JAMESTOWN — Elephants, reading and art were the order of the day for Ring Elementary School UPK students in Terry Ortiz’s and Jill Anderson’s classrooms.
The teachers are reading ELMER, the Patchwork Elephant to their students as part of their study of the letter “E.” They are using the book to reinforce the letter and its sound.
Weekly, the teachers introduce one letter and its sound until they have taught the entire alphabet to their students.
ELMER, the Patchwork Elephant is the story of being yourself and accepting your differences. One day, Elmer becomes tired of being a patchwork elephant so he discovers a tree of grey colored berries and covers himself, so he blends in, looking like all of the other elephants.
When he returns to his herd, he finds they were all too quiet and boring. A rainstorm washes off Elmer’s gray color and reveals his patchwork colors. All the elephants love Elmer’s best trick.
So, once a year they celebrate with a parade where all of the other elephants decorate themselves in colorful patchwork and Elmer in all gray.
Anderson and Ortiz decided to have students create “elephant head pieces” as a craft for the letter “E” including tracing the upper-case E on each ear of the elephant.
The students wore their creations in an “elephant parade” outside the school, just like in the book. Students were also learning their shape of the week – a square.
The book tied into the shape with a tissue paper art project and creating squares on an elephant drawing and coloring in the patchwork.
“The story is a great way to reinforce the letter ‘E,’ as well as telling a great story of friendship, getting along and being original in who you are,” said Anderson.