“It’s not about what it is, it is about what it will become.” Dr. Seuss, the Lorax.
A few weeks ago a teacher asked me if I would approve the students seeing the new Lorax movie. She made a compelling presentation. She said, “It is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Read Across America, and the new Lorax movie all in one day. It will be epic! We will tie in activities, themes, and even a Seussville themed hallway decoration. Also, I contacted the Movie theater and we will be the first ones to see it!” I replied, “I will see what I can do, there is not much time. I doubt it will get approved, but I will try. Make sure to collect resources.”
From that point on, just as the seed in The Lorax, it grew and
spread. I found out we could get buses and afford them. I talked to the PTA who graciously approved donating $4.00 per ticket to reduce the parent/student responsibility in half. I talked with my Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and she supported the curricular connection. I talked with our amazing educational technician, Alicia Discepola, and she agreed to pool all things Seuss into one site for kids, parents, and teachers. We were, to a certain extent, on a roll. We had to wait a day for the final approval, and then we got the call around 10:00 AM “You are approved!”It was Thursday, and I was going to be out on Friday.
We contacted the movie theater and began the process of making final arrangements. They wanted the money by Tuesday. Time was of the essence. We decided to have an “emergency” assembly at the end of the day to tell the kids about this epic Read Across America event. We showed the original Lorax movie and then stopped it with a few minutes remaining. I asked the students if they would like to see the end and they all yelled, “YES!” I then replied, “Well, how about you see the new Lorax, which is the “ending” to the Lorax?” The kids went nuts.
Throughout last week the entire school turned into Seussville. Each classroom decorated their door with a different theme. Teachers took pictures of students with the Cat in the Hat, Lorax mustaches, 1st grade did Thing 1,2,3 until they did the whole grade.
Teachers integrated the themes of Seuss into math, reading, writing, science, social studies as well as art, Spanish, physical education, and music. I watched 5th graders construct their own math problems for others to solve on Truffula trees, while 3rd graders compared and contrasted themes from the Lorax. I received, via twitter, excellent trivia questions along with facts about Dr. Seuss from @PrincipalJ in Wisconsin. We took time throughout each of the days to make sure the whole school stopped and listened. Sometimes the winner had to run to the front office, other times we would take the 9th caller. Each winner received a prize for their hard work. It was a truly amazing week to be an educator.
4th grade used the book Wocket in My Pocket and had the students each pick an object in their classroom to write their own page for a rewrite of the story. They illustrated their pages and we made a poster book which is in the hallway. They used Kerpoof.com to make a “tech” version as well. They highlighted the difference between computer illustrations and personal illustration and they did a Venn diagram to compare.
4th graders also watched the original Lorax to decide focal points to be debated between the Lorax and the Onceler. This turned into more of a summarizing and exploratory lesson for the kids to gain insight into what could be expected from the new Movie we saw on Friday. They will follow up with a comparison essay between the two letting the kids pick their own way to organize the details from the movie.
On Read Across America Day students and teachers dressed as their favorite characters from the Seuss books. Our Kindergarten through 2nd grade had a wonderful assembly with guest readers. After the assembly they watched Green Eggs and Ham while eating green eggs prepared by our teachers. Grades 3-5 watched the new Lorax movie and were the first kids to see it on the east coast. Which ended up being the number 1 movie over the weekend. During the movie, the students were so well behaved I had to keep reminding myself that we actually pulled it off. On the way out of the movie theater, as students walked by me they said, “Thank you”, and others hugged me. One girl told me that she cried because it was such a good movie. One 3rd grade teacher told me that we should plant a tree during the Earth Day activities and have the students put stones around it like they did in the Lorax.
At dismissal, students asked when we were going to “clean up the outside of the school” because they do not want any litter, leaves or branches on the property.
I still can’t believe we pulled it off. But luckily we are not finished. K-2 will be going to see the movie in a few weeks. Teachers and students are already (as you can see from above) looking for that next thing. Believe me, there are many things I did not include in this post about just how busy I was during this week (discipline issues, parent conferences, Professional Development plan due, redesigning our upcoming basic skill interventions, observations and APRs due, not to mention the walkthroughs, faculty meeting, and bullying paperwork just to name a few). But as I sit here and type this out that stuff seems so insignificant when I reflect on the impact this week had on our students, teachers, and me.
I watched the video by @Mrs. _Devita and I told her I was going to cry. After the 5th grade students did their announcements for the upcoming week, she went around and filmed each door, hallway, and classroom that had a connection to Dr. Seuss. As the images passed by on the screen I could hear the recording of a 3rd grade class and the music teacher singing, “I will not eat green eggs and ham.”
Here is a list of the places we went, and will continue to go:
One teachers slide share on Lessons from the Lorax:
Lessons from Dr. Seuss by Mr. Selfdevelopment:
@aliciadiscepola’s most excellent Read Across America website:
30 Dr. Seuss quotes that can change your life: