Imagination Lockers

That’s right – another sub lesson! Long overdue, I might add.  This is my favorite sub lesson. This sub lesson is good for grades 2nd-6th.  It would need to modified for the younger grades as this overview will focus on 5th and 6th grade work but what art lesson isn’t adaptable to any grade?

Anyways – back to my favorite lesson for subs.  Students love this one and my substitutes always seem to have fun with it also because they can get in on the imagination lockers.

First, students are given an 11×17 (12×18), basically a large sheet of paper.  Instruct the students to fold the paper hotdog bun style so that it’s a nice tall and skinny column.  Have students place the folded paper so that the opening is on the left of them.  This seems weird because we are conditioned to open things like a book.


With the paper facing as such, the students should draw the details of a normal locker they would find at school including vents, a locker number, and a lock for the door.


This is where the fun begins.  Talk with your students about how their locker is a doorway – that if they could have anything they wanted in their locker, what would it be?  Would they have a pop machine?  The ultimate video game room?  An entire football field?  Does their locker open the door to a different dimension?  Does it open up into the mall?  Where does it go?  While they are thinking of ideas tell them – you are the only person who knows what’s in your locker but we must protect our ideas! Now have students think of security options – finger print scanners, chains across the front, tick traps, or what else?  To the world it’s a locker – but to you, it’s your dreams come true.


Mine, of course, is protected by chains because I’m not shy, of course.

Now is the really fun part – letting loose with the imagination.  This is an imagination exercise – super important not to limit their drawing by giving them requirements.  I understand that if you want to adapt it to be more formal but because this is a sub lesson and it’s all about getting them to go crazy with creativity, I never tell them what they can and cannot draw; only that it should be appropriate.  I’ve had students fill their lockers with their favorite food, all of their best friends, fantasy worlds – the outcomes have been endless.


Mine, again, of course…has oranges in in.  Some students keep it realistic, others design multiple floors of a mansion, others completely fantasize about unlimited money or dragons.

The best part about this sub plan is that students get so into it that it usually isn’t finished in one class period.  It becomes a sub and free time lesson.  Free draw can be so non-motivating for students.  By starting this lesson when you have a sub for the first time during that class, this can always be returned to whenever you are gone for meetings or especially when a student finished a project early and needs something to work on. My students ask for this project – they stay motivated during projects so that given the chance, they can work more on their lockers.

Well, that’s that – I encourage anyone to take this idea and go with it – it’s my favorite. I apologize for the pictures – camera phone for this round.  I may add better ones later.


7 responses to “Imagination Lockers

  1. As LMJ’s go to sub…I love this project because the kids love it! The sky is the limit as to what they can put on/in their locker.

  2. Mmmm… my 5th graders don’t have lockers, but I can see doing something like this about your DESK – with the folded paper flipping up. What’s really on top of your desk… the imaginary world inside your desk. I think I must do this! Thanks for the inspiration!

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