Dr. Suess Still Inspires 80 Years after first publication
“I struggled in elementary school until my second grade teacher helped me believe in myself,” Karina explains. “I went from not wanting to go to school to looking forward to the start of each school day. I knew then that I wanted to be that person for other kids. I wanted them to be excited about learning.”
Karina spends her days doing just that! As a second grade teacher in Grand Forks, she makes reading, writing, science and math fun for her students. In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, they’ve spent this week reading popular children’s books and discussing life lessons that can be learned from the text.
“Reading can take you to many different places and open up so many doors to learning for kids,” said Karina. “It’s been super fun to watch these kids grow and develop throughout the school year. At the beginning of the year, they weren’t excited about reading or writing. Now they’re actually asking to have more reading time and they’re requesting more paper to write stories.”
Each day students in Ms. Sollie’s class spend time reading together out loud. Then they break into smaller groups and read more. “I want to enrich them in as much literature as possible. We read different genres. My students’ favorite book so far has been ‘The One and Only Ivan.’ We read it every day when they come in from recess. Each day they would ask, ‘Can we just read one or two more pages’?”
Earlier this week Ms. Sollie’s class read Dr. Seuss’s “Yertle the Turtle.” The take-away message from this book is that not everyone is exactly the same, but we’re all special in our own way. Everyone matters, regardless of how he or she looks or what his or her interests are.
“We may look different or believe different things, but we all have an important place on our community,” says Karina, who grew up in the small northern Minnesota town of Fosston before moving to Grand Forks where she graduated in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She plans to finish her master’s degree in Elementary Education this August.
“Students see that even in this book filled with cartoonish characters an important lesson is taught. Dr. Seuss is known for writing entertaining rhymes. Our class talked about how the rhymes are fun when you’re little, but as we get older, we understand there is a deeper meaning to each book.”
Students will think about their futures after reading “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” They’ll write stories and draw pictures to show their career plans, and their work will be shared during next week’s parent-teacher conferences.
“This book will allow kids to dream big and think about how the things they’re really good at now could develop into a future career,” says Ms. Sollie. “It will be part of our ‘glow and grow’ conversation with parents. ‘Glows’ are what students are doing really well. ‘Grows’ are areas where students can improve.”
Although Dr. Seuss Week 2017 ends on March 3, Ms. Sollie plans to carry the fun into next week’s lesson plan. Her science class has been studying the properties of objects and materials, which is also covered in the Dr. Seuss’s book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.”
Bartholomew must rescue his kingdom from a sticky substance known as oobleck. Oobleck shows how changes in pressure, instead of temperature, can change the properties of some materials.
To help bring science home, we’re sharing a recipe for oobleck from Scientific American magazine. Be sure to also check out the “Suess Snacks” folder on Latham Hi-Tech Seeds’ Pinterest Page for healthy snacks the Suessical way!
• 1 cup of water
• 1 to 2 cups of cornstarch
• Mixing bowl
• Food coloring (optional)
• Pour one cup of cornstarch into the mixing bowl, and dip your hands into it. Can you feel how smooth the powder is? It's made up of super-fine particles.
• Now pour the water in, mixing slowly as you go. Keep adding more water until the mixture becomes thick (and hardens when you tap on it). Add more cornstarch if it gets too runny, and more water if it becomes too thin.
• Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. (If you want to turn your Oobleck another color, it’s easier to add the coloring to the water before you mix it with the cornstarch.)
*Oobleck is non-toxic, but please use caution when doing any science activity. Be careful not to get it in your eyes, and wash your hands after handling the Oobleck. Wash Add plenty of extra water to the mixture before pouring it down the drain. Wipe up any dried cornstarch with a dry cloth before cleaning up any remaining residue with a damp sponge.