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Nov. 13, 2011

I want to give a big credit to April DeCesare & Smart Schools for the Smart Boxes idea.  They were a tremendous help in my classroom.  After she came to our school and gave us training I loved the idea so much that I made almost 50 of them.  April is getting ready to launch Smart Centers/Boxes online for teachers to purchase ,share and trade.    I wanted to give you a heads up to start looking for them.   Website below!


Three years ago we started making Smart Boxes or Smart Centers.  This was just a way of organizing our learning centers in a box.  It takes a while to put together a Smart Box, but it is well worth the time.   They can be used year after year.  I try to put fun things for the students to complete.  On Monday they read all the books in the box.  Tuesday they do the writing.  On Wednesday they do activities (as few or as many as they have time for).  On Thursday they do the challenge.  On Friday, we use it as a catch up day, or reread the books, or do AR.

Each box has four sections:  READ, WRITE, ACTIVITY, and CHALLENGE. 

I have more Smart Boxes that you can download at my file sharing folders.  The link is at the bottom of the page. 

An example of one Smart Box is below-


Read all the books.  Some of them are AR books, and you can take a test on them.  Some of them are just for you to read and enjoy.

-write the story The Gingerbread Man with different characters
-write the story with a different ending
-write  a letter to the Gingerbread Man giving him advice on getting away from everyone
-write a letter to the little old woman and tell her about her gingerbread man

-complete the gingerbread glyph
-choose a worksheet to complete
-draw a house for The Gingerbread Man
-draw a gingerbread man and decorate him

-Use the puppets to color, cut out & put on a play for the class

I use the clear plastic containers from Office Depot and they are 2/$8.00. I also have some cheaper ones that I bought at Walmart.  In this container is all the books to go with that theme.  I do not list my books as I'm continually adding new books.  I have 5-12 books in each box.  For all my instructions, etc. I use a one inch notebook with clear plastic sleeve protectors inside.  The first page is the directions.  The following pages are word searches, worksheets, and fun things to do.  When ever possible I don't run off the pages, but let the students use dry erase pens on the clear plastic sleeves.  This saves on my copies and the students love using dry erase pens.  I have around 50 Smart Boxes made.  I use nine to ten Smart Boxes at a time with 2-3 students at each box.  I use a pocket chart and move their names down each week.  Monday is reading the books; Tuesday is writing; Wednesday is activities; Thursday is the challenge and Friday is make-up day for things they didn't finish.  The following pages are my directions to all my Smart Boxes.  I went online to find all my word searches, and work sheets.  A lot of my material came from books I bought online.  Some I have borrowed from other websites.  If you see something that belongs to you and you aren't given credit, please let me know. 

Smart Boxes are used while I do guided reading.  I've never had much trouble with too much noise, but whenever they get too noisy I use the three strikes and you're out rule.  Usually one strike will stop the noise.

It takes about a week to train them to use Smart Boxes.  I introduce 1-2 Smart Boxes a day.  The first six weeks I have all animals as students really enjoy learning about them.  They are the easiest I have made.

*  Someone wanted to know what my Smart Boxes look like, so I took some pictures & put them in a power point to show you. 

Related Files

ppt PPT file: You need Microsoft PowerPoint to view this file. Download a free PowerPoint viewer for PC.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

Related Links

Joanne Griffin