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Literacy & Art Collide at Kimberley Park Elementary
By Yvette Evans
Kimberley Park Elementary School
NOVEMBER 1, 2021 – What happens when you combine the characters of a great children’s book with the beauty of a fall pumpkin? You get literacy and art colliding, featuring the creativity of students at Kimberley Park Elementary School!
Over the last week, students have spent time with their families decorating pumpkins to look like their favorite book character. The project was a collaborative effort between Kimberley Park art teacher, Randy Raines, and media coordinator, Yvette Evans.
“We wanted students to have the opportunity to work with parents or other loved ones and share the experience of decorating a pumpkin based on their favorite book character,” said Raines.
The First Annual Pumpkin Book Character Look Alike Event was promoted on Kimberley Park’s live morning announcements, ClassDojo, and the school’s Facebook page. Letters detailing the event were also sent home to parents and guardians.
It was important for students and families to understand that this project was not a contest, but a chance for family engagement, creativity, and fun!
Media Coordinator Yvette Evans believes these types of activities offer multiple learning opportunities.
“I love the fact that this activity gave the students a chance to take a closer look at the importance of characters in a story.” Evans said. “And the fact that the character came from the student’s favorite book,” she added, “made it even better!”
Students in grades Pre-K through fifth grade participated.
“With a school our size,” said Raines, “there was overwhelming response to this project!”
Kimberley Park currently has an enrollment of under 300 students.
Fourth-grader Braylen Farrow was excited to decorate his pumpkin like Cat Dog, a character in the graphic novel, Dog Man.
Braylen said, “I chose Cat Dog because he is a superhero, and I like superheroes and superhero stuff!”
Principal Diamond Cotton believes that Kimberley Park is more than just a school. This means that mutual efforts between school staff and families are beneficial to the student’s learning success.
“It is important to have family engagement activities because it promotes meaningful learning experiences in the home,” Principal Cotton said.
“It also increases each student's attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and gets them excited about learning. When we all work to incorporate student-centered approaches, this increases the eagerness to learn but also helps everyone successfully achieve success.”
Jamila Smith is a literacy coach at Kimberley Park, and she is also a parent of twins Khalif and Makeda Smith, who are second-grade students at the school. Mrs. Smith enjoyed working with her children on the pumpkin book character project.
“This kind of activity gets families involved with their children’s learning and promotes literacy because the students have to take some time to explore the character in the book more in order to make the pumpkin look like that character.”
Each student who participated in the event will receive a free book! Raines and Evans hope to make this a yearly event around this time of year at Kimberley Park.
Raines said, “We’re looking forward to having even more participation next year!”