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!
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!