by Sara Herrera, Guest Blogger
My all-time favorite event in my classroom is the Reading Across America, Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Event! I always try to elaborate on every story I read to my students, but with Dr. Seuss’ books it is way too much fun to do.
I simply can’t imagine a classroom without the magic of Dr. Seuss! I’ve read Hop on Pop to all my students – until the pages fell out of the book (I still have that first book I used with my first class). They are SO GOOD for learning to read, because they have the basic first words, they have rhyming words, and yet are so much fun to read.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was a fascinating man who was famous for more than children’s books during his career. He was also a political cartoonist and advertising illustrator.
Celebrating Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham
We always have a great time celebrating Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’ Birthday! One of my many activities is to dress up as the Cat in the Hat. I simply dress all in black, wear a big red Christmas bow, and the famous striped hat. I also ask the children to wear all black and we make red ribbon bow ties, paint their noses, and make the red and white hats to wear! It is very fun and is planned in conjunction with our Grand Finale Event…cooking green eggs and ham. I take my large skillet, eggs (many dozens), ham, food coloring, and plates. The kids really enjoy eating the green eggs and ham and some join in the fun of making them too. At the end we sing “Happy Birthday” to Dr. Seuss, and celebrate with a big cake. All of the tablecloths, plates, and cups are of the Cat in the Hat too. You can also ask students to dress up like one of their favorite Dr. Seuss characters for the Grand Finale Day. You might want to give out ribbons (1st , 2nd, 3rd place) with a Dr. Seuss Basket filled with school supplies and candy treats.
Pin the Hat on the Cat
I begin the day by reading the Cat in the Hat story, then asking the children questions about the story. I give the children “book” prizes for the correct answers. We play pin the hat on the cat game too. It is very easy make: cut out a drawing of the cat in the hat, but leave out the hat, color and laminate. Next, make a drawing of the striped hat, color and laminate (make one for each student). Then students can take turns pinning the hat to see who can get closest.
Act it Out
Like with all stories, children need to be encouraged to read more. With all the new video games fighting for their attention, some kids don’t find books very amusing. This is where the teacher has to turn that thinking cap on, be creative, act out the stories, or have the children act them out. Get into that book by using your imagination!
Dr. Seuss Bags
I’ve purchased different Dr. Seuss bags; each bag is from one of the famous stories. In the bag with The Foot Book depicted on the front for example, I keep the book and the activity to go along with it. My children have a lot of fun with The Foot Book. We make prints of our feet on a long roll of white paper. Later we cut them out and turn this art work into a story book made by the class. We add our own words, pictures, and coloring. We display the work in the front office for parents to see and read; later it becomes part of our classroom library.
My next story bag is based on One Fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. The kids really love this story. I’ve made printable fish for them to color, cut out, and paste onto construction paper to make their very own story book. I also make stick puppets for each character or fish of the story to show as I read along. I keep all of these props in my bag! One special item I bring on the day that we are working on this story is Goldfish crackers which I keep in a fish bowl. The children count them; make patterns, and later they eat them…YUM!
Students can also take home the story bags to read and share with their parents.
I decorate my classroom in the middle of February in preparation for this big event. I use nameplates featuring Dr. Seuss, decorate the front door, and “seuss-ify” the main bulletin board in my class. I display scanned pictures of the front of all the Dr. Seuss books on the main bulletin board with a big cut out of The Cat in the Hat! I also hang a Happy Birthday Banner of the Cat in the Hat and place balloons all around. The children love the classroom and all the fun activities.
Hope you enjoyed all the fun ideas! What do you do for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday/Read Across America Day? Share your ideas!
About the Author
Teacher Sara Herrera, working with children since 1992 and LOVING IT! She teaches a Kindergarten class in Hialeah Gardens, Florida.