What I Learned About Teaching From Toy Story

With three boys under the age of 11, I have watched Toy Story once or twice. Toy Story is a little magical to me. It makes me laugh and cry. It inspires me. It is an experience I love to share with my boys. During my latest viewing, I realized the toys were not just providing entertainment, but they were teaching me to become a better member of my school community.

Here are a few things I learned:

1. Celebrate and embrace the unique strengths of community members .
The toys in Andy’s room were all different, and each of them brought some thing unique to the room. Whether playing with Andy or rescuing a friend from Sid’s clutches, the unique strengthens of each toy made each endeavor a success. In our school community, we must draw upon the unique strengths of each member.

2. We have to do what is right and not what is easy.
Andy would never dream of going to cowboy camp without Woody. But when Woody’s arm is damaged, he makes the hard choice to leave Woody behind. Woody was not happy about this, but Andy needed to keep Woody safe. In our school community, we must do what is right and not what us easy. Even if some do. It understand or agree.

3. If we become vulnerable and trust, a new world can open up.
Jessie did not believe that a child could love her again. She had been abandoned once and had no desire to put herself out there again. But if she had not, she would have missed out on some of the greatest adventures of her life. In school, we must open up and trust in each other. We must be willing to be vulnerable. If not, we face isolation and loneliness. We live in a dark closed up box.

4. Have a plan. But know that plans change.
The toys ended up in some tough situation, but they faced each challenge head on with a plan tucked I their back pocket. We must plan for success, but also be responsive to the needs of the moment.

5. Plans work better when put together and pulled off together as a team.
The toys did not work alone. When one thought it was hopeless, someone was right behind them to help them out. Buzz was ready to give up, but Woody was not going to let that happen. The toys always came together when one often was in trouble. The toys were stronger when they were together. Just as we are stronger when we work as a team. We must also be willing to reach out and help a teammate. Even if they don’t want our help.

6. And of course, you’ve got a friend in me.
The toys never gave up on each other. They stood by each other. They relied on each other. They enjoyed each other. They challenged each other. They had fun together. They were a family. Think of what our schools would be like if we lived this way.

Wishing you adventures, fun, and a lot of magic.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “What I Learned About Teaching From Toy Story

  1. Love each one of these “learnings”.

  2. Loved it and especially how you supported it with evidence from the movie….what a fun way to connect viewing and writing and even some CCSS…I am sure that isn’t what you wanted to hear…but going to challenge my students to do it…I am going to do my own first….

  3. I love Toy Story and I love this post! I can relate with every single one on your list.

  4. They’re all important, but I think #4 is huge.

    And now I need to watch “Toy Story.” Would you believe I’ve never seen it? (At least I know what it is and that there’s a character named Woody in it, right?!!?)

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