#SOL15: Day 18, Can you see yourself?

Yesterday we read my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss story:

2Q==-1I’ve loved this story since I was little. I remember my momma reading this collection to me.

I read it to my children.

Yesterday,  I read it to my students.

It was like coming home. I felt the words in my heart and soul.

I chose this title as a part of my week-long can-you-see-yourself in characters series. Terje’s comment on yesterday’s post inspired and “stretched” my ideas.

#SOL15  Day 17, Seeing the Character in Us   To Read To Write To Be

With Terje in my head, I asked students if you were a character in this book, who would you be?  The Star-bellied or the Plain-bellied Sneetch.

They listened, talked and wrote in their notebooks.

As I sent them off to read, I invited them to look for characters in their club books that they would choose to be. At the end of reader’s workshop, I collected their thoughts.

Some wrote on The Sneetches.

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Both of these students reflected on the themes in this story and connected it to their personal journeys.

…I tried to fit in, then I started to be myself and I got lots of friends.

…I thought to myself at the end of the book that we all are the same and we can treat each other kind.


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These students attempted to see themselves in their club books. The first jot is from the graphic novel, Amulet.

I think I would be the robot Cogsley because I like to help and he is the assistant and makes everything is order. Or maybe I would be Navin because he also helps but he is brave and is always there for his sister.

The next is from a reader of Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere.

I will see myself as Armani because I got to take responsibility for by two little sisters still.

This same reader adds her thinking on the Sneetches:

It looks like the slaves…because plain Sneetcehs = slaves. Star sneetches = white people.

Amazing the power of one little prompt. Amazing where one little comment can go.

Thank you, Terje and all who offer feedback and support for my classroom learning.

Today’s read aloud is Mem Fox’s Feathers and Fools.



My question: If you were in this story, what would people see you doing, feeling, saying. What kind of a character would you be?

Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey and Tara of Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting the Slice of Life March Story Challenge. Read other bloggers slices here. 11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

#SOL15: Day 17, Seeing the Character in Us

I started read aloud, asking students if books took them places. Most students nodded. Then I added, “In books I love, I see myself in the character. I feel like they do. It’s like holding up a mirror, seeing a bit of me in them. Have you ever had this happen to you?”

One or two students nodded, but the majority looked at me like I was crazy. Even my most perceptive readers looked confused.

Then I dug around, giving them some examples from our past read alouds. Saying, “have any of you felt like …”

I was losing them, so I dropped it and pulled out Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose.

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In this story, Kid feels it’s his right and duty to crush Ant, but Ant begs Kid to see the world through his eyes.

I ask students, do you see bits of yourself on this page? Have  you ever felt this way? At first they identify with Kid.

Then Kid says, how can you feel anything you’re so small. Ant replies,

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I ask, “have you ever felt so small and asked this same question?”

“Yes! With my parents!”

Bingo. A shift from Kid to Ant. For a moment, they see themselves in this character. Ant is them.

We consider:

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Students have strong beliefs. “Ant should live! He has a family. They should become friends!”

I’ve spent the year reading books that revolve around kindness. Students could see it in the story. They know who’s the bully, and they don’t like him. But, then they’d go to the playground and call another student “Auggie.”

How could they not see they were being the bully they hated in the story? I hadn’t considered they didn’t see themselves in characters.

This week we will be practicing finding ourselves in picture books characters. Today students had a tiny aha. I had a big aha. Maybe more will be found if we just clean our lenses and look for it.

Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey and Tara of Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting the Slice of Life March Story Challenge. Read other bloggers slices here. 11454297503_e27946e4ff_h