Friday, February 17, 2017

Mo Willems Family Literacy Night

Did you know World Read Aloud Day was observed on February 16, 2017?  As the literacy coach at my school, my head began to spin as I was thinking of a way to share this day with the students at my school.  I knew instantly that I had to create a celebration including my all time favorite storybook characters, Pigeon, Elephant, Piggie, and Knuffle Bunny.  I decided to invite the students and their families to an evening event spotlighting the best-selling author, Mo Willems.  So… if you are interested in hosting an event like this at your school, follow the steps below:

1.  Create a Save the Date flyer to be sent home to the parents announcing this exciting event.  You can create your own or use the one below.

   2.  Send home RSVP forms so you can determine how many students will be attending.

   3. Gather materials and items necessary for each station.
Station 1: Elephant and Piggie Read Aloud
·      Elephant onesie to be worn by person selected to read aloud book
·      Piggie onesie to be worn by person selected to read aloud book
·      Elephant and Piggie book to be read aloud (We chose I Love My New Toy! and used a colored plastic egg for the toy)
·      Carpet for students to sit on while listening to the read aloud

Station 2: Pigeon Read Aloud
·      Pigeon costume to be worn by person selected to read aloud book (a parent at my school made the costume for me)
·      Pigeon book to be read aloud (We chose Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!)
·      Carpet for students to sit on while listening to the read aloud

Station 3: Arts and Crafts Activities
·      Coloring pages and activity sheets
Search under Teachers’ Guides & Event Kits – there are a variety of pages that you can print for your event.  I especially love the how to draw the Pigeon and Piggie direction sheets, coloring pages, mazes, and spot the differences activity sheets.
·      Glue
·      Scissors
·      Crayons
·      White paper table cloths (so students and families can also write on them)

Station 4:  Photo Booth
·      Photo booth (this was created by my talented School Psychologist)
·      Photo props (this was also created by her)
·      Camera (since my school did not have a camera/printer available for pictures, I reminded the parents to bring cameras for photo opportunities – perfect way for them to automatically have pictures of their children with no cost to the school)

Station 5: Elephant and Dance Party
·      Interactive technology – my school has a huge TV that also can be used as a tablet.  I had it moved to the stage in our cafeteria so the children would be able to interact with it
   Students touch the screen and select three dance moves for Piggie and three dance moves for Elephant.  Students have fun dancing along with Elephant and Piggie.

Station 6: Reading Area
·      Variety of Mo Willems’s books
·      Tables to place books so families can read together

Station 7: Cookies & Milk
·      Cookies
·      Milk
·      Cookies/Milk tickets to ensure that students get two cookies and milk
·      Table to set up the cookies and milk

4.  Advertise the event.  I went on morning announcements that week to remind students to return their RSVP forms.  My principal and I dressed up as the Elephant and Piggie and read the beginning of the book, I Love My New Toy!  I announced that the rest of the book would be shared at the event (more incentive to attend).

   5.  Set up the event.  Ask for volunteers to assist you.  Use the materials and items that you collected.  Examine the map below to find out how I set up my cafeteria. 

   6.  Open the doors to the cafeteria and invite families in to enjoy the literacy activities.  Distribute the flyer that lists the activities and the square ticket (posted above) to receive two cookies and milk.  

 Suggestions and Recommendations:

  • Let families choose the different stations that they want to visit.  Do not place a time limit on one station because some stations take longer to complete than others.
  • If possible, have a raffle with give aways.  Prizes can include books written by Mo Willems or plush toys of the different characters from books written by Mo Willems.  I did not have raffle prizes this year but I plan to at next year's event. You can also advertise before the event that prizes will be given away.  Children love winning and what could be better than winning a book?!
  • Our event took place from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.  That was the perfect amount of time for the students to enjoy all of the activities.  
  • Encourage the students to wear their pajamas (parents too).  Children love wearing them and it makes the event different from a regular school day.

I also have created several TpT products that students can use if reading books written by Mo Willems... check out the links below: