Thursday, February 23, 2017

American Girl Club: Meet Gabriela

Our latest American Girl Club was one of my favorite meetings of the year. We got to learn about the newest American Girl of the Year, Gabriela McBride. It is always fun to focus on a new character, and I continue to enjoy the way the Girls of the Year provide an opportunity to talk about contemporary topics.

When it came to Gabriela, the big ideas I wanted to discuss were community and voice. Gabriela helps raise money for her community's arts center. She also struggles with speaking out because she has a stutter. These two themes come together as she uses her love of poetry and dance to help save the center. As a group, we talked about these things in our brief discussion of the book, which was just enough to give an overview of Gabriela and her story.

What we did: 

  • Our first activity was MadLibs. It is a fun and easy way to play with words and story writing, so I thought it made perfect sense to use for this program. I found a free MadLibs app in the iTunes store (, because I wanted to incorporate our iPads and new projector. I was very happily surprised to learn that the app actually had Gabriela themed MadLibs to complete. We each took turn entering words and then read our communal story aloud. 
  • After MadLibs, we did a poetry game I found called Poetry Charades. I found it on Poetry4Kids. Charades are a fun way to get kids up and moving, and always seem to go over well with kids at my programs. I choose this version of the game in order to incorporate Gabriela's love of spoken word poetry. I especially liked that it provides the kids with a set of actions to guess from. Definitely makes the game a little easier!
  • Our final game was Girl of the Year Bingo (found here). My kids love Bingo, even if the prize is as simple as first crack at checking out one of our American Girl of the Year books. 
  • We ended by snacking on modern delicacies such as cookies, chips and fruit snacks. The craft was meant to be word collages with letter stickers but we did not have a chance to get to that this time. I'll be saving that idea to try again at future American Girl programs.
  • As a take home activity, I also provided a word search about Gabriela and a template to create an acrostic poem.

For information on my other American Girl Club programs (including other American Girls of the Year) see the links below:

Hopefully these ideas come in handy for any programs you may be doing about Gabriela this year. She still has two more books coming out, so I'm sure there is plenty more fun to come! If you have any questions you can get in touch with me here or via Twitter (@MsKellyTweets).

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