Context for this Lesson
TOPIC: Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev (Language Arts?SEL)
GRADE LEVEL: K-2
- What is a welcoming space? What is an inclusive space?
- How do we create welcoming and inclusive spaces?
§110.3. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 1, Adopted 2017.
(b) Knowledge and skills.
- (1) Developing and sustaining foundational language skills: listening, speaking, discussion, and thinking--oral language. The student develops oral language through listening, speaking, and discussion. The student is expected to:
- (A) listen actively, ask relevant questions to clarify information, and answer questions using multi-word responses
- (6) Comprehension skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student uses metacognitive skills to both develop and deepen comprehension of increasingly complex texts. The student is expected to:
- (F) make inferences and use evidence to support understanding with adult assistance
- (7) Response skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student responds to an increasingly challenging variety of sources that are read, heard, or viewed. The student is expected to:
- (E) interact with sources in meaningful ways such as illustrating or writing
- (8) Multiple genres: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts--literary elements. The student recognizes and analyzes literary elements within and across increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse literary texts. The student is expected to:
- (B) describe the main character(s) and the reason(s) for their actions
§117.107. Theatre, Grade 1, Adopted 2013.
(b) Knowledge and skills.
- (1) Foundations: inquiry and understanding. The student develops concepts about self, human relationships, and the environment using elements of drama and conventions of theatre. The student is expected to:
- (D) imitate and create animate and inanimate objects in dramatic play.
- (2) Creative expression: performance. The student interprets characters using the voice and body expressively and creates dramatizations. The student is expected to:
- (C) dramatize simple stories
SEL Standards, K-2nd
- Recognizes and accurately names feelings
- Identifies emotions related to situations/events
- Welcome sign (Big, bubble letters on big piece of chart paper. Blank except for word “WELCOME”)
- Strictly No Elephants written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
- Cover title on cover with post-it note.
- Costume piece for role work (preferably red scarf)
- If possible, stuffed elephant
1. ARTIFACT – Welcome Sign (5 min)
Invite students to sit in a circle on the floor.
I have a sign here that I’d like your help investigating, but before I show it to you I’m wondering:
- What do you all know about signs?
- Where do you see signs in your life?
- How do we use signs? How do signs help us?
- What are some things we might see on a sign?
- How do we use words on signs? How do we use symbols and/or colors on signs?
Y’all definitely know a lot about signs, which is great because I’m wondering if you can help me understand this sign. Hang WELCOME sign for all to see. This sign says “Welcome!” Let’s all say that together: “Welcome!” Scribe student responses to the following:
- What does the word welcome mean?
- What does it mean to feel welcome somewhere?
- Does anyone know how to say welcome in a different language?
Write student generated definitions for welcome on the board.
- Have you seen a welcome sign like this before? Where might you see welcome”signs?
- Why might someone put up a welcome sign?
- What are some spaces where you feel welcome?
- What does a welcoming space feel/look like to you?
Write examples/attributes of welcoming spaces on the board.
Transition: Thank you for helping me think about what it means to be welcome—it sounds like you all are welcome experts! We’re going to read a story now, but let’s keep our conversation about welcome signs in mind as we do.
2. INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING/SEATED STATUES (15 min)
Show group the book Strictly No Elephants, with the title covered.
- What do you see on this cover?
- What do you think the relationship between the person and the animal is?
- What’s missing? What might the sign on the door say?
- What do you think the title of this book is?
If you’re willing, I would like your help telling this story. As we’re reading, I’m going to invite you to stay seated and use your bodies to create different characters and images throughout the story. I may also ask you to use your voices to make some sounds during the story. Can you help me tell the story like this?
To start, let’s all make a seated frozen statue of an elephant. Remember to take care of your own body and be aware of your neighbor’s personal space. Show me how you might make an elephant with your body when I say “Statue!” on 1, 2, 3...Statue! Share a couple of things you notice about the seated elephant statues. What does an elephant sound like? On three let’s all make an elephant sound. 1, 2, 3…(make elephant sound by blowing air through closed lips). Great! Let’s shake that statue off. Thank you for sharing your elephants. Let’s see what happens to the elephant in this story.
Read the story and share the pictures. Throughout, take time when there’s an opportunity to ask a question and/or activate a moment in the story with sound or movement. Some possible moments:
- (Pg 1) The trouble with having a tiny elephant for a pet is that you never quite fit in. What do you think these characters’ names are? Identify a name for the narrator and the elephant.
- (Pg 2-3) No one else has an elephant. What other pets do you see in this picture? How do you think the narrator and the elephant are feeling? What makes you say that? Why might they be feeling this way? On the count of three, show me with your face or with a gesture how one of these characters is feeling. 1, 2, 3...Statue! Share a couple of things you notice.
- (Pg 8-9) It’s Pet Club Day and everyone will be there. Why do you think the narrator and the elephant want to go to Pet Club Day? What do they expect to happen at Pet Club? How do you think the narrator and the elephant are feeling now? What makes you say that? Why might they be feeling this way? On the count of three, show me with your face or with a gesture how one of these characters is feeling. 1, 2, 3...Statue! Share a couple of things you notice.
- (Pg 10-11) When I look up, there’s a sign on the door. What do you think the sign on the door of the Pet Club says? Why do you think the Pet Club put a sign on their door?
- (Pg 12) Strictly No Elephants What do you notice about the sign on the door? You might see some words and also a drawing or a ‘symbol’ - what might those words or pictures mean? Let’s define the word ‘strictly.’ What does “Strictly No Elephants” mean? Create a definition for “Strictly No Elephants” (example: “Absolutely no elephants allowed!”) How can we use our arms to show what “Strictly No Elephants” means? On the count of the three, let’s all say “Strictly No Elephants” with a small arm gesture (movement). 1, 2, 3…Strictly No Elephants! Share a couple of things you notice. Alternatively, decide on one group movement for the phrase and do the movement all together. Consider also layering on vocal variation to express the meaning of “Strictly No Elephants.”
- (Pg 13 cont’d) That’s what friends do: brave the scary things for you. What does it mean to “brave” something? What is a gesture we might make to show what it looks like to brave something scary? On the count of the three, let’s all say “brave something scary” with our gesture. 1, 2, 3…”Brave something scary!” Share a couple of things you notice.
- (Pg 14-15, rainy picture) What colors do you see in this picture? What’s the weather like? What mood do these color and the weather create? What part of the picture pops out to you? Why? Why might the illustrator have chosen to make those parts pop out? How do you think the main characters might be feeling at this point in the story? What makes you say that? Why might they be feeling this way? On the count of three, show me how one of these characters is feeling. 1, 2, 3...Statue! Share a couple of things you notice.
- (Pg 16-17) “The sign didn’t mention skunks,” the girls says, “but they don’t want us to play with them either.” “They don’t know any better,” I tell her. Why might the girl think the Pet Club doesn’t want her and her skunk to play with them? The sign doesn’t say anything about skunks, so how does the girl know she and the skunk aren’t welcome?
- (Pg 18-19) “What if we start our own club?” Let’s pause the story there for a moment.
Lead brief reflection on the story thus far:
- Who do you think is the main character(s) of this story?
- What is the main character’s problem? How does this problem make the character feel?
- How are the characters going to solve their problem?
Transition: Since I know you all are experts on the word welcome, I’m wondering if you might be willing to give the main character in this story some advice on how to create a welcoming club.
3. HOTSEATING – Teacher in Role (15 min)
In a moment, I’m going to put on this scarf and step into role as the main character, (use name identified by group at the beginning of the storytelling, or give the character a name here). Let’s help the character solve their problem! Can you help me countdown to get into character? 3, 2, 1…Teacher will put on a scarf or other character prop and step into role as the main character.
Kid from Strictly No Elephants: Oh hi! My name is (name identified by group) and I’m supposed to meet a group of people who are experts on making welcome spaces. Am I in the right place? Are any of you Welcome Experts? Oh, great! Thank you so much for meeting with me today. I could really use your help. You see, I have a pet elephant, named (use name identified by group at the beginning of storytelling), and we were both really excited to go to our neighborhood Pet Club to make new people and pet friends. But when we arrived at Pet Club, there was a sign on the door that said “Strictly No Elephants.” I didn’t know what “strictly” means, so I had to look it up. Do you all know what “strictly no elephants” means? Yes! It means “absolutely no elephants allowed.” Since my elephant and I weren’t welcome at that Pet Club, we’ve decided to brave something scary and start our own Pet Club!
(Consider inviting students to repeat “Strictly No Elephants” and “brave something scary” gestures here.)
Kid from Strictly No Elephants: Since you all are welcome experts, I’m wondering if you can give me some advice on how to create a welcoming space at our new pet club.
- What do you think a welcoming spaces look/feel like?
- What could our Pet Club members do to make new people and pets feel welcome?
- What could members say when new people/pets arrive?
- How could we let people know that our Pet Club is welcoming to all?
(Throughout questioning build-on, problematize, and activate (sound/gesture) students responses. Consider writing responses on board or revisiting previously generated responses.)
Kid from Strictly No Elephants: Thank you for this smart advice. I’m so excited about our new Pet Club! I was hoping you could help me with one more thing. That “Strictly No Elephants” sign really hurt my and my elephant’s feelings, so we want to put a welcome sign on the door of our Pet Club. (Notice the WELCOME sign from beginning of the lesson.) Oh, I see our sign has already arrived! This is a good start, but I was wondering if you welcome experts would be willing to help me make our sign even more welcoming. What do you think?
Awesome. So our sign already says “Welcome.”
- What other words should we put on our sign to show that all people and pets are welcome in our Pet Club?
(Invite students to add words to the sign, supporting them with spelling if/when necessary.)
- What symbols or images should we add to our sign to show our welcoming space?
- What colors should we use to create a welcoming sign?
(Invite students to add symbols/pictures/colors to the sign.
Kid from Strictly No Elephants: Wow. This sign looks amazing—and so welcoming! Thank you for all of your help. You’re welcome at Pet Club anytime. Speaking of, it’s time for me to get back to (pet elephant’s name) so we can have our first meeting. Thanks again—bye! (Take off scarf and step out of role.)
Transition: Thank you for helping to give (main character’s name) advice on how to create a welcoming Pet Club. And Look at this beautiful sign! Share a couple of things you notice (if time). Let’s see how (main character’s name) and (elephant’s name) story ends.
4. INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING (5 min)
Finish the story. Continue to ask questions and activate the story as time and engagement allow. Possible moments:
- (Pg 22-23, people and pets picture) What do you see in this picture? On the count of three, show me one of the pets you see in this picture. 1, 2, 3...Statue! Share a couple of things you notice.
- (Pg 26-27) All Are Welcome How is this sign like the welcome sign you all made? How is it different?
- (Pg 30) Because that’s what friends do. What/who do you notice in this picture? How is this Pet Club a welcoming space?
Now that we’ve finished the story, does anyone have an idea of what the title of the book is? Remove post it note from cover and share title.
Transition: Thank you all for helping me to tell this story and for teaching (main character’s name) about welcoming spaces. Let’s take a couple minutes to reflect on the story Strictly No Elephants.
5. REFLECTING ON THE LESSON (5 min)
- How did we define the word welcome today? I
- n the story Strictly No Elephants, why did the main character(s) feel unwelcome?
- How did these characters respond when they felt unwelcome?
- What did you do to give welcoming advice to (main character’s name)?
- How did you help (main character’s name) create a more welcome Pet Club?
- How does the sign we made show that the new Pet Club is a welcoming space?
- How is our sign different/similar from the sign in the book?
- When is a time that you felt unwelcome? How did you respond?
- Why is it important to think about how we are welcoming to others?
- How might we make sure new people feel welcome in our classroom space?
- Statues: Invite students to create paired statues for what it looks like to welcome another person into their space.
- Inclusion Machine: Invite students to think of a sound and a gesture to define “inclusive” or “welcoming.” One at a time, invite students to come up to the “stage” and build onto each other’s sound and gesture. Who or what does a “welcome machine” welcome? What does a “welcome machine” make? Where would you put our “welcome machine”?
- Design a Welcome Sign: Who or what does your welcome sign welcome? Design your own club and create a welcome sign. How do you use color, shape, symbols and words to show what “welcome” looks like to you?
Lesson created by Laura Epperson and Lina Chambers