If you have ideas to share with other teachers about
how to use my books as part of your curriculum, please email them to me! back
Using downloads from my website, as well as creating new activities, Indian Hills Elementary School
in Topeka Kansas had each grade level do a project for my author visit.
Kindergarteners decorated eggs found on the Fun Stuff page under Easter activities.
Grade 1 made Valentine poems as per Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink.
Grade 2 downloaded the Gilbert paper doll from the website and made their own fashion show.
Grade 3 made their own Earth Day posters, like Gilbert's class did in Ants in Your Pants, Worms in you Pants (Gilbert Goes Green).
Grade 4 made up party invitations, as per the book Happy Birthday to you, You Belong in a Zoo.
Fifth graders cut out photographs from discarded dog magazines and gave them human attributes, as per the book Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth!
6th graders used the award design from the Last Day of School activities to write about their elementary school highlights.
Wanamaker Elementary School in Topeka Kansas did a school-wide luau theme to celebrate Gilbert the Surfer Dude. Kids wore Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts. The library was decorated as Gilbert's Surfer Shack, and the lunch was island-themed pot-luck.
Media specialist Danielle Galligan at the Hopewell School in Glastonbury, CT came up with these ideas to use prior to the author's visit:
After reading a few of Diane deGroat's books, have students make a list of questions they have about her or her books on chart paper.
Visit the FAQ's section to see if you can find the answers.
Save the ones you can't find for her visit.
Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books: Write about your first day of school or make a class list of what you can do to make the first day for a new student a great day.
Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Have students write or draw pictures on a suitcase of what they would bring on a sleepover or camping trip.
Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo: Have students write an invitation to a friend to play at recess that maybe they haven't invited before.
Any book: List all the characters in the book and what type of animals they are. Have students come up with ideas for new characters, what type of animal they should be, and why.
Students could then make the animals for display.
Ms. Galligan includes these suggested activities in a packet for each teacher whose class will attend the author's presentation. She also adds the author's website information, mentioning areas of interest such as downloads for activities and bookmarks.
This activity was suggested by Katheryn Shurley, a student at Angelo State University, San Angelo, TX:
Choose any Gilbert book that the students have not yet read, and extract key sentences from the story.
Type them all onto one page, leaving space between the sentences.
Make enough copies for each student, then cut the individual sentences into strips.
Give each student a packet of the strips and ask them to predict the sequence of events by placing them in order on a sheet of paper.
Read the story to the students. As they recognize the events, have them place the sentences in the correct order.
After the class has found all the excerpts in the story, have them glue the correct sequence onto the paper.
After reading a Gilbert book, Ms. Shurley also asks the students these questions:
"What is the conflict and the solution in the story?"
"What kind of person is Gilbert?"
Show the students a list of character traits and ask them to pick three that apply to Gilbert.
"If you were a movie director, how would you show the book's setting in your film?"
The students have to figure out a setting and list props they would use.
"What do you think the author wants you to learn from this story?"
From Beaver Creek Elementary school in Johnston, Iowa - a lesson for Trick or Treat Smell My Feet: Discuss briefly
if anyone has ever had an embarrassing moment. Have students share what happened and how others reacted. Discuss
the different story elements, stressing what Gilbert's problem was. Talk about how he was able to solve it and
discuss the life lesson - we are all unique. Give students a choice of various characters from the Gilbert series.
Have them cut out the head of the character from Ms. deGroat's website print-out Coloring Page 2,
and then RIP (NO SCISSORS) a unique costume for the character. Display proudly!
Beaver Creek also studied character traits by making up a new classmate for Gilbert.
Students had to answer: What is the new classmate's name?
Is the new friend a boy or a girl?
What kind of animal is it? What is the new friend like?
Students at the Hopewell School in Glastonbury, CT
made an adjective and noun chart for each Gilbert title by studying the illustrations.
Students at Prairie View Elementary School in Lee's Summit, MO,
made three corner hats after reading Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.
Colonel Johnston Elementary School, Fort Huachuca, Arizona
June Myers at Framington River School in Otis MA pasted the flaps from
the covers of Gilbert books on a poster and had the students
guess which title goes with which flap summary of the story.
The second graders at the Emily A. Fifield School in Dorchester MA
voted on what kind of animal they thought Gilbert was.
Then they put their votes on a graph.
Students in Miss Daddato's literature class at Southampton School #1 in Vincentown, NJ
made cover designs for Gilbert books they would like to see: Earth Day, Father's Day, and St. Patrick's Day.
Southampton School #1 students also made posters for each Gilbert book
containing a new cover design, researched facts about the particular holiday or event,
and what the students normally do on that special day compared to what Gilbert did in the story.
Cathy Bonnell of Ocotillo Elementary School in Phoenix, AZ
had her students replicate Mrs. Byrd's homework assignment in Jingle Bells, Homework Smells:
"Make a picture of a character from your favorite book. Be prepared to talk about the book when you bring
the picture into the class." Here are some samples.
Second graders at Orangewood School in Phoenix AZ wrote a skit after reading Annie Pitts, Artichoke.
They created costumes similar to those worn by the students in the story.
A talented librarian, Joyce Meimer of Southeast Elementary School in Mansfield CT, made a giant piece of
Gilbert art to stand on the stage for the author's visit!
After reading Trick or treat, Smell my Feet, Lori Belair and Dana Ryan (Cayuga and A.J. Smith, Syracuse, NY) had K-1 students design the most embarrassing costume for Patty, Lewis,
Gilbert or Mrs. Byrd. Students were given the heads only (downloaded from the website). Then they tore or cut colored paper to design the costume and used markers to decorate them.
The banner read, "And the Winner for Most Embarrassing Costume Goes To..." "We also had Grade 2-3 come up with a title for a book you would write in the future. Students knew from your website that you come up with the titles first and then the story,
so they were hoping one of theirs would catch your eye. The banner read, "Titles We Think Would Make Great Stories". We also made a huge banner size chart which noted which
animal K-3 students thought Gilbert was. It was a close tie between hedgehog, porcupine and possum. Believe it or not, a couple of students thought Gilbert might be a
gorilla or a wooly mammoth! Oh no!"
Some fun bulletin boards from New Town Elementary School, Waxhaw, SC:
Ivy Creek Elementary School in Buford Georgia had a Diane deGroat bulletin board contest.
One teacher had the students design their own bed bugs after reading Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
Another class designed pajamas for Gilbert!
Students at Ivy Creek also made stinky feet poems.
For Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, students made their own costumes for Gilbert. One Gilbert is a Barbie doll,
and another Gilbert is a house!