Dr. Seuss’s books are great for teaching so many things! They are imaginative, fun to read, and phonics-filled. Even my strongest readers enjoy letting his words trip over their tongues.
March 2nd is Dr. Seuss's birthday, but I choose a few activities to intersperse throughout the month.
One of my favorite things about Dr. Seuss is that he used place names in his stories. Many locations in his books were invented, but sometimes he threw in a paragraph packed with real places! I use those parts of his books to create activities to entice my students into exploring the world with maps and globes.
In Daisy-Head Mayzie, Daisy’s principal, Mr. Grumm, knows everything! He rattles off a whole page of places where daisies grow. We warm up our map skills by finding all the places in the world Mr. Grumm is sure we will find daisies, and mark them on a world map. Click on the image to the right to download a copy of the daisies we use for this activity.
The last story in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, called "The Big Brag," provides another list of real places. Near the end of the story, a little, old worm takes a look clear around the world. After he’s finished, he explains where he looked. That’s the passage that I use for the globe activity. Of course, we begin with the three animals in Kansas, but you could choose any place between Brazil and Japan! We use color-coding dots and string to trace the worm’s “line of vision” on our globe. Let children give reasons why the worm couldn't actually take a look in that direction.
If I Ran the Zoo is full of nouns of person, place, and thing to sort. Dr. Seuss chose to mix fact and fiction in this book, as he did in most, so it lends itself well for a sorting activity. Divide the students into groups of four and hand each group the book plus one sorting sheet for each student. They will read the book together and list places and animals into two groups — invented and real. Ask them to discuss how they decide in which category each word fits.
Let students each choose a different invented animal from any Dr. Seuss book to use for a one-page report. If the book tells anything about their habitat or food, or gives a description, they should use that information. If the book doesn’t tell, they get to use their own imaginations and make up something using the clues from the text and pictures.
After reading Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, print the worksheet on the right, hand out dice, and let your students experience the “music” of Dr. Seuss. Students roll the dice and read the sentences next to the same number on their worksheet. After they read, they tally at the bottom and then roll again. They continue until the teacher ends the activity. My students love this activity. Have them take turns with a partner for more accountability. When Roll and Read is finished, you have individual data on rolls that can even be compiled for a data discussion.
Dr. Seuss enjoyed words and how they fit together. He liked playing with them, and I’m sure he enjoyed reading what he wrote. Give your students time to exercise their tongues with the tongue-twisting words in Fox in Socks! I put books like this under my document camera so we can share the reading and the fun! It’s the perfect way to share the enjoyment of reading with your students!
So . . . sometime during the month of March (or anytime!), try one of these ideas and celebrate a beloved author, Dr. Seuss!
Do any of these ideas sound interesting to you?
What is your favorite way to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday?