‘treasure box’


slice button this marchMany of you are familiar and many of you have the same ‘box’ in your classroom.  My students who come in small groups to my room, get a sticker every day if they remember to read their book from the previous day to someone at their house.  Repeated reading is an important aspect of our reading program.

We start every day with sticker happiness and ‘check-in’ with each other around the group.  There is also sometimes a count of how many stickers they have or how many days they have left until they get a pick from the ….’treasure chest’.

read this 1

My treasure chest is old and falling apart.  About ten years ago my mom told us that we could take anything we wanted from the basement in our summer-house in Michigan.  This quaint house is in a beautiful location.  We face a beautiful small lake that has a channel out to Lake Michigan.  We have had years of family fun at this wonderful little house that has remained unchanged on the inside since my Great Aunt and Uncle lived in it.  They never had children, but my aunt was greatly loved in this small town because she was the town’s beloved kindergarten teacher.  She had spent all her years living and teaching in Whitehall.  Her hobby along  with her husband was looking for antiques.

So…the majority of her antiques have stayed right where she had placed them.  My mom put those things that she deemed, “worthless”, down in the basement.  One summer day I looked at this peeling brown box and decided it was the perfect size for my treasure chest and it came home with me.

Last week, a surprising thing happened.  A cardboard piece fell out of the chest and one of my cuties said,

“Mrs. Hatcher, this piece fell out, what do I do?”

In the middle of something else, I sighed, and walked over to have a look.

read thisBelieve it or not, I had never seen this part of the box.  It was staring up at me and it said, “READ THIS” !  The first thing I did was read the date.  It was dated 1889.  I was in shock and in awe.  I knew that it was old, but not this old!  I knew that the Civil War had ended about twenty years earlier.  I had shivers, realizing that the box that contained weird little treasures that my kids like…was a treasure itself.

To be truthful, my kids that day were more interested in what the box contained.   But I declared,

“This box is old, even older than Mrs. Hatcher.”  The second graders just looked at me.  I continued,

“It was 1889, how can we figure out how old this box is?”  They were pretty much befuddled.  I said,

“It’s a math problem, how can we solve it?”

One said timidly…”we add???”

“Nope, I said…guess again!”

Another said, “Well all I’ve got is subtract if you won’t let us add.”

“Right, I responded, What number goes on top?”

One said, “I don’t get it.”  I thought, so much for CCSS math stuff we have been working on for 2 years!

Exasperated,  I said, “What year are we living in?”

“2104!” they chimed together.   Finally we were getting somewhere.

I said, “2014 is bigger than 1889 so we’re putting it on top.”  Of course, we had to regroup (I hate zeros in subtraction, I always have and always will)  I did the regrouping and then we subtracted.

This box was very old, 125 years old, to be exact.  What was in the box?  I read the information and we did some second grade Close reading on the paragraph.  This is what it said:

Read This 2Wow, a sword blade, a uniform.  I know I was amazed.

“Boys and girls, we have a mystery…why did this person need a uniform and a sword blade?”


“Common, give it a try.”


“Well, how can we find out?”  I was waiting, hoping beyond hope for an amazing answer… one that would involve the word ‘research’.

One little one smiled and said, “Mrs. Hatcher, you don’t have to sweat it…just ask your phone.

“Oh…I smiled, Good answer! Go ahead, friends…  you can finally pick your treasures.”

Later on that day I went on a treasure hunt of my own.  I am guessing from the information that I found is that the uniform was a Mason uniform and the blade was a decorative part of the uniform worn back in the day.  I saw a treasure chest on-line that was sold in an auction that looked just like my trunk, only in better condition.  It went for about $150.00 about five years ago with the uniform and blade still in it.

It was a fun treasure hunt for me to go on, thinking that I had something that was of real value.  A good lesson for me. And who would have thought… just another way to use my phone!


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

16 responses »

  1. A wow and laugh-out-loud piece! I love how you share your 2nd graders blank looks. So perfectly honest. Of course the phone. For our learners that’s code for research.

  2. I love how your treasure chest had a secret note! It’s right out of a story book — maybe one yet to be written? Now I’m wondering about all the stories behind your great aunt’s other antiques… Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a great story. I love those moments of connection with kids. That’s the stuff they’ll remember. And i think “Mrs. Hatcher, you don’t have to sweat it…just ask your phone.“ is precious.

  4. Just ask your phone – I laughed out loud at that! It’s true, though, the days of “research” as we know it are long gone, huh?
    What a cool treasure!! Lucky you for picking that out of the basement!

  5. Oh the answer to life – just ask your phone! I love it! What a fun adventure and yes so glad your students got to use math in a real life situation. I have run into this over and over. I know I have taught it but they don’t make the transfer! Could ask for a better way to show them math and talk about research! Enjoy your treasure box!

  6. What a great collection of stories – about your lake house, the box, and your class. Like everyone else, I also had to chuckle at “just ask your phone.” What was life like before Siri?

  7. Your post sends chills down my spine. I too have a treasure chest used for JUST the same purposes….but mine is a “beach bucket”….well loved….in its own right…..
    Long ago, cleaning out an old tool box, my husband found a tiny match tin filled with his parents love letters,,,,,the greatest of finds come in old boxes I guess….I better look for a “new” but old sticker box!

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