Thursday, February 04, 2010

Our Tape Dragon (Tape-Off Update)

It all started several months ago when I unveiled Woodland Park's game changing tape machine. Perhaps it was cocky of me to share this technology with the world, but soon not only did other schools have their own machines, but they had improved upon it. To their credit, they found new and exciting ways to take the use of these humble materials to new levels, and the internet preschool intelligencia even chimed in, giving our pursuits a shiny veneer of credibility.

Still, technology can only carry us as far as its human masters are able to take it and we were confident in our ability to step up our game in this increasingly competitive field.

Then, from out of no where, we found ourselves challenged to a tape-off by an upstart team from Canada who had clearly been training in secret for an opportunity to take us down. This snowballed into the advent of additional challengers from Australia and Europe, as well as across the US.

When I shared these developments with the children of Woodland Park, they were (frankly) blase, even when I showed them where these other kids lived on our classroom globe, but they were enthusiastic about the idea of making something "huge" from tape. The debate about what that thing might be raged for a number of days, some wanting a Chinese New Year dragon, others advocating for a "house we can go inside." Finally, we compromised on a dragon that could later be made into a house.

I hung four large squares of chicken wire fencing on our wall easels and the back of the door, broke out the old tape machine, and let them go for the past couple weeks. I knew we were finished yesterday when instead of working on the project at hand they began intentionally sticking their own bodies to the tape-covered chicken wire, then letting their friends finish the job of taping them to the wall, before cutting themselves out in a frenzy of claustrophobia. Then doing it again.

And besides, the tape machine, having dispensed 17+ rolls of tape, was exhausted:

And our taping energies had been diverted away from the task at hand to the impromptu project of decorating my circle time stool in preparation for the new year.

Note the inclusion of a pair of "Chinese" lanterns which we were
making at the art table yesterday

Every year we make some sort of classroom dragon body to go along with the dragon head we acquired several years ago from the sublime Archie McPhee, which has its only retail store within 5 minutes of our school:

After a week of looking at books about Chinese
New Year, the Pre-K kids are convinced that
this is really a Chinese lion head, but are willing
to pretend it's a dragon head.

I examined our body parts carefully before installing them yesterday afternoon:

I rescued this pair of scissors

Several of our lanterns wound up on the dragon body as well

From head to tail our dragon is about 10 feet long, its body undulating between 2-3 feet wide. Next week I'll wear the head, we'll add sticks to the body and attempt to carry it around the classroom for our annual classroom parade.

Without further ado, here is what the children will find in the classroom when they arrive this morning:

Once our new year's celebrations are over, it will be time to convert our dragon into a house.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

(Note: If your class wants to take part in the tape-off, post your pics somewhere on the internet where I can link to them -- and let me know.)

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Scott said...

The dragon is wonderful! Our tape supply is low, so we haven't done much with it lately. But I need to stock up and get working.

Michelle said...

Wow!! I showed the kids your Dragon today and they were in awe. It sparked so many wonderful questions and conversations. #1 on the list... "Why dont WE have one of those!!!" I guess it is time to run down to the hardware store and get that Tape Machine built before I have a mutiny on my hands :)

allie said...

Nice! I love the innocent items - people and inanimate objects - that are victims of all this excessive taping! Poor scissors...

Deborah Stewart said...

Awesome dragon! I am thinking you all need to invent a tape machine that you can sell:)

Unknown said...

How inspiring are you?! I love your tape machine. I am hoping to get my hubby to help me make one, soon. Right now our class is really into using the scotch tape instead of glue. I think colorful masking tape would be a real hit! (And easier to peel off the floor/tables/walls, etc.) :)

jenny said...

Oh come on, how can we compete with that! I respectfully bow at the feet of the Woodland Park Cooperative Preschool creative team and stand in awe of their masterful tape creation :)

Tell your kids that there are a group of kids in Australia very interested in what they have created. I printed out photos and we looked you guys up on the globe and stuck the photo on - America has now been engulfed by a tape dragon!

Unknown said...

This makes me want to go out and find a pre school class to help me make some tape art : ) Can't wait to see the pictures.

Confessions Of A Homeschooler said...

That's an awesome idea, I'll have to try it soon! Thanks for sharing.