Around the time we were exploring metal and found objects, we left a photo of two metal alligator sculptures on the smartboard for students to discover. Many went immediately to sketch them.
One student went so far as to create a materials list so that he could create his own alligator in the classroom. We sent the list to the scrap metal yard, hoping they might donate some steel for us to play with.
One morning, as the sun streamed in the classroom, students entered to find a pile of steel on the carpet. First, they explored each piece. Then, with an adult acting only as a guide, an alligator began to take shape.
Conversation was lively as they compared and analyzed the picture and their own creation. Screws were painted for the teeth. "There are 27 teeth. I counted." "What will we use for feet?"
We were fortunate enough to have a parent weld our alligator together. Our new metal friend then became the class mascot for the rest of the school year. The first day that she was delivered to our classroom, no one spoke. No one touched or even looked at her until the end of the day during our reflections. One girl whispered "Can we ride it?" Eyes lit up when I said yes. The next morning and every day after, students rode the alligator, read to her, cuddled (yes, cuddled) her, and paddled rapidly downstream on an imaginary river.
At the end of the school year, we said goodbye and put her out in our courtyard garden for the whole school to enjoy. Last I heard, the grade two class would like to paint her.