Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Picture Fists Full of Kisses

Ann Espersen
Orange County Schools


Dissolve fears and evaporate tears anticipated on the first school day. In this handy lesson, students will empathize with the main character in the book THE KISSING HAND and experience a pictograph while learning to tell left hand from right hand.


The student knows positive ways to handle anger.

The student matches objects to outlines of their shapes.

The student identifies left and right hand.

The student interprets data exhibited in concrete or pictorial graphs.


-The Book THE KISSING HAND by Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper (Illustrator), Nancy M. Leak (Illustrator)
-Song I WISH I HAD A LITTLE RED BOX on CD or tape titled DR. JEAN SINGS SILLY SONGS by Dr. Jean Feldman (Words found on web site link or in attached file)
-A red box about shoebox size with a removal lid
-Song prompts (1 of each: mommy, daddy, good friend) e.g. paper dolls, finger puppets, plastic or wooden figures, etc.
-Paper plate faces (1 of each: happy, sad, scared, mad)
-Four-inch diameter circles (1 for ea. student) Use light-colored, white, or multicolor construction paper.
-Tape, adhesive
-Pictograph for faces (sample in file)
-Construction paper strips 1 ½” x 6” for identification (1 for each child) (optional)
-Reward stickers
-Cutout hand shapes (3 for each student)
-Cutout heart shapes or heart-shaped stickers (2 for each student)
-Construction paper strips 2 ½” x 18”(1 for each student)
-Pictograph for identifying left/right handed students
-Felt markers
-Parent letter
-Rating chart for techniques that can manage anger
-Drawing paper
-Hand puppets to dramatize story and role-play how to manage anger (extension activity)


The teacher needs to
1. Make, locate, or purchase a red box
2. Locate I WISH I WERE A LITTLE RED BOX on the tape or cd
3. Locate song prompt figures
4. Draw a chart “ FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL . . .”
5. Cut out 4”-diam. circles for face drawing
6. Cut out child-sized hand shapes
7. Cut out heart shapes or locate heart stickers
8. Cut out strips of construction paper 2 ½ x 18
9. Accordion pleat strips (folding back and forth)
10. Cut out bands of construction paper for wrist band, 1-1/2 x 6 (optional)
11. Draw a chart and label RIGHT/LEFT for activity WHAT HAND DO WE USE?
12. Trace left and right child-size handprints onto a graph titled: WHAT HAND DO WE USE?
13. Write and copy a letter to inform parents of first day activities.


1. Play and sing along with the song, I WISH I HAD A LITTLE RED BOX. Carry a red box containing the visual prompts suggested by the song. Take each out and put each back in when mentioned. Invite students to circle time letting them sing along.
2. Display and identify the happy and mad paper plate faces. Hold up the happy face and say, “When I come to school each day, I put on this happy face. ” Also hold up the mad face and say, “But some times, I don’t feel happy, I feel mad.” Tell the students “Today I want to tell you that it is okay to feel mad but it is not okay to act mad. (Tell about something “mad” people do. Give students an opportunity to describe some “mad” behaviors.) Say, “I learned a way to help myself to get over being mad. I call it my “Get Over It” words and I want to teach them to you.”
3. Relate and model story based on “life” experience. Ex. ”On my first day of school, I was so mad because my mom couldn’t take me to school. I had to walk 3 blocks by myself. I knew that if I acted mad, I might get in trouble. So I gave myself a little talk, ‘Cool off! Count up to ten and down again. (1-2-3…) I can make my mad face go away. I’ll make myself a happy day.’ I felt better when I got to school and my happy face made many new friends.”
4. Practice the “Get Over It” words. Hold up the mad face students and begin by saying, “Cool off! Count up to ten and down again. (1-2-3…) I can make my mad face go away. I’ll make myself a happy day.” Hold up the happy face. Repeat until students start joining. Then allow individual students to pick up and identify the mad face and hold it up (as been modeled), repeating the “Get Over It” words or approximate as long as they use vocabulary and complete ideas. Use a check list that shows that the student is able to demonstrate and effectively communicate by 1) identifying (by choosing and naming) a mad face 2) relating that you can control your feelings 3)using -self-talk- to give time to gain control. 4) using vocabulary and complete ideas in self-talk.(shown in attached file)
5. Remind students that it is okay to feel mad but not okay to act mad. That it will take some good talking practice to go from mad to happy. And that they had learned a way to cool-off instead of acting mad and getting into trouble.
6. Display the “scared” and the “sad” face. Hold up one at a time and name each feeling.
7. Tell the students that you want to read them a story about scared and sad Chester (main character) who was about to go to school for the first time. His mother thought of a plan to help him “Get Over It”.
8. Discuss what scares people and what makes them sad. Prompt students to verbally communicate their own feelings. Validate their feelings by telling them that everyone feels like that sometimes. Praise students for sharing their feelings with the class.
9. Model and give directions for drawing a “face” on a circle to represent how they were feeling on the first day of school.
10. Pass out circles for students to draw a face. Observe and question students who may have been too shy to share in the large group. Collect finished faces by dropping them into the red box.
11. Display a labeled picture graph (using pictures, words, or both) to sort and organize the data. (sample is included in attached file)
12. Give a simple definition of a picture graph, a picture that’s telling you about something.
13. Organize the faces onto the graph by taping each next to the correct heading modeling “self-talk”. Ex. “This is a happy face. I have to put this one in the next box in the line with other happy faces.” Students will “help” give you directions of placement.
14. Practice interpreting data from the graph using questions and answers to prompt students. Ex. What pictures do you see on the graph? (happy, mad, scared, and sad faces) I see happy faces. Can we count them? (Point to each face while counting.) What does one happy face mean? (One student was happy coming to school.) What does (number of faces counted) of happy faces mean? [(number of faces counted) of students were happy coming to school]. Let’s count this row of faces. There are (the number counted). Do you see how they feel, how did you know? (the faces are scared faces) Were a lot of students happy or were a lot scared? How did you know? (I counted them, there’s a lot of them, the line of them is bigger, etc.) “Can you see how we made a kind of picture story? What is this big picture telling us?” (That some of us were happy, mad, scared, sad……but lots were happy)
15. Listen to the students’ responses. The answers will help you decide whether the students understand that picture graphs show a picture of information. Monitor for correctness.
16. Transition the class by saying, “Someone drew some good pictures in this book that I want to read to you. Look at the pictures and see if you can remember what I already told you about this story.
17. Read the title and model turning the pages from front to back one at a time while leading a discussion about the pictures in the story. It is not necessary to make a story out of the pictures at this time.
18. Read THE KISSING HAND pausing occasionally to ask comprehension questions. Did Chester go to school in the daytime or at night? What did his mother give him to take to school? Etc.
19. Discuss and compare the read story with the ideas given during the picture preview.
20. Discuss and compare how the character felt at the beginning of the story and at the end after holding up the palm of his kissed paw to his face.
21. Give directions, model and pass out supplies to the group to complete the project: Kisses, Hugs, and Handshakes. Directions: 1) Have students put their hands on top of their table with the palm sides down. 2) Have them place a handprint cutout between the table top and their hand - thumb to thumb and fingers to fingers. 3) Direct them to remove their hands without moving the handprint cutouts. 4) Tell students to flip the prints left and right so the palm side is up and the thumbs are facing out. 5) Stick or glue heart shapes to the palms. 6) Glue the ends of the stretch strip to the hands at the wrists. 7) Demonstrate giving a cheek a kiss with the heart next to a face, a big hug by wrapping the hands around someone and a handshake. Students may be working on these while you work with smaller groups.
22. Work with small groups (approx. 6 students) observing each student’s hand that is used when handed a washable marker.
23. Mark the back of the marker-held hand with a small dot while saying, “You must use your right hand most of the time.” Or you may band the wrist with a construction paper strip.
24. Label the “top-side” of the cutout handprint with the student’s name. Reward the student by allowing him to pull a sticker from the reward box with the marked or banded hand. Ask him to tell you what hand he is using. Monitor for correctness.
25. Place name-labeled hand shape in the red box. Continue with small groups until all students have been interviewed while the other groups of students start, continue, or finish projects.
26. Use the hands of every student on the pictograph titled: WHAT HAND DO WE USE? Invite individual students to place their own cutout hand shape on the chart. Observe their ability to manage visual information on a graph by how they overlay the cutout to the hand pattern: positioning for spatial arrangement and direction orientation and sequencing so each picture is next to the one in front of it. Remind students that the name part goes on top.
27. Discuss what this picture graph is telling the class. Ask specific questions about the information, e.g. Can you tell me how many students are in the class today? How do you know? (I can count all the hands.) What story is this picture telling you about hands? (That lots of students use their right hand), etc.
28. Sing the song IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT wave hello with your right hand, put your left hand on your head, shake right hands with your neighbor, etc. Observe and note students who are unable to comprehend left/right even with the visual reminder.
29. Hand out a parent letter to take home. Pack along the Kisses, Hugs and Handshakes project to go home for their moms, dads, and friends.


Observe students as they demonstrate and effectively communicate the ability to: 1) identify (by choosing and naming) a mad face, 2) relate that they can take charge to control their feelings changing from a negative emotion to a positive one, and 3) demonstrate by language and role-playing the use of self talk to give time to get under control.. 4) Use vocabulary and complete ideas. Use a check list to indicate an acceptable performance. (provided in attachment file) Watch students as they rotate and flip left or right handprint cutouts to match traced outlines of hands on the picture graph. Observe how they manage the visual information checking for spatial arrangement, directional positioning, and sequencing. Make a list of students who are having difficulty demonstrating this task. Observe during the discussion of picture graph information those students who are able to provide answers that communicate their ability to obtain and use vocabulary for expression of ideas. During the graph discussion (faces) note those students who are unable to answer simple questions. You may want to reteach in a small group to see if they understand the concepts or are unable to use communication skills to provide answers. Give all the first opportunity to answer during the hand picture graph discussion. Observe students in song practice who can follow the directions to holding up the correct hand named. Observe the students using their new learning (identifying the left and right hand) within a song. Use physical prompting (stand near the student and tap on the correct shoulder, motion for them to look at the marking on the hand or band, etc.) for students who are struggling to identify left from right.


ESOL Modification – Pair with another student during song practice. Observe physical demonstration of left/right concepts. Count for the student while he/she points and matches one-to-one on graphing chart and/or display numerals.
Extension – Use hand puppets instead of masks. Allow the student to role play how he/she is feeling. He may also act out making a good solution.
Extension – View the weblink on raccoons. Talk about how raccoons are nocturnal animals explaining why Chester (a raccoon) has his first “night” rather than first day at school.

Web Links

This is a web site that can be used as part of an extention.
Raccoon photo

This web site offers tips for teaching young students.
Dr.Jean Feldman

This site contains the words to various children songs.
Dr. Jean's Silly Songs

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