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The second grade Not-a-Box sculptures continue to impress me! This is hands-down one of my favorite lessons to teach all year. I usually plan for these to take three classes, but students almost a spend six-seven class periods working on these. Here are just a few of the many amazing sculptures my students created this year.

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Playground
“This is a playground with a school! There is a slide and it works. It is also in the evening.”

Art Studio
“This is an art studio. There is a little girl standing on the floor. The little girl is me (in my pigtails).”

“This is awesome. This is an art studio.”

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Basketball Gym
“This is a basketball gym and a soccer gym. And sometimes an exercise gym. Hope you like it.”

Cottage & Backyard
“I made my not-a-box into a little brick cottage. There is a pool in the corner, a tree in the other corner and the stuff near the tree that is kind of stringy is moss.”

“I made my box into a bunny hole. (The bag on the back has bunnies you can play with.) Mine and C’s connect! Mine is a up close version of her back yard. I got the idea for the pond from N. The mama bunny’s name is Clover because my mom had a bunny named Clover!”

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Pokemon Center
“This is about Pokemon. Two people are in the Pokemon Center and they are catching Pokemon and one escaped.”

Headless Nick’s House
“This is Headless Nick’s house. He does not haunt muggles*. He is the ghost of Gryffindor.”

muggles = normal people

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Campfire
“I made a sun and a sky. I made a campfire with wood.”

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Wolf in the Forest
“Hi. I’m a wolf. I live in the forest and I eat fish and more food.”

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House
“This is a house with a dog house. And with a garden and flowers. And with people on a trampoline.”

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This is a picture of the note I attached to each student’s project. I have begun including notes when I send home 3D work to give parents a little more info about the process behind the artwork.

For a full description of this unit, click here.

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To begin this lesson, Ms. Nemes read the book Rulers of the Playground, by Joseph Kuefler, about kids who imagine the playground as their own kingdom. The book features great illustrations of slides, tunnels, swings, maps, and other play equipment.

Next kindergarteners were asked, “If you could create your own kingdom, what would it look like?” and students sketched their ideas.

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After creating a sketch, students used recycled materials, paper, tape and drawing materials to create a 3D version of their kingdom. Their first step was to create a base for their kingdom by covering a piece of cardboard with paper to mimic sand, water, grass, dirt or whatever students wanted on the ground of their kingdom. Ms. Nemes demonstrated how to measure paper with pencil and then cut with scissors so that it was the right size.

Next, students transformed recycled materials into buildings, towers, trees and more! They also added details like windows, waves, and animals to make their sculpture more interesting. Students had a blast with this project and I’m so impressed with the results!

The Jewelry
“It’s a jewelry castle made out of stuff that’s been used. It had a big wave and king and queen found it. They live here.”
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Star Shooter
“It shoots every star to space and then it likes to eat something, but it shoots every second so it will shoot every star. And then it will eat again. It eats grass. And then it shoots, shoots, shoots!”
Castle
“My castle has two people. They are picking flowers. The flowers are red and yellow.”
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Rapunzel in a Tower
“I made a tower with Rapunzel in it. I put Rapunzel and a flower and a braid. I used pink tape to decorate it all pink and pretty”

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I got the idea for this project from a colleague in my district. On the first day, I read Not-A-Box, by Antoinette Portis and students thought of different ways they could transform an ordinary box into something new. On the first day, students covered the background sides of their pop-up with paper. On the second and third day, students used paper to transform their box into something new and add details. I showed students how to make and attach tabs and many of them used tabs to add more 3D elements to their collage.