Anyone remember this post? Well, I am going to explain it a little bit further and give you an update about how my students are liking Blue. Here we go.
Blue is our “classroom mascot”. Why get a classroom mascot? I have been working in Northern Michigan going on 8 years and I have been slacking in the whole exposing kids to world cultures thing. I have also discovered that using some sort of cutesy friend in the classroom can be beneficial when you want to bribe students to behave. Example, some teachers do Elf on a Shelf during Christmas time, some teachers love (and hate) the Leprechaun during St. Patrick’s day- both are characters that you can have fun with the students and encourage them to behave in certain ways. It also lets the students feel the “magic” of being a kid. Oh, and as a teacher you totally have a blast setting up little scenarios as well. So a class mascot that helps students experience world cultures AND is fun is a win win!
Over the summer I hunted for some sort of mascot. Maybe a gnome? Maybe a cute stuffed animal? And then I laid my eyes on this lil’ guy here:
And then the stars aligned and I also found a little dufflebag at the same consignment store. I originally wanted to get one mascot per grade, then I realized that ain’t no body got time for that, one is good enough. My mom came up with his name, and its perfect because our school colors are blue and white. So I took him to school and built him a dog house, set him up, and he was ready for the first week of school.
I also set up a huge map on our bulletin board where I would post pictures of his visited locations. Then I wrote Blue’s first letter addressed to “Gladwin Elementary Artists”. Oh, and our word of the week was artist so it was a perfect opportunity to explain what that was!
The first day, students sat on my carpet and I began explaining rules/procedures and then I introduced them to Blue. I said this lil’ guy will occasionally send us some mail- oh lets check! I opened the mailbox and there was a letter ready to be opened. We opened and read it, and it was signed with a paw print- so its pretty legit that Blue wrote it. The first letter said:
My name is Blue and I am from Gladwin Michigan. I have always wanted to travel the world and experience new cultures- I will send you letters and pictures documenting my journey!
I had a couple of students make comments like “he didn’t write that” or “yeah right, nu-uh he is just a toy”. So then I pulled out this:
I told them he emailed me a selfie of himself in Gladwin and I printed if for them to see. If you look real close there is his mom hanging out of the upper window. Once they got a good look they were amazed.
The next week, the kids were obsessed. Especially because when we entered class, Blue wasn’t in his doghouse. “Where is he?” “Where did he go??” We checked our mailbox and got a postcard and a letter from Blue and TWO pictures. Blue visited the “Cloud Gate” in Chicago and the “Statue of Liberty” in NYC.
The letter gave the students some clues where he was headed to next.
Can you guess it? No, not China (yes, thats where everyone was CERTAIN he went). We found out in his most recent letter that we read this week that he went to Mexico and even took a picture at Chichen Itza.
Second grade students made passports because they are going to “visit” Blue at some of these locations. They are actually going to study bilateral symmetry (two sides the same) and make Luchador masks! They are going to be Mexican super heroes fighting bucket dippers (our schools behavior philosophy) with kind words and general do-goodedness (not with fists).
In fact, I have already made my Luchador mask. Check out my fight face:
Blue is gonna go all over the place this year. And I am so excited to share his journey with my kiddos. I am already overwhelmed with how much my students are enjoying him. It also only takes a couple of minutes to update them and read his letters. And frankly, writing letters and thinking about where he is headed next is so much fun.
Anything that will broaden my students horizons is a win, right?