Here is a list of picture books to introduce the four levels of the Hierarchy of Social Development.
The bold books with the asterisk (*) are the ones I used when I developed and taught the levels.
Level A Books – Anarchy (not acceptable level)
*Miss Nelson Is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall
Mean Soup, by Betsy Everitt
Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, by Diane deGroat
Miss Nelson is Missing, by Harry Allard
We Share Everything, by Robert Munsch
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
When Sophie Gets Angry Really Really Angry, by Molly G. Bang
Level B Books – Bullying and Bothering (not acceptable level)
*The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall… >>>
I’d like to share a picture book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin that connects wonderfully to many different types of lessons.
Snowflake Bentley won the Caldecott Medal in 1999. It could be integrated into science, literature, a snow and winter theme, a study of biographies, symmetry, art and beauty, and in addition could be used to highlight Level D of the DWS Hierarchy.
Martin’s award-winning book tells the story of Wilson Bentley, who is sometimes referred to as “The Snowflake Man.”
By learning about the life of Wilson Bentley, students have the opportunity to think about someone operating at a very high level of autonomy. This is always an inspiring thing to do! Being a picture book, it is best … >>>
Everyone knows the whimsical fantasies of Bill Peet, but you may not be familiar with his less well-known non-fiction book, Capyboppy. It’s one of my all time favorite children’s books!
Capyboppy is the true story of a South American capybara that was brought into the Peet home by Bill’s oldest son, a natural science major in college. Capy––who eventually grew to be 75 pounds––lived with the four members of the Peet family as a much loved and much spoiled pet!
Capyboppy is a great two-day read-aloud for younger children. With a large black and white illustration on every one of its 62 pages, it’s also the perfect book for transitioning older students into reading … >>>
Just like people, book characters often operate on more than one level!
Very often, the author has at least one character learn something about the discouraging outcomes of operating at the lower levels. In many cases, the character is transformed in some way during the course of the story.
Whenever I read such a book to children, I highlight this transformation by connecting it to the DWS Hierarchy.
What did this character learn as the result of experiencing or observing the outcomes of operating on a lower level?
What can we learn from this character’s experiences?
How might what has happened in this situation, affect how this character chooses to act in the future?
Hooway for Wodney Rat by Helen Lester is a great read-aloud, especially if you like taking on different voices!!
Camilla Capybara is a perfect character for introducing the concept of Level B of the DWS Hierarchy. Once the kids have correctly identified Camilla’s level of operation, the illustrations really lend themselves to discussing the outcomes and natural consequences of operating on Level B.
Look at the picture where Camilla is screaming out the answers. How are the others reacting?
Discuss the picture where she runs out over top of everyone to get to recess first. How do the others feel about Camilla? Will they be seeking her out to play on the playground? Not likely! They’re scared of her!
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