Tale of the tapes: Love of Dr. Seuss books leads to students reading more pages and ‘wrapping up’ a fun week (videos + photos)


Sean Elkins, a fifth-grade teacher, found himself buried in duct tape as part of the school celebration devoted to reading Dr. Seuss books. Before it was over, almost all that was showing was his eyes.
Herald photos / Brad Mosher

For four days, the Killdeer Public School became Whoville.
There were lots of Cats in the Hat.
There were Thing 1 and Thing Two … more than a few. And even a Cindy Lou Who.
There was even a Lorax or two.

By Brad Mosher
The Herald

For one week, the school was celebrating Dr. Seuss as part of Read Across America Week.
But like with many of Theodore Seuss Geisel’s children’s story, there was a slight twist.
Monday was supposed to start the week with a Fox in the Socks Day.
But extreme weather forced the school to close after about 15 minutes.
But Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were able to be full celebrations of the world of Dr. Seuss.
Monday was supposed to be Fox in Socks where students could wear their wildest socks.
Tuesday was “Whos and Hats, followed by “Wacky Wednesday”and “Thing 1 & Thing 2 Thursday.”
The “best dressed class” earned free tape to tape Mr. Sean Elkins and the school principal, Andrew Cook, to the wall in the gymnasium Friday afternoon before school ended.

It was Abbie Elkins who was the organizer for the week of Dr. Seuss decorations and celebrations with a goal to motivate students to do more reading.
The colorful celebration of all things Seuss ended Friday with the taping of the principal and another teacher to the gymnasium wall, but the children still had the weekend to get as much reading as possible.
“Last year was the first year we kind of started this,” Mrs. Elkins said. “I have always loved Dr. Seuss in my classroom and I thought we might as well share it with the whole school.

“Each year it is getting better. We are doing more this year than we did last year. We are hoping each year to keep making it bigger and better.
“On Tuesday, it was “Who Hair or Hat Day” so a lot of kids could have the crazy hair or they could have the hats. I had a little girl in my class that put a platic water bottle in her hair and made it stand up. I saw braid,” the teacher said.
The taping was also used as a fundraiser to help provide money for the Dr. Seuss Week in 2020. “That way we can do something to make it even better than this year.”

Killdeer student Chloe Kuntz adds more tape, with a little help, on school principal Andrew Cook Friday afternoon in the gymnasium. The taping was the last of the Dr. Seuss Week events.
Herald photos / Brad Mosher

Classes from Kindergarten through sixth grade participated this year, Elkins explained. “There were 17 classes that were involved.”
The students had to go home and read after school, then record how many minutes they had read, she said. “In the lunch room, we have a big display, so for every hundred minutes the class reads, the teacher would put up another band. It is kind of cool. In the lunchroom, we have all these Dr. Seuss hats that they keep building up so the kids can see the different amounts each class has read. It kind of makes it a competition and fun.”
The winning class in Kindergarten through third grade will get an extra PE period, while the older students will get a free Blizzard at the new Dairy Queen if their class has the highest total.
The students have already surpassed the totals for last year before the week had finished, according to Mrs. Elkins. “The participation just keeps growing.”

The first grade teacher at the elementary school has 18 students in her class.
“I was impressed that I had almost everybody in the class dressed up all of the days. That impressed me, because last year I had a few, but not as many. I was pretty excited to see that they were all excited and wanted to participate,” she added.
“We also had a door decorating contest with the staff.”
The library also got involved with all their Dr. Seuss books on display, she added.
The principal had a unusual view of the taping Friday in the gymnasium.
He was one of two being taped to the wall.

Sean Elkins was literally left hanging – to the wall of the Killdeer school gymnasium Friday, with a little help from fifth-grader Vitaliy Tverdunov and teacher Mrs. Janell Smith.

“It was a really good week and the kids really enjoyed it,” the principal said after coming down off the wall. “It brings a lot of excitement to reading.
“There was no taping to the wall last year. That was new this year. I hope we just stay at the level of taping me to the wall,” the principal said. “I hope it doesn’t get more involved than that.”
The students were really excited about getting the chance to tape the principal to the wall. “They have been talking about it all week. Especially today (Friday), it was tough to keep anybody on task and focused in the lunch room. All they could do do was talking about taping … and they all wanted to tape my mouth shut,” he added with a chuckle.
He did have one advantage over the teacher who was taped to the wall. Cook was taller than Sean Elkins, a fifth grade teacher and coach. “He was easy money. He got all the older kids. They were taller and a little quicker,” the principal said. “I lucked out.
“It certainly made for a lot of reading going on this week.”

By the end of the taping, the students could only see his eyes. Everything else was covered with tape. The tape was strong enough to keep him up on the wall after the milk crate he had been standing on was kicked out from under his feet.
He hung, suspended off the floor, by all the tape for more than a minute. When he finally landed, still covered in tape, he said that all the plastic had made him sweat a lot.
When the principal had his milk crate kicked out from him, it took three tries to dislodge the plastic milk crate, but only about a second to come off the wall.
The amount reading being done by the students was on display in the lunch room, he explained.
“In the cafeteria, they have hats and for every hundred minutes they add a stripe on their Dr. Seuss hat and some of them are extremely high.
“There is a lot of reading going on,” he added.
The principal that the day which the student really showed off their interest was on Wacky Wednesday.
“The kids really got into it. They could dress as crazy as they wanted to. That seemed to get a lot of participation.”
He also praised Mrs. Elkins for putting together the week and activities. “We’ll have to see what she will come up with next year.”


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