Book Review: Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

Right to the point! Let the imagination run wild and open the conversation with your child to tell you how they see the world.
I’ll can’t wait to read this one to my class.

Nothing is as it seems to the viewer and the world is much vaster when imagination is involved. Never judge a book by its cover.

Imagination is fun! More than the fact that it creates worlds and solutions to, well, everything, it let’s us know that daydreaming is a good thing.

How can we incorporate this into our teaching. I’m still working on this, but there needs to be room for kids to daydream and draw or journal their ideas.

I think I could play a little with this book as a starter for a few makers labs. Give each kid a plain old box and give them the freedom to imagine. Old cardboard boxes are easy to get from grocery stores and other shops, so each child can have as many as they need.

First lesson, draw what you imagine the box to be, then we can have a class sharing/display of the drawings.

Second lesson, tell a story about what you imagine from the “not-a-box” and record it on your device.

Third lesson, allow them to build in teams something with their boxes and other recycled materials around the class. I’ve seen magic happen when no more directives are goven other than it need be a certain height, or it needs to have a window, or a movable arm, etc.

Final lesson, start a discussion on what could we build with a class-full of boxes, and if possible, let them try to build it.

What we find at the end of all this is that we’ve covered many cross-curricular competencies and built inclusive opportunities, as well as the possibility of universal design for learning. How… piper them with “what if” questions like… how would this work for someone who is blind? Could this work in a different colour, shape, size and still function the same way?

Such a simple book that opens so many possibilities!


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