Every now and then, I come across an assignment that absolutely rocks in my classroom. I borrow from others, and make my own, to figure out what works best in my classes. Well, I got this one from someone else, and I tweaked it a bit to make it perfect for my group. I actually completed one myself this semester (I have not in previous semesters I have used the assignment), and I will share it below with you. Feel free to steal and use, as we all know teaching is all about hunting and gathering for ideas!!
The assignment is simple. Give the students a ziploc bag (any size will do) and talk about how we all have our own bags of “stuff” that define us. Talk about what defines them, and what makes them who they are. For example, in my class yesterday, we discussed religious beliefs, personality, sense of humor, looks, political affiliation, race and gender, sexuality…NONE of these things are tangible. So, the challenge is to put THINGS to these nonphysical attributes, to bring something tangible to the table that will represent their characteristics of who they are. So, the one student is a mom, and she said she could bring in a Memory match card from her daughter’s game at home to symbolize her hobby of playing with her kid. PERFECT. BAZINGA! So, their assignment was to bring in no fewer than seven things, and they had to write no fewer than five sentences about each thing, and put those items in their “Me Bag”. Then tomorrow, they will present their bags in class so that their classmates can get to know them, and they can share things that are important to them. See? Brilliant. And I came up with this idea by only reading the two words “Me Bag” on someone else’s syllabus I was able to access as an example for my own.
Below, find my essay example as well as a picture of what I put it in my Me Bag. Enjoy!
My Me Bag Assignment
In my Me Bag, I have put items that define me and make me who I am. They are a part of my life in big ways, and I feel that you will know more about me through these items than through anything else. First, you will see a picture of my husband. He has been my rock and my love since the day we met. We met at the House of Blues in Cleveland, and I had a blue Mohawk. The night we met, I told my mom I was going to marry him; I just knew. We got married on St Patrick’s Day in 2007, making this year our seventh of marriage and ninth of being together. I wouldn’t be here in front of you if it weren’t for him.
Next is our Christmas picture from this year; in it you will see my three girls. Caelan is five, Ellery is three, and Finola is 6 months old. They are best friends, sisters, playmates, and my reason for being. They have changed my life in ways innumerable, and without them, I can’t imagine life. Being a mother is the best thing I have ever done. Being a teacher is one of my favorite jobs, but it will never compare to being Mommy.
I have put two Bead for Life bracelets in here as well. Bead for Life is one of my favorite charities. They are based out of Seattle, and they bring women in Uganda out of poverty by showing them how to make recycled paper into jewelry and shea nuts into shea butter products. They enroll them in business classes, and they teach them how to provide for their families when they wouldn’t have been able to without that interaction. I buy bracelets and necklaces from them, and my goal is to be able to send them donations just to send a girl to school every year (they allow people to do that as well). I believe strongly in women’s education and opportunities, and this is one way I can do it while getting beautiful and fun pieces to wear. I am a bracelet hog, and never leave without at least two on at all times, so this fits me perfectly.
Speaking of bracelets, next is my religious symbol bracelet. I am a Diet Coke Catholic (I am on board with about 90% of what they believe in, with none of the guilt). Without my faith, life would be a lot different. But I don’t get preachy, nor appreciate others doing it to me. I live my faith in my private life, with my family and friends, and am always willing to talk about it if it comes up. I believe strongly in choice of faith and freedom of religion, and I appreciate the freedom to believe and worship as I choose.
I love owls. They are probably my favorite bird ever, so I have thrown in an owl magnet. We have five of these on our fridge, one for each of us, and the red one is mine. Owls are symbols of education and wisdom, I have no idea why but go with it. I love that they are so majestic and strong. And they eat mice, which I am all about ridding the world of.
doTERRA essential oils have changed the way I live and treat anything that may ail my family, while enhancing our lives. I use them for everything, and I now am an independent product consultant. I help others learn how oils can help them live their lives better and more naturally without chemicals and medicinal side effects. I can use them on my body, in my home, as cleaners and medicines and mood enhancement agents. There is an oil for everything, truly, and I am thankful to have them in my life.
Clear nail polish is an essential. I have just recently discovered the magic of clear nail polish instead of colors from my good friend, Paula. I used to do colors and fun stuff. But I never had the time to maintain it. As a mom with three small children, and two jobs, I do not have time for the nonsense. So, I throw on clear every few days to keep it up, and it looks good and clean, polished and professional. And I have even dabbled in matte clear; I know, I’m such a rebel.
Fahrenheit 451 is my favorite book of all time. It has changed the way I see literature, books, and their importance. My sixth grade teacher made us pick a banned book to read and report on, and I chose this one. Well, he chose it for me when I couldn’t decide. He said it would change my life, and it so did. I don’t want to give it away, but it is about a society that burns books, and firemen are the ones who set fires. The symbolism and similarities to our world are striking. Read it. Seriously. Ray Bradbury is a genius.
Lastly, you will see a journal. I bought this to write in, and I haven’t even put to pen in it yet. It is so pretty and delicate. And it’s made from recycled materials, which is a big deal for this crunchie girl. The quote on the cover caught my eye: “We write to taste life twice,” Anais Nin. This was in the Target One Spot, and I had to have it. One day I will put something magical in it, but until then, it will be my companion. I love it. Writing has made me who I am, and I will tell you all more about that later, but know that I am only alive because of writing; I write to live and live to write. That is why teaching it is so important to me. It can, and does, save lives. I am a testament to that.