June 18, 2014

Book Review: "Interrupting Chicken" by David Ezra Stein & activity

"Interrupting Chicken" cover - available here.
One of my favorite events during the school year is our book fair -- I always find some good books to use in therapy. This year I got really lucky again - I discovered the book "Interrupting Chicken" by David Ezra Stein. I was immediately drawn in by the title and cover image, since it features talk bubbles. I had just introduced thinking and talking bubbles with my social skills group and we had also been working on not blurting out and interrupting. This book is relevant for both of these skill areas, and may be for you!

Sample pages.
The story deals with a young chicken who begs his father for a bed time story. Papa Chicken warns him not to interrupt the story, and the little red chicken promises. Of course it doesn't take long for the little red chicken to break his promise, and he blurts out a possible ending for the story. The author lovingly illustrated this  by adding in talking bubbles that look a little bit chaotic. Papa Chicken attempts to read three stories, but gets interrupted each time, at which point he has had enough and tells the little red chicken to create his own story. Little red chicken does so, only to get interrupted by Papa Chicken's snoring. My students (1st through 4th grade)  thought this story was hilarious and got a few good laughs in every time the little red chicken interrupted the story with his goofy antics. We discussed how little chicken's interrupting affected the story and how it made Papa Chicken feel. We also talked about how to interrupt appropriately (something we had been working on throughout the year). 

Interrupting activity set-up.
Next, I introduced a game to work on not interrupting others' turn to talk. I gave each student three glass gems (these can be found in the home decor aisle at Walmart or Michael's) and placed a container with the rest of the gems in the middle of our circle. Students took turns talking about a topic of their choice (e.g., what they had done on the weekend, their favorite movie or video game, etc.). Other students had to sit and listen. If they interrupted the student whose turn it was to talk, they had to place one of their gems back into the container. They were able to "earn" gems by using appropriate interrupting strategies. At the end we compared who had the most gems. Since our students tend to be really competitive in nature, they really enjoyed this lesson. Once you have introduced this activity, you can continue using it for future social skills sessions to keep practicing this skill.

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