Shoeboxes on parade

East Elementary students create mini-version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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East Elementary School fourth graders created their own mini-version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with shoebox floats and took them for a parade around the block. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With the real-life Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade getting a socially-distanced and televised take for 2020, a couple of East Elementary School teachers decided to put their own local spin on the holiday tradition. Just, you know, a little smaller-scale than downtown New York. 

East Elementary School fourth grade teachers Lea Casey and Kristi Jackson challenged students to create their own, pint-sized version of the parade with some shoebox floats — and they even took their mini-Macy’s event on parade around the block outside the school, while parents were invited to park and watch the parade from their cars to ensure safe social distance.

Students designs included everything from Pac-Man, to Fortnite, to Christmas scenes with reindeer and snow. Some students even joined forces for two-part floats, like one team-up that featured popcorn and snacks on one float, plus a movie setting on the other.

The small-scale parade was part of a larger Thanksgiving-themed curriculum, with students learning everything from financials for what it costs to create a parade; the logistics involved with executing a citywide event; and the history of the Macy’s event itself, which dates back to 1924.

“We’ve read about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, studied the history of it, and watched videos, and read articles,” Jackson explained. “Then we decided to design and create our own miniature floats for the parade. Students chose a theme and started creating, and all floats had to have a plan on paper before the actual building began. Then I got with Ms. Casey, and we decided to put math in the project by learning how expensive it is to put on a production like this.”

Casey said students developed the theme and concept for their own floats, and brought in supplies — which were sanitized upon arrival — and assembled as part of science class to learn about the design and engineering to make sure the students floats were able to stand on their own.

“The floats were designed to promote lessons on construction and design, and discussion of the processes and time required behind these parade floats and balloons. Each student created a plan for their own design for their float,” Casey explained. “They have loved this. They were excited all week to learn about this and create their own floats. We are blessed with some very creative students and they love to make things. Some even created platforms to have a two-level float.”

East Elementary School fourth graders created their own mini-version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with shoebox floats and took them for a parade around the block. (Cullman City Schools)
East Elementary School fourth graders created their own mini-version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with shoebox floats and took them for a parade around the block. (Cullman City Schools)
East Elementary School fourth graders created their own mini-version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with shoebox floats and took them for a parade around the block. (Cullman City Schools)