Thursday, January 17, 2013

Big Chickens - Predicting Books

 I recently found my two great books for working on making simple predictions.  Big Chickens and Big Chickens Fly the Coop.  There is a third book in the series, Big Chickens Go to Town, but I haven't gotten it yet. 

About half the pages in these books end with the word "Until....." It is a perfect set up for making predictions.  The book big chickens have the chickens running away from a wolf at the chicken coop and into the woods.  The find many things in the woods they are afraid of and bumble their way into.  At the end of the books the chickens aren't so chicken any more and are feeling much better about themselves, which gives us a chance to talk about character change.

I found the chicken books perfect for my students who are on the autism spectrum.   These books may have animals as characters instead of people, but the illustrator has done a fantastic job with the expressions of the animals in the books. My students and I also spend a lot of time discussing how the chickens (and other animals) were feeling at different points in the book and how we could tell.  We also discussed how people call each other "chickens" when they are acting afraid.

Having a done a few days of making predictions, it's been really interesting how my students are afraid to make predictions at the fear of being wrong.  Many of my kids simply answered "I don't know" and I had to do a lot of choice offering.  Such as "are the chickens going to go into the cave or not?"  One of my boys refused to make predictions or prediction choices at all.  We did a little discussion about what else the chickens did in the book, the chickens end up accidentally doing everything they say they are afraid of (specific to the book Big Chickens), and still he refused.  So more work here we come!  Situations like this make me happy I'm still finding such great things to use in therapy.

I used the books with 2nd through 6th grade.  They worked best with the second and third graders, and an individual ASD fifth grader particularly enjoyed it.

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