Could it already be Week 10?
As we’re gearing up to write our memoirs, we have been focusing this week on feelings in order to stretch our writing. We read different books with a lens on character feelings and how those feelings change and develop, just like our very own. We read the books A Bad Case of Stripes, Drum Dream Girl, Wemberly Worried, Tar Beach, After the Fall, and Madeline Finn and the Dog Shelter. I chose these books specifically because I wanted everyone to know that as people, our feelings are not stagnant. They will change even in our moment to moment lives. All of the feelings we feel are okay and it’s helpful to talk about and think about our changing moods, so that when we are feeling very down or very sad, we are able to remember that these feelings do not and will not last forever. There is a power to sharing a story with the world that allows the reader or listener to know it’s okay to feel disappointed because you didn’t get your way. It’s okay to feel embarrassed. It’s okay to be angry. This helps us know we’re not alone in these big feelings.
Drum Dream Girl is a story about a girl, who dreams of playing the drums for people, but where she is from will not allow it because she is a girl. The story ebbs and flows with our character feeling excited and enchanted at one moment, and disappointed in another. Throughout our reading, we tried to empathize with those feelings and shared times we felt those things as well. At the end of the book, her father has a change of heart and she is able to share her dream with her community.
A Bad Case of Stripes is certainly a classic. It’s a story that almost every student in the class had heard before. While we were reading it, again, we tried to empathize with her feelings. We also tracked those feelings from the beginning to the end of the book to analyze how they developed. Students noticed that she was excited and nervous for the first day of school, feelings they themselves had felt before. She then becomes embarrassed because she likes Lima beans, and to try to fit in she pretends she does not like this delicious snack. This led to some serious consequences! Because she was not herself, she became everything people told her to be, which led her to be even more embarrassed than she was at the beginning. Finally, at the end, she is convinced to be honest with herself and others about her love of Lima beans, and she is set free of her very bad case of stripes.
When reading Wemberly Worried, we noticed how our character felt anxious throughout the story, worried about everyday things going on in her life. We also took notice of what Wemberly did to make herself feel better, and what did not help her. In the book, Wemberly rubbed her doll’s ears to self-soothe, but the kids all noticed when adults told her, “Don’t worry!” it was never very helpful – it never made her not worried. After reading, we thought about strategies we do when we are feeling anxious or worried. Some said they cuddled with their pets, some just laid in bed or watched T.V., or talked to a loved one about it.
With each book we read, we saw the reoccurring theme of our ever-changing feelings. I’m hoping that when students hear these stories, they recognize times they have felt these ways too. That when they share their stories or write their memoirs, they stretch themselves in the way they describe their memories. That when a friend asks, “How are you??” their response can be something beyond, “I’m fine.” (Unless they really are just fine, which is okay, too 😊 ).
As always, I leave you with some precious photos!