“Just How Long Can A Long String Be?” by Keith Baker

Just How Long Can A Long String Be? By Keith Baker is a book about an ant and a bird and they talk about all the different places you can use string.  To fly a kit or hang a painting, I like how it keeps students engaged and thinking about where they can find string, or the different ways they have seen string used.

This lesson is most effective in the fall when there are lots of things to collect outside.  First the class starts with a nature walk.  Students collect items like sticks, leaves, and pinecones.  I also collect some items before class to make sure when we get started everyone will have a pinecone etc. or if you can’t take your students outside you can collect everything before class.

After the nature walk we read the book and discuss any other ideas students may have to use string.  We look and compare different types of string and yarn, how some are long or short, thick and thin and a variety of colors.  Then I demonstrate how to twist and tie the things we have collected together attaching them and making a unique sculpture with the found objects.

Students take the items and connect and combine them by tying and looping the string around and around.  Each student starts with a few pieces of yarn when they need more yarn I ask them to describe what kind of piece they would like and what they will use it for so they are starting to plan their next step.

Some of the younger students have had trouble tying things together so I realized quickly that they need some tape to help keep everything together.  When I was doing this lesson a couple of months ago I had a student who kept asking me for tape.  I went over to where he was working and realized he had taped his piece to the newspaper that was covering the table.  It was just about the end of class so there wasn’t time to rework his sculpture so I just tore around the tape and handed him his sculpture newspaper and all.  He smiled pleased very with the piece he had created.  All the students enjoyed this project they were able to explore in a new way and think about how art can be made from so many different materials.


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