Thursday, November 24, 2016

What Was In Those Boxes

A large school supply order arrived last week.

On Thursday, I brought one of the boxes to our 4-5's circle time and put it at my feet. Naturally, the children wanted to know what was in the box. We looked for clues. We noticed the mailing label, so I read it aloud. It had been sent to the home of one of the parents in a different class named Jennifer, who lives in Seattle. Several of the children said they knew grown-ups named Jennifer and we took turns telling one another about the Jennifers we know. Many of them, however, lived in places other than Seattle. We then took the time to confirm that we all lived in Seattle, each child chiming in with the information, "I live in Seattle." Some seemed struck by the coincidence.

We read the return address label. It said "Discount School Supply." We ignored the word "discount," focusing instead on the words "school" and "supply." We were definitely a school, so maybe the box was for us after all. There was some back and forth about what "supply" referred to. Some of us thought it might be supplies like ropes and tools. The speculation became hyperbolic as we jokingly wondered if maybe they were astronaut supplies or camping supplies. A few kids rejected the hype, insisting instead that it was school supplies, "like paint and stuff." Others began to demand that we "just open the box."

There was then a brief discussion about how to go about doing that. When one of them mentioned a tool their family had at home called a "box cutter" I said I just happened to have a box cutter right there in a drawer behind me. I showed them how sharp it was and how the blade retracted into the handle for safety. I then cut the box open under the watchful eyes of a hushed crowd.

I had imagined the children surging forward as the box was opened, but they remained in place, backed off, I guess, by some of the wilder speculation that the box could be full of poison or a dangerous animal. As I pulled out items like bags of beads and bundles of pipe cleaners, the children cheered for each one, many excitedly informing the rest of us what they were going to make with this or that. We agreed that we were going to be able to use all of the stuff in the box.

On Monday, the next day we got together, I brought the rest of the dozen or so boxes into the room. I said, "We need to unpack the rest of these boxes." When one of the kids suggested they would need the box cutter, I showed the sharp blade to them again. Some of them thought they could use it safely, but there were others who said they would rather that their classmates not be wielding sharp knives around them. "We'll just use our hands." And that's what they did, tearing into the boxes in groups of two and three, using their fingernails, teamwork, and ingenuity.

As they struggled with the boxes they talked and giggled. Some of them called out for help. Some leapt to their aid, while others remained focused on their own tasks. Some turned to one another for advice, "How did you get that open?" while others offered advice, "If you pinch the corner of the tape -- like this -- you can just peel it right off.

As each box revealed its contents there were shouts, "It's paint!" "It's paper!" "It's crayons!" each revelation a cause for celebration.

I'd told the children that I'd like the supplies to be "organized" on a bench.

When the last box was empty, there was several minutes of wild play as they put the boxes on their heads, tossed them in the air, and stepped in and out of them. Then as that died down, a calmer group took over, working together to build an airplane.

They then used some of the new markers to decorate it.

On Tuesday we took a few of the boxes outside and painted them with our new paint.

Yesterday, we cut some of the boxes into smaller pieces to be used for glue gun constructions.

It'll be awhile before this story is over because we're still discovering what was in those boxes.

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
Bookmark and Share

No comments: