Many of you know that March 2 is the day that most people celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday. This also happens to be the time that America Celebrates Reading. You might have heard of it, Read Across America! The following post, explains how I hosted this day in my class, they can easily be adapted for use at home or in your classroom!
I absolutely adore this time of year (as in terms of teaching) because the kiddos have so much fun and it is a blast. I started celebrated about 12 years ago at camp and then during college. We would host wonderful activities for the local schools. We even had some pretty amazing authors come and read their books and autograph them! Oh how I love books!
By no means, do I claim to have been the originator of these activities, but they are simple, fun and of course budget friendly! The first thing I do is invite the children to join in the fun with me. Here is a sample of one of the invitations that I gave them. There is just something that makes it all the more special when they are invited to join in. I created them in Photoshop and printed them off, you could easily create one in word or a similar program.
I also ask the kids to wear a red shirt! It looks great with their red and white hats that we make! For the week leading up to our Dr. Seuss celebration, we do journal entries on strips of paper. I cut red and white strips and the kiddos answer the prompt on the strip. Then I collect them each day (this helps to keep them from getting crumpled) finally on the day of the celebration, we create our hats. They are so simple and fun, glue the strips together rotating red and white, to create the hat pattern. Take a paper plate and place it on your head, trace the general outline of your head and cut out a circle. Using about 10 or 20 (depending on the size of the hat) tabs created from pieces of scrap paper, glue them on the hat pattern and the inside of the paper plate. This will keep the hat into place. Poke two holes in the plate and attach a string, to help hold the hat in place! I love how simple they are and fun! (For assessment purposes, I took a picture of the kiddos' writing once all of the strips were glued together, this way I had a copy to glue in their journals, along with a picture of them in their hats). This is a picture of me in my hat! I love how they turned out.
Once we finished our journal hats, we made green eggs. Let me explain, I usually do a lot of cooking in my classroom, as it is a good way to have kiddos practice following directions, learn basic math and reading skills, develop a working knowledge of cause and effect, learn basic nutritional information and is also a great way to work on social skills (remember I teach special education) such as manners, holding a conversation, eye contact, waiting your turn etc. When you throw in food coloring, it also brings in color identification, color blending and more cause and effect.
Usually, I start off by reading the book green eggs and ham, each day for the week up to our celebration we read a different Dr. Seuss book and create and activity based on that book. We talk about how green eggs are created? Where do they come from? (you would be suprirsed at the answers, I have heard, my favorite by far is a green chicken!)
We talk about all of the things that someone would need to make eggs, a skillet, eggs, butter, spatula. We then write out the steps on the board, these are very detailed. They might look something like this:
1. Start with clean materials: bowl, spatula, skillet, burner and chef's hands.
2. Turn the burner on medium heat.
3. Gently crack eggs into bowl.
4. Remove any shells. (and it continues on but you get the general idea)
(Teacher note): As we are doing each step, I have one of my classroom assistants take pictures of the kiddos. At the end of the year, we combine all of the pictures, and recipes to create a cook book. Taking pictures also helps with assessments, especially when working with special needs' children who might not be able to write as clear. It also makes for a pretty awesome cookbook.
As we are cooking, the students take turns setting the table, and creating decorations for our table. I am a firm believer in eating meals with my students and my own kiddos. It is a great way to sit down talk and also work on such skills as manners. For in my classroom, we have a rubric that we use for manners. With all of the requirements from the state, you can never be too careful. This way my butt is covered. After the meal, my staff and I usually fill these out together, you never know who saw what or who missed what.
We talk about the eggs, what do you think they will taste like? Will they taste the same, will you like them? Will you try them? We compare and contrast the differences between the cooked eggs and uncooked eggs.
Each child has to serve themself and we all take turns tasting our eggs and describing them. They do not taste any different from "regular" eggs but it is fun to see the kiddos reaction. We also serve ham, but my staff usually cooks that.
Included in our assessment is also clean up. I love cooking in the classrom, it is also an easy trick to make sure my students are fed each day.
We spent the morning playing different Dr. Seuess games, you can find them here and here along with printable activities, bingo boards, ring toss etc. One of my favorite games it to take quotes from the books that we read all week and try and have the kiddos match the quote with the book. It is easy and you can do it while you eat.
Our last activity for the day is to again create the stack hat but this time out of food.
You will need vanilla icing, red lifesavers, (I like the gummy ones but any red ones would work) and nilla wafers. Starting with the nilla wafers, have each child lay them with the flat side down.
Using a spoon, place a little bit of icing on the wafer. Then add the lifesaver and continue this until the hat is finished. I usually allow them to make four reptitions of the icing and lifesaver. It is a fun and easy snack!
and the finished product:
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!