Sunday, January 8, 2017

Story in a Box

 Happy New Year!!  It's a good thing that I like to do projects with recycled materials. First of all I'm in a Title One school, which means my art budget in usually less then a dollar per student. And I was in high school for the First Earth Day in April, 1970. Which makes recycling near and dear to my heart.

Soooo when my school received new laptops, I received a bunch of empty boxes!!
I had planned to use the boxes last spring to do a "Peeps" contest, however I went out on medical leave. I did write how I did my project, you can read about it here. I had hoped to do it with my 4th graders last year, so it's only fair to let them do it now that they are in 5th grade.

I brought the finished project to school to show my students and they really wanted to get started. 
Because of limited storage, I decided to let only one class  at a time work on them.

In addition to the laptop boxes, my wonderful media team always checks with me before getting rid of any packaging materials that comes with stuff they order for the school. And that's how I ended up with all this great styrofoam for the students to use with their project.

 My daughter does a great job saving the tops from her daughter's food pouches. I also had a parent donate 2 giant bags full of creamer containers for a bobble head project (you can read about that here) and since I don't need those tops-they were up for grabs.

And since we are NOT allowed to use bulletin board paper, I inherited quite a few rolls of the stuff for the students to use. To set up for the lesson, tables had scissors, markers, white glue. I also had hot glue guns available for them at the back counters.

While it is fun to just go to art and make stuff from recycles-I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't connect it to our standards. My intro to this project included a discussion on careers. When you see a movie or a play who designs the set? I asked them to base this project on their favorite book or story and create the scene for their characters.

My students had a blast!  It was an engaging project that took about 3 class sessions. Now the other 5th grade classes want to know when they can start their Story in a Box!

What projects do you do that uses recycles? I'd love to hear about it! 

Thanks for reading!


  1. this is a great idea! I also have 85 laptop boxes and all the stuff inside to use. I had been saving them but had no clue what I was going to do with them. now I know

  2. Thank you. I just bought the book "Mr. Cornell's Dream Boxes" and have been trying to organize my thoughts for a lesson like this.