I got to attend a really cool party in Chicago this summer. It was a book launch for Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. It happened on a large boat at Navy Pier. The night was pretty amazing. We got to hear poetry and music and eat delicious food. We also got to see Chicago from the boat. Another really cool thing though was meeting Maxwell Surprenant. He's a Kid Reporter for Scholastic News. He gets to go to all kinds of events to interview people all over the country. What a cool job to have. Kid Reporters are 10-14 years old and have to apply for the job. They get to meet people who are doing all kinds of interesting things. They also have to write about it later. Here's what Maxwell wrote about the book launch - Kwame Alexander Launches Solo. To learn more about Maxwell and what it's like to be a Kid Reporter, read this article, Scholastic Kids News Reporter Talks About His Job.
5th grade students learned about powwows in their LMC classes with books and watching a cool video. Then, they thought up some interview questions for Stella Kruse, one of the organizers (seen above with Mrs. Brunelle). It was so kind of Stella to take time during her very busy day to answer our many questions. If there are any errors, it is likely Mrs. Brunelle wrote things down incorrectly.
How hard is it to set up powwow? It takes months of planning. We have to find a facility, find people to be head staff, get an arena director and M.C (Master of Ceremonies), find drum groups, sign contracts, set up security, and we need a head male & female dancer. They lead the Grand Entry and the dances.
How many years have they done powwow here (in the La Crosse area)? It has been 20+ years and it's been at UW-L, Veteran's Park in West Salem and at Onalaska high school.
How many years have you been doing a powwow? I haven't danced in a while, but I've seen pictures of me when I was a baby so I've been going as long as I know.
How do you dance? The drum is your heartbeat. It represents Mother Earth's heartbeat. That's how you keep the beat. Jingle Dances are healing dances. Grass dancers tell the story of getting the arena ready. Ho-Chunk have the Appliqué. They can carry a washboard. It's more an accessory, but the motion is like scrubbing. You dance a certain way according to the category.
How long are the dances? Each song is usually about four minutes, but Grand Entry goes until everyone is in the arena. Sometimes at big powwows that can take 45 minutes. Special dances can take longer too. Specials tell stories. Something like the Swan Dance can take 10-20 minutes.
Is there an age limit for dances? No. Young children can dance and The Golden Age category is 55+.
How long does it take to put on the clothes? Are they uncomfortable? It depends on the regalia. You have to get your hair braided. It can take about an hour to an hour and a half. There are simple dresses usually worn during the day and they are very comfortable. Full buckskin might be hot. Appliqué are often worn at night. Jingle dresses are a little challenging. You have to remember to hike up the dress before you sit.
What types of food do they have? We have a prepared meal. You have to feed your people. We also have food vendors with fry bread (seen in photo to the left), Indian tacos, frybread dogs (hot dogs wrapped in fry bread), soup with corn or soup with corn and squash. Regionally food is different. I've had mutton stew in Idaho.
What is the best part of powwow? Seeing everybody that you haven't seen since last powwow. Visiting. It's social - bringing everyone together. I remember when I was in 5th grade at the end of powwow not wanting to end.
To learn more about the Ho-Chunk Nation, you may visit the Nation's website or the local Three Rivers House Facebook page. The brief video below shows a little of the dancing from the weekend.
Here's a brief video from the 2016 powwow.
4th and 5th grade students worked in groups to create Spine Poems for Poetry Month.
Several grade levels have heard the story The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! written by Carmen Agra Deedy with pictures by Eugene Yelchin. In it, a rooster refuses to let stop singing. He wants to make his voice be heard in spite of the consequences. What are some of the things so important to you that you would raise your voice to tell people about them?
Global Read Aloud 2016 with Lauren Castillo
This year the kindergarten and first grade students are participating in the Global Read Aloud and will be reading books written and/or illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Mrs. Brunelle was lucky enough to meet Lauren Castillo this past summer and is super excited to share her books with students.
It's called the Global Read Aloud because children all around the world will be reading the same books and will also share their thoughts and ideas with each other. Here's a map of people who are reading Lauren Castillo's books this year.
Here's another map that we'll visit after we read Nana in the City.
We will share our thoughts with a few different classes over the next few weeks. It should be a lot of fun. Here are some padlets we may write on with other classes:
Jim Gill's Lullaby
It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.
Here are some books we've been reading at Northern Hills during library classes this year:
Spine Poems are a specific kind of found poem where authors find words that work well together within the titles on spines of books. Travis Jonker, a school librarian in Michigan, wrote a post that explains Spine Poetry really well and gives great instructions. I've done it with 5th grade before and we had a fun time creating our poems again this year. Here are some spine poems that Northern Hills fifth grade students created this year.
Mrs. Brunelle and fourth and fifth grade students manage this blog. We are crazy about books!