Outside the Box Tops?

Published November 3, 2012 by krystal
classroom door

This blown up image of a Box Top is laminated and taped to the door. The idea is that students will see it when they leave for the day, and remember to bring their Box Tops the next day.

Like many schools, the school where I teach collects Box Tops for Education.  Some schools offer a monthly or quarterly contest to encourage teachers to beg students for the Box Tops.

These little ten cent coupons are printed on the top or front corner of many General Mills (and other) products.  The idea is that students/parents cut them off the cereal or cake mix box after using the product, bring them to school, and give them to the teacher.  The teacher collects them and gives them to a designated staff member on a specific day.  That staff member has the magic to turn the potential fire-starter or landfill inhabitant (depending on if you have trash pick up) into TEN CENTS! {POOF!}

Those ten cents add up here and there, and have the potential to be a lot of money!  Where I live, we don’t have very good access to fresh fruit and veggies, so most of the foods we eat are from a box, thus, have a Box Top.  I used to send ours to my mom for her school, but now we collect them for our school.

I am used to students bringing one or three every now and then when their family dinner included a can of biscuits or a Totino’s Party Pizza.  I smile, express my undying gratitude for the little rectangle, and we go about our day.  Several of my brave students clipped all of the Box Tops off the Avery binders in their pull out class.  Imagine my face as they returned to class with all of those!  I thought we had hit the jackpot!  Until…

This morning, one of my wonderful fourth graders brought me a little surprise.  She was in Joey’s class last year, and he occasionally told me stories of her quirkiness.  He actually ended up telling me that he could imagine I was like that when I was little.

So, she brings in a Ziploc bag that bulged somewhat when all of the Box Tops gathered at the bottom.  I did not know quite what to say.  Generally, a, “Thank you very much!” or “Sweet, this will help our

Box Tops

The pile on the left side is what she brought in today. The pile on the right is how many the class had before her generous contribution.

school!” are appropriate responses.  I was so shocked, I think I said something like, “Wow… This. Is. A. Lot.  Thanks!”  She smiled and returned to her seat.  I decided it would be a kind gesture to write a note thanking her mom, but first, I had to ask the girl if it was okay.

Why would I question if it were okay, you ask?  Well, because knowing this student, she could have very well raided the kitchen for Box Tops when everyone else was out of the house or asleep.  She is not a troublemaker; she just has a very big heart and wants to help out whenever she can.

She has several brothers and sisters, so I also wondered if she was supposed to share the family collection of Box Tops with her siblings (Joey and I are married and have to share them, so certainly siblings should too).

The girl said that it would be okay if I wrote her mom a note.  She was not required to share, and it seemed like her mom was aware of the fact that her daughter had that many.  Perhaps she has persuaded family members without school children to collect for her?  Maybe it rains Box Tops in her house?  She might have been at the store and someone threw them in the air (like Chuck E. does with tickets at Chuck E. Cheese)?

I still can’t help but imagine their kitchen cabinets:  full of boxes of food, all missing a little rectangle cut of the top!

Would I have raided the kitchen after hours collecting Box Tops at her age?  Yeah, probably.  Did she?  Well, I don’t know.

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