Student engagement and spirit animals ~ an unexpected unicorn.On February 10, 2019 by Heather
Everyone needs a spirit animal.
Go ask the students in my school, “What is Ms. E.’s spirit animal?” and they will tell you “UNICORNS” in ALL CAPS volume.
Seriously…any kid, any grade. They might even jump for joy when they tell you because unicorns elicit that type of joy and magic.
Don’t tell my students, but I didn’t always love unicorns. They found me during a pretty miserable professional development training. A silly unicorn and rainbow sketch, intended to help us all laugh and survive the session, exploded into a classroom overflowing with magical goodness.
Basically, unicorns went viral in my life and every form imaginable landed in my classroom.
Why does this matter?
Unicorns have created a special connection between myself and my students.
Sweet kids excitedly wear unicorn shirts to my class (or leggings, or dresses, or shoes, or adorable headbands!). Hand-crafted unicorn drawings and notes are delivered to my room or left on my desk. We “ooooh” and “ahhhh” over the most recent unicorn cereal or book.
I call my students “my unicorns” and they totally play the part! We bond over these silly and sweet moments. It has become so special!
Because relationships matter more than anything else in the classroom.
My spirit animal has created so many connections between myself and my students. Unicorns are an instant “wow” and icebreaker to share with a new student or they generate a laugh as we all struggle to corral them on their 20-foot long shelf!
It also translates into my classroom being quite magical (I play this up quite a bit). Unicorns infuse into lessons and tasks and ensure my students are engaged in our learning. Tasks become unicorn adventures, escape rooms rescue a kidnapped herd member, and stuffed animal unicorns travel to different classes as rewards.
Even the teachers and staff are all on the unicorn train. They tag me in unicorn photos on social media and shower me with unicorn pens and goodies. We have laughed over the silliness which has made us closer. Their friendship is a gift and a blessing.
So, find your spirit animal (or hobby, or interest, or idea), create moments, and enjoy joyful smiles and stories. Incorporate your spirit animal into your lessons and make your room a wondrous place to be seen and learn.
I am thankful to my unicorn tribe and I wish wonder and delight for your classroom (we certainly need this some days!).
Thank you for visiting my page, unicorn educators. Go out and make a difference and share your fun stories! I would love to hear how you generate excitement and wonder into your classroom!