A few weeks ago, I posted about a charming video called “Monsterbox“. I offered some ideas for using it in the classroom, but I was not very specific. One of my colleagues sent me an assignment that she created for the video based on Kaplan’s icons for Depth and Complexity, and that got my brain churning. (Thanks, Michelle!)
I decided to use Monsterbox with my gifted 2nd graders. First, we watched and discussed the video in general terms. They immediately all wanted to make their own monsters. Since I am a horrible art teacher, I enlisted the help of a paid iPad app – iLuvDrawingMonsters (.99) – installed on my personal iPad. I connected that to my projector via VGA cable, and each student got to choose a monster to draw in the app while the others drew the same monster freehand. Once they got the basic Principle of Monster Drawing, they embellished and modified their pictures however they wanted. Some of them then felt comfortable to invent their own new monsters.
After decorating their monsters, the students did a gallery walk, so they could give each other feedback, and then make a final selection of a favorite monster to display.
Our next class was spent on decorating boxes for their monsters. We used duct tape, markers, scrapbook paper, and whatever else we could find. The kids loved it!
Now that their creative appetites were sated for a little bit, I encouraged the kids to do some deep thinking using the Ethics and Multiple Perspectives icons from Sandra Kaplan. The video does a good job of showing some of the “prejudices against monsters”, and we discussed this, as well as how it would feel to be a monster. I’ve attached two worksheets for this activity to this post. (You can go here to generate your own “monster font”.)
Finally, the students took photos of their monsters with the iPads, and used the Puppet Pals app (Director’s Pass, $2.99, allows you to use your own photos as actors) to create skits about what monsters do for fun.
As an added bonus, I uploaded their videos to Aurasma Studio so people can scan the monsters on the bulletin board with smartphones equipped with that app and see the videos.
From start to finish, this unit took about 5 hours. I hope that some of you can use these ideas, and I would love to hear yours!
The Ethics of Monsters
If I Were a Monster