Monday, June 8, 2020

My 3 Favorite Books to Support C.A.R.E.S. (Part 1: Cooperation)

Looking for some books that focus on CARES to share with your students?

CARES is a Responsive Classroom acronym for social skills that we focus on throughout the year.

By introducing, teaching and practicing these skills, we're strengthening our community, eliminating lots of behavioral problems, and setting the kids up for social and academic success.

They go hand in hand, don't you think?

Today, I'm going to share a few books I use for COOPERATION.

NOTE: There are approximately a gazillion book lists you can Google or find on Pinterest.  I'm highlighting just a few that I like in each category this week that have served my class well.


1. The Little Red Fort written by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez.

The kids LOVED this book and part of the initial fun was the immediate connection they made to The Little Red Hen.  

It totally highlights what cooperation looks like - and what it doesn't look like - for young children.

It begins with, "Ruby's mind was always full of ideas." 

She finds some boards and asks her brothers to help her.

"Not me," says Oscar Lee.  "I don't think so," says Rodrigo. "No way," says Jose.  

Does that deter Ruby? Not at all! She finishes that fort and when she doesn't let her brothers play inside, they decide to surprise Ruby and make a mailbox, plant flowers, and even paint the fort fire-engine red.  

At the end, Ruby invites them inside for a Fort-Warming party. Great discussions followed which highlighted cooperation/teamwork.

Added bonuses: A Latina family is represented, the Girl Power flavor and a STEM connection! 

2. What If Everybody Did That? written by Ellen Javernick and illustrated by Colleen M. Madden

I use this book in the beginning of the year with my First Graders.  We're establishing routines and since the kids are in lots of group situations, it's the perfect springboard to talk about cooperating in such groups.  Teamwork. 

It's not a "story" but a series of events.  Each page follows the same format:

I took just a little lick of frosting from the fancy cake and the lady behind the table said, "What if everybody did that?"   Opposite page shows everyone at wedding doing just that.

I dropped just one soda can out the window.  The policeman asked me, "What if everybody did that?"

I fed just a little popcorn to the bear at the zoo.  The zookeeper waved his broom and said, "What if everybody did that?"

You can see how easily this leads to our math group discussions in September:

What if EVERYBODY threw their dice up in the air and played with them?

What if EVERYBODY pouted when they didn't win the game and said, "No fair?"

What if EVERYBODY rolled around on the carpet instead of focusing on the game?

You get the idea!  BONUS:  Who doesn't love a good repetitive phrase?

3. BOXITECTS  written and illustrated by Kim Smith

I recently highlighted this book a bit when I discovered it back in March. Funny that I'm choosing another book based on building, STEM, and strong female characters.

Moving forward, I'm planning on using this to teach cooperation and teamwork. A natural fit.  

Brief synopsis: Meg, the Boxitect, goes off to Maker School where she meets all the other Blanketeers, Tin Foilers, etc. who love her over-the-top creations.  

She's the only Boxitect in the class until Simone shows up.

They try to one-up each other and don't want to work together or cooperate so they divide their space in half and try to build the biggest, bestest creation!

It does NOT go well.

Finally, if they want to win a prize in the building contest, they realize that they need to cooperate with each other and they discover they make a great team.

As soon as I finished reading this, one of my students pointed to the quote I have on the wall:

Smart kid!  I couldn't have said it better myself! :)

I hope these 3 books are newish to you and you can use them when teaching about Cooperation in your classroom.

Check back tomorrow and I'll share some of my choices for ASSERTION!

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