Thursday, October 25, 2012


Yesterday in inquiry block, we read the amazing true story of Henry "Box" Brown's journey to freedom.   He was a slave who worked with tobacco in Richmond.   Once his family was sold and sent to another state, Brown decided to make a wooden box and ship himself to Philly with the help of two friends.   That's the short version.

Read this book to find out the details.   

It's illustrated by Kadir Nelson
I first fell for Nelson's warm style when I bought a copy of Ellington is not a Street because the cover had a beautiful girl in braids holding a 78.   It's like everything he paints is smooched by the sunlight.

But let me tell you about the craft we did today.   Thanks to Pinterest, I decided to bring in paint chips and have my students make small boxes.   One chip for the lid, one for the box.   Easy enough, right?   And free!

Well, the first set of directions I found were not in English, and the computer translator was no help.
I found another set of directions that seemed straightforward and headed to Lowes for more chips.

Yeah.   I was so prepared by the time IB rolled around, so prepared that I should have known better.   My paint chips were smaller than the pattern suggested, and we weren't too skilled at immediately reducing the box to lid ratio.  

Who among us can do such precise math in the 15 minutes before lunch anyway?   

I showed the kids the main idea behind creating the box...where to cut vs. where to fold and then we estimated the size of our matching lids.   Some of us did pretty well.   And others of us, ahem, had lopsided marshmallow looking creations.   In spite of it all, many of the kids gave it their best shots.  

We ended up with enough oddly shaped containers to have a wedding shower for Barbie -n- Ken and offer them endless colors and sizes in casserole dishes, litter boxes and trash cans.  

And that's all I have to say about that.

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