Story Maps

I was reminded of this project when this photo of my daughter popped up in FB Memories. Somehow six years have passed since this photo was taken but it reminded me of how much enjoyment she got out of having giant “Story Map” to play with. During my daughters preschool years we made several different versions of these and she loved decorating the box, making map features, adding characters and details from a favorite story. She spent so much time creating and playing with these “Story Maps” that I began to use them in my preschool classroom as well.

During this time of year when we see ads and feel pressure to buy more and more things for our kids, lets remember how much fun the box itself can be. It’s an important reminder this time of year when the over-commericialized Christmas Machine begins to rev that we can offer simple props for truly engaging play and creativity.

📦 Directions: Take a giant cardboard box laid flat to inspire children to make simple sketches, models, or pictorial maps to locate objects (which is also perfect for observations for TSG21a).

Connect it to a book that you are reading but have the *children* be the ones in charge of the design. As they want to add elements from a story explore colors and textures. If you keep it 2D at first with just drawing with markers and crayons (or paint) it’s really easy to fold up and store, but children will have all sorts of great ideas and likely want to create 3D objects.

As they want to add characters or buildings or cars or bridges or whatever, bring out loose parts and collage materials to let them create…and resist the urge to control the process to make it look awesome. Children who make their own story map without any pressure of making it Pinterest worthy will engage in such a deeper level than an adult controlled story map. 📦

{Possible learning objectives: TSG 32. Demonstrates simple geographic knowledge / 33. Explores the visual arts / 21A. Understands spatial relationships / 18C. Retells stories & comprehends and responds to booksand other texts}

Materials:

Giant cardboard box, markers, art supplies

Group Management:

Years that I have done this with a full classroom of children, I have offered each child to create their own building with a shoe box. We discussed how the story map was for all of us and hat we didn’t want to draw over other children’s ideas which led to a great conversation about respecting each others artwork. Through group conversations we decided how to create our Story Map which with this group of children was all about “Frozen” and creating Elsa Castles!

Loose Parts and Building

A couple new loose parts for my preschool classroom ~ firm polystyrene inserts from new kitchen appliances & these wooded scraps meant for kindling that were only five dollars for about 20 planks! There was a huge interest in construction and building before break so I am eager to see if these materials spark their curiosity!

Another simple idea that we’ve been playing with is making “Snow Faces”. Since we didn’t have snowman making snow, we figured out that if scooped snow into bowls we could still ‘build snow faces’ with natural loose parts!

My new professional development offering “Math & Loose Parts” that I offered in November & December was a success and I promised I would add ideas to my blog. I invite you to also come check out my business page “April’s Teaching Tree” on either Facebook or Instagram since I am much more active there than here on the blog!

Best wishes,

April

Snow Faces!

Children’s Books to Inspire Building & Architecture Study

 

Building with Blocks:

Architecture and Construction by Scholastic

Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson

Building Things by David Evans

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

When I Build with Blocks by Niki Alling

 

Tools for Building:

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming

Building a House by Byron Barton

Let’s Build! by Jane Chapman

Old MacDonald had a Woodshop by Lisa Shulman

The Toolbox by Anne Rockwell (need to find)

The House I’ll Build for the Wrens by Shirley Neitzel

This is the House That Jack Built by Simms Taback

 

Homes Around the World:

A World of Homes by Kari Jensen Gold (big book)

Amazing Buildings by Kate Hayden

Castles: A First Discovery Book by G. Jeunesse

Homes Around the World by Max Moore

Homes: Shelter and Living Space by J. Foster

House and Homes by Ann Morris

 

Three Little Pigs

“Three Little Pigs” by James Marshall

“Three Little Pigs” by Patricia Siebert

“Three Little Pigs” by Paul Galdone

“The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka

“The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf” by Mark Teague

The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell

The Fourth Pig by Teresa Celsi (the sister is the 4th pig, and helps her brothers)

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas

 

 

 

Boxes for Building:

A Box Can Be Many Things by Dana Meachen Rau

A Box Story by Kenneth Kit Lamug

Christina Katerina & The Box by P.L. Gauch

Not a Box

 

 

 

Measuring Length:

How Big is a Foot by Rolf Myller

Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni

Length by H. Pluckrose

Short, Tall, Big, or Small  (big book)

Show Me How Big It Is! By Jerry Pallotta (skyscraper, p. 9)

Super Sand Castle Saturday by S.J. Murphy

Houses:

A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

The Napping House by Audrey Wood

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

 

Animal Homes:

A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle (big book)

And So They Build

Animal Homes

Animal Houses

Animals and their Hiding Places

Animals that Build Their Homes

Animals That Live in Trees

Who Lives Here?