Final Preparations for Canstruction are Underway!


Practice build of one wall and tower.

This morning, we assembled the whole middle school to give the sixth graders a hardy load of good wishes as they prepare to build this afternoon and evening. We had a short Canstruction retrospective. Our first Cantruction Jr. event was in December 2012, when the current eighth graders were in sixth grade– they were our first participants. Our entry that year was a snowman made of Goya black beans with blue labels. The snowman was depicted as melting into bottled water at its base to symbolize concerns about global warming.


The December 2012 snowman.

Last year’s students depicted “A Can in the Hand,” as a symbol of outreach. Their structure used nearly 900 cans, again with Goya blue making the can and yellow labelled cans making the fingers at the base.


The can in the hand in January 2014 was tall!

I showed the students past Cantruction photos from Josie Holford’s Flickr albums— a treasure trove of more than 26,000 well organized PDS photos taken by her since 2009. The students were thrilled to see their younger selves. Faculty remarked about how much the seventh and eighth graders had changed, while the teachers have remained looking just the same! That’s what comes from living in the midst of the middle school fountain of youth!


The bottles of water were donated by Coca-cola after Spanish teacher Erin Murphy told her step-father, who works for the company, that the sixth graders need a moat!

This year’s sixth grade public relations team presented their structure to the middle school– a castle with a moat! The students have their talking points ready– and will share their work at high school and lower school assemblies next week.

We will use Common Time periods next week to bring groups of seventh and eighth graders to the Galleria so they may view this year’s structures. We hope to be able to bring more can donations from PDS households when we go. Please feel free to send in cans any day next week. We will be sure to deliver them–likely to the PDS Peoples’ Choice Award bin…

Canstruction is a huge undertaking, linking our middle school community to the greater community, to people in need, and to a societal problem, hunger, that has unfortunately been with us for a very long time. The benefits of this program fill a long list! None of it would be possible without the leadership of Shirley Rinaldi and Emma Sears, who have spent many hours during and after school making sure that all plans will run smoothly and all cans fit stably. Many thanks to them, and to Jay Celuch, Karl Mauks and Kate Johnson, who have assisted them during the past two months.

By 8:00pm tonight, we’ll finally see this year’s creation come to be!

This entry was posted in Learning is active..., Learning is empathetic, Learning is playful..., Learning is relevant, Learning is self-correcting, Learning is social..., Values Collaboration, Values Compassion, Values Connection, Values Contribution, Values Courage, Values Creativity and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Final Preparations for Canstruction are Underway!

  1. Karen says:

    Kudos to PDS for bringing Canstruction® JR to the Hudson Valley! This is the perfect task for a project based learning environment, encompassing all the academics as well as the (most) important community outreach component! I was thrilled to see it unfold for the first time when my now 8th grader worked on the amazing Snowman. It is just as thrilling 3 years later! The castle and it’s theme is awesome!


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