6th Grade Portfolio Project – Follow Your Star!

I’m especially excited about my 6th grade portfolio project! This project is inspired by an amazing book by author/illustrator Peter Reynolds, who created the classic children’s books “The Dot” and Ish. This potentially life-changing book, “The North Star”, is so special, it even has it’s own website! (Check out this site for fun activities for the classroom and home, free resources for educators, and links to other helpful websites…. you can even read the story of “The North Star” in English or Spanish for free online !)


“The North Star” is an allegory of a young child’s journey through life and his discovery that he must follow his own unique path to achieve his dreams. In this story, the child feels lost as he follows the path others have taken, until he realizes that each person has their own journey and their own signs to guide them. That’s when he notices a very bright star, and as he begins to travel in that direction, more stars join it to light his way.

To me, the stars in this story represent the child’s interests, passions, abilities and influences. We each have a unique combination of “stars” in our lives, and “The North Star” encourages us to recognize our stars and connect them to create our own unique “constellation”. Being an allegory, this story is open to interpretation…. so what’s yours??? Ask your students what they think, to start a great discussion on life choices and navigating the course to our true potential. a creative way to get students thinking about what’s really important to them!


1. After reading “The North Star”, make a list of ten or so influences, interests, passions, and things that are especially important to you or inspire you. (hint: These will be nouns!)
2. For each item on your list, draw a circle on the front of your portfolio. Make your circles in a variety of sizes (from 1/4? to about 1?) and in random placement. Make one circle larger than all the others.
3. Next, turn your circles into stars by adding long points both vertically and horizontally. In between each of these points add a shorter diagonal point. Then erase your circles.
4.
Outline your stars with a black UF Sharpie and erase any other pencil lines that are still showing.
5. Inside each star, use your UF Sharpie to write one of your ten influences, passions, etc. Write the one that is most important to you in the biggest star (your “North Star”).
6.
Then, color your stars with a yellow marker.
7. Finally, use your yellow marker and a ruler to connect your stars, making your very own personal constellation!

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7 Responses to 6th Grade Portfolio Project – Follow Your Star!

  1. Crayons and Markers and Paint - Oh My! September 28, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Ok, you've made me want this book. I love ish and the dot, so I'm pretty sure I need this book! Thanks for all the ideas!

  2. TeachKidsArt September 28, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    You will LOVE this book!! Thanks for the fun ideas on your blog, too! I'm teaching technology at my school in addition to art this year, so I would love to hear the ideas you have for that, too!! :)

  3. Neomig October 2, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    Hi
    Your blog is very encouraging and interesting. Thanks for the rules- they add to my own : “say only kind things of your friends work….”
    I am always looking for new ideas. your mondrian project is great.
    But…. my main audience are 5,6 – 9 grade students. Do you have any recomandation of teaching material for older students?
    thanks
    Neomi

  4. theartofeducation October 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Thanks for the heads up about this new book! I love the others. I also love the way you fold your portfolios, so I decided to fold mine this way, too! When I post about it, I will be sure to give you a major shout out. Thanks for being one of my very favorite blogs! Feel free to check out mine!
    Jessica
    The ART of Education

  5. TeachKidsArt November 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Neomi,
    Most of my projects are geared for K-6 students, but I've done many of them with older students just by “tweaking” the lesson a bit to develop it further or make it more challenging. You might also want to check out http://www.artsonia.com and type “middle school” into the search bar and you'll get a ton of great lesson ideas!

  6. Peter H. Reynolds December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    An honor to “connect the dots” with you.

    • Cheryl Trowbridge December 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Wow! The honor is all mine, Peter! I LOVE your books and so do my students!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiring all of us with such fun, engaging stories!

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6th Grade Portfolio Project – Follow Your Star!

I’m especially excited about my 6th grade portfolio project! This project is inspired by an amazing book by author/illustrator Peter Reynolds, who created the classic children’s books “The Dot” and Ish. This potentially life-changing book, “The North Star”, is so special, it even has it’s own website! (Check out this site for fun activities for the classroom and home, free resources for educators, and links to other helpful websites…. you can even read the story of “The North Star” in English or Spanish for free online !)


“The North Star” is an allegory of a young child’s journey through life and his discovery that he must follow his own unique path to achieve his dreams. In this story, the child feels lost as he follows the path others have taken, until he realizes that each person has their own journey and their own signs to guide them. That’s when he notices a very bright star, and as he begins to travel in that direction, more stars join it to light his way.

To me, the stars in this story represent the child’s interests, passions, abilities and influences. We each have a unique combination of “stars” in our lives, and “The North Star” encourages us to recognize our stars and connect them to create our own unique “constellation”. Being an allegory, this story is open to interpretation…. so what’s yours??? Ask your students what they think, to start a great discussion on life choices and navigating the course to our true potential. a creative way to get students thinking about what’s really important to them!


1. After reading “The North Star”, make a list of ten or so influences, interests, passions, and things that are especially important to you or inspire you. (hint: These will be nouns!)
2. For each item on your list, draw a circle on the front of your portfolio. Make your circles in a variety of sizes (from 1/4? to about 1?) and in random placement. Make one circle larger than all the others.
3. Next, turn your circles into stars by adding long points both vertically and horizontally. In between each of these points add a shorter diagonal point. Then erase your circles.
4.
Outline your stars with a black UF Sharpie and erase any other pencil lines that are still showing.
5. Inside each star, use your UF Sharpie to write one of your ten influences, passions, etc. Write the one that is most important to you in the biggest star (your “North Star”).
6.
Then, color your stars with a yellow marker.
7. Finally, use your yellow marker and a ruler to connect your stars, making your very own personal constellation!

Subscribe & Connect

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

, , , ,

One Response to 6th Grade Portfolio Project – Follow Your Star!

  1. Peter H. Reynolds December 17, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Thank you for sharing the story and mission of The North Star. I wrote it as a “rescue mission” for other creative spirits on the journey who were not finding their way in the typical maze that public education invited them to navigate. Teaching people to think for themselves is powerful – teaching people that they matter – their voice makes a difference – it is powerful. Be a bit braver – find kindred spirits – be even braver. And believe that is is more good in this world than bad… may that inspire you to carry on!

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