I have always wanted to make a bag with a class mascot, like a monkey or something. The kids would take him home for a few days and then send it back to school. They would write about they did in a journal, color or take a picture and then share the experience with the class. Does anyone else do this? What do you put in the bag? Do you have a letter already to send home? I need guidance. Thanks
We do a short unit on Friendship using Marc Brown's Arthur. For the take home journal, we read "Arthur's Sleep over" and I give the kids a stuffed arthur doll and a journal to write in. They each get to take Arthur home for a "sleepover" and they wriite a page in the journal about what they did with Arthur (Arthur came to watch me play hockey, Arthur had dinner with my family...) The next day they read their entry to the class. They Love it!
I send home Toby the Traveling Teddy. I introduce him to the class the first day of school, and he comes with us as we explore the school, class photo, every special event for the first while he comes along in someone's arms. He sits in story corner showing good listening skills, and helps me with health lessons. In a month or so the kids love him. Then I tell them the great news - Toby can visit their homes! A letter goes home a few weeks before the visits start, and a copy of the letter is in the front page of the diary he travels with. It tells parents about the project, and explains how they can help the child write in the diary. It also explains Toby is allergic to smoke and must stay in the child's room if someone smokes in the house.
He also comes with his own backpack (from Build a Bear) which includes his sleeping bag. The children write in the diary what they did together. Before they leave the school I take a digital photo of the child and Toby together, to use to illustrate the diary page. I like having it in a journal so the family can look through it during Toby's visit. The first few pages are done as Toby visits my house, my assistant's, the principal and others. One year our school superintendent even took him for a day. The diary page is shared when it's returned, read aloud by the student, and another name is drawn for Toby's next visit. As the bears wear out, and are replaced, they stay in the room on the "retired bears" shelf and can be used for free reading, or when a child is not feeling well.
When the bear returns, 30 minutes in the drier or 3 hours in a bag in the freezer will ensure there are no unwanted pests traveling with him and his backpack to the next home.
Toby rotates though the children's homes twice. It takes about two months each time. He doesn't go home on weekends, just my preference, because I lost one when he spent a weekend. We have a Teddy Bears Picnic where Toby invites the children to bring a stuffed animal to school for the day, and to sleep over with him in the room. When we arrive the next day, the place is a mess, and there are tired bears playing games, having pillow fights, eating, hiding, sleeping, listening to music, etc. There is lots to write about that morning!
I stole an idea from this board where a teacher sent her class a summer postcard of her mascot laying on a lawn chair in the sunshine with a lemonade, and he wished them all a happy summer. I liked that idea.
At years end Toby's diaries are two of the items I raffle off so one child gets to take each one home.
Make sure it is washable. I had a lion that went home. I washed it the first time it came back and his mane shrunk down to nothing. The next year I got a different lion and we had the worse case of lice ever in my teaching (12 kids in my room) boy was I glad it was washable!!!.
I love having something to send home.. I call it our 1P Pride Journal. Our school mascot is a lion and my last name starts with a P. At the beginning of the year I talk about being part of a 1P family and it is like a lion's pride. We also talk about things we can be proud of: The journal is to write things they are proud of about themselves. One is for about themselves, one for about being part of our classroom and one is something they can do that they are proud of. They draw a pic of them and the lion doing something together. I love it. They bring it in and share with the class.
My assistant and I do one each the first two weeks of school to demonstrate so the children know what to do when they get it and how to report it to the class.
Last edited by teach4fun; 06-17-2008 at 06:01 PM..
Reason: added on
first with curious george and then with a teddy in a flight suite. My last year in first I auctioned him and his super cute backpack off. I'll have to replace it if I end up going back to first next year That was a fun one!
I do this with my student of the week program. I have a Curious George who goes home for the weekend with the chosen student. They write in George's Journal (a spiral notebook) and this year the kids added photos. I am always the first one to demonstrate for the kids. They LOVE it. Luckily we finish with student of the week before school is out, and I let the kids read the journal for reading time if they want. It becomes the most popular book in the library!
Oh, I have a letter I send home with my student of the week explaining the program on their week. I will attach it.
I love your Top Banana letter (that is what I also call my student of the week. I want to make a bag with a monkey on it and/Top Banana) Do you mind sharing a copy of the form/poster that the kids fill out to tell about themselves?
This is a great idea-since I have a monkey theme I will adopt Curious George as our class mascot
Have you been able to find a Curious George journal (now I have something else to look for) or do you just use the 70sheet spiral notebook
thanks everyone for sharing these wonderful ideas!!!
Each week, we have a Star Student, who gets to take home our stuffed dog, Cuddles, for the weekend. The student will write in our journal (a 3 ring binder), what he or she did with Cuddles over the weekend, and then adds pictures, and bring this back on Monday to share with the class. On Tuesday, the star will share a poster he or she made that tells us about him/her. On Wednesday, the star brings in his/her favorite book to share, on Thursday the star will bring in a show and tell, and then on Friday, we present the star with letters each child wrote about why the student is a star. I create a book with the letters. All the kids love to hear me read their letters to the star, and of course the star feels so good about him/herself because of what the children always write. I give a sentence starter...."I think (name) is a Star because............." And the parents will email me about how they love to read the book with their child.
I am defnintely using this idea in my class. I have a jungle theme this year so the animal will be a monkey or a lion. I'm thinking of having a lion and naming him Leo. I had a shark one year and had a student take him home on a Friday and bring him back on a Monday and that worked out well. I used a journal for my shark but I like the diary idea. Thanks for sharing!!!
Oh, yes! This reminds me of when I sent a monkey representing the spirit of Curious George home with students in a little suitcase. He would go home for the weekend and share experiences with the students. There was a journal with instructions to teach him some manners since he wasn't bad, just 'curious'. Students would log in the concepts they taught him and then share with the class.
This was a fun thing until he went to church with Jacquelyn and he ran away. She lost him at church. A boy generously replaced him with a surrogate monkey but it was never the same.
But, since your post jogged my memory I think I'll dust off this idea and try again. I think I am over Curious George getting lost at church now thanks to you!
I love this idea. I have sort of an animal theme in my room. I use an alligator to help teach phonics so I think I will get another gator and use it has our mascot. I love the top bananna bag. I might change it to the Top Gator bag. How did you make it? I am not very creative in that department.
My daughter's first grade class did this last year. The teacher decided to use a plastic hippo with a journal. The kids had to write what they did with "Henry" for the evening. The stories stayed in the journal and were also fun to read. Sometimes parents had to help write, others wrote their own stories. The reason the teacher chose a plastic animal is because the year before she had a horrible problem with lice in her class and she wasn't about to take any chances! My daughter loved it!
This is a literacy bag that I'm making with a Clifford theme. I'm going to put a traveling Clifford in the bag along with a journal. It might need some adjusting ~ I typed it in one of my teacher fonts. I'm also going to do one for "Chester's Way" and have a traveling raccoon with a journal.
Feel free to use it! I actually found it on someone's website (I've been looking at so many lately that I can't remember where ) and I changed some of it to fit my needs. I only made a journal cover. I was planning on putting it on construction paper and laminating it, then just using first grade writing paper (we have the kind with the illustration box at the top) and binding it all together.
I think making a journal page is a great idea, especially to start the year. I'm making a bag for each month, and the Clifford bag is going home later in the year (I'm going to send home "The Kissing Hand" w/ a stuffed Chester earlier in the year) so I'm hoping that by the time Clifford goes home, the kids will have developed enough writing skills to write independently, without prompts. I think the camera is a good idea too. You could add in the parent letter to take one picture of something Clifford did and then add all of the pictures to his journal at the end. The kids will love that!
Thanks. I think your right about the journal. I will start the prompts at the beginning of the year and take them away as the children develop their writing skills. Here is what I made. Still working on the pictures of my alligator since the puppet is at school and I cant get to it.
Sorry I tried to post my letter but could not because I am not a junior memeber yet.
Last edited by rachg8r; 06-28-2008 at 06:35 AM..
Reason: couldn't post
I saw on another post where a teacher incorporates webkinz into her take home animal. She provides the codes and allows the children to go online. She also asks each child to find out one fact about the animal and write it in a journal.