Adventures in Thinking Outside the Box

April 2021

Friends, we have almost made it. The crazy COVID teaching year is almost over and I can feel my hopes for a return to some-what normal teaching returning in the Fall rising just a smidge. Pressing on to the end of the school year is always the longest (literally, I measured) block of time for me. My school has Spring Break the second week of March so we are in school for 9 straight weeks in 4th quarter. So. Long. Without. A. Break. So I need some things to help push me through, and sometimes I need those things to be none Spanish things.

This is a super easy activity that I did with my students recently that went over SO well. We did the activity on paper, but it could be done digitally if you wanted! It’s called a “think outside the box” activity. The short and sweet explanation is: You give your students half of an outline of a familiar object with the instructions to complete the drawing without making it into what it looks like! Bam. Higher level thinking and art all in one… plus who doesn’t love coloring?!

I’m including a link to the prompt used in this post for you to try with your students! If you enjoy, you can purchase a full set of 21 prompts (PDF printable & Slides projectable here. 

Here’s how we did it! 

1 – I handed each student the prompt paper and explained “You will have 15 minutes to create a new picture, but your new picture cannot be a pineapple. You can use any colors, shapes, lines, etc. to create your new picture but you have to include the black lines that are there”

2 – I gave students (and myself, get in on the fun!) 15 minutes to create. You know your students best, you may want to give them less time. I wanted full-color pictures so we took more time.

3 – We had a presentation time. Each student showed their creation and the other students guess what it was. Then the student explained what their creation was (if it wasn’t guessed).


– For digital students, consider uploading the image as a background in Jamboard

– To save on printed copies, have students draw the base image on a piece of notebook paper

– To encourage creativity, remind students they can rotate the orientation of the paper

– To use in a language class you could have students use their image as a free-write prompt or “restrict” their drawings to something like “animals” or a vocabulary unit focus.

– Provide more or less time depending on your goal & your students. 15 minutes was about perfect to challenge high schoolers and get a quality, colored product.

Easy peasy! Happy creating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *