Out of the Box Teaching

Did you know that text messaging was first invented by cell phone carriers as a way to notify customers about problems with their networks? As people started using it, they discovered that text messages could be used as social app. Yup, that’s how this text messaging frenzy all got started. 

I love discovering how services and products have become popular through “unintended uses.” A silly example is Scotch tape art. As a teacher, you’re quite familiar with the clear sticky tape that we use all the time in our classrooms. Seriously, someone came up with the idea to use tape to create sculpture art!

When I asked myself, “How can I create more out of the box teaching?,” I was struck by how innovation emphasizes the need to embrace new teaching ideas. Here are some ideas that I love:

  • Have students perform a play about what they’re learning.
    Everyone will be laughing and having fun acting out grammar rules, human anatomy, or geometry!
  • Go on a virtual field trip to explore the world.
  • Get creative and assign a hands-on project that students can do from any where! 

Can you come up with “unintended” ways of using or re-using activities, projects, or crafts to teach? Instead of doing what’s considered “standard,” try something different. And remember, our students always love anything that doesn’t look like schoolwork!

Some food for thought:

  • What are some creative ideas that you have implemented or come across in your teaching career?
  • Do your students love out of the box lessons? Why or why not?

Virtual field trips are one of my favorite out of the box teaching activities! Learn more about Virtual Field Trips and define what the experience is for you and your students with this online continuing education class.


Ellen Paxton is the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully designed and delivered research-based and standards-aligned curriculum to help teachers meet their continuing education requirements. Through ProfessionalLearningBoard.comRenewaTeachingLicense.com, and ConnectedPD.com, Ellen has established and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while overseeing curriculum development, alignment, implementation at the classroom level and strategic direction.