Building a Bench

As the school year comes to a close, it seems that in the grades things speed up.  In this last week of school the third grade had a field trip with the third grade from the Washington Waldorf School to Carderock State Park, spent a day building a bench to add to our playground seating, participated in field day, enjoyed the all school picnic, and finally the last day of school.  All the while, of course, we were also busily finishing up our Main Lesson Book work, cleaning our classroom, and packing our supplies to move into a new room for fourth grade next year.

While all of these activities were exciting, I particularly want to share with you the day we made the bench.  Part of the
third grade curriculum is leaning about construction.  With this knowledge, the third grade then undertakes a building project.  It must be something that they can complete, will give them the feeling of exhilaration that comes with wielding a hammer, and the sense of satisfaction that comes with creating something that is practical and will be useful to the school community.  I decided that we would construct a new bench, as one of the benches on the playground was in need of retirement.  Plans were found and a carpenter (Jim Martin, Jenna Martin’s husband) to lead the project, but the trouble was procuring wood.  At the end of the school year, funds were tight.  Wendy Cardany (our Bluebird Teacher) donated some lovely pieces of cedar, but not enough for a complete bench.  What were we to do?  It was then that I contacted the Community Forklift, a discount, recycled building materials warehouse (  They gave us a donation of $100 worth of building materials.

Mr. Martin, the third graders, and I set to work on Tuesday morning.  We had a great time building our new bench for the playground today.  Mr. Martin guided and assisted the children through the process.  He was a wonderful teacher who helped them to do as much of the work as was possible.  They measured, hammered nails, wrenched bolts, and sanded with sanding blocks and even an electric palm sander.  We had some extra wood so Mr. Martin designed a rustic balance beam so that nothing went to waste.  The weather cooperated for the most part and we only had to move inside for the last stretch.  Before it was time to break for lunch the bench was complete!

The bench is now on the playground and is large enough to hold six people!  It is a great improvement over the previous bench that was falling apart and only held three.

Thank you to Mr. Martin, Mrs. Cardany, and Community Forklift for making this project a great success!

Have a wonderful summer and when school resumes in the fall, come to the playground and sit on our new bench! ~ Ms. Mansuri

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