I knew I wanted to do some makerspace type activity after reading After the Fall :How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat. Obviously paper airplanes would be the activity, but that wasn’t enough. Santat takes the familiar rhyme and let’s us know what happened to Humpty Dumpty after his great fall, although in this case, all the kings horses and men (the name of the hospital in the book) did put him back together again. But he can’t bird watch from his favorite high perch because he is now afraid of heights. So will he conquer his fear and get back up there again? And the story involves him making paper airplanes.
After reading the book to the fourth grade class we discussed what they thought the themes of the book were. They decided it was about having courage and not giving up even if you fail once.
Paper Airplanes and Reflection
I asked the students to think about a time they struggled and how they resolved that situation. They drew and wrote about a situation where they struggled but kept on trying. They then made an airplane out of their paper and flew them. We flew them in the library, which they thought was great. Some made adjustments to their plane design for a better flight.
My Reflection on this Activity: YouTube Instructions
I was very surprised after doing this with the first fourth grade class how few students knew how to make a paper airplane! So, for the next class I had a few YouTube videos and websites pulled up on the library computers if students wanted to watch those. After trying this method, I would definitely include sites with only VERY simple airplanes. Students still struggled while attempting to follow the directions and videos.
Lesson learned: these students need to have more activities to develop fine motor skills!
Our school once again participated in World Read Aloud Day; this year celebrating it on Friday, February 1st. I asked for volunteers from the Fourth Grade and about one third of each class decided that they wanted to be a reader. I pull books ahead of time and let them choose from these. A few already had a book in mind and that’s what they chose. I used art work supplied by World Lit and created special name tags so that everyone knows who are official WRAD readers.
Lunch Time Read Aloud
The students read their book aloud during their lunch time, eliminating instructional time disruption. It also makes the readers visible to anyone who is in the lunch room, third grade classes who are finishing up their lunch time and fifth grades who are entering the cafeteria as the fourth grade is ending their time. I instruct the students to eat their lunch first and then ask students on either side of them if they can read to them. After that they can move around to other students or to staff. Some take a bit of time to build up their courage and I even persuaded one student to ask a fifth grader (gasp!) if the could read to them. I suggested a fifth grade student who I knew would be encouraging and it worked!
Classroom Teacher and Spanish Teacher
This year I had several classroom teachers read aloud to their classes and though they usually do read aloud to them, they drew attention to the fact that we, as a school, were participating in the world wide event. This made that particular read aloud more special.
Our Spanish teacher had some of the older students read books in Spanish to the kindergarten classes. She chose large editions of very simple books so that our kindergarteners would be familiar with the words.
I really like World Read Aloud Day as we make it a student focused event; giving students the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and sharing a good story at the same time.