Students at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Kelowna check out the work of their peers in the school’s Most Magnificent Thing project Friday.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Kelowna students think outside the box by creating projects in a box

Students at St. Joseph Elementary create their ‘most magnificent things’ in school-wide project

There were plenty of magnificent things on display at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Kelowna Friday.

Students from all grades took part in a school-wide project aimed at cultivating their creativity.

Starting with a box—any size—the students were asked to fill it with something—anything—as long as they created it.

“It worked out really well,” said Ashly Griffin, the Grade 2 teacher who spearheaded the project.

She said she recently attended a conference in Vancouver where she met Ashley Spiers, the author and illustrator of a children’s book called the Most Magnificent Thing.

The story is about a little girl who tries to make the most magnificent thing but is unhappy with each of her attempts. She goes for a walk with her dog and sees things she has made in the past and likes different aspects of all the things. So, she finally settles on the idea of building a scooter for her, with special sidecar for her dog. And, while it does not come out perfect, in the little girl’s eyes it is the most magnificent thing.

Griffin said that sparked the idea of having her class, and the rest of the school’s students, do something similar.

So all the students—from kindergarten to Grade 7— were given the assignment to bring in a box, plan what they wanted to create inside it, and complete their task.

On Friday the students showed off their creations, an extraordinary collection of ideas that included scenes, games in a box, the recreation of every day items, flights of fancy and a myriad of other ideas.

“It really stimulated the children’s creativity,” said Griffin, adding she thinks the project may become an annual event at the school.

As for the kids, they loved the freedom to express their own ideas.

“It was definitely cool,” said Grade 5 student Chase Witzel, who teamed up with two of his friends to create a basketball court in their box, complete with nets, floor markings, seats and the ability to toss pom-pom balls into the nets.

“It really let us think outside the box,” he said with a smile.

Fellow Grade 5 student Liam Calder, who said he came up with his idea of balloon darts in a box just the day before construction was set to begin earlier this week, said he also liked the opportunity to be creative.

According to Griffin, the new B.C. curriculum for elementary students stresses critical thinking and that’s what the project was aimed at.

On Friday, in addition to the students getting a look at all the creations their classmates and other grades produced, parents were invited to the school to check out the work.

“It’s wonderful,” said Jeff White, whose daughter Katie is in Grade 6 at the school.

He said what made it so good in his eyes was that the project was driven by the kids’ creativity, rather being directed by the teachers.

“They got to do this all on their own,” he said.

White, who is also the president of the parents’ group at the school, said his daughter didn’t even let him and his wife in on what she was creating until it was finished. She created a car in a box.

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