Retelling Henry's Freedom Box

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine is the focus of a lesson that sheds light on a child's experience as a slave. Following a preview of the book, scholars begin a KWL chart and discuss their points to a partner. Learners continue to add to their chart while listening to a read-aloud. Peers discuss the reading then build a freedom box with labeled paper strips that signify objects they'd put inside it. Class members mix and share their finished products while retelling the story. Participants reflect and complete their KWL chart. 

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Add the lesson to a unit on slavery or during Black History Month 
  • Gather a variety of books about slavery and the Underground Railroad for pupils to browse when time permits 
  • Review and encourage respectful cooperative learning strategies such as welcomes, praises, and goodbyes
Classroom Considerations
  • Obtain a copy of the book, Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
  • Pupils should be familiar with a KWL chart 
  • The box activity requires copies
  • Provides a child's perspective on a major historical event 
  • Includes cooperative learning strategies 
  • Extension Ideas challenge pupils to look further into the subject in creative ways
  • None