Julia Cook's books are an absolute hit with our students. I was ecstatic when I found Personal Space Camp. I'd already been using My Mouth Is A Volcano to reinforce school skills like raising your hand and waiting your turn to talk. But what about when kids are in each others space during 'carpet time' or pushing and shoving in the cafeteria line? These behaviors can make instruction difficult and cause a lot of teacher angst. I don't know how many times I've had to say, 'Please, keep your hands to yourself.' Personal Space Camp is a life saver book. Angst will be decreased!
Okay, so in defense of the kids - developmentally it's really difficult to sometimes be in control of yourself. Kids need to move and wiggle around. However, they need extra guidance building awareness of themselves and those around them before the wiggling offends another student. When there are 20 some bodies in a classroom - we have to learn to work and live together. And newsflash - negative reinforcement doesn't build awareness - it just makes kiddos feel bad. I use Personal Space Camp as a social awareness teaching tool because it makes kids feel GOOD about themselves. They love learning about the concept of personal space and how it can affect others positively and negatively. Most importantly, the story is engaging and Louis is a VERY likeable character. We also copy Louis and use the same strategies in the book. The kids love being jammed into a hula hoop and reflection gets those light bulbs flashing about personal space. And here is the best part, author Julia Cook wrote a supplementary activity and idea book!! Activities galore! I got my hands on it this Spring and started integrating the lessons in small groups. The main reason the guide rocks is because the activities provide cool visuals for the students. Yep, your lessons on personal space just got even MORE engaging! Educators, get this one on your shelf. When teaching classroom routines, make this part of your curriculum.