SOLSC: March 24, 2016: What do you carry in your pocket?


Write. Share. Give. Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers  

This week, I’ve been reviewing a variety of literary devices in preparation for the PARCC, and trying to do so in a meaningful, non-test-prep kind of way.  When I came to symbolism, my  thoughts turned to this video of President Obama:

Let me just say that I loved this video for many reasons, not the least of which is that it reminds me of the sort of gracious, intelligent and thoughtful man that our President is – how I will miss him!  But, I loved the idea of pockets that hold symbols of what we value and hope for.  What would three symbols would I have in my pocket?

  • My grandmother’s Mathematics gold medal.  She won it at a time when girls in India were not encouraged to go to school, much less achieve academically or (in her case) spectacularly.  But she did.  She was not allowed to pursue her dreams of going into medicine, and her education ended with that gold medal, but it serves as a symbol of perseverance for me.
  • I’ve saved a lace from the first sneakers each of my kids wore; they’re knotted fast together and gritty from many a puddle and stray juice bottle.  They probably smell a bit, too – but they symbolize what love is all about:messy, knotty, but for always.
  • And then there is a button I saved from a terrible jacket my husband Scott owned from his college summer job days – it was dirt brown and boxy, with a huge tag that read (in orange!): TAFT FURNITURE MOVER.  It also had an orange quilted lining.  It was horrid.  But, Scott loved that jacket and wore it to run all sorts of errands outside our house! So,  I “lost” it  (what other choice was there?).  But I did save a button, a symbol of my husband’s work ethic, which our children have always admired and aspired to.

My students came up with so many variations of symbolism – so many items that connected them to parents, grandparents, memories, and dreams.  Symbolism, we discovered, is part of our every day lives…

What three items would you carry in your pockets, and what would they symbolize?










23 thoughts on “SOLSC: March 24, 2016: What do you carry in your pocket?

  1. I watched this video the other day on Facebook and fell in love with Obama all over again. It shows his gentle and giving nature. I love how you used it as a writing prompt. The things you carry are symbolic of who you are, too. A caring and loving mother and wife. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This post says so much about you. I’m going to save my three things for a post myself. I read the part about your grandmother over twice. It represents so much. Gave me much food for thought about women and education and doing the things people don’t expect us to do.

  3. As I sit here to think about your final question, I am stumped. I don’t know what I would have. I find it interesting that your students were able to select items that represent their lives.

  4. Your slice has me thinking…I think I’ll ponder this all day and tomorrow tell you! You model for me so well. I love the 3 objects you picked because of the strong story connected to each. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  5. A wonderful piece! I love the idea of writing about symbols through the things we carry in our pockets. I love all your examples, particularly the one about your grandmother. I am thinking of those three items – of photo of my grandfather and me on his birthday as he blows out the candles on his cake, my mom’s handkerchief with her initials stitched onto it, and a button from my father’s army jacket from World War II. Possible room for revision as I continue to ponder this final question you have posed!

  6. I love this–I have a few things that symbolize much more on my writing desk (that I don’t usually write on, but that’s beside the point!). I have a glass globe paperweight my Dad gave me in high school; a poem about why he gave it to me that means the world (ha ha) to me. I also have a mermaid that I bought at my favorite shop here in Duck, NC, that is just sultry enough–I love her. 🙂 Thanks for making me think of these things…that are too big to fit in my pocket, now that I think about it!

  7. Here’s something we’ll be doing when we come back from spring break. Mine would include my mother’s rosary to symbolize both family and the faith she grounded us in; a snippet of a pinata that my late husband saved from our fairy goddaughter’s Sweet 16 to represent love; and library cards to remind us that books can take us anywhere.

  8. This is such a wonderful prompt! It really makes you think about what is important in your life. I will have to ponder it some more, and it may just show up in a slice! Thank you, Tara, for letting us know a little bit more about you and what you value.

  9. Read this earlier – but when to retweet and forgot to comment –love everything about this post!!! Trying to think about my 3… and wishing I had saved those shoelaces!! So smart!!!!! We will share this with teachers.

  10. You have me thinking. Your keepsakes connected you to what matters. Symbols of who you are and what you want to hold on to. The tactile nature of these objects interest me. Something we can run our fingers over again and again.
    And thank you for the video. I will miss his humanity.

  11. First I will also miss the guy – What a wonderful President he has been. I want to know what he will do next!
    I love the three symbols you choose. This has me thinking. It is an interesting and wonderful task to add to my day! Thanks

  12. Not a question with a quick answer. It requires quite a bit of thinking. Great slice. Your three symbols are so meaningful and interesting. Even unexpected.

  13. First, thanks for the video. I will miss him too, & hope that this election year turns into something positive. Second, what a wonderful thing to contemplate what I might carry. In my purse, I carry a special little card that Arvie gave me a long time ago, reminding me of the love we had. What I’ve saved from the kids: two teething toys, a plastic safety pin and a rubber pretzel. I love that you saved those shoestrings. Thanks for starting us thinking about those “pocket” treasures, Tara.

  14. So love this. Was just having a conversation with fifth grade teachers about teaching symbolism. I shared your post.

  15. Now THIS sounds like fun! My students would love this activity. In my pockets: 1) a little Star Wars Yoda action figure to remind me of hours spent making up “story lines” with my sons while they acted out action figure adventures; 2) a marble from Granny’s Chinese checkers set; 3) a golf tee to remind me of my first date with my husband.

  16. I love this post! Such a wonderful activity about truly thinking. As a Canadian, I must say I feel so very sad that Obama will not be the US president soon. Sad and worried.

  17. I love thinking about what would be in my pocket. A little white pebble to remind me of the Rhode Island beach–my favorite place–is definitely in there. If I could have a big pocket, then I would have my father’s spectacles to remind me of him, but also of the different ways and perspectives to see an event, and a star to represent the five people who are the core of my whole existence. Love this concept, Tara!

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