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Learning Characters

Husky(3)husky filmGiraffe(1)

Dear children,

My pack and I lived in Arctic Siberia when I was a young cub. We lived happily alongside the Chukchi people, helping them by pulling their sleds from place to place through the thick snow. We played with the children and kept them entertained, watching over them and keeping guard. More than this, we were their friends and companions.

One bitterly cold morning, I was given news that I really had not been expecting; we were going travelling to a place called Alaska in Canada! At first, I was a little bit worried about the idea of going somewhere new. I didn’t know where this ‘Canada’ place was, nor what we would do there or what my life would be like. I started to become a bit nervous: my paws began to shake and I felt my heart beating really fast. I started to panic and felt a tear run down my furry face, when it suddenly dawned on me. I had been looking at this all wrong. So badly wrong! This was a chance to try something different. A new feeling replaced the old one; I was suddenly full of excitement and anticipation.

When I first arrived in Canada, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I was talking to some of my oldest packmates when suddenly it occurred to me: I would become the greatest ever Husky Sled Racer. I told them my new dream and waited for their response. One said “You? A racer?” Another cried “But you don’t even know how to race!” Whilst another chuckled “You do know how much you’ll have to train for this, don’t you?” I paused and smiled at them. “Practice makes perfect. If I don’t try then I’ll never know. If I was afraid of something going wrong, I would never do anything at all!”

On the first day of my training, I was speeding along the icy-cold surface as fast as my paws could take me. I was on top of the world, the wind billowing through my fur, when SMACK! I tripped and somersaulted head first into a pile of thick snow. I was truly a humiliated husky! For a split second, I lay there, wondering if I would ever be good enough to be taken seriously for my racing. Pulling myself to my paws, I shook the snow off my body and started again. And again. And again. With each fall, each mistake, I learnt how to be a better racer.

Five years on, now look at me. Through my hours of effort I have now become so successful I was even part of a film about my racing! 

Thanks for listening to my story! I hope you don’t mind, but I’m quite enjoying my summer holiday in England; d’you mind if I stick around for a bit? I was hoping to stay on my warm perch, guarding the classroom like I used to back in Siberia, keeping an eye out for anyone Having a Go…

My wise mother husky used to tell me this poem every morning to start the day, so I hoped you might start each day this week saying it too…                                      

                            To learn what lessons life has in store                                                                You must be willing to open every door                                                                  If you don’t try you’ll never know,                                   All you can do is have a go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear children,

Sorry I’ve taken so long to introduce myself; as you have probably noticed I’ve been busy enjoying your school over the past week since I first arrived here. Before I share a bit about who I am, would you try something for me? I’ve put together a few clues about my story; can you imagine what it might be?

As a young calf living in a beautiful savanna in North Africa, I was responsible for listening carefully as my grandfather and grandmother told us stories of the giraffes who had roamed these lands before us. They told me it was my job to learn the stories, to memorize them so that one day I could pass them on to young giraffe calves and continue the cycle.

I tried desperately to learn these tales, practising them as I grazed on the twigs of trees. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the details to stick. I didn’t want to let my family down: all I wanted was to make sure these special stories were remembered.

Near the point of giving up, I was grumpily pulling off bark from the branches of my favourite tree when an idea appeared. It occurred to me; a tongue this long and flexible might be useful for more than just gripping food. So I put it to use. Knocking fruits to the ground, I began to mix their juices to make dyes and paints. Using my tongue, I painted the most beautiful pictures: pictures of animals living long ago; pictures of the most amazing adventures; pictures that told a thousand words. All the words that my memory could not retain.

I kept my paintings for many years, holding onto the precious memories of my family’s history, ready for the time when I would share these most special stories. When that day arrived, I gathered the young calves close under the shade of my ‘Eureka’ tree. I lay down the pictures in front of them, ready to pass on the stories as I had once been asked to. To my surprise, the calves began to smile and laugh before I had even begun. Looking at the paintings, they began to create the most wonderful stories, bringing to life all of my colours and details with their excitement and joy. And with that, I let go of the memories of my old stories and finally allowed my imagination to run free.

I had always thought I was a failure for not being able to remember the original stories and pass them on as I had been asked. Now, I realise that I was given a far greater treasure; my imagination. And boy have I made the most of it since!

 

 

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