This week with the preschoolers at Fishtown Recreation Center we read The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. This colorful picture book tells the story of Mr. Plumbean who lives on a “neat street” in a neighborhood where all of the houses look the same. After a seagull drops a can of bright orange paint on the Mr. Plumbean’s home the neighborhood slowly begins to transform. Instead of repainting his house to match the rest of the neighborhood he starts painting his home to show his dreams. Eventually, everyone else paints and rebuilds their homes to represent their own unique dreams.
Inspired by the variety of homes illustrated in The Big Orange Splot our students built their own house of their dreams out of popsicle sticks. Before we started to glue sticks down on paper we talked about vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. Students could design their homes using these three lines. As they began making their homes I went around the room and asked individual students which line they were using. Students were also encouraged to try gluing the sticks right next to one another on their paper.
After the sticks had dried somewhat on their papers the students were able to color their houses as well as the background. We talked about the kind of setting that their houses would be in what else might exist in those settings. Although the table space was a little tight with the larger sheets of paper this really allowed for students to make multiple homes and expand their ideas.