Lively Elizabeth, What Happens When You Push, by Mara Bergman

Elizabeth is considered ‘lively’.  What happens when one becomes too lively at school?  Find out what happens when one forgets about their personal space and lands upon another’s.


  • One toilet paper tube per child, cut in half
  • One rubber band per child, big enough to fit around two toilet paper tube halves.


  • Scowl (frown and make an annoyed or angry face at someone)
  • Blame (to say something is someone’s fault)
  • Glare (to stare at someone)
  • Lively (very active and bouncy)
  • Goggles (a kind of glasses that protects your eyes from wind)

 Introducing the Story

Explain that today our story is about a girl named Lively Elizabeth. Open the book up so the children can see both the front and back cover. Ask them if they can guess what Lively means. Let the children give you their ideas and then explain that lively means being very active and bouncy. Imitate a lively child at the rug time. Ask the children if they like sitting next to a lively child, why/why not? Tell them it’s hard to pay attention when someone is being bouncy and active next to you. Ask them what they think will happen if Elizabeth is very active and bouncy inside? (She could get hurt. She could hurt someone. The teacher may get mad. She could knock something over). Tell the children, let’s find out and introduce the book.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows a growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction and non-fiction, and poetry.

Reading the Story

Shake your head and look upset as you read the first pages about how Elizabeth behaved. Watch the children’s faces to see if they react to this kind of behavior. (I see Roger shaking his head no; I do not think he likes how Elizabeth is behaving. Alison, you look mad, you don’t like when your friends act this way?) When you get to the part where Elizabeth pushes Joe Fitzhugh; ask the children what they think might happen. After the children have been allowed to share their ideas, continue reading. When you get to the part where Joe yells, “What have you done? You pushed me and hurt everyone!” stop again but this time ask the children how they think Joe is feeling.

Social & Emotional Development/Self Control; develops growing understanding of how actions affect others and begins to accept the consequences for their actions.

After Reading the Story

Tell the children that you want to spend a minute talking about your classroom rules. If you do not have any, make 3-5 rules with the help of the children.   After the children have finished discussing the rules, remind them that you have rules to help keep everybody safe and happy.

Social & Emotional Development/Self Control; demonstrates increasing capacity to follow rules and routines and use materials purposefully, safely, and respectfully.

Music and Movement

Put on music with different music styles and tempos and have a dance party.

Creative Arts/Movement; expresses movement through and dancing what is felt and heard in various musical tempos and styles


Put out the toilet paper tube halves and some rubber bands. Show the children how to put two halves inside the rubber band to make goggles (these will look more like binoculars but the children will not mind). Put out markers if they would like to decorate them. Encourage the children to look through their goggles around the room or out the window and tell you something that they see. For older children you can put out a variety of rubber band sizes for the children to experiment with which works best. For younger children, or children who put things in their mouths, use masking tape to tape the two halves together.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.


Encourage the children to build tall towers to knock down. If you have hard blocks, set a height rule for building (IE-no higher that your belly button).

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in eye-hand coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads and using scissors.


Finger paint today; use either large sheets of paper or let the children finger paint right onto the table. Table painting is messy but fun. Put on music and let the children walk around the table pushing the finger paint along. Encourage them to reach to the center of the table and make a big circle. Can they write their name in finger paint? Make sure to put smocks on and give yourself 10 minutes to clean up at the end of the play. The children can help with the cleanup after you get the majority of the paint off the table.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their name.

Sand and Water

Water with soap to make bubbles. Use whiskers or hand beaters to whip up a soapy froth.

Science/Scientific Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of simple tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

Library and Writing

Give the children pieces of paper and ask them if they can think of any new rule that they would like to write. Have them illustrate the rule. Or, have the children illustrate one of your classroom rules.

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Dramatic Play

Encourage children who do not normally play in this center to spend some time here today. Watch to see how they interact and who is the leader of the group.

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; shows increasing abilities to use compromise and discussion in working, playing, and resolving conflicts with peers.

 Math and Manipulatives

Bring out the dominos today. Not to match the number of dots but to stand end to end to make a row. When the row is standing, have the child gently knock the first domino into the second and watch the chain reaction as the dominos fall. Just like the children in the story! ).

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in eye-hand coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads and using scissors.

Outdoor Play

Bring out the balls today. Encourage lots of kicking, running, and catching bouncing balls.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; demonstrates increasing abilities to coordinate movements in throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls, and using the slide and swing.


Teach the children to play; Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down. Make up a scenario about two children in the classroom. If it is an act of kindness, the children put their thumbs up. If it is an act of aggression or not following a rule, the children put their thumbs down. (Roger asked Jose for a turn and Jose let him have one. Kerry told Liz you are not my friend. Tammie was running in the classroom and hurt herself. Alison said thank you when Jose gave her the truck).

Social & Emotional Development/Social relationships; progresses in responding sympathetically to peers who are in need, upset, hurt, or angry; and in expressing empathy or caring to others.

Dear Parents- Today we read a book about the importance of following rules.  If you see your child following your rules (brush your teeth before bedtime, put your clothes in the hamper), thank them and tell them you are proud that they remembered the rule.  Catch your child being good and praise them for it.  Preschool children are still learning to act in socially acceptable ways and to follow rules.  Be consistent with your home rituals as this may help cut down on children not following your home rules.  Children like to know what is expected of them.

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.