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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Kindergartners visit Minnesota State, Mankato for 'Literary Day'

More than 70 kindergartners and a few dozen college students sat in groups listening to Eric Carle books being read.

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, 4-20-12

More than 70 kindergartners and a few dozen college students in a room togeth­er could have been utter chaos.

Instead, calm and quiet 5- and 6­year- olds sat in groups throughout a carpeted room in the Centennial Student Union at Minnesota State University, listening intently to various Eric Carle books being read, including “ The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “ 10 Little Ducks.”

The unexpected order had to do with the leaders of the event, which brought 73 Rosa Parks Elementary School kindergartners to MSU for a couple of hours of lit­erary fun Thursday morning. Two sections of elementary education majors — in block one, meaning they’re newbie teacher- trainees — had planned various activities cen­tered around Carle books. A read­ing of each was followed by a craft that the kids could take home. “ It’s a great learning experi­ence,” said the students’ professor, Lori Piowlski. “ I’m really proud of them. ... They went above and beyond.”

When thumpin’ dance music rang out over the speakers, that signaled for the kids to move onto the next project. “ Dance! Dance!

Dance! Dance!” said student Brad Drazan, showing the kids some of his moves.

Drazan was part of “ The Very Busy Spider” group, which was a hit with the kids. During the read­ing of the book, the kindergart­ners were asked to help read along and wiggle their little bodies along with the teachers when they said, “ The spider didn’t answer.

She was very busy spinning her web.”

After the reading, they made black spider hats with squiggly legs hanging off the sides. Rosa Parks teacher Denise Geistfeld, who was impressed with the students’ ability to keep the children engaged, offered a helpful little tip at the spider- hat table.

“Can I give you a hint? Put the sta­ples on the outside so it doesn’t catch their hair,” she said to Drazan, who nodded.

“Hey, (many) years of teaching kindergarten,” she added with a laugh.

Drazan put the finished product on the head of a very happy little girl, eager to show off to her friends.

“That looks awesome. Nice job,” Drazan said.

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