I love ending each week thinking about all that I have to celebrate. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week. Thank you to Ruth for the inspiration.
I celebrate Ivan, Mighty Silverback and his story, shared.
This week, we finished the brilliant, beautiful and special story The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This is the third time I have read this book but the first time I have read it aloud. As a read aloud, it is pure magic.
My students have already shared their brilliant thinking on our classroom blog. This celebration post highlights our closure with the book. Finishing a novel this profound needs some time. We finished the story Thursday morning. When I read the last few words, there was a brief silence. The power a read aloud has to create community was felt in the room. Some kids crawled into my lap, some asked to hold the book (I noticed that they hugged it before passing it on), many just sat and let the story wash over them. Big smiles. Big feelings.
On Friday, we read the author’s note in the back and checked out three websites/videos. We . . .
- looked at Katherine Applegate’s information about the real Ivan on her website.
- watched the video I found on Mr. Shu‘s blog Watch. Connect. Read. about the upcoming picture book about Ivan!
- looked at the information and video from the Zoo Atlanta site about Ivan. The children found it incredible to watch the real Ivan move about. We had to watch the video two times in a row!
Here we are watching Katherine Applegate talk about her picture book Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla to be released in October 2014 (illustrated by one of our favourites: G. Brian Karas).
Watching the real Ivan in the Zoo Atlanta video. Absolute joy and fascination on their faces!
We ended the day with Ivan themed yoga! Thank you to the brilliant Miriam who led us through tree poses in the jungle, Ivan knuckle walking, downward dog poses to greet Bob and entwining elephant trunks in honour of Stella and Ruby.
Before our yoga session, the children did a quick final response. Some excerpts here:
“The novel was amazing because the writing was just right. Ivan didn’t break his promise.”
“Ivan is one of my favourite novels because Ivan saved Ruby.”
“I wish we could go to the zoo to meet Ivan. Did he hang out with his friends?”
“I don’t like the way he was being treated. This was my favourite novel because it was emotional and it was read very slowly. I didn’t have to say ‘Can you say that again a lot of times.’ I feel happy he was in a zoo at the end and it made me happy. It made me even more happy to see the video.”
“So Ivan is a gorilla and he died. I am going to save him. I will dig a hole and I will find Ivan. I will use a defibrillator to make Ivan come back alive. And I will take him home to Africa.”
This little writer was particularly inspired and touched by Ivan and his real and fictional story.
“I’m excited for the picture book because all the kids or anyone should know the story. The picture book will be amazing because the illustrator is one of my favourites. I feel so awesome that people saved an animal that had a cruel life. And after they saved him, he had a wonderful life. I want to see Ivan’s artwork. I heard he’s a very talented artist.”
Isn’t it funny that this story of Ivan, a gorilla, teaches us so much about what it is to be human? Oh, how we celebrate this book!