As we finished up reading Pete the Cat’s, Rocking in my School Shoes, I stopped and looked at Joey. I could tell he was thinking hard about something. I told him this, and asked him to share what he was thinking about. He immediately went into his emotions page on his eye gaze device and said, “Brave.”
He is thinking about being brave to go to kindergarten.
I thanked him for sharing that with me, and asked him if anything else was on his mind. Giving me a long list of words on his device, I finally realized he was asking how he was going to get to school, and if he’d have to go up the big hill to the school. Once I answered that, he asked who would drive him. And finally he asked about naps. These are small questions I wouldn’t have thought to spend time talking to him about. I need to be better about pausing and asking Joey to share his thoughts with me.
~~ ~~ ~~
As we get closer to the start of school, I’ve been trying to bring in books and themes that will help prepare Joey for his transition. Last week, we connected with the pigeon’s big feelings about going to school, so this week I thought we’d visit with another old friend – Pete the Cat.
Pete the Cat is Rocking in his School Shoes throughout his school day and his building. The book is great for talking about the different places a child might see during their school day, and for the potential business of the school. Pete goes to new places like the library, loud and busy places like the lunch room, and the playground, where kids are running in every direction. And does he cry? Goodness No… he keeps on singing his song.
To connect Pete’s school journey with Joey’s, I went over to his future school to take pictures of some of the places he’ll see. I added those pictures into the book so that as we read about Pete’s adventures, we can also discuss what Joey might see, here, and feel in his new school building.
Joey loved looking at his future school and spent time studying each picture. I’m pretty sure he liked checking out the pictures more than he liked rocking with Pete. I also made a separate social story that goes through the different locations Joey may visit, but he’s far more interested in looking at the pictures when they are attached to Pete.
Thinking of doing this for your child or students?
Quick adapting book tip! I laminated the pictures so that they will not be ruined by too much love. Then, I taped the photos on to the non-sticky side of the sticky notes and placed the sticky notes into the pages of the book. That way, when Joey pulls the photographs out of the book (which he loves to do), he does not hurt the book. The sticky note stays on the page, but the photo comes off. When we are finished with these pictures, we can take the sticky notes off. This saves time from laminating an entire book and velcroing each picture onto the page.
**When I was a teacher, I was able to do this activity but also could include the pictures of the teachers my students would have. They loved reading the book and seeing their librarian, gym teacher, music teacher, etc – on the pages as though Pete was visiting each person. It was a great way to work on teacher names as well!