A pile of discarded Beanie Babies and a slew of nine-year olds. Exactly the place you would expect to find writing inspiration, right? Well, that is exactly where I found myself the other day. My mom, known in our family for saving every item holding even the smallest sentimental value, decided to finally rid herself of the Beanie Babies I had collected and had since left in her custody. So here I was, finding myself with a bag of outdated and unwanted stuffed animals.
Naturally, I did what most teachers would do and thought of “my kids”. I did think of “my actual kid” first, and subsequently decided that if another stuffed animal entered our home, my husband just might leave… and that is how they landed in my classroom, looking for a purpose. Little did I know, one of my lovely little souls would give them just what they needed. We were talking about character traits and he said, “I wish I could be like the dragon. No one would pick on IT.” What followed was a heated discussion about what animal each of us was like and which ones we wanted to most BE like. Cue the writer’s notebooks!
I was awe inspired by the thoughts of my students and what character traits they saw in themselves and which ones they saw lacking. Sure, there were the boys that thought the eagle was just cool and the girls that wanted to be the teddy bear. But if you listened closely, you heard the student that wanted to be like the elephant because they know what’s important and stick by their families and she wanted to always be close to her family too. Or the student who thought he was like the scorpion because they are quick to strike and he is quick to be funny (a totally true statement of self-reflection-he’s got a quick wit like no other).
There were so many moments during this impromptu notebook frenzy that inspired me. I’d like to be like the macaw and many days I feel like the chameleon. More on those later.
What about you?