We say potato, they say patata

Having some fun with Mr. Potato Head as a springboard for writing our story

Having some fun with Mr. Potato Head as a springboard for writing our story

For those of you old enough to catch the lyrical reference of the post title, no, we didn’t call the whole thing off! For those of you not old enough, a quick Google of George  and Ira Gershwin should enlighten you.

But back to the potatoes.

Last month I posted about an on-the-fly read aloud collaboration between my school, Peaslee Elementary School, and the school my daughter teaches at outside of Madrid, Spain in honor of World Read Aloud Day.

This four-minute video was such a hit at both our schools that other teachers expressed an interest in working on a project perhaps a little more substantial and with some specific learning objectives.

And so the cross-continental storytelling collaboration was born. Working with Miss Miranda’s fifth grade class here in Massachusetts and two seventh grade classes in Mahadajonda, our goal was to create a story written and illustrated by both the American and Spanish students in four alternating sections. The Common Core learning objective for our American students was to “write a narrative to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequence” (ELA W.5.3) and more specifically to “use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description and pacing” (ELA W.5.3b).

Since fluency was also an objective on both sides of the Atlantic, in addition to writing and illustrating, we recorded the students reading the story for a final production to be launched on El Dia Del Libro, International Day of the Book, April 23rd. Elena Gosalvez, a teacher of Ingles at IES Leonardo da Vinci produced this marvelous Prezi slideshow of the collaboration.

But wait, didn’t you say something about potatoes?

Crazy Mr. Potato Head

It was agreed that the students in Spain would write the first installment of the story. We had no idea what to expect and so eagerly awaited the arrival of the email with the story attachment. Imagine our surprise when we opened it to discover they had provided us with a story starter about Mr. Potato Head (and his look-alike Senor Patata!) Due to a mix-up at the airport, the potatoes are headed home with the wrong families. Oh the possibilities!

Here in the states the brainstorming began and the story developed. We sent our installment off into cyberspace and anxiously looked forward to the next episode. We were not disappointed and neither will you be. But no more spoilers. You’ll just have to watch the Prezi yourself to find out what happens!

In closing, I quote the words of Ira Gershwin from the refrain of the mystery song paraphrased in the post title, “We know we need each other so”.  At the risk of sounding a tad maudlin, we do all need each other so, whether we eat potatoes or patatas, waffles or churros. Thank you. Gracias.

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5 Comments on “We say potato, they say patata”

  1. Wonderful Potato Saga……..next stop. Broadway!

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing all about our collaboration!

  3. Nancy, this is so fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  4. nrkellner says:

    Janet, Lisa and Debra,

    Thank you all for your kind words. Let me assure you, Miss Miranda and I had as much fun (or more!?!) than the students! True fact, I’m a bit of a Mr. Potato Head groupie myself. Those were my toys they were playing with!!

    ~Nancy

  5. […] Dia Del Libro Mr. Potato Head Collaboration […]


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