saying. Typically a rude interruption happens because the speaker simply wants to talk and/or change the topic. A person making a rude interruption should apologize, but typically does not, as they are more concerned with saying what they want to say.

Group Busters

We are introducing the group busters Body Snatcher and Brain Eater in lesson 4 using the book Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by, Kevin Henkes. Ginny has the honor of being Lilly 🙂 

Now, for a little explanation about the outfit: we searched high and low for red boots to complete the outfit. The purple purse (not plastic, though) was relatively easy to find, as were the green sunglasses (with glitter stickers)  and mini-Lilly.  Ginny tried to improvise with red socks, but we ended up having to explain to students that her socks were supposed to represent the red boots. 
Oh well, we tried 🙂

In the book, Lilly is distracted by her purse and her body and brain are not in the group. After we read the book, we ask students for examples of unexpected behaviors Lilly demonstrates in the book. Then we complete another social behavior map – what is the unexpected behavior, how does it make people in the group feel, what kinds of thoughts do they have.  Check out our map (complete with purple purses that include pictures of the unexpected behaviors from the book):

After the mapping process, Superflex sends some tips for students to defeat Body Snatcher and Brain Eater. 

As with all the lessons so far, it takes Ginny and I a few times before we get into our “groove” and are going back and forth with questions and comments during the lesson. The good part is that we are in 5 classrooms on Tuesdays, so we quickly find that groove 🙂