“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
― E.E. Cummings
What we want to be:
Who we want to be:
Here's the description from the publisher: "This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle. New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art, creating an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one's place in the world."
Just as Beekle tried to find his place in the world, we're working on finding our place in our learning community.
This image of this spread does not do it justice...I would have a framed copy if I could.
My students understood exactly how Beekle felt at this point...
When all seems lost...
And encouraged him to journey forth...
...we should all do the unimaginable.
And rejoiced when his persistence paid off...
because you never know what might happen...
I pointed out that it takes courage to be the people the want to become: thoughtful listeners and curious explorers who are risk takers that make room for all learners. It takes courage to:
~ say what one thinks, feels, or believes
It takes courage to be a community
To connect the conversation back to the one we had after reading My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am not), we talked about the courage to reach out and connect with another person. I pointed out that I thought that Bobby and Ms. Kirby had shown tremendous courage moving past their school relationship to find a connection outside of school. Also, as we did with My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am Not), we can speak the importance seeing things from a different perspective.
Near the end of the discussion, one of the students asked why courage was not one of the words on the window, I explained that those were words that the students had shared and that no one had mentioned courage. I shared that I had been thinking of courage since before school started and had placed the word in front of them. Before school started, I typed up, laminated, and hung up this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye.
To be let in,
A word must slide and sneak and spin
into the tunnel of the ear.
What's to fear?
A word must travel through
a tongue and teeth and wide air
to get there.
A word has tough skin.
But a word is brave.
We read the poem silently and then aloud. We rounded out our discussion of community character traits by talking about courage and the importance of both sharing what you believe and hearing what others believe. I hope that my students hold onto the character traits that our community values, but the one that I hope drives our learning is courage.
I think it is going to be a great year.
Note: Many students had not noticed the poem or taken in its meaning until we shared it together, an important reminder that for students to take ownership of what is written and hung on our walls, they need time to take it in and think about it.