One of my talented colleagues came up with the idea of “building a story” with the children in the school she visits, to tie in with our “Build It” theme. She would pull words out of a bag to fill-in-the-blanks in her story, using silly words to make the children laugh, then getting them to help correct the story.
I loved this idea, and decided to do my own little spin on it by building a little robot who would help me tell the story, but who would need a bit of help from the audience.
Here he is!
Dollar store wooden box, dollar store silver paint, googly eyes and some bits of wire from a recycled waffle maker. Isn’t he cute?
I visited a school today (and spoke to eight classes!), and told the children that my new robot was very eager to tell them a story about summer reading club, but that he sometimes had a little trouble getting the right answer.
I started with:
“One day the children of XYZ Academy visited the local library. The wanted to join the Summer….Reading….” I dramatically opened the “robot” and pulled out a piece of paper with a single word printed on it, for the children to read, which said something outlandish, like “elephant”. I smiled at the children triumphantly, then acted surprised, did a double take, made a face, asked the children if was the correct answer, shook my head dramatically, asked them to help the robot, etcetera etcetera. I then repeated, repeated, and repeated, using different outlandish words to reinforce important aspects of Summer Reading Club (ex: “Summer Reading Club starts….. June 42! No, silly robot, it starts June 19!”)
I layered the papers with the printed answers inside the box in the order I wanted to use them in my story, so it was a simple case of pulling out a single paper at a time.
While the kids thought the whole thing was hilarious (the robot said it would cost 1 million jellybeans to join SRC, and told them they would be awarded with a shiny new carrot at the end of the summer), it was also a good opportunity to talk about making mistakes, taking chances, asking for help, and not giving up. I made sure to encourage my “robot”, and we talked about how it’s OK to make mistakes or to not be perfect, as long as we always give it our all, and we never give up. We also talked about how we shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help, just as the robot does.
Anyway, my little robot has been a simple, hilarious, portable little companion who has had the kids in stitches, but also helps reinforce some very positive messages.