Saturday, May 21, 2016

Engineering With Wild Things

The kindergarten students not only enjoyed listening to the story, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, they collaborated to make a boat for Max.

After listening to the story, I told the students that in another version of the story, Max’s boat sailed away before he could return home.  I asked for suggestions about how Max would get home. Some said he could swim home. Others said the Wild Things would get him.  I had to suggest that Max could build a boat.

Then I explained that they would work with a partner to build Max a boat. The tools they needed were in a bag. They didn’t have to use all of the materials, but they would only make one boat with their partner.  I explained that after they built their boat, we would test it. I told them that we would put the boats in the ocean to test them. :o  They were excited even after they realized the “ocean” was a plastic container with water in it.

The items in each bag varied slightly.
aluminum foil
modeling clay or Play dough
old cd
drinking straw
foam board (cut into about 4x6 pieces)
foam filler (that came from packaging for Nooks or iPads)
lids from Pringles cans

Students also had access to scissors and a hole punch.

Next time I will include craft sticks, different size lids, and masking or duct tape. I might also include fabric, string, and/or yarn for a sail.

A few students had to make changes in order for their boat to float, but they were not discouraged. They were determined to help Max get home. 

Thanks to Mrs. DeWeese’s Kindergarten class at Oak Grove Elementary for inspiring this activity.

Oak Grove Elementary, Roanoke, VA

Thursday, May 19, 2016


The month of April has so many observances that it was hard to pick just one to focus on in the library.  This year, I decided to combine Arbor Day with poetry.  Most grade levels focused on a style of poetry.  Kindergarten made Acrostic poems about trees. First grade did Haiku, third grade did Cinquain, and fourth grade did Diamante poems about trees.  It helped that they were familiar with the different styles of poetry.  Fifth grade had fun creating Book Spine Poetry.

ReadWriteThink is a lifesaver
Since third and fourth graders shared their Cinquain and Diamante poems with me on Google Drive, I was able to make comments. This gave helpful feedback to the students, which they liked.  It nudged them to ask questions about how to improve their poems.

Pre-K and Kindergarten helped list ways that trees are helpful after reading Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.