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I Can Be Patient — Preschool SEL Lesson

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I Can be Kind lesson can be found HERE

I Can Share Happiness can be found HERE

You can get this full lesson (I Can be Patient) HERE

This week’s lesson is brought to you by bird masks and Dr Seuss….

Learning Target: I can be patient even when it’s hard by thinking, taking deep breaths, and talking to myself.


Patient Ninja by Mary Nhin

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

I Can be Patient Boom Cards™ or Google Slides™

5 Little Monkeys Boom Cards™

(redeemable links contained in the lesson plan through TpT)

I had everything in the room and set up before we called to the students to the carpet. As the first students came to carpet, I commented on how great they were doing at waiting for their friends and how that made me feel so good to see what good friends they were.

Introduction (1-3 min)

Start the lesson with a brief introduction and instructional control activity.

Suggestion: “What did you eat for breakfast today?”

Bridge to lesson: E.g., “I made cinnamon rolls, and I was SO excited to eat them! It was really hard to be patient for them to cook. Let’s talk about patience today.”

I brought in a silly face mask that looks like a bird beak, so I used that as my attention-getter. They thought it was hilarious, and ALL eyes were on me (the beak opens when you talk; it’s pretty funny). I pointed out how great it was to see how they were all thinking about me with their eyes. I said I had to switch to my regular mask, but I really hoped to keep seeing all their whole body listening while we did our book chat.

Book Chat (10 min)

Tell the students you’ll be reading two books, one learning, and one fun. Show the book covers and talk about what they might be about.

Read Patient Ninja and stop throughout the book to check for understanding.

Suggestions: What happened when he rushed through his work? How did that make his teacher feel? How did he feel about himself? What did his friends think about him when he called out in class? Will his friends want to play the game with him again next time after he knocked over the game?

As you near the end of the story, have a friend hold or put up on a board the three visuals for Think, Take, and Tell. Practice the strategies using visual cues like tapping your finger to your temple for THINK, smell the flower/blow the candle for TAKE, and thumb to chest while saying, “I can wait!” for TELL. Remember, this can be your weapon against impatience!

You can modify the length of the story by starting a few pages in, not reading all the text, and summarizing the last few pages if your students have shorter attention spans or less language abilities. Always modify as you see fit for the population you work with.

Read Don’t Push the Button! for the fun story. You can use this story to practice having patience by waiting for your turn. This can be a very exciting book for little ones! Make sure you reinforce their efforts with, “Wow! You are being so patient for your turn! You’re next!” or “This is fun, and everyone will get a turn. Let’s practice our patience skills!”

I simplified the text (amount and content) for the group, and the ninja book took about 5 minutes to read. I made sure to highlight how ninja’s patience resulted in quality work and how his patience made the other characters feel. Throughout the book, we practiced the 3 T’s: Think (we tapped our temples), Take breaths (we smell the flower and blow the candle), and Tell yourself (we pointed thumbs to chest and said, “I can wait!”) We did this a few times during the story and again at the end.

When we did the Button book, I went around the room and looked for students who were being patient by using whole body listening, and had each student that I chose push the button on that page. I made sure I caught everyone in the group engaged in that expected behavior, so everyone got a turn, even the teacher! They did a fantastic job! For two students who are typically wiggly and/or vocal, I made sure to “catch them being good” to reinforce when they were engaged in the behavior I wanted to see.

When we headed to the tables for the worksheet activity, one student really wanted to show me a book, so I was able to tell him that it was his chance to practice patience, and that we would go do the learning activity, and then he could show me the activity after. Worked like a charm, and I made sure to fulfill that promise at the end of the activity.

Boom Cards™ / Google Slides™ (5 min)

Use one learning activity and one fun one. Suggested: I Can Be Patient and 5 Little Monkeys

The Boom Cards version will allow for audio, but the Google Slides version is just as good if you want to simply have a discussion throughout. The first few slides are the social story of what it means to have patience. If you have just read the ninja book, you may choose to move through these quickly and get to the “I can…” statements. These give other ideas of what we can do to help us when we have to wait. The last few slides allow the student to move the friends and say things to “practice” their patience skills.

You can use any “fun” digital activity after the learning one like 5 Little Monkeys.

This classroom did not have a digital board, so we skipped this part, which was totally fine.

Worksheet Activity (10 min)

Prepare beforehand the patience worksheets. Each student should get one to color and then the second, blank one, so that they can cut their colored squares out and paste on the second page. All great practice skills of writing grip, coloring, cutting, pasting!

After students have colored the worksheet, you may want to cut the paper down the middle both ways for some of the students who need help with cutting. They can then cut out just the smaller area. You may find that holding the paper “taut” for some students and having them cut just straight across the page is what they need for support.

Walk around the room and support those who need extra help. Connect the activity to “patience” with statements like, “I love how you’re waiting for me to come help you!” “Thank you for being patient while I got the scissors out for everyone! Would you like to help me pass them out?”

End with a group share about how they are going to practice patience today and also when they go home tonight.

The teacher, para, and I walked around the room to assist any students who needed help, reflecting on the lesson. We made sure to encourage skills they were working on individually, like drawing their face, coloring with various colors, cutting, pasting, writing their name (or at least a letter). Several students did not have the cutting skills down, yet, so we either cut apart the four in large squares for them to cut down a little easier or we just had them cut straight across the page then helped them by cutting out the rest.

For this age group, there is a HUGE variation in skill sets, and that’s OK! Meet the students where they are, providing them “just enough” support to push them a little, but not so much it rises to the level of frustration. You want this to be fun and reinforcing! And be prepared to have dry markers, lose lots of glue heads, and pieces cut out incorrectly. It’s all good!

You can get the full lesson here.

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