Last year one of our Sew For Kids’ volunteers sent items to Crazy Horse School in Wanblee for this project. It was a great success so SFK decided that, together, we could help more classrooms this year and celebrate reading at the same time.
I am not sure if all of you are familiar with the Read Across America yearly event. It is based on Dr Suess and it not only celebrates his birthday but also celebrates the love of reading, and learning. It gets books into the hands of children. Why learn to read? This article explains why getting books to kids is so important and the earlier the better. And Crazy Horse School mission and goal is to get kids reading to the appropriate grade level by grade 2.
Crazy Horse Elementary school no longer has a library or a librarian due to budget constraints. Books that are sent in now are given to the individual classrooms so that kids are able to use them. They currently have a policy at the school, that every night a child must read a book for homework, in addition to any other homework assignments. Parents are encouraged to oversee this activity to completion but not all parents understand the value of reading books , starting at a very young age.
This year the theme for Read Across America is about pets or animals in general. You can read about it here.
We want the kids in K-grade 6, to celebrate this day. To do this, we need people to come together and choose to work on some fun projects for an individual class . Here is the breakdown of class numbers. We need activities/games /crafts appropriate for the age level.
K – 31, 1st gr – 19, 2nd gr- 21, 3rd -28, 4th – 20, 5th – 19, and 6th gr- 19. (157)
While it would be nice to give each child a book, it does not have to happen that way. We can send books that build the classroom libraries so that the kids have more books to choose from each night. And with more books, they are bound to find books on many subjects. While there are lots of Dr Seuss books, dealing with animal themes, we encourage people to send books from other authors as well. The kids on the Rez live an isolated life and one of the ways they learn about the outside world is thru reading. Books with pictures certainly help young kids see what animals look like etc. Some books we send could be used more for researching a topic while others can be read more like a bedtime story or for a fun discussion in the classroom. And certainly it is never too early to send books about careers working with animals so kids can see what is available to them in the future. Also think about many of the non profits that help animals to find information to send to the kids .
Kids can have many types of pets. Dogs and horses are loved on the Rez but certainly, many of us had lizards toads, tadpoles turtles, fish, gerbils ,hamsters, birds, cats, snakes, walking sticks, snails etc. Some of us live on farms,work at the zoo, are animal doctors or researchers. The sky is the limit.
Activities and books teach kids about the treatment and care of animals, the people who care for these animals, about the daily needs of animals for growth and development,( birds and fish, reptiles, insects etc) , their life cycles and reproduction, where they live ( country, forest, farm, zoo, water, desert, arctic etc) how they adapt or not to a changing world( how climate change is affecting them), how animals can be identified by their their tracks and poop, how they help us ( handicapped people, police, and fire departments, military, research, animal films, search and rescue), what they provide to us(companionship, protection, eggs, milk, honey meat, songs, wool etc), if animals have feelings, what diseases they suffer from or give to us, their survival skills etc. All of these topics add to the knowledge base of the kids. Kids can compare the similarities and differences of animals to us or other animals, make scenes of their living environment, etc. The core content standards gives some examples on how teachers can talk about the subject matter in Dr Seuss books and this site is another great site for educators and parents as well. There are lots of discussion ideas and crafts for kids.
If you have some fun songs about animals, animal puzzles or games, maps where animals live, calendars with animal pictures, or can cut out animals from old magazines to make a collage or write a story about them, send them along. Stuffed animals could become classroom pets, and sent along to the school as well.
The school has a copy machine but many times lacks the paper for the machine and since the toner is expensive, as we all know,they run out of that so if we choose an activity we need to send enough pages for each child in the classroom. They do not have many computers either. If we develop a craft , send enough crafts for each child in the classes listed above. Money budgets are tight for our classrooms off the Rez and for that reason teachers buy items for their classrooms. The Rez teachers are no different but there is even a greater need as the students do not bring in basic school supplies as they can not afford them so they depend on people like us to help accomplish that goal or it falls on the teacher. Craft materials of any sort is not something the school has ,so again, some of those items would be welcome.
Since this is Dr Seuss’ birthday we want to send some birthday favors and snacks to make the day special. There are several ideas on Pinterest as examples of food or activities with a Dr Seuss theme. We are checking with the school, on foods we might serve to give it a party atmosphere. Oriental trading and the Demco site have some cute party favors but you can also make your own.
We want to get the items there by the end of the second week of March. Although the official day is March 2nd, reading is celebrated all thru the month of March and of course every day.
Send your items to the elementary school principal at the address below and tell them to save it for the Read Across America celebration. If you send items, post a comment (at the top of the blog page ) or on one of our sites so we know what is being sent If you are sending books only it is cheapest to send by media mail. Tribal schools are considered non profits.
We can help get resources to kids that enable them to learn and at the same time , let them have fun doing so. Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.