Use with children's book, Whoa Wiggle-worm: a Little Lemon Book about an Overly Active Child by Betsy B. Lee, Learning Abilities Books,   This lesson plan may be reproduced for classroom use only. All other rights are reserved. (Lesson plan Copyright 2004 Betsy B. Lee) || Whoa Wiggle-worm: Excerpts or Order || Lesson Plans || Articles

A Memory Strategy to Improve Self-control

  1. Help Overly Active Children Monitor Their Own Behavior by Using a Strategy to Stop or Slow Down Impulsive Behaviors
  2. Improve Acceptance of Overly Active Children without Encouraging the Behavior
  1. Goal directed behavior improves when children feel that the goals are really attainable. Children and adults can be very disappointed to learn that even if children take medication, there is still work to do on behavior. Children might be less likely to strike out at others but they need to develop better skills for relating to others, for doing school work, etc.
  2. Acceptance from others improves when other children see that the child is trying and when they develop an attitude of helpfulness.
Materials Needed:

Whoa Wiggle-worm: a Little Lemon Book about an Overly Active Child
(optional) This book and the lesson are more effective in conjunction with the book and the lesson plan of introducing learning strategies from Little Lemon. Both of these books address the most important strategy which is the decision to use strategies.


The plan starts with a focus on the overly active child. Then it moves on to suggestions which any child can use for self-control, study skills, and time management.

Read the book to see how the puppets helped David (Wiggle-worm) gain self-control, self-respect, the respect of others, and secrets for doing better in school. A turning point in the story is when David discovers that he can control a runaway pony. He benefits from a memory strategy associated with this experience. He also gets help from other people.

Read the questions. Some of the 19 questions might be omitted depending on the time factor and the maturity of the children. Be sure to address the issue of name calling. Try to include the questions which are in bold type:

  1. What was Little Lemon's problem?
  2. What was Wiggle-worm's problem?
  3. What helped Lickety-split understand Wiggle-worm?
  4. What does the word, lickety-split, mean?
  5. What was Wiggle-worm's real name?
  6. Did Wiggle-worm like his nickname?
  7. Did Lickety-split like her nickname?
  8. Let's call Wiggle-worm by his real name. What was the most important thing David learned?
  9. Why did Lickety-split say, "Don't say help! Say whoa!"
  10. How do we know that David did better?
  11. How did David feel when Charlene used his real name?
  12. At the end of the story, how did Little Lemon feel?
  13. What could you do to help someone like David?
  14. How do you feel about nicknames?
  15. Tell about a time when you felt good about helping someone.

Continue the discussion with these points.

"Sometimes when we think of ways to help someone else, we find ways to help ourselves. We've talked about what could we do to help someone like David. Now let's talk about this question: how we could do better in school?"

The following tips can help anyone do better in school.

  1. Make a list of things to do. Instead of just listing a general word like homework, list each assignment. You could even make a contest of it. Put down how much time you think it will take. Then put down how much time it did take. Are there ways you can cut down on the amount of time? Enjoy checking things off of the list when you finish them.
  2. List things you need to do before school. For example, be sure I have pencils and paper.
  3. Put a big calendar on your wall where you can write down dates of important things. For example, turn in my book report; weekly spelling test; or even a class trip. It might work best for the calendar to be in your room or in the kitchen.
  4. Use the lesson plan titled Remember the Cat (12 Secrets to Help You Learn and Remember).

    A separate day could be spent on each tip. Post them in the room as each one is discussed. Refer to them often.

Other Tips

  1. Get enough sleep. For many years, it has been suggested that elementary school children should be in bed by 9:00 p.m. Research and experience still support this. In spite of all the modern changes, our bodies still have the same needs for rest, nourishment, etc. If you often stay up till 11:00 pm and get up at 6:00 am, use a new schedule. This can be hard but it makes a big difference.
    See Sleep Deprivation and Behavior for tips and books.
  2. Get enough exercise. (It can help to exercise some before studying and even during a short break from studying.)
  3. Eat a well balanced diet. Learn more about what you need to keep your "engine" running well.
    See Nutrition for children's books and educators' books.
  4. Ask an adult to keep a record of how you act after a lot of sugar or caffeine. These are more likely to make you overly active if you have them on an empty stomach. It might be best to have them after a meal and have less of them. Remember, chocolate and most sodas have caffeine.

Whoa Wiggle-worm: Excerpts or Order || Lesson Plans from Learning Abilities Books.