Building a Mobile Reading Shack

Implementing the Saskatchewan Reads program in a school or classroom often starts with establishing a physical reading space. This reading space is usually a comfortable and safe place within the classroom or school where students can just kick back and enjoy a good book.

At Vanguard Community School we wanted to add to the interior reading spaces by giving our elementary students somewhere outside where kids could comfortably read away from the elements.   With visions of the bookmobile from my youth in mind, my PAA (Practical and Applied Arts) 10 class set out to convert an old tent trailer into a mobile reading room.

We started out by stripping the old trailer down to the frame.  Next, we used our newly acquired welding skills to add reinforcements to the floor. Basic framing followed as we built a stick frame building and mounted it to the steel frame.  To keep our weight down, we framed our building using 2 x 3 studs on two-foot centres.  Also, in order to keep a low profile, we constructed a flat roof. We doubled up on finishing and structural integrity by using 1 x 4 tongue and groove spruce on the interior. Laminate flooring completed the interior.  We then wired our shack so that we could run one L.E.D. light on a switch and an electrical outlet. For our power source, we simply wired in a heavy-duty extension cord so that we could plug our trailer into an external outlet. R-12 insulation was added to the walls and ceiling.  The roof was completed with pre-cut corrugated steel.  Vinyl siding finished the exterior.

At this point, all we needed was to add a bookshelf and some books and our mobile reading room was complete.  The wheel wells served as built-in benches.  Most people who see it think it would make a great ice-fishing shack.  You can decide:

Drafting 1.2 – Sketchup Basics

Drafting 1.2

Big Idea:  Orbit, Pan, Zoom, Axes, Copy and Paste (Curriculum Objectives 1.2-1.5)



  1. Open up the Sketchup file used previously in 1.1b.
  2. Use the orbit tool to orbit around every dimension of your object.
  3. Use the pan tool to reposition your object.
  4. Use the zoom tool to look inside your object.
  5. Draw an object inside of your object.  See if you can zoom out and see it from outside the building.
  6. Use the copy and paste functions to see if you can copy faces and build an exact replica of the object built in 1.1b.

Correct Your Work

Watch this video to correct your work and see if you are on the right track.

Additional Video (1.2 Axes)

Drafting 1.1 Sketchup Basics

Drafting 1.1

Time Required – 2-3 hours

Big Idea: Creating a Sketchup file and drawing basic elements ( lines, circles, arcs and polygons) (Curriculum Objectives 1.1-1.4)

Introduction:  This activity asks you to produce a simple Sketchup Up file and create and manipulate basic elements such as lines, circles, arcs, curves and polygons.


Drafting 1.1 – Video Tutorial Demo


  1. Find the Sketchup icon on your computer and double-click to start.  It should be located at Start – All Programs –  Sketchup 8 – Sketchup (the Sketchup icon looks like a red and white cube with a corner missing).
  2. We want to start from a simple template.  Sketchup may launch the “Welcome to Sketchup” from which you can choose – Choose Template – Simple Template Feet and Inches – Start Using Sketchup.  If it doesn’t launch with this screen, simply click Help – Welcome to Sketchup – Choose Template – Simple Template Feet and Inches.  You can click the little box in the bottom left that will launch this screen on every startup.
  3. You now have Sketchup running.  You should see a person standing in a green background beside some intersecting lines.
  4. Tools –  Please familiarize yourself with the following tools:


Line –  This tool is represented by the pencil in the top left.  Draw a line by clicking where you want to start the line, moving your mouse and then clicking where you want the line to end.

Circle –  This tool is represented by the circle in the top left.  Draw a circle by clicking and dragging until you have the circle of the desired radius that you want.

Arc –  This is located next to the circle.  Draw your arc by clicking the start and end points of your arc and then pulling the centre of the arc to the desired bulge radius.

Polygons (Square and Rectangle) –  This is located next to the circle tool.  Squares and rectangles are created by selecting this tool and dragging to the desired size.

Practice Activity

  1. Create a Sketchup Document that contains:


Three lines measuring 3ft,6ft and 9ft.

Three circles with a radius of 1ft, 3ft, and 6 ft.

Three arcs with a 3ft,6ft, and 9ft bulge

Three squares of various dimensions.


  1.  Save your Sketchup assignment by clicking – save as and giving it the title Drafting 1.1 your name.


  1.  Remember where you saved your activity.


Correct Your WorkCorrect your own work by watching this video.




A New Start!


I had an alternate beginning to my shop class this year.

I thought I would start out showing the students where to get wood in the woodshed and organize a few pieces of lumber while we were in there.   After about five minutes of rattling around in the shed one of the students happened to notice a fairly small Yellow Jacket nest right above us.  There was only about 15 wasps but they were most certainly annoyed with our presence and were moments from kicking us out of “their” shed.

A quick trip to the Co-op and a can of Raid later, and we reclaimed our woodshed. No one (except the wasps) was hurt.

Just another start to a rural school principal’s year.