Saturday, November 7, 2015

Silver Boxes: Gifts of Encouragement

With the craziness of Halloween over and Thanksgiving quickly upon us (how is it already November?!), I try to turn my students' focus away from themselves (hard for 9-year olds!) and instead, to focus on how they can make others feel uplifted.
A wonderful book that impacted me years ago is Silver Boxes: Gift of Encouragement by  Florence Littauer. Although not a book written for children,  I have read certain sections to my class because Littauer is so eloquent. Her book is based on the Bible verse: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29 (Since we are learning to cite sources, I do tell my kids where this "saying" comes from. However, since I teach at a public school, I don't preach about scripture.)

My students are used to discussing quotes of literature: What did the author mean? Why did the author choose those specific words? Can we relate to the quote or apply it to our own life? So it is always a lively discussion, as kids chime in with their suggestions and interpretations. We spend a lot of time, especially in the beginning of the year, on building one other up and becoming aware of how our words and actions affect others. You can read more about a positive, interactive activity, Thanks for the Compliments here.

Each student brings in a small box and I provide the silver wrapping paper and silver bows. (Costco already has these out on display & their wrapping paper is nice and thick!) Used juice boxes are a good size, if any student forgets a box. After modeling HOW to wrap a box; that's always a bit tricky, students help each other wrap their own. There's just something about the silver paper and ribbon that makes the boxes look so special and fancy. Kids take extreme care in their wrapping!
On the bottom of each wrapped silver box, we put a label with the quote:
You can grab your copy of the labels here. Students keep their silver box on their desk and it serves as a visual reminder for the kids to think before speaking. Seeing the silver boxes all over the classroom as students (& guests) enter each day sets a feeling of warmth and positivity.

How do you teach students to carefully consider their words?

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12 comments:

  1. Such great posts, especially for this time of year!

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  2. The title drew me in, and what a beautiful, meaningful activity! I love this post!

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    1. Thanks, Retta! There's something so special about the silver wrapped boxes that makes an impression on the kids :)

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  3. This is such a sweet, community building activity! I love analyzing quotes with my students too!

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    1. Thanks, Tammy! I'm so glad you stopped by! What are your favorite quotes to use with your students?

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  4. What a great activity! I have never heard of this before, and it is definitely worth doing. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. I'd love to know if you do silver boxes with your class!

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  5. What a beautiful thing to do with your students. I just love the idea of silver boxes.

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    1. Thanks, Deann! Seeing the silver boxes is a powerful statement :)

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  6. I love it! My class will keep the boxes on their desks until the day before our winter break. They can then take them home to give to a person who may need the message or keep it for themselves of a very important lesson. Thanks for sharing, Vicky

    P.S.
    I did your lesson on the California Indians using their "natural resources" and my students loved it. We ended up with a discussion on our current water shortage in California and what life would be like if we didn't have gasoline for our cars.

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  7. This is such a powerful lesson! Beautiful post!

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