Bring Your Stuffed Animal To School Day...Middle School Style

I read and follow a lot of early elementary blogs (read grades K-2) and I LOVE reading about your pajama parties where students get to bring in their stuffed animals! It’s so cute and working in a middle school it’s not something I thought I would see…but I was wrong.

On Wednesday in my 8th grade reading class, the students had broken into the reading groups. We have one group of kids reading The Darkest Path and another group of kiddos reading They Cage the Animals At Night. If you haven’t read the second one, it’s a super sad, but powerful real life book about the childhood of Jennings Michael Burch (Fun fact: I actually met him and listen to him give a book talk in 6th grade after I read the book myself in my own reading class!).

One constant in Jennings life is a stuffed dog which he appropriately names Doggie. Doggie plays the role of confidant, best friend, and dependable source of comfort for Jennings in this book.

After we had read a chapter together, the students had a written response to complete. One of the students who wasn’t too enthusiastic wanted to draw. I said okay – but with one caveat – he had to draw about an important scene or person in the book and why he was so important to Jennings.

This boy drew the most absolutely adorable picture of Doggie, and labeled it. Hm, what else I pushed him? Why is Doggie SO important to Jennings?

We had just read the section in the book where Jennings finds out his one best friend Mark, who he meets in an orphanage and continues to reconnect with through the book, has died. We were all shocked and saddened.

The student wrote “Doggie will never die on Jennings. He will always be there for him.”

Woah. For some reason this struck me. It was so true and so insightful.

This insightful and sad moment somehow (how do these conversations happen anyways?) led to a discussion of our stuffed animals.

Thus was born Bring in your Stuffed Animal Day.

I’m not joking.

These are 8th GRADERS!

One girl made up an invitation on the computer, printed it and gave it to all 9 students in the class.

The academic caveat of course is that they have to write a paragraph about the importance of the stuffed animal and then present to the class.

We’re also going to make brownies.

I’ll be sure to share pictures on Friday of their stuffed animals in my Five for Friday post.

Right now, I’m off to figure out which one of my stuffed animals I’m going to bring in.

(Come on! Admit it! We all keep stuffed animals from when we were kids! Right ... wait, right??)

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