100 Scope Notes
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If You Build It, They Will Have Fun: A Picture Book Programming Idea

It’s back-to-school time around here and although school is looking pretty different these days (my district is on a hybrid schedule), it has been really nice to get back to being a school librarian. Makes a guy feel useful.

This week I’m doing something that seems to be valuable and engaging for students, fun, and a snap to pull off.

What You’ll Need

These books:

And some paper that looks like this:

I explain to students that they’ll be designing their own school/car/house (depending on which book we read). After reading the book, I let students loose, drawing their creations and describing them on the lines below.

I like that it combines literacy, art, writing, and creativity. Here’s one I made with kids:

Of course.

I recommend trying this with kids if you get the chance.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. We have used these books at our public library to inspire junk box challenges. The kids are given recycled materials from our junk boxes and get to build 3D models. They are so creative! I like the idea of having them draw plans or write a few sentences afterward that we could display with their finished projects also.