I recently saw a post on Facebook that Target had a doll with a musical shirt with solfege. I had to run to Target to check it out. While I was there, I also saw a doll with paintbrushes on her shirt. The dolls were part of the Pillowfort collection and can be found in the children's bedroom section. They are named the Composer and the Artist on the Target website and retail for $16.99 each. Even though I had already spent a lot of my personal money on school supplies, I decided that these dolls needed to become part of my classrooms (I teach both music and art).
I first introduced the dolls as our classroom mascots. I told the students they would get to help choose their names. For a week, I had two baskets sitting by the dolls for students to submit name suggestions. I narrowed the suggestions down to about 5 or 6 that were inspired by music or art.
The most unique music name was a combination of "xylophone" and "Kylie". A kindergartener mashed the words together to form "Xylie". There were many more suggestions I did not choose, including several "Keke" submissions inspired by the recent viral video challenge. But my favorite suggestions were John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
I wanted students to vote on their favorite names secretly but also avoid me counting a thousand tiny slips of paper. So, I created a simple Google Form. Here is a link to a sample form if you would like to see how it looks from the students perspective. Feel free to vote and predict what my students chose if you haven't already scrolled to reveal the results.
When creating the form, I changed the settings so that students did not have to log in with a Google account. I also changed a setting allowing them to vote for more than one name if they wished.
At the start of each class, I select two students to take care of DJ and Sapphire. I tell them that if they are not treating them nicely, I will select someone new to take care of them. We have not had any issues so far and all grade levels are excited about our mascots. Almost everyone is eager to volunteer to hold them. Honestly, I was surprised at how many older boys raised their hands to hold the dolls. I try to pick one girl and one boy during each class to hold them.
The mascots are certainly making an impact on my class. One 4th grade student, in particular, surprised me when he raised his hand to volunteer. This student frequently causes disruptions and removes himself from the group refusing to participate. I explained to him that if he took care of DJ, he had to remain with the class, fully participate, and treat her nicely. He agreed and took his job very seriously. I was amazed to see a different side from him!
Here are some action shots of DJ and Sapphire on the mallets.
DJ and Sapphire are a wonderful addition to my classrooms. I'm glad I bought them. If these dolls are too expensive for your budget, you could turn any doll or stuffed animal into a classroom mascot. You could use some musical fabric to make a little scarf or vest. You could use puff paint or glue felt to add a music notes to some plain doll clothes. You could get really fancy if someone you know has an embroidery machine or a Cricut machine that cuts vinyl. If you create a classroom mascot, I'd love for you to share a picture on my Facebook page. A link is at the bottom of this post.
A student came up to me yesterday afternoon and said that she saw DJ's twin sister at Target. She convinced her mom to buy it for her. I asked her what she named her and she said "Rebecca" which is my name! My heart melted!
Share a classroom mascot pic!
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