Here's the story of a lovely North Star Happening that took place at a school in Vermont a couple years ago. There are two wonderful activities in this Happening that help inspire literacy - either would be fabulous additions to any classroom curriculum: acting out the story of a book (in this case, The North Star!), and a Literary Pumpkin Project that integrates art, literature, and positive communication skills.
Deb Kelly, PTC President, generously submitted this North Star Happening and explains, "Peter Reynolds came to our school in October 1998 for a special 'literary evening' event. It was a huge inspiration to many of the children. He drew many, many, pictures for the kids who took them home. He also autographed many books for children through the evening. During the day, the children did a spontaneous acting out of The North Star with Peter as the narrator. It was a blast."
The following Fall, in 1999, Mrs. Hackett's fourth grade class did a classroom project in which students made their favorite literary characters out of pumpkins. As Mrs. Hackett tells us, "We displayed the pumpkin characters in the hall with its book in order to inspire another child to read that book. One student, Lacie G., chose The North Star as the book for her pumpkin project."
"I liked The North Star a lot," writes Lacie. "I thought it was a very cute story. It was very well illustrated too. For a school project around Halloween time we had to make a character from one of our favorite books out of a pumpkin, so I made the little boy from The North Star. It was really fun making a pumpkin character. We painted the pumpkin and put a face on it like the boy in the book. We used pipe cleaners for hair and even put a blue sweater on him! All the kids recognized him from The North Star. This was my favorite project of the year!"
"In particular, Peter Reynolds' visit to Christ the King School was a big deal to all the students," added Deb. "Our school has little, if any, dollars available for enhancement activities for the children. They were thrilled with his arrival and prepared for him to come by reading The North Star and viewing 'The Blue Shoe'. Then the students wrote questions to Peter about how he got to this point in his life. Some students drew pictures or wrote stories about where they hope their journey in life takes them and what they might like to be when they grow up..." What a true testimony about the positive impact community mentors can have on students!
Feel free to e-mail Deb Kelly if you have any questions or comments about this creative Literary Pumpkin Project!