[This is a sample that I created for a project with my 10th grade English students. It is from SpringBoard Level 5, Unit 1, EA 1. ]
One of my symbols is a mallard that I sewed when I was in the eighth grade. I chose to sew a mallard for my home economics class because of a significant event when I was eight years old. Soon after we moved to Lakeland, when I was five, my mom discovered Lake Morton. We went there so much when I was a kid. It was a place to relax, to hang out, and it was a place to feed bread to the birds. When I was about eight, an old mallard even stayed still long enough for me to approach and pet it. It didn’t run away! I’ve tried to replicate that even with every animal ever since. I am amused by birds and love their colors. My mom taught me how to identify birds when I was a kid, and she bought me a several thousand page bird book when I was an adult. My husband has put three birdbaths and two birdfeeders in the yard. In order to relax, I even bike to Lake Morton as an adult to feed the birds.
My second symbol is a “book” that I made. My parents made sure there were books in the house when I was growing up, and they never seemed to mind buying us more books. My mom read to my brother and me every night before bed when I was in elementary school. If we wanted to know something and asked her about it, she would say, “Do I look like a dictionary? Go look it up.” She made sure we had a huge dictionary and other reference materials and would take me to the library if I needed to go. This was all before the Internet. As we got older, Mom would let us stay up thirty minutes later if we were in bed reading. Reading let me do all the things I was too scared to do. I could travel, fall in love, and have adventures. Reading let me leave my mundane life and explore the world. I became aware of cultures and perspectives I would never have known about had I not read. Reading became my gateway to knowledge of the world outside of myself and a gateway to compassion and empathy for others. Through the world of words, I came to understand others, and as a result, myself.
I chose to create a mobile using my ten symbols. I am not a hoarder nor do I collect trash; I had to look around my house quite a bit over a two-week time span in order to find artifacts to represent me. It took some time for me to collect the “garbage” that is on my mobile. My husband and I recycle and reuse as many items as we can. If I do not have the time to turn the plastic newspaper bags into “fabric,” then I collect them and turn them in at Publix for recycling. We also recycle our glass and aluminum cans, newspapers, and cardboard boxes in a recycling bin that the city picks up, so I do have cardboard and cans in the garage, but that gets emptied every week. I created the plastic bag a couple years ago and use it to get groceries so that I don’t have to use any more plastic bags, and I made the fabric United States out of fabric scrap and stuffed it with plastic bags. I even made the book out of cardboard from the recycle bin and stationary paper from my stash consists mainly of stationary (I love writing notes!) and covered it in contact paper that I’ve been keeping for a few years. Thus, my mobile consists mainly of repurposed (or recycled) items.
I organized my mobile by category. The items related to family are in the middle because the duck is quite heavy compared to the other items, and the middle was the only place it would balance. I then tied the basil above the duck. Next, I grouped the food, travel, politics, and hobby items around the family category, creating a balanced arrangement of the multiple interests that I have.