Well, New Year’s has come and gone but wild times are still here, just ask any teacher the first week back to school! Looking for a social language activity on matching our behavior to our environments? You have come to the right place! “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild”, by Peter Brown, is a great book to start your lesson. This story follows the theme, “There is a time and place for everything-even going wild.” But how wild is too wild?
This is a hard concept, particularly for our younger kids with sensory issues. Their engines rev up way too high or too quickly and it’s difficult for them to calm back down. For our older students, sometimes the function of their “wildness” is attention, so we need to be cautious that we don’t feed that monster 🙂 The book tells a lovely story about a tiger who is tired of being proper and wants to revert to his wild, non-clothes-wearing, roaring on all four paws behavior. His very proper friends are upset by this change and the story goes on to tell of how they all compromise to feel free to be themselves (within reason).
I have created 9 cut apart cards with 12 social language questions to delve into MGW’s social thinking concepts such as expected/unexpected behaviors, rules that change depending on the setting and considering the feelings of those around us. I also made a printable mini-poster for students to ask questions regarding people, place and timing for being “wild”. You can find them both here at TPT.
It would be a wonderful companion lesson to create a calm down kit for younger kids to use after a wild time- it could include a weighted vest, a special spot in the room to calm down, breathing techniques, fidgets or squishy toys, a cup to get a drink of water or some soft music to listen to, for a few minutes. This is a good example from Pinterest or this one . Talk to your amazing OT friends and get their suggestions too (particularly if the students are using the program, How Does Your Engine Run?).
And last but not least, don’t forget to define what WILD looks like- it can mean vastly different things to different people!! That might be a fun art project to draw or cut pictures out from magazines to show what the concept of wild means to each student. You could cut out tiger shaped masks and glue/draw the pictures on them for your younger students or brainstorm ideas with your older kids.
This cute video clip can help illustrate it too and lead to a great discussion on when it’s okay to be wild, and when it’s not. Here’s to having a time and place for everything, even being wild!