Friday, July 26, 2013

Pete the Cat Goes Back to School

It's that time again!  People are rushing around finishing summer "to do" lists, buying school supplies, and trying to get back into a routine so the transition back to school won't be quite so tough.  One of the things on my "to do" list this summer was to learn how to make printables that I can share with my readers for use in the classroom or home.  I hope you enjoy this little Pete the Cat download that I created for you!

This post is part of a Back to School Blog Hop with 19 Indiana Bloggers.  I hope you enjoy visiting each of these amazing bloggers who are so passionate about sharing their brilliance with you! Each one of them has a Back to School freebie that you can download.  If you follow the blog hop allllllll the way to the end there is a "Reader's Choice" giveaway for a $75 gift card of your choice!  That would be a nice little back to school bonus!

With the return to school comes lots of different feelings.  My sister and I were joking the other day that you know your a teacher when you get excited about back to school supplies.  There is an odd thrill that comes from walking into Target or Wal-Mart and seeing rows of back to school supplies!  Oh the joy of pointy new crayons and smell fresh Play-doh!  Don't get me started on colorful new folders and crispy clean notebook paper! 

Although there is some excitement about new supplies, new teachers, and seeing friends again after a long summer away there are also many other feelings involved in going back to school.  Some parents may feel sad about seeing their little ones heading off to the big yellow school bus for the first time.  Some children feel disappointed that they didn't get the teacher they wanted or frustrated that all their friends are in another class. 

This summer I have had the pleasure of sharing a book study with 16 other educators on Dr. Becky Bailey's book Managing Emotional Mayhem.  I have become so much more conscious of the way I handle my feelings and help my children handle theirs.  I used to think that if I just ignored their feelings and tried to "happy them up" everything would be fine and those difficult feelings would go away.  This book study has helped me realize that the opposite is true!  When I acknowledge their feelings and help them handle them, they learn new skills and how to manage their feelings.  As a result actually pass more quickly.  By focusing on the phrase let it be I am learning how to stop the temper tantrums (mine, not theirs) and regulate my own emotions through this 5 step self-regulation process.  Now I know a better way!

One reason I love Pete the Cat is because of the way he handles himself when the world doesn't go his way.  He steps in all sorts of "stuff" as he walks along in his brand new shoes.  I know how upset I get when I just step on a piece of bubble gum...I can't imagine how angry I would be if I stepped in a huge pile of strawberries and my brand new shoes were ruined!  Not Pete!  He keeps walking along singing his song and quickly accepts what is.

Here is the printable activity to go along with Pete the Cat.  It helps children practice some of the skills necessary for self-regulation, specifically pausing between the upset and the response.  It usually doesn't come as easily for us as it does for Pete!  This activity could be used at home or school along side your reading of the story or as an extension activity after reading the story.

Click here to download the activity packet for free

Each time Pete steps in something you will Velcro on a new color of shoes.  For example, when he steps in strawberries, you will Velcro on the red shoes.  Now we kick it up a notch by adding a breathing technique (STAR, Balloon, Drain, or Pretzel).  We would say, "Breathe with me Pete, you can handle it."  Then the children practice the breathing technique with Pete.  Next, you might like to discuss with the children how they would feel if they had brand new shoes and they stepped in some strawberries.

By adding the breathing technique when Pete steps in a pile of strawberries we are helping the children see that taking a deep breath can help them keep their head on straight and continue walking along with their brilliance.  When we get triggered and don't take the time to pause, we react to these life events out of our upset and sometimes behave in ways we later regret.  So let's practice with Pete so we can all find more brilliant moments like this Cool Kitty! 
Keep the children actively involved with the story by having them help you change Pete's shoes and select the various breathing techniques.  For more information about the breathing techniques visit and click on the resources tab.  There are more pictures there as well as instructions about how to do each of the breathing techniques. 

I put some extra Velcro on the back of the poster so I could easily store all the pieces that go with Pete. 

Hope you continue to enjoy the rest of the posts in the "Indiana Goes Back to School" blog hop!  Make sure you hop all the way to the end so you can sign up for the $75 giveaway!  Wishing you well as you head back to school!  Hope you can breathe and keep walking along and singing your song just like Pete because it's all good.