Break into groups of 3
Act out the story Idiot Box in your group, each one reading your part aloud.
Each person in the group must choose a different part. You may be SpongeBob, Squidward or Patrick
Step 2: Fill in the blanks to tell the story from your character's point of view.
Compare your story with the other stories in your group. How are they all different?
Now it is your turn to transform a box. You will need to work as a group to figure out what you want to transform your box into. You will need to cooperate to get the job done.
Pretend you have $100 to spend to transform your box. In addition any member of your group can bring in items from home.
Plan your design. What will you transform your box into? Draw a sketch and describe your idea.
Print out the purchase order below, list your materials and plan your budget. Can anyone in your group bring in free items from home?
Many essential items are 'per day'. If you borrow all the items at once you may waste money. Draw up a schedule and figure out what day you will need to rent what item.
Leave extra money in your budget for unanticipated emergencies and unexpected repair costs.
Do you really need that? Look at your budget with a critical eye. How can you cut costs?
You may join with another group and combine budgets and boxes.
Points will be awarded for coming in under budget.
If you hit your budget limit you will need to supply items from home or your entire group will not be able to do the assignment.
Dividing up the work:
One person in your group should be the accountant. This should be somebody who likes math and is good at it. While you are all responsible for spending your money wisely and keeping within budget, the accountant will keep careful track of your costs and how much money the group has left to spend. The accountant will list the materials on the purchase order form and change the quantities as you use up more materials.
One person in your group will be the designer. While you all must work together to come up with a design idea that you can agree on, the designer will sketch the idea on paper. This should be somebody who likes to draw and thinks drawing is fun.
One person in the group should be the writer. While you will all be responsible for inventing the story behind your box together, the writer will be the one to write it down. They will also write a description of your idea for how to transform the box. The writer should be someone who is able to write neatly and is good at spelling.
Very useful information courtesy of
Working on the narrative
Here are some useful worksheets to help young writers to develop the narrative part of their 'This Is Not A Box' projects;
The only thing limiting the story you tell is your imagination but the worksheets above will help you to weave a tale that is both fun to write and engaging to your audience.
While teaching the storytelling component of this lesson, a conversation ensued about how children, when they do creative writing, are often told to find a way to wrap the story up neatly. In contrast, great children's literature often leaves the reader uncertain and longing. For example, Stuart Little doesn't find her in the end of the book. He may never find her. We had to wait years and years through many books to find out whether Snape is good or evil. Even television shows employ cliff hangers to keep the viewers coming back for more. Since easy, obvious, pat endings are the surest way to ruin a great story, I suggested that our stories end in cliff hangers.
Once again you will need to work as a team.
For this part of the project you will need to
divide yourselves up into the following rolls:
The videographer works behind the camera
and will be responsible for filming the project,
directing the students who are on screen
and zooming in on appropriate details. They
will also be responsible for putting each day's
filming into Drop Box so that the teacher can
view it. All students will review and edit the
presentation together using iMovie on the
iPads but the videographer is expected to
take a leading role. The videographer should
be someone who is comfortable using
The spokesperson should be someone who
speaks clearly and loudly, makes good eye
contact and does not mumble. The
spokesperson will be doing most of the
narration of the video. Once the video is
complete the spokesperson may need to
record a voiceover using iMovie. Everyone
will work together to develop the script
(the writer is expected to take a leading roll in
this area) but the spokesperson is expected
to make sure that the audio on the final
iMovie is clear and easy to hear.
The presenter should be someone who is
comfortable on camera and able to follow
directions. They should have good listening
skills and be comfortable making eye
contact. We all know someone who is
dramatic, expressive, animated and
seems to 'talk with their hands'. These are
ideal character traits for your presenter.
You may also take turns playing the different
rolls since in many groups students will have
overlapping strengths and skills.
After finishing up your box sculpture and
completing your story you will create a short
video that tells the tale of your sculpture.
The only thing limiting the content of your
narrative is 1) Your imagination and 2) Your
story must be 'school appropriate' (a story
that can be shared, in a typical school
setting, to an elementary school student).
Videos may be anywhere from 30 seconds to
three minutes in length.
We ended up scrapping the above plan
and choosing a different route when it
came to video taping. Due to PARCC
testing elsewhere in the district, the
students were not permitted to use the
school iPads and I ended up doing all the
video taping on my phone.
Through trial and error we discovered that
my students had an easier time presenting
when I interviewed them. They also had an
easier time speaking when they divided the
speaking parts ahead of time.
One student described how they transformed
the box. The second student described the
characters in the story and the third student
told the story they had all created together.
That way, everyone had a turn to be on
on camera and each student felt at ease.
Student art gallery:
The Castle of Doom
Kajeri Vs Kayax
First Day of Kindergarten
The mysterious volcano
The New King
The Enchanted Chair
The Racing Car
The Lunar Rover
The Enchanted Elevator
The Haunted House
The Adventures of Princess Charlotte