Moffat County students get lessons from a late poet
School district students, faculty celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday
March 6, 2010
Caymen Shepherd would have pleased Sam-I-am: he didn't hesitate to eat his green eggs and ham.
He would eat them at school and while sitting on a stool.
He'd eat them at recess time, until the school bell would chime.
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During third-grade lunch Tuesday at East Elementary School, Caymen and his classmates sat munching on a special meal made in honor of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, who would have turned 106 that day.
Throughout the Moffat County School District, teachers and students celebrated in different ways. At East Elementary, students were allowed to wear pajamas to school and took part in a Dr. Seuss reading group in the morning.
"'Green Eggs and Ham' is my favorite book," Caymen said, "because it makes me hungry."
His third-grade teacher, Adrienne Burch, looked on with a smile.
She knew some day later in life, Caymen might realize that the silly rhymes and colorful illustrations don't only light up children's eyes with imagination but share a simple and important life lesson: don't knock it until you try it.
The character in the book — and many of the students in the East Elementary cafeteria — might look at green eggs and ham with disgust, but they'll never know if they like it until they take that first bite.
On Tuesday at Sunset Elementary School, librarian Linda Knoche wanted to pass on the lessons of Dr. Seuss' wit to students as young as those in kindergarten.
Dressed in a Cat in the Hat costume, complete with cat whiskers and painted-on eyelashes, Knoche shared some of her favorite Seuss books with her kindergarten classes during reading time.
"When Dr. Seuss was little, he went to the zoo a lot," Knoche told a class of kindergarteners as they settled into the reading area. "That's where he got the ideas for all of his odd characters. He was a shy person, Dr. Seuss was, and he didn't really like it when people said his books were whimsical.
"He wanted people to see that he had a message, that he had something important to say."
She then launched into an animated reading of "The Sneetches," a Seuss book about a group of odd creatures who lived on the beach and were jealous of the elite Sneetches who were marked with stars on their bellies.
Knoche said she wasn't sure if many 5- and 6-year-olds would grasp the full theme, which touches on discrimination and tolerance.
But Seuss offered more than just moral lessons to his wide audience, Knoche said.
"His work encouraged so many kids," she said. "He's helped so many frustrated readers."
After Knoche finished "The Sneetches," the children were allowed to check out their own books.
Many made a beeline for the Seuss books to pick out their favorite, from "One fish two fish red fish blue fish," to "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
The students also picked out a reading buddy from a pile of stuffed Seuss characters and each had a chance to hug a plush star-bellied Sneetch.
"I think they got it in the sense they know the Sneetches were all nice to each other in the end," Knoche said.
As she closed the book and instructed the students to line up, a few students approached her to get a hug from the Cat in the Hat.
"Whether we have stars on our bellies or not, we're all special," she told them.