I don't have to tell you guys again how much I love Story Grammar Marker, but if you're new to the blog, see my most popular blog post on how I do SGM HERE.
I tend to teach the story elements one at a time until they have mastered each one. For some of my kiddos who are just starting, we're working on character. Character is such a fun one to teach! I also teach an overview of emotions when I'm teaching Character, because they go together nicely. Then, I'll spend more in-depth time on emotions later on (how emotions change, differing perspectives, etc.)
Story Grammar Marker teaches that every character has "eyes, a face, and a head." Especially for younger kiddos, teaching characters, emotions, and facial expressions can be so fun! You can talk about what different emotions look like, and it's also a great opportunity to learn about different facial/body parts, their functions, and what they look like on different people/animals (for instance, a pig's snout looks different than a little girl's nose, but they have similar functions!)
There are TONS of fun ways to practice facial expressions, and I'm always looking for new ways! Fall is the PERFECT time to work on characters and facial expressions. Following are a few different things we've been using to practice:
I often use the bunny and puppy dog parts for Braidy this time a year to teach about how characters can be just about anything, and how we often dress up as different things for Halloween. The students practice changing out Braidy's facial expressions to demonstrate different feelings, and then they practice making those faces themselves! We also read Five Little Pumpkins with some of my younger groups, and used the Braidy flash cards to talk about feelings as well.
I also happened upon these Melissa and Doug sticker sets a while back too. They work the same way as the pumpkin stickers do. I emphasized that it doesn't matter if a character is a person, a horse, a pig, or a rock...As long as they have eyes, a face, and a head, they can be a character.
Here are some of my Pre-K students in an Autism classroom working on their pumpkins. They did amazingly well!
Mr. Potato Head is awesome for working on body parts, facial expressions, characters, and feelings. I found a Halloween character set a few years back, and we've used the Goblin and Ghost (as well as a pirate, Santa Claus, etc.) to discuss different characters and costumes!
Having the students practice making different facial expressions in front of the class or in front of a mirror is also a great way to learn facial expressions, feelings, and how to read body language and facial expressions to know how someone is feeling. We practiced with me giving them a feeling to show, and then we practiced guessing how they feel by their facial expressions. Below are pictures of my little one, Halle Jane, doing the same thing!
Scared: (hahahaha this one always makes me laugh :) )
Finally, we used two songs from Super Simple Learning to reinforce our discussions about facial expressions and feelings:
Can You Make a Happy Face goes through several different facial expressions/feelings, including happy, angry, scared, and sad.
Five Little Pumpkins also goes through different facial expressions and feelings (smiling/happy, pouting/grumpy, yawning/sleepy, crying/sad, laughing/playing).
Super Simple Learning also has these great flash cards to go along with their 5 Little Pumpkins song. They can be downloaded *for free* from their website! (Click the link or the picture below)!
How do you work on characters and facial expressions/feelings? I'd love to hear!