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December 15, 2014 A Simple Twist Turns Class Parties Into Learning Experiences By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Are school restrictions thwarting your classroom party plans? I have had principals impose the rule that each classroom can only have two parties a year. I had one principal who gave us a list of holidays that we could plan a party around and no other parties were allowed. If you have similar restrictions, try using a simple trick to create classroom events that are true learning experiences, which feel like a party. Instead of planning a party, plan a red-carpet event.

    I got the idea for a red-carpet event after my students would come in and tell me about the newest movie they wanted to see, and what day that movie would start to play in a theater near them. I figured that if a marketing company could get them so excited about a movie, I could use the same strategies to get my kids excited about books and reading. The idea snowballed from there.

    I decided that I would plan red-carpet events for the debut of a new book in my classroom. This doesn’t happen the day that a book is released, but instead it’s the debut of the book to my classroom.

    Six Easy Steps to Make Your Red Carpet Event Happen

    Calendar Countdown1. Pick a book. I picked the book Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light for my first one because it’s such a fun read-aloud that involves the arts and sibling issues. Plus it has a great cat character that the kids love. It really is such a great book that I included in my "Top 12 Books of 2014." Another important part of the red-carpet experience is that you pick a book new to the students for its classroom debut. We marked the date on the calendar and counted down. We started watching the book trailer during the day to help work up the students' excitement.

     

    Louise Loves Art2. About a week before the event, send home an invitation for the children to attend the red-carpet event. The event will take place during the school day but the invitation serves as the note to the parents letting them know what's in store. For the Louise Loves Art red carpet event, all of the students were asked to dress up in their nicest clothes. When I told the class that they needed to dress up, one student got very concerned that his mom had already given away his Halloween costume so unless you are specific with the students, Batman or a princess from Frozen may show up at your special event.

     

     

    Cara at Paparazzi Station3. Before the event I printed off color copies of the cover of the book to tape on bulletin board paper for the paparazzi station background. I rolled out red bulletin board paper to serve as the red carpet. That was all the prep that I needed to do the day of the event.

    Jersey at Paparazzi Station Tevyn at Paparazzi Station

    T-Pain Microphone4. Ask a teaching assistant or parent volunteer to be the paparazzi. I used my daughters T-Pain microphone to conduct the red carpet interviews. The interviews are a great place to ask prediction questions and for the students to practice listening and speaking skills.

     

     

     

     

    5. After everyone has walked the red carpet, I read information about the author, Kelly Light, that I got from her great website. Then I read the book! Of course you have to do your best dramatic interpretation because you have built it up! After we read Louise Loves Art, I used the T-Pain microphone to ask what they thought of the book. Using a microphone makes everything seem official!

    Tanner with Louise Glasses6. After reading Louise Loves Art the class colored and cut out their own Louise glasses and used five simple steps to draw the cat from the book. Art can be intimidating for some students (my sister got all the artistic ability because I struggle with circle and stick figures), so we all put our five fingers in the air and said, “five easy steps” every time we talked about drawing the cat. I was very blessed and saw a preview of Kelly Light’s upcoming webpage changes and these activities will be available there so keep checking her site.

     

    Cat from Louise Loves Art Brody, Tevyn, and Dash in Louise Glasses Cat from Louise Loves Art drawing

    Pencil SnackAs a snack for the Louise Loves Art event, take a cheese stick, and place a Bugle chip at one end so that the point of the Bugle is away from the cheese stick. Add a raisin to the tip and you have created fun snack pencils.

    Other Event Ideas

    You can have a red carpet event for so many different books. A few ideas that I have come up are:

    Pajama Day Red Carpet event
    Wear your best PJs for one or more of these books:

    A great PJ red carpet snack is oatmeal bars.

    Shoe-La-La Red Carpet Event
    Wear your fanciest shoes and read one or more of these books:

    • Shoe-La-La by Karen Beaumont

    • Louise the Big Cheese and the La-Di-Da Shoes by Elise Primavera and illustrated by Diane Goode

    • Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee

    A great Shoe-La-La red carpet snack is peel-away licorice strips because they look like shoe laces.

    It’s a Big “Hairy” Deal of a Red Carpet Event
    Wear your craziest/fanciest/funnies hairstyle and read one or more of these books:

    A Big “Hairy” Deal red carpet snack is Cheetos Twisted Puffs. They mimic curled hair.

    Friendship Red Carpet Event
    Dress like your friend and read one or more of these books:

    For a fun friendship snack, order the English and Spanish cookies from Dick and Jane Baking Company and have the class pair off to learn the words on the cookies. They also have president cookies and 50 states and capitals cookies.

    Brody at the Paparazzi StationThere are so many other more ideas! I can’t wait to hear what book you would use for a red-carpet event in your classroom. Please share your ideas and share your pictures with me on Twitter (@dad2ella) and use #classredcarpet.

    Let’s connect on Twitter and Pinterest.

    Just as a note: I included snack ideas because many times classroom parties revolve around food. I think it’s great when even one of the snacks can be related directly back to the featured book.

    I can’t wait to see you in 2015!

     

     

     

    You can still buy books with this Readers, Friends and Family coupon!

    Are school restrictions thwarting your classroom party plans? I have had principals impose the rule that each classroom can only have two parties a year. I had one principal who gave us a list of holidays that we could plan a party around and no other parties were allowed. If you have similar restrictions, try using a simple trick to create classroom events that are true learning experiences, which feel like a party. Instead of planning a party, plan a red-carpet event.

    I got the idea for a red-carpet event after my students would come in and tell me about the newest movie they wanted to see, and what day that movie would start to play in a theater near them. I figured that if a marketing company could get them so excited about a movie, I could use the same strategies to get my kids excited about books and reading. The idea snowballed from there.

    I decided that I would plan red-carpet events for the debut of a new book in my classroom. This doesn’t happen the day that a book is released, but instead it’s the debut of the book to my classroom.

    Six Easy Steps to Make Your Red Carpet Event Happen

    Calendar Countdown1. Pick a book. I picked the book Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light for my first one because it’s such a fun read-aloud that involves the arts and sibling issues. Plus it has a great cat character that the kids love. It really is such a great book that I included in my "Top 12 Books of 2014." Another important part of the red-carpet experience is that you pick a book new to the students for its classroom debut. We marked the date on the calendar and counted down. We started watching the book trailer during the day to help work up the students' excitement.

     

    Louise Loves Art2. About a week before the event, send home an invitation for the children to attend the red-carpet event. The event will take place during the school day but the invitation serves as the note to the parents letting them know what's in store. For the Louise Loves Art red carpet event, all of the students were asked to dress up in their nicest clothes. When I told the class that they needed to dress up, one student got very concerned that his mom had already given away his Halloween costume so unless you are specific with the students, Batman or a princess from Frozen may show up at your special event.

     

     

    Cara at Paparazzi Station3. Before the event I printed off color copies of the cover of the book to tape on bulletin board paper for the paparazzi station background. I rolled out red bulletin board paper to serve as the red carpet. That was all the prep that I needed to do the day of the event.

    Jersey at Paparazzi Station Tevyn at Paparazzi Station

    T-Pain Microphone4. Ask a teaching assistant or parent volunteer to be the paparazzi. I used my daughters T-Pain microphone to conduct the red carpet interviews. The interviews are a great place to ask prediction questions and for the students to practice listening and speaking skills.

     

     

     

     

    5. After everyone has walked the red carpet, I read information about the author, Kelly Light, that I got from her great website. Then I read the book! Of course you have to do your best dramatic interpretation because you have built it up! After we read Louise Loves Art, I used the T-Pain microphone to ask what they thought of the book. Using a microphone makes everything seem official!

    Tanner with Louise Glasses6. After reading Louise Loves Art the class colored and cut out their own Louise glasses and used five simple steps to draw the cat from the book. Art can be intimidating for some students (my sister got all the artistic ability because I struggle with circle and stick figures), so we all put our five fingers in the air and said, “five easy steps” every time we talked about drawing the cat. I was very blessed and saw a preview of Kelly Light’s upcoming webpage changes and these activities will be available there so keep checking her site.

     

    Cat from Louise Loves Art Brody, Tevyn, and Dash in Louise Glasses Cat from Louise Loves Art drawing

    Pencil SnackAs a snack for the Louise Loves Art event, take a cheese stick, and place a Bugle chip at one end so that the point of the Bugle is away from the cheese stick. Add a raisin to the tip and you have created fun snack pencils.

    Other Event Ideas

    You can have a red carpet event for so many different books. A few ideas that I have come up are:

    Pajama Day Red Carpet event
    Wear your best PJs for one or more of these books:

    A great PJ red carpet snack is oatmeal bars.

    Shoe-La-La Red Carpet Event
    Wear your fanciest shoes and read one or more of these books:

    • Shoe-La-La by Karen Beaumont

    • Louise the Big Cheese and the La-Di-Da Shoes by Elise Primavera and illustrated by Diane Goode

    • Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee

    A great Shoe-La-La red carpet snack is peel-away licorice strips because they look like shoe laces.

    It’s a Big “Hairy” Deal of a Red Carpet Event
    Wear your craziest/fanciest/funnies hairstyle and read one or more of these books:

    A Big “Hairy” Deal red carpet snack is Cheetos Twisted Puffs. They mimic curled hair.

    Friendship Red Carpet Event
    Dress like your friend and read one or more of these books:

    For a fun friendship snack, order the English and Spanish cookies from Dick and Jane Baking Company and have the class pair off to learn the words on the cookies. They also have president cookies and 50 states and capitals cookies.

    Brody at the Paparazzi StationThere are so many other more ideas! I can’t wait to hear what book you would use for a red-carpet event in your classroom. Please share your ideas and share your pictures with me on Twitter (@dad2ella) and use #classredcarpet.

    Let’s connect on Twitter and Pinterest.

    Just as a note: I included snack ideas because many times classroom parties revolve around food. I think it’s great when even one of the snacks can be related directly back to the featured book.

    I can’t wait to see you in 2015!

     

     

     

    You can still buy books with this Readers, Friends and Family coupon!

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