The Big Cheese Book Activities

Jory John has added another awesome title to his food pun collection, and I am a big fan! I find that these books work best with my second graders. This book focuses on humility, empathy, and sportsmanship – things all my students can benefit from. Keep reading to find The Big Cheese activities I’ll be using in my counseling lessons!

The Big Cheese Activities

Hook

To start off, I want all of my students to share something they are really good at doing! This will start the lesson with a positive tone and also give students a chance to hear strengths and skills that their peers have.

Read

Read The Big Cheese by Jory John. You can get it on Amazon!

Find fun The Big Cheese activities for your classroom counseling lessons, small groups, or individual counseling.

Discuss

  • Based on the story, what does it mean to call someone or yourself “the big cheese”?
  • How does it feel when you are really good at something?
  • Why did The Big Cheese only do things he knew was good at doing?
  • How does it feel when you try something new and aren’t good at it at first?
  • How did The Big Cheese feel when he lost to Gouda?
  • Why do you think The Big Cheese said it might actually be healthy for him to lose sometimes?

Key Vocab

One of the key terms in the book is humility. To explain humility to kids, I say that it means that we are without arrogance. We know we’re great at things without having to shout about it to everyone. We recognize our strengths but are also aware of areas where we can improve. And lastly, we can feel good about our successes without needing to make others feel bad.

Check for Understanding

Humility is a tough concept, so we spend some time checking for understanding. I give my students some scenarios and they tell me if these are “all gouda” (totally okay to say, showing humility) or “could be cheddar” (not showing humility, room for improvement). We talk about situations that are common at school like winning a race with a friend and over celebrating or trash talking afterward vs. celebrating while also encouraging your friend.

Discussion

I break my students into smaller groups for more in-depth discussion in 4 categories of scenarios:

  • What’s Gouda? These prompts give students a scenario and ask them to come up with a way to respond that shows you’re happy about winning or doing well but still shows good sportsmanship
  • Be Sharp! These prompts give students scenarios where they excel at something and a friend struggles and ask them how they can be a good friend while still feeling good about themselves.
  • Could be Cheddar… These prompts give students a scenario that shows a not-so-great response and ask them to come up with a more positive alternative!
  • Feeling Bleu… These prompts ask students how they can respond and act in situations where they struggle or have a hard experience that show sportsmanship or humility.
Find fun The Big Cheese activities for your classroom counseling lessons, small groups, or individual counseling.

Reflection

Finally, I have students spend some time reflecting. The goal is for them to feel good about what’s going well and how they’ve improved while still recognizing areas where they have room to grow. Like The Big Cheese learns, trying things that are new and not always being the best is totally normal and healthy! Students identify 3 areas:

  • The Big Cheese: something they are GREAT at doing
  • Feeling Gouda: an area where they’ve made good progress
  • Getting Cheddar: an area where they want to improve

This is such a great book to teach students more about how they can feel good about themselves while still allowing others to feel good too. It’s a great reminder that we don’t have to be the best at everything, and taking time to notice others’ successes is an important way to connect and create community!

Get all of these The Big Cheese activities on my blog:

Find fun The Big Cheese activities for your classroom counseling lessons, small groups, or individual counseling.

Take a look at my lesson up close on TikTok:

Find fun The Big Cheese activities for your classroom counseling lessons, small groups, or individual counseling.

Click here to find more of my favorite counseling book activities here on my blog!

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