- Encourage students to use biodegradable, vegetarian or vegan food products (something that grows)
- Ask students to create displays on biodegradable plates or platters so the whole thing can be thrown away (you can’t imagine having to scrap it off in the compost and then wash those glass platters, yuck!)
- If you are making it a competition, have the school vote on their favorite
- Set up a long table outside of your library, cover it with a tablecloth, and encourage classes (and parents) to come check out the work
- Do this in the colder months so it doesn’t get smelly so fast
- Do this as part of an all-school celebration or library-themed week (Homecoming, School Library Month, ect)
- Have creations be depictions of favorite books
My fourth grade students do a huge Westward Expansion and Lewis and Clark unit with their general studies teacher. In an effort to support what is happening in the classroom, I created this bulletin board:
Do you remember studying the layers of the earth when you were in elementary school? Yep, me neither. If I had made a clay model of the earth that was later cut open to expose the layers, that might be a different story…
This project came about after talking to the third grade classroom teacher and the art teacher, we all worked together to incorporate our areas of expertise into one cool experience for our kiddos. The students have been learning about the earth for a few weeks now so the kids have a great deal of background knowledge.
Before this project even began, I bought (lots) of Crayola Model Magic, this stuff is great to work with, dries over time and comes in lots of fun colors. I bought six colors, one for each of the layers of the earth the students were asked to represent:
I then divided the clay into individual bags, one for each student. I also included handouts for all of the tables and made my sample earth model:
I am a huge fan of cross-curricular collaborations to make learning more meaningful. My second graders are reading The One and Only Ivan in class so I recently constructed a bulletin board to feature the book and share with the community what is happening in one of the classrooms. Check out the bulletin board post here. Needless to say, the bulletin board worked. Everyone loved it, faculty, students and visitors asked second graders about the book and were encouraged to read it themselves.
When I found out the second grade kiddos were studying character and setting, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for another collaborative project. I contacted our amazing art teacher and she showed me a 3-D diorama that her daughter created for a book and we knew it was perfect for this project. I created my example using a different book so the students could be free to create without a per-conceived piece of art in their mind:
I wish I could figure out the official name of this process, I know there are other educators out there doing this and I would love to give them credit. If you have seen this process done before, or if you’re doing it yourself, please contact me in the comments section.
The students received three pieces of thick card stock, each piece is slightly smaller than the one behind it. For example, the back piece of paper is 8.5″ x 11″, the middle sheet is 8.5″ x 10″ and the front sheet is 8.5″ x 9.” This makes it so the final product curves inward and makes the diorama stand up on its own.
- The back page (the largest piece) is to show the setting. Where did Ivan live? What did his cage look like? What was on the walls?
- The middle page (the medium-sized piece) is to show the character(s). What did Ivan look like? How large was Ivan compared to his cage? Were there other important characters in the story?
- The front page (the smallest piece, already cut into a frame) is to tell others what book you’re sharing. What is the title of the book? Who is the author? Who created this diorama?
- The average male gorilla stands between 5 and 7 feet.
- The arm span of an average male gorilla is almost 9 feet!
- The average male gorilla eats over 40 pounds of food per day, the average American person eats 5-6 pounds of food per day.
- Gorillas are herbivores – they eat leaves, shoots, roots, vines and fruits.
- The lifespan of an average male gorilla is 35 years. Ivan lived to be 50 years old.
- There are 4 subspecies of gorillas: Eastern lowland, Mountain, Western lowland, Cross River.
- Gorillas are an endangered species, there are less than 300 Cross River gorillas left in the world.
- The One and Only Ivan is fictional, but was inspired by a true story.
- Ivan was a male Western lowland gorilla.
- Ivan was captured in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Ivan and (what is believed to be) his sister were captured as infants and brought to the United States. Ivan’s sister died shortly after arriving.
- Ivan was raised in a home until he became too big and unmanageable. He was moved to the B&I Circus Store in Tacoma, Washington.
- Ivan’s cage in Tacoma was only 40 feet by 40 feet!
- Ivan spent 27 years alone in his cage without seeing another of his kind.
- When the mall where Ivan lived went bankrupt (they didn’t have any money), he was moved to the Zoo Atlanta. Before his move to Atlanta, Georgia, Ivan spent a short time at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.