Break out boxes are a fabulous activity that engage and excite students of all ages. These boxes mirror how an escape room works in that students puzzle their way through to find the code that will unlock the box and obtain their prize!
These boxes were amazing all throughout book week!! My fabulous colleague Jordan is a whiz at creating activities that stimulate the brain, evoke critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. Using the Critical and creative thinking continuum from the General capabilities, the puzzles were selected to address the various strands at the appropriate stage for each class. Our students were thoroughly engaged in the pursuit of a grand prize. TBH, the grand prizes were lollies as that was what the budget permitted.
The boxes were such a hit that we have been clamoured with requests to repeat them with other classes. The 2IC of RE has asked the boxes be available for Year 8 RE to sum up their World Religions unit at the end of next term as well as 7 RE for their unit on ‘Gospels, Parables and Miracles’. 9 History wants it for exam preparation in two weeks. 10 English want it next week to reinvigorate the flagging interest in ‘Lord of the flies’ that I have previously grumbled about. We even managed to get an elusive science class requesting it – 11 Biology is going to trial one to introduce the next unit of work.
So what does this mean for us as a TL?
Besides embedding the Gen Caps into the teaching and learning, breakout boxes draw in the skeptical teachers by breaking down barriers. We all know there are teachers in every school that have strong aversions to libraries and teacher librarians. There are ones that are not sure of what a TL can contribute to the classroom, and others that avoid the library like its a contagious disease. Some are not even sure why we are there at all!
We have found that breakout boxes are so captivating that its plainly obvious how it can work in the classroom teacher’s favour. But this indulgence comes at a cost… They need to book a TL to do this activity either in the library or their classroom. And maybe then they will see, we aren’t all that scary. And then… maybe then, they will come back, to borrow books, request teaching spaces and most importantly, collaborate together in planning units of work.
Maybe then they will understand what we do, and who we are.
Now who is feeling smug?
(my HOD… this whole concept wasnt my idea, but as my HOD and colleagues are not going to blog about it. I might as well)