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Speech in the Schools

Book It, Part 19: Start the Year off with a Positive Attitude

Published January 2, 2012 9:00 AM by Sean Sweeney

This time of year, especially in the Northeast, it can seem like everyone is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, including our students. It's cold, it's dark, and the smallest thing can set us off! As SLPs, we can be good counselors to our students and encourage positive self-talk for all sorts of occasions. 

Self-talk is a tenet of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is well-grounded in research, but it is obviously also a language-based approach to changing thinking and behavior. What we think, or the words in our head, can actually change what we feel, what we do, and therefore the consequences we experience. 

I recently was doing some Amazon-ing for some new picture books and discovered a few books that I could use right away to touch on positive thinking while reviewing language strategies around the book. The first, What Are You So Grumpy About? (Tom Lichtenfeld) is a vibrantly illustrated and whimsical take on the topic of bad days. 

What Are You so Grumpy About? 

The book is essentially a series of questions: "Did you get a package on your birthday? And it turned out to be BORING stuff?" The pictures provide a lot to discuss, and the front and back cover pages feature an array of "Sure Cures for Grumpiness."

The second book I found is One of Those Days (Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Rebecca Doughty). Simpler in text and illustration, the book lists different kinds of days that everyone has: "You Think You're Right But No One Else Thinks So Day/Answer To Everything Is No Day." Both books end with that positive spin that will help kids see that we can think our way out of most problems!

These books lend themselves to a number of language-based activities and strategies:

  • Compare and contrast the two books -- how are they similar and/or different in language, illustration, type of problem?
  • Make your own books in the format of these, by writing a series of second-person questions about possible daily problems, or "Titling" days according to problems.
  • Use the book in conjunction with the SuperflexTM Social Thinking program, particularly the Unthinkable character of Grump Grumpaniny.
  • Employ graphic organizers and have kids list the problems that they have experienced, and "make connections" while reading the books.

For a grown-up spin on bad days, be sure to check out Allie Brosh's post on the Sneaky Hate Spiral -- it's one of my favorites.

1 comments

hi im a great teacher

marli, are you grumpy - why are you so grumpy work, you are grumpy September 18, 2013 6:28 PM
ameraka AK

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About this Blog


    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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