An inspirational quote painted on the cafeteria wall at Walnut Grove Elementary.
Since Read Across America Day is today (Saturday March 2nd), the actual birthday celebration for Dr. Seuss was celebrated by many elementary schools on Friday, March 1st.
TINY SNAIL banner by Walnut Grove students.
For this Seuss-tacular day I returned to a school I visited in 2008: Walnut Grove Elementary in Franklin, Tennessee. Students at this school celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a Rock-N-Roll Read-A-Thon every year. The school day is extended to 5:00 PM in order to accommodate the many Read-A-Thon activities. Students wore costumes reminiscent of the 1950’s. Girls pranced about in poodle skirts while the boys strode up and down the halls sporting sunglasses, white t-shirts, leather jackets, and loafers. They were so adorable! Throughout the day children ‘hopped’ into a favorite book during the sock hop in the gym. My author program took place in the cafeteria.
Mural in the Walnut Grove cafeteria.
8:45 am – 9:30 am 2nd grade
9:40 am – 10:25 am 4th and 5th grades
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm 3rd grade
1:55 pm – 2:30 pm Kindergarten
3:00 pm – 3:35 pm 1st grade
Mural in the Walnut Grove cafeteria.
The last time I visited Walnut Grove, the walls in the cafeteria and halls were white and adorned with art by students. (See my blog post: 2008 Walnut Grove Student Art.) Since my last visit in 2008, Gale Hinton painted amazing murals on the walls.
Of course my favorite murals were of the sea life.
You can learn more about Gale’s beautiful art on her website at http://www.galehinton.com.
An army of parent volunteers made this day possible for the students, and I want to especially thank Megan for coordinating our visit as well as Catherine Brown for introducing me to students. Her cheerful presence throughout the day was an awesome contribution to the program’s success. Keep reading Walnut Grove!
A quote from Dr. Seuss painted on the cafeteria wall: “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is youer than you.” From HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! ©1959
From Hoover, Alabama I drove north to Franklin, Tennessee where I planned to visit three more schools celebrating Read Across America, but when I arrived, everyone was buzzing about “Manhunt Monday.” All Williamson County schools were closed on February 25th so authorities could search for a school maintenance worker accused of firing a shotgun at his wife and children over the weekend. The maintenance worker had keys to every school in the district, so every school in the county closed until the man was apprehended. Thankfully he was found Monday night. Students returned to school on Tuesday, and although my first author visit in Franklin was scheduled at Edmondson Elementary on Wednesday, February 27th, the incident was still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Edmondson Elementary has over 700 children, and the students and staff are fortunate to have a very large and active PTA to support their endless stream of activities. My author visit was the perfect compliment to the school’s Read-A-Thon.
Patti Prasad (Left), Tammy Bronson (Center), and Dana Iverson (Right).
Several members of the PTA were on hand for my visit. Dana Iverson made the most amazing shortbread cookies. They were perfect depictions of characters from my books. Many thanks to Dana for the best cookies ever, and thanks to Patti Prasad who was especially helpful before, during and after the visit. Edmondson Elementary rocks!!!
The most beautiful shortbread cookies I’ve ever seen. They were so SCRUMPTIOUS, and yes, I ate most of them all by myself. (Tiny Snail was the first to be eaten!)
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The following day I visited Johnson Elementary. It is one of five elementary schools in the Franklin Special School District (FSSD). The principal, Tosha Robinson, invited me to speak with students on Thursday, February 28th. I set up in the gym at 2:00 PM and performed one presentation for all 450 (K-5) students in the school. This was one of the largest groups of students I have ever spoken to, but the program was a great success.
I returned for Reading Night later that day from 6 to 8 PM. The primary focus for Reading Night was the Scholastic Book Fair, but many other reading programs took place including teachers and parent volunteers performing reading activities with children. Many thanks to the Ms. Robinson for adding my program to the students’ busy curriculum.
Read Across America Day is observed annually on Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2nd), but many elementary schools plan activities for the entire week leading up to the Seuss Birthday Bash. This is a popular week for author visits, and my Read Across America Celebration began on February 26th in Hoover, Alabama where I visited Prince of Peace School.
The principal, Connie Angstadt, hosted a Writer’s Cafe where parents were invited to view the students’ writing.
Each student at Prince of Peace keeps a writer’s notebook, and every year the student adds more stories or writing to their collection. The older students (4th and 5th grades) had the largest collection of stories and art on display.
Tables displays were created to celebrate favorite authors or series of books. Of course one table was dedicated to Dr. Seuss, but others included Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, and even Star Wars.
In addition to the Writer’s Cafe, the Scholastic Book Fair was in full swing in the library. I rarely perform an author visit during a book fair, but when I do, generally I speak to students in another part of the school such as the music room, gym, or an auditorium; but with parents visiting the Writer’s Cafe, the school was bursting at the seams. I set up in the library in front of the Scholastic book fair shelves, and the students squeezed in on the floor between tables smothered with books.
The librarian, Midge Buote (known affectionately by all as ‘Ms. B’), was very accommodating, and we appreciate everything she did to make our day a success. My visit to Prince of Peace was a great start to Read Across America Week.
“Where the Wild Things Are” library mural painted by a parent volunteer at Prince of Peace School.