Wednesday, February 21, 2018

School Days: Second Grade Shoebox Float Project {Riley}

Towards the end of January, Riley brought home a very important paper in his folder. The second graders had been assigned a special take home project: they had to design and build a shoebox float with a theme of their choosing. They were also required to write a four sentence (or more) paragraph describing their float, its theme, what they used to build it, etc. The floats were worth TWO test grades, one in ELA and one in social studies, and they were due on Thursday, February 8.

When Kenny found out what Riley had to do, he was psyched. He thoroughly enjoyed creating his own shoebox float for Cub Scouts when he was 8. His engineering skills were kicking in already even at that young age: he created a double decker float using shoeboxes and toilet paper rolls and even had a little tractor pulling it. How cute is he???



We discussed the theme of Riley’s float extensively. He at first wanted to do Lego Bionicle, but those builds are just way too big so we talked him out of it. After much back and forth, he eventually settled on math facts and snakes, which made no sense at all but he loved it. I think he did it mostly to simultaneously honor and terrify Ms. Paulin, who teaches him math but hates snakes. Too funny.

Riley and Kenny came up with a plan for a rolling double decker float, using an old shoebox of mine, a smaller one of Riley’s, and a toy Hummer. Kenny taught Riley how to do everything needed to construct the float, including measuring, marking, cutting, zip tying, wrapping, and taping. He learned a lot and did a great job.





They decided to incorporate 8 toy snakes from the boys’ reptile collection. I also asked Ms. Paulin to send home a complete set of math facts on fun colored paper (she had no idea what they were for but did it with no questions asked) that Riley cut out and used all over his float. Kenny and Riley also found a pack of math related stickers at the Educator, and I ordered a booklet of snake stickers from Amazon for him to use as well.



Then there were the float riders. Riley used Legos (naturally) to add 28 minifigure krewe members to his float. And every single one had something to “throw:” fire, lightsabers, axes, swords, tridents, etc. He was quite adamant about that.




He wrote his required paragraph (five sentences!) after school on Monday, put the finishing touches on his float on Wednesday night (including a sign displaying his official theme of “Mathematical Snakes”), and was ready to bring it into school on Thursday.








Every student had to present their float to the two teachers and their classmates, reading their paragraph and explaining what they did. Then they apparently paraded around the building to show some of the other grades their amazing and impressive creations. Mrs. Mac, one of the first grade teachers, snapped a pic of Riley as they were walking around; she said he was awesome!


This was such a fun project, and I’m so proud of the work that Riley put into his float. He aced it and did very well on both of his test grades. Plus, he was the only one with a double decker float that actually rolled!

And with that, the Mardi Gras recaps are officially over. Carnival 2018, out!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

School Days: PK4 Mardi Gras Parade

SCR’s annual Mardi Gras parade rolled the morning of February 9. The theme this year was Ireland, and, since Rory is in PK4, he got to be a part of everything!


I went to school on January 30 to help the kids make their parade costumes. They turned out super cute.






For Rory’s wagon float, we were able to reuse the frame that Kenny built for Riley three years ago. It was already painted green, so all I had to do was outfit it to represent Ireland. I printed out pictures of Irish symbols (leprechaun, tree of life, harp, and claddagh) and put them on the sides, along with green and white beads and sparkly shamrocks that Rory picked out at Party City. I put a printout of the Ireland flag on the front, and Kenny stapled the rest of the rainbow fringe we originally bought for Riley to the bottom.



We also transformed the Christ the Redeemer backdrop we used for Riley into a Celtic cross. We spray painted over the statue, turned the foam board around, and attached the cross to the new front. I had a plan for the back from the beginning: a Guinness poster. We were celebrating Ireland after all!

Kenny came up with a brilliant plan for the little platform in the front. He attached our bread basket to the top of it, added a fancy bead around the base, and filled the basket with traditional Irish veggies (cabbage, carrots, and potatoes). I LOVE how it all turned out!





We dropped the boys and Rory’s float off early Friday morning and told them we would see them in a couple of hours. Then Dana and Heidi helped all of the kids get into their costumes and situated in their wagons in the staging area behind the school. The kids’ big buddies pulled the wagons. Since Rory and Colin share two buddies, Anthony and Wesley, they each pulled them for one lap. Perfect!









The parade got to us in the front parking lot around 10:30. Nola, Nopsi, Grandma, and Luke all came to see Rory ride. The weather could have been really bad, but it turned out to be great. Bright and sunny and actually a bit warm. Luke had an absolute ball, sticking close to Riley and being somewhat aggressive in asking the riders for throws. Too funny.



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Rory was one of the last floats. He looked like he was having a really fun time; he had a huge smile on his face. But he hadn’t thrown much of his stuff! So I told him to get rid of it all on his second lap.





And he did. He later told me that the kindergarten boys (who were standing between the buildings) all wanted footballs but “I didn’t have enough, Mama!” Sweet boy. I’m so glad he ended up having a good time. I worried that he would freak out from all of the attention, but he handled it wonderfully.



I went back to get Rory once they were all done and snapped a pic of him with his two big buddies. Such nice boys.



Nola and Nopsi left before they saw Rory the second time (they were headed down to GW Fins for their annual Mardi Gras lunch), but Luke stayed with us and Grandma did too. We went inside to sign Riley out and saw his and Rory’s teachers. Everyone was very excited about their impending week off!





Erin and Kate arrived just after 11 to get Luke, whom all of the SCR staff wanted to take home. Kate loved seeing her cousins and Rory’s float, and Luke didn’t want to leave. It was a great day.


Oh, and Riley was also responsible for making a float of his own this year. I’ll tell y’all about that next!

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