If You Give a Librarian a Costume…

At our elementary school, we do a lot of dressing up in costumes. As someone who attends Ren Faires, Fairy Festivals, and Comic Cons in full costume, I love it. Even better is when I come up with a lesson that ties in with the costume. My process is very similar to Laura Numeroff’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

The 100th Day of School

If you give a librarian a costume…

To celebrate the 100th day of school, we had a Decades Day, where students and teachers could dress up in clothing from their favorite decade. This year, I dressed as a hippie from the late 60s. Simplest costume ever considering most of my casual clothing, sunglasses included, are an eclectic mix of flower child meets 90s grunge rocker. When digging through my closet, I found: burgundy suede moccasins, bell bottom jeans, and a leather belt with giant enamel flowered belt buckle. I also ordered a crocheted vest from Amazon, which is so cute that I will wear it again in real life.

She’s Going to Want to Play Music

Then I thought, wouldn’t it be groovy to play some music from the 60s? I did a little research and found Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” from Woodstock. Then I found Santana’s song “Soul Sacrifice” from Woodstock. These clips would be perfect to show to my 5th graders. But didn’t I have a new book about Carlos Santana?

When She Finds the Music, She’s Going to Want a Book to Go with It

I rushed to my biography shelf, hippie vest blowing behind me and found it: When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana! This book, which won the Pura Belpré Award in 2019, beautifully tells the story of Santana’s childhood and ends with him taking the stage at Woodstock. The perfect book for my 5th-grade lesson on decades day.

Once She Finds the Book, She’s Going to Create a Lesson

Shared Foundation: Explore

Domain: Think

Objective: After hearing about Carlos Santana’s musical journey, learners will discuss how having a growth mindset helped him follow his dreams.

I started by explaining that Woodstock was a three-day rock festival in August 1969. I showed a one-minute clip of Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner.” Then I moved on to Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice.” We also watched  a couple minutes of “Smooth” with Rob Thomas to show how Santana’s music has evolved after 30 years. After the music clips, I read the book When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana. Then we discussed how Carlos Santana never gave up his dream and all the ways he displayed a growth mindset in his life.

After the Lesson, She Is Going to Think of Ways to Expand It for Next Year

I already have some ideas for expanding this lesson. I can use it as a spring board to teach research skills. We can use our databases to discover more about Latin America and Mexico when we do our school-wide International Night PBL. I found another book called Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World that I will order for my collection.

And Then, She Will Probably Need another Costume

Now that the 100th day of school has come and gone, it’s time to reimagine Read Across America. What costume will I need?


Author: Colleen R. Lee

Colleen R. Lee is a former middle school English teacher and Elementary Teacher. She is currently the Elementary Librarian at Greenfield Elementary School in Chesterfield County, VA. Follow her on Twitter @MrsLeesLibrary.

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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1 reply

  1. A great way of connecting different dots together and presenting them in this article. I loved the way you celebrated the Decades Day in your own stylist and informative way. Thank you, Collen.

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