4 BIG Reasons Why You Need A Class Mascot

One tool I love to use when building my classroom community is using a class mascot. Our class' mascot is named Puddleton, and he's a stuffed pig. He travels home with a different student each night in his canvas bag, and that student writes about what they did with him in his diary. Here's why you absolutely need a class mascot too!

4 BIG Reasons Why You Need A Class Mascot

1. It creates community.

Taking the class mascot home is a big deal for my students. They are so excited to bring a piece of the class home to their families and share about their day. It's also meaningful for my students to share a bit of home with something from the class. Blending home and school into the same world for students is so powerful.

My students feel like Puddleton is our own little inside joke, something only our class gets to experience. I tell the class that Puddleton wants to go on whatever adventures the students go on each night and ask them to take him with them everywhere. He really does. My students often draw or glue pictures about what they do with him.

So far, Puddleton has eased anxiety at doctor's offices, gone on vacations, visited grandparents, celebrated birthdays and attended birthday parties, and more. My students read to him (whoo-hoo for practicing fluency), and he meets with their stuffed animals.

I've been told it's "too babyish" for third graders, but I let my students be the judge of that. For several years now, my third graders LOVE Puddleton! They love taking him home, and they even ask classmates to trade days with them if something important is going on. I never force them to take him home, but it's never been a problem.

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2. It strengthens writing skills.

Giving kids (especially your reluctant writers) a little time to practice writing with a different mindset is really important. The nice thing about writing in the class mascot's diary is that it seems less tedious than other writing assignments.

Whether each student writes in several lengthy paragraphs or writes in a bulleted list form and adds some pictures, this is still valuable. At the very least, it helps students to practice organizing their ideas and writing sequentially. Since diary entries naturally share what the writer did first, next, last, etc., it allows for writers to think about the structure of their writing. This is a huge push in the elementary grades, and something my writers tend to find challenging at the beginning of the year. Every little bit counts.

As a bonus, I can look at diary entries and sometimes see what I need to teach to specific writers too!

3. You can learn about your students' personal lives.

I really enjoy stopping to read through the entries my students write in Puddleton's journal. This is a pretty accessible way for my quieter, more reserved students to share a snapshot of their day at home. Sometimes I learn about frustrations my students have at home. Other times I learn about outrageously cool hobbies my students have that they didn't share about. I know when mom or dad goes away on a business trip or a baby sibling is crying all night and preventing my student from sleeping.

Knowing this information helps me to show up as a better teacher for my students. Of course it ends up being ridiculously entertaining, sometimes too... like the time one of my students wrote that his family ate bacon for dinner and it "offended" Puddleton. (Remember, he's a pig!)

It's such an easy way to know what's going on in my student's lives.

4. Your students can learn about each other.

Because it's such an easy way to learn about students, my students learn about each other by reading through diary entries too! It can help my students learn about common interests they have with their classmates. Since it's so often used as an outlet for students to share personal news, students love talking about what they wrote about in the diary with each other.

My kids LOVE reading his diary; I find that some even write it in their reading log. I'm totally fine with that! At the beginning of the year, I even include a full diary (which is just a notebook) from the previous year's students. That way, they see where Puddleton has been, see that he's an important part of our class, and there's always plenty to read.

If you're looking for another way to build community, go download my bingo mix boards for under a dollar; they'll last you all year! Click here or on the picture above to check them out or be taken to a freebie if you want a sample.

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