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Duckling Parade

Make Way for Ducklings! Create dioramas depicting scenes from this children's classic about a family of mallards who live in the Boston Public Garden.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Read Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey to the class. Notice the realistic illustrations that enhance this tale. Students choose their favorite scene from the book to show in a diorama. The following directions are how to make a diorama featuring the Boston Public Gardens. Adapt the directions to make a diorama of another Boston landmark.
    2. With Crayola® Scissors, cut construction paper to fit the bottom of a recycled box. Using Crayola Colored Pencils, sketch the Boston skyline. Color it in with Crayola Washable Markers and Multicultural Markers. Use Crayola Oil Pastels for the sky if you wish. Use a Crayola Glue Stick to attach this background to the bottom of the box.
    3. On another paper, draw the foreground. Color the Boston Public Garden and its pond. Lay the box on its side. Glue foreground paper onto the side of the box that is lying flat.
    4. On recycled file folders or cardboard, sketch the mother and father ducks, eight ducklings, and any other objects from the story such as the swan boats, bridges, and weeping willows. Color them, cut them out, and glue them into the diorama. Retell the story to younger children, family or friends.
  • Standards

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

    LA: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    MATH: Understand place value.

    MATH: Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    In small groups and with the assistance of an adults, students investigate the lives of mallard ducks, what type of habitats they live in, what they eat, etc. Students document their research through illustrations and writing, with the assistance of peers and available adults. Post student research in the classroom.

    After hearing the book, Make Way for Ducklings! read aloud to them, small groups of students compose questions about the book. Students return to the text to locate the answers to their questions, noting the answer and the page number where the answer is found. Write these questions on a large beach ball. Students play a passing game and answer the questions on the ball upon catching the ball.

    In the story, Mr. & Mrs. Mallard have eight ducklings. Using counters, students illustrate how to find a sum of ten, initially using the parents (2) and ducklings (8), then finding other facts with a sum of ten. Strong math students can reverse this practice, illustrating subtraction facts with ten as the minuend.

    Make Way for Ducklings! won the Caldecott Award in 1942! Talk with students about the meaning of this award. Ask the school librarian to share additional Caldecott winners and honor books with the class and point out why these books won!

    Sculptor Nancy Schon was asked to create a bronze sculpture of Make Way for Ducklings! for the Boston Public Garden. Show students a picture of this sculpture. In small groups, ask students to compose an original story using the sculpture as their inspiration. An adult may assist with the writing of the story. Students may also audio-record their story and upload it to a class computer for future listening.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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