She began by telling the students about how she was a school counselor and how she was constantly putting out fires in her office regarding respect, friendship, and every other issue that is brought to our attention on a daily basis. Yeah yeah so what we all deal with student issues yes I know, I deal with them to, but to create stories to help kids relate is an awesome way to channel her energy and frustration.
The first story she read to us was about expelling gas (yes quite the conversation for 3rd-5th graders). They love to discuss and preform bodily functions on a daily basis. I mean where do you think I came up with the name 4th Grad Funky Town. She called up our one male 5th grade teacher to perform burps aloud and another 5th grade teacher to squeeze a whoopee cushion for flatulent noise. They were quite the dramatic duo. Below is a picture of her book Gas Happens. Go and check it out.
She next shared a really important book and lesson about children getting kidnapped. She referred to it as getting scooped up. She had contacted John Walsh from the show America's Most Wanted and discussed with him the importance of her getting accurate information kids about kidnapping. Have you ever used or heard of using code words for your kid? Well according to John Walsh that is dangerous to use with your kids or students. He said by the time you talk to the stranger and discuss the code word you have opened too many lines of communication and your changes of getting taken are 90% at this point. With that being said don't use code words with your kids of students. She wrote the book Smarter than the Scoopers. She discussed who "safe people" are and how to trust certain people who talk to you and not others.
That story has a valuable lesson that our students learned today including that kidnappers use things to entice kids to come with them including animals especially dogs. She then pulls out her teacup Chihuahua Kirby that was all 2 pounds of preciousness. She discussed how scoopers (as she called them) get cute animals and ask kids to help them with their dogs and in a flash the kid is scooped up and is never heard from again. I thought wow what a valuable lesson and a great use of a visual, actually bringing her dog to show. With all that being said I thought to myself, I need to try and write a children's book about the adventures my dogs have. Yes I am crazy, but I thought how fun would that be and kids love dogs right?!
With all that being said please go and visit Julia Cook's website and shop around. Her books are fabulous.