Book inspired character, confidence in Maryville City Schools students

When many kids want to blend in, one book reminded them it’s OK to stand out.
Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 5:43 PM EST
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - When many kids want to blend in, one book reminded them it’s OK to stand out.

A book called “Be You” by Peter Reynolds has done just that thanks to teachers in Maryville City Schools who used it in their curriculum.

They’ve brought ideas off the pages and into the hearts and minds of students.

Claymation movies weren’t typically a topic of student for elementary school students.

“They absolutely show lots of different things that you don’t necessarily see in the classroom with math and science and reading and all of those things,” said Kristie Arendale, school counselor at Foothills Elementary School.

Teachers at Foothills have used the book “Be You” to weave themes into art, music and gym as well as other classes.

“In art class I chose “be different.” And we talk about how we are all different and we are all unique and how we can incorporate that into our projects whether that’s in our projects or the way that we draw or add in details about ourselves,” said Mary Carbonell, art teacher at Foothills.

STEM teacher Alyson Colclough said, “I have really seen them grow and become more curious and really look for those different answers and different ways to solve problems.”

These two teachers saw students develop after teaming up on the claymation project that used topics from “Be You.”

“I think this year I’ve just really seen him grow,” said Julee Hill.

Hill’s a part-time gym teacher and a full-time mom. She’s seen her second-grade son, Kaiser, blossom.

“I send him to school every day knowing that I don’t have to worry about him because he’s being pushed to grow,” explained Hill.

“I feel really creative and I feel like I’m really happy inside,” said Molly Rinck, a third-grade student at Foothills.

It’s taught Rinck to celebrate differences and gave her confidence.

“I really like it and I’m glad we get to do it,” said Rinck.

It’s the differences that unite everyone to make the world a little better place.

“We’re not all the same but we can bring those things together to make our community even better,” said Arendale.

The books were purchased with a Maryville City Schools foundation grant. A foundation grant also sponsored the claymation project.

The teachers plan to use “Be You” for years to come.

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