Creating a Whirligig

Illustration Elements


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.

Profile Analysis

Personal Awareness and Responsibility

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.