Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go Away Big Green Monster!

For my pull-out language lesson this week, we've been doing "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" by Ed Emberley.  I have the book and the kids love it, but this year I decided to use the app version.  Initially, I was somewhat skeptical about purchasing the app.  Based only on the screenshots in the App store, I assumed it to be essentially the book (without any frills), just presented on the iPad.  It does tell the same story as the book, but there are a few options - you can read it yourself, have it read to you by Ed Emberley himself, have it read to you by a child narrator, or listen to a song version.  Also, at the end, instead of a blank black page with just words, there's a moving light (as if from a flashlight) that highlights the monster and his little monster cat.  The kids LOVED this part!

Here's what we did...First I selected the "Read to Me" option and I read the story to the students just as I would read the book.  With the app version, however, you can touch the parts of the monster and they move with a corresponding silly noise (the favorite so far has been the "sharp white teeth").  Once the monster was completed, I asked students to touch specified parts of the monster (receptive identification).  They were then asked to tell the parts to "Go away!"  Some of my students are at such a level that imitating the "Go away!" alone was sufficient speech practice.  With other students I added the body part (e.g., "Go away eyes!").  The more advanced students were required to use the full descriptor (e.g., "Go away big red mouth!").

After going through the story once with me reading, we listened to the story again.  I gave students the option of listening to the song or to the child narrator.  Most picked the song and, I have to say, it's quite catchy!  I wasn't certain how the kids would respond to a song they weren't familiar with.  However, I was surprised that almost all of them attempted to sing along!

After the second go-around, I gave the students a box of crayons and this monster face template - I traced the opening from the book:

download the face template here

I turned the app back to the "Read to Me" option.  This time around, we drew our own monsters in the sequence that is presented in the story.  Some of the kids impressed me with their ability to anticipate the next item to come!  I did use the app as a visual for them, but they were given complex directions (e.g., "Get your yellow crayon and draw two big eyes").  Some required extra support and/or break-down of directions.  When finished they had to tell me about their monsters (e.g., "My monster has purple hair").  I also required some of the kids to use past tense verb forms (e.g., "I made two yellow eyes" or "I drew a long blue nose").  The monsters came out amazingly well! (Keep in mind that these were 3-5 year olds).

Completed monster face from the app

The directions they were given:
  • Get your yellow crayon and draw two big eyes.
  • Get the blue crayon and draw a long nose
  • Find the red crayon and draw a big mouth (I omitted the sharp white teeth since many of the kids couldn't figure out how to leave the teeth blank to keep them white....or they wanted white crayons, which, on red, produce pink teeth).
  • Get your blue crayon and draw two squiggly ears.
  • Find the purple crayon and give your monster some hair.
  • Find the green crayon and make his face green

Here are some of their monsters:

Side Note:  At the start of the school year, I saw a cute little iPad stand at one of the chain pharmacies.   I picked it up and was about to buy it and then saw the price tag - $9.99!  I couldn't believe it!  I have a case with a built-in stand, but somehow my kids are always managing to knock it over.  The angle it provides is not always fantastic for the kids to see either.  I ended up getting this adjustable plate stand from Michael's (almost identical to the stand I saw in the pharmacy) for less than $2!  It's perfect for holding the iPad and story books as well.  Great for freeing up your hands when you have story props!

plate stand
holding up the iPad

Let me know:  what are your favorite ideas to use with this book?


  1. Love this! I am actually doing a language lesson in a classroom for students with cognitive impairments with this book/app today. We are doing the book on the iPad, an art activity, and then a following directions activity where they will make green monster cupcakes!

    1. Sounds fun! My district instituted a new policy where we cannot give food to students (unless it comes from the school cafeteria). This means NO cooking projects any more :( I used to love doing those!

  2. I bought this app after seeing it pictured in your post about the plate stand. I had forgotten about this book for a while and didn't know it was an app. I like it for the repetition opportunities. I work with the under 5 crowd. As the face is building we can say things like, "we need more parts" and as the text says, on the way down we say, "go away" many times. We can target colors, counting and sequencing. Thanks for reminding me about this book. Christine Murphy

    1. The repetition opportunities really are great! And the kids don't mind the repetitiveness at all! Glad you put the book (and app) back in your rotation, lol!

  3. I just downloaded the app a few days ago, and was excited to see your post! I'm looking forward to using it in Halloween therapy. And GREAT idea on the iPad stand!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Let's Talk Speech Therapy

    1. I can't believe I didn't think of the stand sooner! Just be careful...the song WILL get stuck in your head, lol!

  4. Thanks for the post - this is a new book to me, and it looks very fun and useful!

    Oh, How Pintearesting!

    1. It definitely is! You'll love using it with the little guys!

  5. I am using this story app this week in speech!! I actually got the app because I saw it was free a while back. So glad I did now! Thanks for the ideas!!

    1. I was late to get it when it was free and wasn't sure if I wanted to buy it. I'm glad I did b/c the kids loved it!


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