The Crayon Box That Talked Lesson Plan

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

This lesson plan uses 'The Crayon Box That Talked' to teach students about theme. It explores the theme of differences and includes a writing project.

Lesson Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define ''theme.''
  • identify the theme or lesson of the book The Crayon Box That Talked.
  • write an opinion piece in response the book's theme.


  • 30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.


Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.


  • Theme


  • The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf
  • Three signs reading ''yes,'' ''no,'' and ''I don't know''
  • Blocks

Lesson and Activities

  • On the whiteboard or chart paper, write the following list of themes:
    • friendship
    • bravery
    • trying new things
    • forgiveness
    • responsibility
    • growing up
    • kindness
    • caring for the environment
  • Ask the class what these words have in common. After the students share several ideas, tell them that these are examples of themes that can be found in stories. Share the definition of theme.
  • Name a popular book or movie, or something the class has recently read. Students turn to a partner and discuss which of the themes on the list is present in that book/movie. Repeat with several books/movies. Allow students to suggest themes that are not on the list.
  • Ask students for any additional examples of books or movies that deal with a theme on the list.

The Crayon Box That Talked

  • Remind students to listen for the theme, then read the book The Crayon Box That Talked.
  • Discuss:
    • What problems were the crayons having?
    • Why do you think the narrator decided to take the crayons home?
    • What did the crayons learn?
    • How would you have dealt with the cranky crayons?
    • What is the theme or lesson of the book?

Exploring the Theme: Differences

  • Hang three signs saying ''yes,'' ''no,'' and ''I don't know'' in the classroom, with some distance between them.
  • Tell the students that you will read a statement, and they should stand by the sign that represents their answer. Some sample statements might include:
    • I have siblings.
    • I like math.
    • I'm good at sports.
    • I play an instrument.
    • I like to build.
  • After a few minutes, have students sit in a circle.
  • Discuss:
    • What did this activity show us about differences?
    • How can differences help us to work together?
  • If you want to extend the discussion with an illustration, give each student three blocks (wooden blocks or interlocking blocks would work). Instruct the students to build a fortress. Give students about five minutes to work on the task, then regroup and ask students to talk about their need to work together to produce a better product.

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