Creating a Whirligig

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments


After studying Paul Fleischman’s novel “Whirligig” and viewing “Pay it Forward”, students were asked to make their own personal whirligigs, mobiles, or ya-ya boxes that demonstrated their personal journeys.

The teacher provided the following instructions:

Create your own version of a whirligig that represents who you are and what you want to be known for. A mobile would have items hanging from it that represent your likes, dislikes, accomplishments (what helped you achieve them), and future goals (what you need to achieve them). A ya-ya box would have images or things that represent who you are on the outside, or how people see you, and what/who helped shape you; and then, the inside of the box would represent what people don’t know about you and/or your future aspirations, and what/who will help you achieve them.


Student Work Sample

Teacher Reflection

This student’s work illustrates self-determination, and to an extent, self-regulation. He shows self-awareness and understanding of how people saw him versus how he saw himself. He included what he liked and didn’t like and demonstrated acceptance of the path he experienced.


I recognize my value and advocate for my rights. I take responsibility for my choices, my actions, and my achievements.

I have valuable ideas to share. I am willing to explore controversial issues, and I can imagine and work toward change in myself and in the world. I can set priorities; implement, monitor, and adjust a plan; and assess the results. I take responsibility for my learning, seeking help as I need it. I use strategies for working toward a healthy and balanced lifestyle, for dealing with emotional challenges, and for finding peace in stressful times. I know how to find the social support I need.


I communicate clearly and purposefully, using a variety of forms appropriately.

I share my ideas and try to connect them to others’ ideas. I am an active listener—I make connections and ask clarifying and extending questions when appropriate.   for my audience and create communications that focus on a variety of purposes and audiences. I acquire the information I need for specific tasks and for my own interests and present it clearly.