“Magic Box” Activity

Yesterday somebody who’d read Margaret Wilson’s post, “Handling Halloween High Spirits” asked “What’s the ‘Magic Box’ activity she refers to?” I wasn’t familiar with that one either. Since Margaret is presenting at one of our one-day workshops today, Babs Freeman-Loftis filled me in:

Magic Box

Begin by ceremoniously gathering up an imaginary box and setting it in front of you in the circle. Tell students this magic box contains items that each person in the class enjoys using. Ask them to imagine something they enjoy doing and something inside the box that they use to do that activity.

Explain that now you’re going to go around the circle and share things from inside the box, but totally silently. Each person will have a turn to silently remove something from the box and show how it’s used, put the object back in the box, and pass the box on.

Then demonstrate. For example, you might carefully open the magic box,  pretend to pull out a book and then act out reading and turning pages.  Show how to carefully place the imaginary object back in the box, close the box, and pass the magic box on to the next person in the circle.

Then, in an around-the-circle fashion, students take turns removing an object from the magic box, miming or acting out its use, and returning the object to the box before passing it on.

After each child has had a turn, reflect by asking students to respond with a silent thumbs-up to simple “who remembers” questions that involve recalling information and making connections. For example, “Who remembers which classmates enjoy reading?” or “Who remembers which classmates enjoy sports?” or “Who learned something new about one of their classmates today?”

Then, at the very end, if you think there are wonderings about some of the shares, go around the circle and have each child name the hobby or interest he or she shared.

Have you done this activity or something like it with your class? Do you have advice about how to introduce it to a group for the first time—or how to make it work well for a particular age?

Jen Audley was manager of online communications for CRS, Inc. until June 2014.

Tags: Building Classroom Community