Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss

Former Antonio Del Buono principal Patricia Midtgaard reads a

Gilroy
– A science lesson doesn’t get much better than using bare hands
to dive into a weird, gloppy, green mess.
Ask any fifth-grader in Terry Graham’s science class at Antonio
Del Buono Elementary School, who did just that Wednesday
afternoon.
Gilroy – A science lesson doesn’t get much better than using bare hands to dive into a weird, gloppy, green mess.

Ask any fifth-grader in Terry Graham’s science class at Antonio Del Buono Elementary School, who did just that Wednesday afternoon. Using corn starch, water and green food coloring, the students created their very own batch of Oobleck.

Known in the scientific world as thixotropic, Oobleck is a substance that displays properties of both a liquid and a solid. It’s also the subject of a famed Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.”

The Oobleck experiment was one of several Dr. Seuss-inspired lessons as the school celebrated the author’s 101st birthday and the National Education Association’s Read Across America 2005.

The day began with a breakfast of green eggs and ham. A number of guest readers, all who donned red-and-white top hats made famous in “The Cat in the Hat,” entertained students with a variety of Dr. Seuss books throughout the day.

School board member and Del Buono’s founding principal, Pat Midtgaard, read to third-graders, while another classroom had Cecilia Del Buono Weymouth read “Huevos Verdes con Jamón,” the Spanish version of “Green Eggs and Ham,” to a group of Spanish speakers. Weymouth is the daughter of Antonio Del Buono, for whom the school is named.

Other readers included Mayor Al Pinheiro, City Councilman Bob Dillon, Del Buono Principal Tammy Gabel, school board members Jim Rogers and Rhoda Bress, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Director Susan Valenta and Gilroy Visitors Bureau Director Kirsten Carr. Several parent volunteers and a couple of school district staff members also read to students.

Between readings, a group of first-graders constructed red-and-white top hats out of construction paper, while a class a third-graders worked on math word problems using material from Dr. Seuss stories. One class sat patiently through the school day before enjoying a Dr. Seuss birthday cake.

Del Buono has held the celebration for a few years, beginning when Midtgaard was principal. Although it didn’t take place last year, the event was revived this year in full swing and was coordinated by Libby Lai, who retired last year from teaching third grade at Del Buono.

“It’s a day to celebrate reading,” Lai said. “Dr. Seuss puts the joy in reading. He uses important words and introduces students to rhyming. And it’s good to involve the community leaders who sometimes don’t get to experience that joy.”

Third-graders Emily Doughty, Pearl Bass and Chris McCann experienced that joy throughout their day. The students said they loved the Dr. Seuss activities, especially a read-a-thon and special drawing exercise.

“We got to draw the color we feel,” Chris said, after reading “My Many Colored Days.” “Purple days are sad.”

Betsy Kienle, a parent volunteer, said she volunteered to read Wednesday so she could communicate the value of literacy to her daughter and other students.

“I want to make sure my daughter knows how important reading is,” said Kienle, who taught junior high for 12 years, most recently at Ascencion Solorsano Middle School. “As a parent, it says a lot to your children when you’re involved. As a teacher, I know this kind of event takes a lot of preparation and hard work, and it’s so important to the kids.”

Leave your comments