Self-discipline is important for kids in so many ways. Good self-discipline helps kids stay in control of their actions, stay focused on goals, and feel good about themselves.
It’s no surprise that I LOVE using mentor texts to teach about self-discipline! If you want to do the same, check out the list below for my top ten mentor texts for teaching self-discipline.
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1. Interrupting Chicken
Students will get firsthand experience with how frustrating it can be when someone keeps interrupting in this fun book. As her Papa reads her bedtime stories, the little chick can’t help herself. She keeps interrupting and ruining the story. Can Papa ever get her to stop? And will he interrupt in his own way when the tables are turned?
2. Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
This fun-to-read, rhyming story is all about how superheroes could use their superpowers to throw super tantrums when they have bad days. They could knock over buildings, shriek, kick, punch, and a whole lot more, but they don’t, ever. Instead they deal with their frustrations in more constructive ways. This book provides a ton of great ideas for dealing with bad days that kids can actually put into practice.
3. My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing
Sad, worried, nervous- these are all stressful emotions for children (and adults). Luckily, we are all in possession of a powerful tool that can help us feel calm and in control- our breath. This book walks children through how they can use mindful breathing to feel better in stressful situations.
4. Miss Nelson is Missing
Sometimes you don’t appreciate the good you have until it’s gone. That was certainly the case for the students in room 207, who didn’t show any respect to their sweet teacher, Ms. Nelson. One day Ms. Nelson isn’t at school. A strict, mean substitute, Miss Viola Swamp, is there instead. The students instantly regret the way they treated sweet Ms. Nelson, and hope they will have another chance to show their appreciation for her.
5. Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice
Little Isabella loves sharing her thoughts, ideas, and feelings so much that she just SHOUTS them out! This has earned her the nickname “Decibella.” Follow along as she learns the five volumes, whisper, 6-inch, table-talk, strong speaker, and outside, and how to decide which one is appropriate for which situation.
6. If You Give A Mouse an iPhone: A Cautionary Tail
Modeled after the classic “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,” this story lets you know what will happen if you give a mouse an iPhone. As you can probably imagine, the mouse gets completely absorbed in the device and ends up missing all of the fun in the real world. Also unsurprising (but still humorous!) is the giant tantrum that the mouse has when he is finally forced to give up the phone.
7. My Mouth is a Volcano
Louis can’t help himself, he is always interrupting! He has so many important thoughts to share, they just erupt right out of his mouth, like a volcano. When he gets interrupted one day, he finally learns how to wait respectfully until it is his turn to talk. The little twist of humor makes this a great, low-pressure way to address the “interruptors” in your class.
8. The Way I Act
This book dives into several different types of behavior. Each one is explained using words and actions, so students get a very clear idea of what each behavior looks and sounds like. It also focuses on the fact that kids have the ability to choose how they want to act, which is a great reminder for all of us!
9. Owl Moon
This is an almost magical story about a little girl who finally gets to go owling, or looking for owls with her father on a cold winter night. She knows when you’re owling you must be brave and quiet, both of which take a lot of self-control for children. This story is a great example of how rewarding it can be to master something like self-discipline.
10. What Were You Thinking?: A Story About Learning to Control Your Impulses
This is the story of Braden, a third-grader that many students will identify with (and many teachers will recognize)! He loves making his classmates laugh and getting all their attention. He learns the hard lesson that this is not always appreciated, and he begins to work on controlling his impulses. Maybe you have a Braden in your class? You just might witness a lightbulb moment when he (or she) recognizes himself in this story.
If you are working on this essential skill with your class, take a look at my Character Education: Self-Discipline unit. It includes both print and digital versions and includes everything you need to help your students improve their own self-discipline.
Also, don’t miss this Character Education Bundle for the entire year! It includes resources for teaching self-discipline, kindness, respect, and eight other important character traits!
Looking for even more great mentor text ideas? Check out the posts below!
Mentor Texts for Teaching Courage
Mentor Texts for Teaching Perseverance
5 Reasons to Use Mentor Texts With Big Kids
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