Our library has a Twitter account @NHES_LMC. The account is generally used to post the books we are reading in the LMC and to interact with authors and illustrators. Here are some examples of conversations we have had with authors. We're even getting some great bookmarks from author Ame Dyckman because of our Twitter interaction. Yay! You can look at our Twitter account even if you don't have one, but if you are a Twitter user, it's even easier. Check us out sometime when you're online.
We were able to meet with author and artist Mai Chao for a few questions. This is the beginning of a series of interviews with people from our community. If you have ideas of people we could chat with, let us know in the comments. Thanks!
World Read Aloud Day was on February 1st this year. To start off the event, Mr. Rodenberg's class was able to Skype with another 5th grade class in Maryland. We read the book After the Fall. Mrs. Stapleton's class was also able to Skype with a different 5th grade class from the same school in Maryland. It was pretty awesome.
Two of our 4th grade classes were the first to Skype with an author.
Mrs. Shay's first grade class met Laurie Thompson and she read My Dog is the Best. Mrs. Kromke's third grade class met her too and she shared Emmanuel's Dream.
Mr. Zobeck's class was able to meet Karen Leggett. She shared her book called Hands Around the Library and taught us a little bit of Arabic.
Mrs. Hundt's class was also able to Skype with the author and illustrator Julie Fortenberry. She read Lily's Cat Mask. What was especially fun was that she shared her computer screen and showed how she creates her illustrations digitally.
World Read Aloud Day was a lot of fun. Many of our classes were able to connect with classes, authors, and illustrators around the U.S. For those students who haven't had the chance to Skype with others yet this year, we will try to get them connected before the school year ends.
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?
Mrs. Brunelle and fourth and fifth grade students manage this blog. We are crazy about books!