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Ideas for Using Books to Support Social Emotional Development
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book coverGlad Monster Sad Monster

by Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda
Little Brown and Company, 1997

Glad Monster Sad Monster is a book about feelings with fun monster masks that children can try on and talk about times when they felt glad, sad, loving, worried, silly, angry and scared—just like the monsters! Each monster is a different color to represent specific emotions. For example, the yellow monster is glad when he gets to open presents, play ball, slurp ice cream and dance with his friend!

Examples of activities that can be used while reading Glad Monster Sad Monster and throughout the day to expand on social and emotional concepts:
  • While reading the story, pause and ask children if they feel the same way the monsters do. For example, do they feel glad when they get to play ball like yellow monster? Ask what other kinds of things make them feel glad. Do they think the same kinds of things that make them feel glad would also make yellow monster feel glad?

  • Show the monster masks while reading about each monster and have children talk about how they can tell what the monster feels by looking at his face. For example, Blue Monster has a frown on his face that makes him look like he might be feeling sad.

  • After reading about each monster, have children try on the monster masks (or make their own monster masks and talk about times when they felt glad, sad, silly, etc.)

  • Have children make glad monster/sad monster stick puppets. Give each child 2 blank paper circles (one yellow/one blue). Ask them to draw a glad monster face on the yellow circle and a sad monster face on the blue circle. Help them glue their monster faces back to back with a popsicle stick in the middle. Talk about or role play different situations and ask children to hold up their glad monster or sad monster puppet according to how they think the monster would feel. For example, explain that Purple Monster was playing with his favorite truck when Red Monster came and took it away because he wanted to play with it. Ask how they think that would make Purple Monster feel. Why? Have children think of other things that Red Monster could try if he wants to play with Purple Monster’s truck.

  • Make a chart that shows each color monster and emotion from the book (yellow/glad, blue/sad, pink/loving, orange/worried, purple/silly, red/angry, green/scared), Encourage each child (& teacher!) to put a mark, write their name or place a sticker beside the monster that shows how they are feeling that day. Ask why they feel that way. With the help of the children, count the number of marks to see how many children feel glad, sad, silly, etc, Talk about/problem solve what they can do to change the way they feel if they marked that they are feeling worried or angry.

Reading the same book for several days in a row is a great way to support children’s confidence and competence, which is an important part of social emotional development. Children are able to talk about the story, predict what will happen next, learn new vocabulary words, talk about their own experiences in relation to the story and even make up their own story! Try reading Glad Monster Sad Monster for several days and emphasize a different concept/theme from the book that can be built on across the day (during small group, centers, snack, transitions, etc.). This will allow children the opportunity to really understand and practice the concept! An example is shown below:

Theme: Monsters

Introduce the theme of monsters by talking about the monsters in the book. Ask children if they have ever seen a movie or read a different book about monsters. How did those monsters make them feel? Refer back to any books that you have read in class that had a monster. Ask the children if they can remember some of the emotions that the monsters felt in the book. What made the monsters feel this way?

Examples of Activities That Support the theme—Monsters (Remember to intentionally give specific feedback and encouragement as children talk about monster emotions throughout the day!)

Music/Movement: Have children create a name for 2 or 3 different monsters using feeling words (Hank the Happy Monster, Allie the Angry Monster, Wu-Ying the Worried Monster, Sam the Silly Monster, etc.). Write these on a chart that everyone can see. Together, talk about how each monster might move. For example, Hank the Happy Monster might skip around and jump for joy, while Allie the Angry Monster might move by stomping her feet and raising her arms above her head! Create a game by telling the children that when you call out the name of one of the monsters, everyone will move like that monster! You might want to play “monster’s background music while you are all moving like the monsters!

Art: Let each child make a “feeling monster” by using a paper cup or toilet/paper towel tube and attaching various items to it (yarn, buttons, pipe cleaners, pom poms, ribbon, etc.). Children can make “feeling” faces on their monsters and give their monsters a feeling name! Talk to children about their monster—what is their monster feeling. Why does their monster feel that way? What happened? They can also write a story about their feeling monster and make their own book!

Literacy/Writing: Have children create their own Glad Monster Sad Monster Book. Have a copy of the book at the literacy/writing center. Remind children how each monster in the book talked about activities or events that made then feel a certain way. Children can pick which emotions they want to use for their book and then draw pictures of the monster as well as pictures of the things that make them feel that way. For example, children might pick the pink monster (loving), they would draw their "loving" monster and then draw things that make them feel loved such as being hugged by mom and dad, baking cookies with grandma, playing ball with dad, reading a book with mom, playing a game with their teacher, playing with their friend etc... Adults can help children write the words in their book to describe the pictures.

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This material was developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (Cooperative Agreement N. PHS 90YD0119). The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial projects, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. You may reproduce this material for training and information purposes.

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