Hawkens (Interview): My name is Jennifer Hawkens. I teach in the younger preschool room, so my kids are three years old. Um, I started with them just last year. Many of the activities you'll see are the same as you have in any good quality preschool program. The intentions behind it include a really high image of the child, and empowering children is one of the main goals. To have control in constructing their own learning.
Student: I feel happy!
Hawkens: You feel happy? Can you find happy, Lewis? Perfect. What makes you happy Lewis?
Student: My mom.
Hawkens (Interview): One of the ways that we help children develop emotional literacy is helping them identify feelings.
Hawkens: All right, remember our book? I heard somebody singing the song. Do you want to sing the song?
Hawkens (Interview): We've been reading a lot of books about emotions. I use books a lot, because they, they have the language and they also have something visual that can go along with it.
Hawkens & Students: (singing) Go away big green monster, go away big green monster, go away big green monster, go away. Go away!
Hawkens: Do you remember the story?
Hawkens (Interview): I really like the Go Away Big Green Monster book a lot. The kids really enjoy it, and I had a lot of different things in mind, and a lot of it having to do with literacy.
Hawkens: A big green monster has how many eyes?
Student: Two little eyes!
Hawkens: Two big…
Hawkens: Yellowish eyes. Right. What's next?
Hawkens: Do you think the face was next? Let's look at the book. I don't remember! Two big, yellow eyes and…
Hawkens: Nose. A long, bluish-greenish nose…
Hawkens (Interview): That book I find really cathartic for them based on the emotional content.
Hawkens: What's next? Huh! A big red mouth with sharp white…
Hawkens: Teeth. All right. Here's the mouth. Is gonna be happy or sad.
Hawkens: Mad? Okay, let's make it sideways then. Errrrrr.
Hawkens (Interview): After the Go Away Big Green Monster story, I had planned two different ways for children to kind of interact and process the material, and one was the collage activity. And I wanted to encourage children to create their own face, and bring them back to emotions and how does your monster feel, is it happy, is it angry.
Hawkens: …Can you show me how your face looks angry?
Student: It's kind of…
Hawkens: Show me what your face, how would you look? Can you show me your face? What does a sad face look like? Aw, yeah, look. Your mouth goes down. How could we make…Oh! That's an angry one. So he's angry, happy, and sad, all at the same time. Look at this! Look in the mirror. You could, show me what your face looks like when it's angry. Can you, oooooh. Does that look angry? You kind of happy, is it sort of silly…
Hawkens (Interview): The started imitating the faces My monster's like this, my monster's like this. And so I just got the mirror, and that kind of turned into part of the lesson, and I think that cuing in on the physical features of what's going on, it gives them a concrete way of identifying, hm, this is what I'm feeling right now.
Hawkens: …Well look in the mirror, and let's see Sadie's happy face. How do you look when you're happy? Aww, that's such a pretty smile. Oh! Is the monster smiling too?
Student: No. He doesn't have eyes yet.
Hawkens: Oh. He can't smile without his eyes? What if I covered up my eyes? Ready? Can you tell I'm happy?
Hawkens: But it's easier with your eyes, huh?
Hawkens (Interview): And then in the other one they were using the little magnet board with the faces to reenact the story. One child would have the book and could reference the story and the other child could put the pieces onto the magnet board. I think that's a really good way for kids who are, maybe not verbal, maybe just learning language, to participate together in a literacy activity and kind of make that, ideas from that book concrete.
Student: But where's the teeth? That's the teeth, see? That's not teeth, that's a face.
Student: See? I told you.
Hawkens (Interview): Young children learn best through interacting with things that are meaningful to them.
Student: Don't take it off!
Hawkens (Interview): …with things that are relating to their life and their interest. Something that they create together.