Seriously, I don’t get a cut of profits from the sale of Run, Turkey, Run books. It’s just one of those rare books children are taken with – they beg to read it over and over.  This year, my class has asked me to read it so much that they’ve actually almost memorized the entire book word for word.  Which one day last week lead to one of them chirping, “Why don’t we do it as a play?”

‘Turkey was having a terrible day.’ We talked about what turkey might be feeling and the result was ‘worried’ – here is one worried turkey.

And so it began.  My plans for the week were tossed out like bad leftovers and we focused, almost entirely, on Run, Turkey, Run – the play!  As we read the book, page by page, we talked about what would be the most important detail on each page to illustrate for our audience. Yes, we were discussing main idea!  We also worked on putting our characters and props in order – sequencing!

The kids worked really hard to illustrate the characters and props.  We spent one day planning and drawing and the next painting.  After they dried, we cut them out and had them laminated before taping them onto sticks.

We rehearsed our ‘play’ (really more of a reading with props) and have invited classes to watch us on Monday. I was overjoyed at the enthusiasm and creativity they exhibited.  It really all came from them.  This was truly child-centered learning.  They had the ideas and did the work – I was simply their guide.  A spark became a teachable moment and blossomed into an entire week of learning and motivated work.  It was riveting.

‘If Turkey rolls in the mud, will Farmer think he’s a pig?’
‘If Turkey swims in the duck pond, will Farmer think he’s a duck?’
‘If Turkey puts his head in a feed bucket, will Farmer think he’s a horse?’ I was really impressed with this one – a turkey with it’s head in a bucket? Amazing.
Our persistent farmer. They decided it was important he was holding a bag to show he was after Turkey. He runs across the ‘stage’ after Turkey after each refrain of ‘Run, Turkey, Run!’
‘Hmmm, trees… if Turkey covers himself with branches, will Farmer think he’s a tree?’ I love the different representation of trees. We talked about what kind of trees they would have to be if they were going to be green (Evergreen).
‘Thanksgiving day comes. The farmer and his family have green peas, mashed potatoes and… grilled cheese sandwiches.’ The kids decided the ‘grilled cheese sandwiches’ part was the ‘punchline’ and is what we should illustrate. The two students holding the sandwiches are hidden until the line is read and then they stand for extra comedic effect. So awesome!