Monthly Archives: February 2012

Creative Dr. Seuss Birthday Ideas {It’s March 2!}

by Diane Burdick, M. Ed. 

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One of my favorite sayings comes from my children’s favorite author. Seriously. Consider the wisdom of Theodor Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss:

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Truth, plain and simple.

Every March 2, libraries and schools around the country celebrate the birthday of this beloved childhood muse. So why not go beyond simply reading his timless tales and bring them to life? Here are some creative ideas to take you from snack time to craft time to recess.

Fun with Food

With a smidgen of creativity, Dr. Seuss’s books become veritable cookbooks! Favorite yum-o ideas:

  • Create a stack of pancakes with strawberry filling to look like the hat of The Cat In the Hat
  • Eat cake in the bathtub at home, like the cat does in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (do it while holding an open umbrella, if you’re truly talented)
  • Hand out multicolored Goldfish crackers to illustrate One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Drink pink ink (strawberry Quik-flavored milk) like the “pink yink ink” in One Fish, Two Fish
  • Of course there’s green eggs and ham. Of course.
  • And check out these adorable Thing One Thing Two cupcakes, shown right, from Go Graham Go!

Dress Up, Seuss-style

Keep the fun going by helping kids dress like their favorite (or original!) Seuss character.

  • Look for tall pipe-like hats at the craft store and decorate them with red and white stripes (or make your own from poster board).
  • Wear socks on your hands and feet to resemble Fox in Socks.
  •  And if your dress-up box is a bit more on the wild side, let children layer on the funny furs, feather boas, ears and snouts to create their own silly Seuss-like character! Older children can then write rhyming stories about their original character to share with a younger class.

Tim Tebow Storytime

View the animated webcast recording of football phenom Tim Tebow reading Green Eggs and Ham. Great reading role model! Just click “watch now” and then enter the little information it asks for (city, state, etc.). The video is adorable.

Cat-y Crafts!

Looking for something to do? How about some help from Thing 1 and Thing 2?

Let kids create two paper bag hand puppets of the Things with this adorable template from obSEUSSed.com. In addition to a printout for each student (provided on the site), you’ll need two red paper bags (or white bags colored red), scissors, glue/double-sided tape and crayons or markers. So stinkin’ cute!

Get Movin’

Balance Silliness: Recreate some of the fun from the Cat in the Hat by letting children try their hand at carrying and balancing a variety of items, cat-style, while walking across the room: balance a book on a child’s head, hold a stack of books with a ball on top, and hang a curved-handled umbrella over the crook of the child’s arm. Make it into a contest: Have every child in your class try walking with the same items. Mark each child’s stopping point (how far they get before things topple) on tape on the rug, labeled with their names. The child who walks the farthest wins!

Kite Race: Recreate another activity from the Cat in the Hat by letting kids race kites outside or in the gym at school. Keep things safe by spacing children at least 10 feet apart from each other and shortening their kite strings to under 10 feet. They’ll end up dragging the kites the whole way, but it is hysterical!

Lego Cat Hat: Looking for a simple activity? Have kids sort out red and white Lego blocks and see who can build the tallest ‘Cat Hat’ quickest. Make sure to have a timer and ruler ready to see who wins!

After a Seusstacular day, your students will be saying, “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

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Filed under Activities, Art, creative writing, Games, Reading, reading aloud, reluctant readers, technology, Writing

Writing Activity: Using Legos to Spark Creative Writing

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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We all know that blocks are great for creative play, but what about for writing? Yes, indeedy! Blocks can be super starters for creative writing. Here are two ideas for how to use blocks at home or in the classroom to get the juices flowing. (Hint: blocks aren’t just good for the little ones, either. Dump a pile of Legos on the floor in a high school English classroom and watch the students come to life!)

Writer’s Block

Write or type basic words on paper, cut out the words, and tape them on the sides of big Lego Duplo blocks (the larger toddler-sized variety). Then, children can combine the blocks, lay them out, and build them up in creative ways to make sentences and stories! You can even color-coordinate the blocks by part of speech, so all nouns are on yellow blocks, all verbs are on blue blocks, all adjectives are on green blocks, all proper nouns are on red blocks, etc. Students can also suggest their own words. It’s like a 3-D game of Madlibs…and “writing” possibilities are endless!

For printable lists of sight (Dolch) words to use as starters, check out: www.mrsperkins.com/dolch.htm

Create a World

Allow students access to a large variety of blocks or Legos. Instruct them to build a house or building and then write a story about that structure. Who lives there? What do they do? Look like? Enjoy? Struggle with? Students can also write descriptive paragraphs about their structure’s imaginary world. Is it in our country? Is it on earth?

Students love the opportunity to play with blocks during “writing” time, and being creative with their hands often leads to creativity with words, as well. Not to mention the positive associations fostered around writing. This may be the “fun” activity that they need to prove to them that writing is accessible…and enjoyable.

Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed. has a bachelors in education from The University of Georgia and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. In addition to being the editor of A Learning Experience, she publishes Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Magazine. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, and a frisky Westie named Munson.

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Filed under Activities, Art, creative writing, Critical Thinking, grammar, Language Arts, Writing

And we have a win-ah!

Time to announce a winner for our monthly School Box $20 gift card giveaway! We randomly draw a winner from among the month’s commenters (so if you want to toss your name in the hat next time, share some little tidbits in the comments under a post).

Our newest winner is:

S. Jordan-Georgia

Comment: on Spelling Guess & Check

What a great idea Elizabeth! I probably hear that question a million times during writing alone and my answer is simply a point towards the dictionaries. However, not only does my EIP class struggle with spelling, they also lack the dictionary skills they need as fifth graders. I believe the Spelling Guess & Check sheet is an awesome ‘visual’ tool to allow my students see how they are spelling a word, while thinking back to the sounds and decoding skills they learned in the primary grades to help them spell. With the CRCT fast approaching, I definitely plan to download this sheet to help my students become better spellers and to sharpen their dictionary skills not only for the test but for their future in middle school as well. Thank you Elizabeth for such a helpful post!

You can see all comments on this post here:

http://newsletter.schoolbox.com/2012/01/11/how-do-you-spell-a-reproducible-sheet-to-help-with-dictionary-skills/#comments

Congrats! You’ll be receiving an e-mail from The School Box confirming the mailing of your gift certificate. Enjoy!

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Eight Superior Author Sites

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Introduce your students to the masterminds behind their favorite stories. Since (sadly) not all author sites are created equal, here are our faves that are especially interactive, clever and click-worthy. Bookmark these on your computer or print them out for your students to take to the computer lab. Some (Avi) even have instructions for setting up live Skype calls between your class and the author!

Mo Willems 

Shel Silverstein

Seussville (of course!)

Avi (great for 4th-8th grade readers)

Beverly Cleary

Brian Jacques (Redwall author)

Chris Van Allsburg (his site is just as artful as you’d expect)

Kevin Henkes

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Filed under Reading, technology