Building houses from Abiyoyo


Our students really loved the books Abiyoyo and Abiyoyo Returns when we read them last week. The stories originated in South Africa, so we found South Africa on a map and a globe.

Today we reread Abiyoyo and then built houses from the book out of marshmallows, Dots, and toothpicks. Students explored which materials were better for building, the different shapes they could use in their structures, and how large of a structure they could make before it collapsed.

Some of the students got discouraged when their structure collapsed, but we talked about how, when you are building things, it often doesn’t work the first time, so you just have to try again. The students seemed to be a little more okay with imperfection after hearing this, but it is certainly something we will continue to work on.

After they were done, each student drew a picture and wrote about what they did. As we were doing the activity, several students told us, “I wish we could do this every day!”

IMG_1428    Houses from Abiyoyo

Meeting the Students

Tonight we had an Open House for students and their families. We met a bunch of our students for this year!

Nehemiah came in and was really excited about building things. He said he wants to race cars and build Monster Trucks. At one point, he said, “I am really lucky to be in this class!” We think we are lucky to have such an enthusiastic student!IMG_1437

Setting Up the Classroom

We decided to call our Maker Space the Tinkering Lab. We are trying to figure out how to store all the materials without having it look really messy. We bought some metal shelves and a bunch of plastic bins for the supplies. We have started collecting anything that might be useful when the students are building (paper towel and toilet paper rolls, bubble wrap, rubber bands, berry containers, etc). We are quickly seeing that we cannot keep everything we would like to, that materials need to be sorted, and that we will also need storage place outside of the classroom. Luckily, our principal, Ms. Osei-Bobie, is letting us store extra supplies in an unused room. Because we are a new school, we have been getting a lot of deliveries. We have been taking the packing supplies around the deliveries and adding them to our Maker Space.



This year at the PA Shaw, Alicia Carroll, Alex Hartley and Carla Johnson are working on integrating STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities into Boston’s Focus on K2 Curriculum. The PA Shaw just opened this school year and, for the 2014-2015 school year, has K0, K1 and K2 classrooms (3, 4 and 5 year olds). Teachers at the PA Shaw use project based learning. The school is part of Boston Public Schools.

To learn more about Alicia’s previous work, visit

To learn more about Alex and her previous work, visit

To learn more about Carla’s role as a Para-Professional, go to

If you have questions, you can email