6.10.2012

Out-Of-The-Box Thinking


Wendy wears a box because that's what people in Boxville do. The boxes are labeled by what the person does for a job. Even the dog has a box! But when it's time for Wendy to choose the box (ie. career) that she's going to stay in, the dreamer in her doesn't want to be boxed in by just one thing.  Wendy's reluctant to select a one-size-fits-all career box because she wants to keep her options opened. Not only does Wendy break out of her standard-issue question-mark box and refuse to put on a pre-fab job box, but she also convinces her family to do the same and they flee out of Boxville to a brighter future in Freedomland. 


Is this book kind of cliche? Sure. Is it sort of predictable? Yep! A little preachy, even?  Maybe. But it's so adorable that I'm going to share it with my students to kick off a discussion about post-secondary options. If you've looked, then you know that there aren’t a lot of rich college-and-career-readiness resources for elementary school students, so that's why this little gem caught my eye. 


Use Wendy’s story as a springboard to spur on thinking about what your personality has to do with your career path choice. Download this VERY informal Shapes Personality Inventory (loosely adapted from Dellinger's work) that we took at a workshop to share with your students (and staff!). The directions are simple; basically, you ask your audience to draw one of these four shapes: a square, a circle, a triangle, a squiggly line. Then, sort students by the shape they selected and either give them a list of their descriptors to share in their small group or read them aloud for everyone to hear.


See if they agree that the shape they've selected describes them. Then have them discuss things like this:  In what ways does their personality match the description? How is it different? What other shapes have descriptors that match who they are? Is it possible to be a triangle AND a square, for example? And just what does personality have to do with the career they'll pursue? Find out if anyone has a box already picked out for them. For example, does Joshua's family have a pre-selected engineer box for him because he's good at math and science and his dad works at NASA?  I think you'll be intrigued by their responses. 


You can keep the shapes concept alive all year by using it to small group your students. (Today, I need you to work with a square if you're a square.  Or: Today, squiggles can work with circles, etc.)  I can see this little treasure spawning all sorts of valuable discussions with individuals, in small groups, and with whole-class guidance. I can't wait to give it a shot. How do you see yourself using it?





10 comments:

  1. Good morning, Barbara! I sure love to wake up and start my morning reading your blog. Yes, I agree that it's difficult finding career readiness books for elementary, so I'm excited to use this book with my kids. Thanks for sharing the Shapes Personality wih us. Have an awesome summer!

    Maria Enoch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, dear Maria -

      Thanks for letting me know that you're still reading faithfully . . . I don't know that I'll be blogging daily this summer but I'll keep posting as I find things to say. Sending smiles,

      Barbara

      Delete
  2. heeheehee
    I thought to myself: I want to draw a circle... but I really have to draw a square...
    Everything related to that decision was TRUE!
    I AM a square with some wistful feelings to be a circle... yet, still a square.
    You make me THINK, Barbara-Dear. And that helps me be a better teacher.
    This is a definite "print and tuck away" activity. Thanks!

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I think your sixth graders would eat this stuff up . . . maybe not the book, but the Shapes Personality inventory for sure! It'll also be interesting because squares probably do NOT want to work with other squares . . . mirror, mirror . . . . I LOVE that you're secretly wishing you were a circle!

      Should the hubs and I be counting down for a visit from a special blogging buddy?

      Delete
  3. I love it. My daughter Kelsey is graduating from high school this Thursday and is very stressed out that she does not know what she wants to do. She is one that wants to have a plan and know what is coming next. Hopefully she will take these next two years of general college courses and discover new and exciting options so she can break out of the box of what she thinks she should do, to what she wants to do.
    Shawna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats, Shawna . . . is Kelsey staying close by? This year without my daughter has been kind of sad, actually, but it's quite a thrill when they figure out what "fits" them best!!

      Barbara

      Delete
  4. Thanks for this post--I have been struggling to find a good lower grade career book. I must try this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll show it to you at the conference! See you tomorrow.

      Delete
  5. I just used this book this spring to teach careers. I got a large box from the cafeteria and covered it with brown postage paper. Then I WORE the box into my lesson. The kids were intrigued and loved it! I gave them sharpie markers and told them to write what they wanted to be on "me" (the box) when they grew up on the box. Inevitably I had at least on student in every class ask if they could write more than one job (which is what I was hoping for!) I told them that they could only write one. I had one student who actually refused to write on me because he couldn't write more than one job!!! Then I read the story and we talked about how they don't have to know what they want to do now; in fact their talents and interests will grow and change and they may choose something different when they're older and that is GOOD! We also talked about what it is like to feel different from others, how dad's box "got in the way" and how he told Wendy she'll have to try to conform (how what others think we should be or do affects us)....used those metaphors to relate to their life now and how it might affect the choices they make as they grow. I also emailed the teachers and asked them to respond with what they wanted to be when they were in elementary school to illustrate this point (kids loved this, too -- they liked guessing)! While they were doing a worksheet about skills they already have, I read the different jobs on the box to the class (I didn't have them write names - just the job/career name). When I do this lesson again I might have some kind of raffle to give the box to someone because they all wanted it at the end!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WoW - what a FaNtAsTiC idea - I'm totally going to find me a box!!! Thanks, Tanya!

      Let me know if you ever want to guest post another one of your engaging ideas and I'll save you a spot.

      Barbara

      Delete

I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...