Clyde, the Robot
By Dennis E. Smith
Some thoughts on Clyde:
For some reason, children love robots, and they love Clyde, especially when they get to stomp their feet and yell, “Bang, bang!” at the end.
Clyde inspires them to draw robot pictures, make robot costumes, and invent robot dances. Clyde was generated by a second-grader who handed me his crayon drawing.
The random positioning of robot parts is important. It exaggerates the mechanical movement of Clyde. It becomes even more effective when done with an entire classroom. And for some reason, standing to say parts, then sitting down, make students want to do it even more.
For more added fun, add a finger snap. There are three places to do this.
1) Once I had a robot and his name was Clyde [All finger snap]
2) Flashing eyes and wheels that turn around in-side! [All finger snap]
3) . . . jingle-jangle, clang! [All finger snap]
And while you’re at it, do a hand clap after “Widdle-diddle, rat-a-tat” [All clap]
Finally, stomp your foot when you say, “Bang, bang!” [one stomp for each “bang”]
Just writing this makes me want to be in your classroom to see the excitement.
One school I know had a “Technology Week” where they picked a half-dozen third and fourth grade classes to learn Clyde in Readers Theater format and then perform the story at an assemble at the end of the week. It was so much fun, they had to do it three times over—each time the classes switched parts. In addition to learning about electronics and computer technology, the school had robot-making contest for each grade—made from cardboard.