Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why Hugs are the Secret Ingredient

Do you like getting hugs?

Take a minute and really think about it.
Did you have to think about it?
No. I didn't.

For some of us, the topic is complicated. Like me.
I like. No LOVE getting hugs from close family and friends like my husband and daughter.

People I know less who hug you on first greeting?
Not so much. It makes my introvert self crawl deeper into her shell.

Hugs given unconditionally by my child or another are the best kind!
If my daughter feels the need to throw her arms around my neck or waist and hold me tight, I wrap my arms around her and hold on until she is ready to let go.

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Do you Hug your students?

For most of us, hugging our students is a complicated question. So many of us teach or taught students who are given little to no affection at home, and come to school silently begging for the love they desperately need. I have taught MANY whose smiles light up the room when you show them the love they need.

But hugging?
We were all taught in teachers college or our university programs that we cannot hug our students because it is not right. We wouldn't want to be accused of wrongdoing.

What about the Students who hug us?

Are you like me and desperately want to hug them back when they desperately want to hug you?
What can you do?

I say, "Thank you, I LOVE hugs,"and then I pat their head or back so they get the physical touch they crave, without me overstepping the teacher-student boundary.

Are there times we can hug back?

Probably on a case by case basis. Or maybe your school isn't as strict.

Situations I feel are okay to take the risk?
Was their a death in the family?
That's about it.

But like I said, on a case by case basis.

Are Hugs a Secret Ingredient?
Of course they are! Who doesn't feel better when someone gives you a hug when they can see you're feeling down? I know I do! My hubby is away for work most of the time, and so our daughter can see that I get a little sad, and she gives me hugs and I SWEAR I can feel her love pouring into me. And at bedtime when she misses her daddy the most and gets weepy, I give her the longest hug she needs and she feels a little better and ready for her bedtime stories.

What to Read?

I take our daughter to the library weekly.
Last week we started this series on my blog together.

I blogged about one of her book choices from last week, RED IS BEST.

This week one of her Selections was Hug Me by Patti Stren

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What makes this book awesome?

This Canadian classic, published about 40 years ago, is TIMELESS. Who among us hasn't felt left out, or that our needs weren't being met? Who hasn't felt bullied? Sad? Depressed? Friendless?

In Hug Me, Elliot is a lonely Porcupine. All the other porcupines are perfectly happy to keep others at a distance and avoid physical contact. But not Elliot. There's one thing in the world he wants more than anything else to experience, and that is a HUG. But none of the animals he asks are willing to hug him. You can see how sad he is, and feel his desperation when he dresses up as two things others love to try and convince them to hug him. Eventually he gives up and goes to the woods to be alone, but that is when and where everything changes for him.

Who should read this book?
This book is not for emergent readers to read on their own, but like my own preschooler, it has an engaging story with a wonderful message that they can enjoy when read to them. This would be perfect for first and second graders reading at grade level. The pattern of the story is perfect for practice in guided reading because it has some very clear parts, which makes it perfect for summarizing the story when retelling.

I use the Shape Go Map below for retelling. Do you?
The kids can see the image as a visual reminder of what the need to tell the teacher when retelling. The triangle in Who, when, where. Some stories only have a who.
The rectangle is the four major things that happen in the story. This is why HUG ME is perfect for Guided Reading practice or extra help, because the events in the story are so distinct.

From my guided reading table two years ago
Who else should read this book?
It is perfect as part of an anti-bullying lesson plan, especially in the early years as they can really put their feet in Elliots shoes, so to speak.
I find talking about bullying issues and character education can be helped by using books where the protagonist is nonhuman.

My daughter has also adorably reviewed this book for you.

Wait until you see her adorable conclusion to the story.
Check out her second review video below.

How can I use this book to teach?
This book is awesome as mentioned above for character education and bullying lesson plans.
I have a few ideas you can use without much prep:
First: Discuss how Elliot was feeling throughout the story.
Second: Think of a time you felt how Elliot was feeling and what made you feel better.
Third: What can you do to help someone who is sad?
Fourth: Make a card for someone who could use some cheering up, or some elderly folks at a nursing home, or somewhere else you feel the class could cheer people up.
ACTIVITY: Talk about FREE Hug day, and how we could hug other students. Is there a hugging project we could design?

Game: Hug Tag! When someone gets tagged by it, you have to hug them to get them unfrozen!
And of course you should have a talk about how it's OK to not hug someone and ask/offer a high five instead. Our students own their bodies!

Want to make this into an anti-bullying lesson? Check out my Pink Shirt Day Bundle in the footnotes below as today's featured resource.

Do You Love Hugs?
Will you read this book?
Please comment below!

If you would like me to review other books for kids please leave a comment. It must be useful to either teachers or parents of children age 4 to grade 2.

Want to find awesome resources for your Early Childhood Education classroom? Visit Reading With Mrs. D on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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Today's featured resource: 

Pink Shirt Day Anti-bullying activities and more

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