3.05.2015

Tricks and Tips for Teachers: Black Sock Erasers {A Weekly Linky}

{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

Happy Thursday friends! Or as I like to call it, Happy Friday Eve!

Let's jump right into this week's teaching trick/tip, shall we?!

In my classroom we use personal whiteboards every day! They are a wonderful {and copy/paper free} tool for learning in the classroom! Students love using them to show their work and I love using them to assess their learning! I love everything about personal student whiteboards except for one little big thing: 


Dry Erase Board Erasers

*insert cringe here*

These erasers and I are just not friends. Trust me, I've tried!! Here are some of my issues with them:

1. They are large and in charge--they don't fit easily into a pencil box and as a result get lost in the black hole that my students call their desk. 
2. They don't last year after year. They become pin cushions for my students pencil tips and fingers. Plus the felt part gets dirty quickly and then becomes a smearer instead of an eraser. 
3. At $2-3 a piece replacing them for a whole classroom quickly becomes expensive.

The problem is that a dry erase board without a dry erase board eraser is well...pointless. Personal student white boards are not a one time use board. Students need to be able to use and reuse them which ultimately requires some sort of eraser OR a class supply of Tide pens on hand for all of the sleeves that are used instead. So, I had to figure out another way for students to erase! 

I was at teacher heaven one day, aka The Dollar Tree, when I found my answer:
*insert angelic music here*

Black socks? How did I not think of this before? They are the perfect dry erase board eraser!

1. They are small and are easy to store!
My students just keep their dry erase marker right in their sock and keep both in their pencil box for easy access! They keep their pencil box on top of their white board in their desk so that they can pull it out and be ready in 3 seconds flat! No wasted time here!!

2. They last year after year--I'm on year 3 with these socks! 

3. They are affordable!
I was able to get 6 socks for only $1! Be still my bargain heart! OR you can always raid your family's lost sock drawer at home for free socks too!

The best part for my OCD heart is that they don't show their dirtiness like a white sock would or white felt on an eraser does! And when I do want or need them cleaned I can just collect them, take them home, and throw them in my washer machine! *winning*

This has worked SO well for our classroom! I will never go back to the dry erase board erasers for my students again! 

And if I can have a quick squirrel moment here---one thing I will say is that when it comes to classroom management of the socks and erasers, I hold my students to high expectations for using them and keeping them in the right places. If students are not using them correctly (goofing around with them or swinging socks in the air) or are not keeping them in their pencil box (for example, if I find a sock lying on the floor after we are done using them) they lose the privilege of using this great learning tool for the day and have to use scrap paper and pencils while the rest of the class uses white boards. My students LOVE getting to use their white boards, so it usually only takes one time of having to use a scrap paper and pencil during white board time to keep them motivated to make good choices with them! 

What tricks and tips do you have up your sleeve? I can't wait to read all about them!


2.26.2015

Tricks and Tips for Teachers: Reuse Disinfecting Wipe Containers for Storage {A Weekly Linky}

Happy Thursday!
{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

I love this Thursday linky party! Not only do we get to share great tricks and tips, but Thursday also means that tomorrow is Friday!! We can make it friends! :)

This week's teaching tip is on Reusing Disinfecting Wipe Containers for Storage!
Let's just admit it--this picture pretty much summarizes how teachers feel about containers!

Lol -gotta love that baby face!

When I got my teaching job I was blessed to have lots of great math manipulatives, but most of them were in ziploc bags. Talk about teacher nightmare! They wouldn't stay sealed or sit or stack well in the cabinet. To say the least I was tired of playing manipulative spill pick up when ziploc bags came spilling out of the cabinet or weren't sealed properly! There was only one solution for this problem--I had to get some containers and get them fast! But containers also cost money and I'm always looking for budget friendly ways to get things for my classroom! And FREE is the best kind of deal, right?!

So I was looking around my classroom wondering, where can I find containers to store some of these manipulatives. In particular, where could I store the hundreds of play money I had lurking in those ziploc bags.

I remember using the last wipe in a Lysol container and just as I was about to toss it in the trash can had a light bulb moment! Insert Gru impression here:


These containers were just the right size to hold my plastic money math manipulatives! The top stays sealed, the containers can be stacked, and best of all they were FREE containers! I just took off the label, cleaned out the inside of the empty Lysol container, added my own label, and BOOM I had some new free storage!
I also liked that not only did the the tops seal tight, but they also are easy enough for students to open and close too!
Yes my friends, new containers are absolutely magical!!

Well, there's my tip for the week! Have a teaching tip or trick that you'd like to share?! It could be about creative storage solutions OR about anything teaching related! Just write a blog post with a tip or trick, include the linky party button at the top with a link back to my blog, and link up below!

I can't wait to read your tricks and tips for teachers!


2.24.2015

Teachers are Heroes Sale!! :)

Teachers are heroes! It's true!! Whether I look down my hall or on my blog roll, I am continually amazed by the talented and inspiring people in our profession!! You all are amazing! I know that teaching is not easy. Some days are harder than others. Some classes are harder than others. There's so much to do and not enough time. But the truth is that what you do each and every day makes a lasting difference in the lives of your students!! Keep it up dear friends, keep it up! :) 

I love that TPT is celebrating teachers with a special sale starting Wednesday, February 25!! I am excited to be joining in by putting my whole store on sale for 20%! Use the code HEROES at checkout to get an additional 10% off! :) 
Click HERE or on the button to shop! :)

I have lots on my wish list that I'm excited to grab for my kiddos!! The sale begins Wednesday, February 25!! Don't forget the promo code HEROES! I'm so excited to go shopping tomorrow! :)

2.19.2015

Tricks and Tips for Teachers: Organizing Materials and Papers for the Week {A Weekly Linky Party}

Yay for week three of Tricks and Tips for Teachers!
{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

I'm having so much fun with this weekly linky party with you all!! Thanks to everyone who has read, commented, and joined in the party with their own posts!

This week's teaching trick is on organizing your materials and papers for the week!
Organization saves my sanity!! Honestly, truly!! If I'm not organized and ready for the week, I stress out! Big time!! Some may call it OCD, I just like to call it being prepared! :)

There is so much that happens in the classroom that you can't be truly prepared for--like when your sweet little one projectile vomits all over his desk and his neighbors' desks. Or when the fire alarm goes off for the 3rd time in an hour due to a faulty wire--so much for that math lesson! Or when one of your *keeps you on your toes* kiddos comes out of the classroom bathroom holding her soiled underwear loudly proclaiming "Look Mrs. Foxwell! I got it everywhere!" True stories my friends--you just can't make this stuff up! These are the moments that could not be found anywhere in those college textbooks! But I digress...

There is one thing that I can be prepared for and that is my materials and papers for the week! I have a crate that holds a hanging file for each day, with file folders for each subject:

 Our school runs on a 6 day cycle, so I organize by cycle, but if you run from Monday-Friday then you could make your tabs weekdays!

I have all of my copies and materials prepped BEFORE the week begins! Like I said--I can't handle the stress of last minute planning! I file ALL of my papers and materials for each day into the correct content folder. This could include:
Anything I need goes right into the crate and if it's too large for the hanging file folder I put it right behind the day's hanging file:
That way everything is all set to go for the week!
Organizing your materials and papers will not only help you be ready, but also comes in super handy if you ever have a last minute sick day where you can't make it in--everything is all ready to go for the substitute!

I have been using this system since I first started teaching and LOVE it!! I love it so much that I even keep 2 Material Crates so that I can prep and file materials and papers for the next week while finishing up the current week:
I identify the crate for the current week by using a magnet on the back of a "Current Cycle Materials" sign and a magnet on each of the crates. So that all I need to do when the next week (or in my case, cycle) comes I just move my sign from one crate to the next:
How do you organize your materials and papers? Or if you have any other tricks or tips for teaching, I'd love to hear and have you join in on our linky party! Just write a post about a tip or trick, include the button at the top with a link back to this post, and link up below!

Can't wait to hear your tricks and tips! :)


2.12.2015

Tricks and Tips for Teachers: 5 Ways to Keep Classroom Control without Yelling {A Weekly Linky}

It's Thursday which means it's time for:
{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

This week's tip is about 5 Ways to Keep Classroom Control without Yelling:

Before we dive into the 5 ways, let's first chat about yelling:
At the beginning of every year I make a promise to my students and parents that I will not yell at my students. I make this promise at back to school/meet the teacher night and I tend to get a range of reactions from the parents to this promise--some parents show relief while other parents show disbelief. Why would I do such a thing? Is it possible to maintain classroom control without ever yelling?

Well, after making and keeping this promise for the past 5 years of teaching, I can say that it is one of the best decisions I have made as a teacher! You can ABSOLUTELY maintain control and also promote respect in the classroom without yelling! Now don't get me wrong--both my students and parents know that I hold high expectations for my students both academically and behaviorally. I believe that it is my job as a teacher to provide an environment that is warm, safe, and structured. A place where each child knows what is expected and is given the support to reach their full potential and both be and feel successful. 

One of the main reasons that I make a promise not to yell at my students is because I believe that yelling is the antithesis of all that we strive to do as a teacher.

Here are 3 reasons why I don't think yelling is effective:

1. Yelling a sign of loss of control.
Yelling usually occurs when you've lost your cool and often is done in anger. While I understand that some student's behaviors are difficult and frustrating, yelling will not build positive relationships with your students or promote long-term changes in behavior. It's only an external sign of your internal feeling of loss of control. It is easier to yell than it is to handle the behavior with gentleness and respect. I know that gentleness may sound like weakness, but gentleness is actually "strength under control". 
I strive to treat all of my students with gentleness and respect. One of my main rules in my classrooms is "Be Respectful--treat others the way that you want to be treated." And let's be honest the ones that are "tougher" to love tend to need our love the most! Plus our students are like little mirrors--they will act like we do. Am I perfect-no! Do I make mistakes-yes! But, by the grace of God, I hope and pray that I am setting a good model and example for my students on how to live and respond in all types of situations. I want my students to grow to become respectful and successful members of our classroom, community, and society!

2. Yelling provokes fear instead of trust. 
Trust is a crucial factor in any relationship. Students need to be able to trust us and know that we are for them and believe in them no matter what behaviors they exhibit. We may be the only advocate that our student has! Teachers need to build trust with their students.

Yelling only promotes fear. I had a kindergarten teacher that yelled all of the time at every behavior that she didn't like. Even accidents, such as spilling a pencil box, were received with a loud and angry lashing of the tongue. As a five year old, I grew to hate school and was so afraid of my teacher. It took me many years after kindergarten to grow to trust my teachers and not be afraid of making mistakes. Thankfully, I had many AMAZING teachers after this that treated their students with kindness, gentleness, and respect. They made their classrooms a fun and safe place to learn and grow. They created an environment where students wanted to BE and wanted to DO THEIR BEST without ever having to raise their voice or yell. I now strive to do the same!

3. Yelling may temporarily change a behavior, but has no lasting effects.
Yelling only temporarily changes the behavior instead of getting to the heart of the behavior. Students may change their behavior at the moment out of fear, but yelling doesn't encourage long-term behavior changes. 

There are lots of ways that we can maintain control of our classroom and encourage good choices and behaviors without yelling. Truly we could talk all day about classroom management! However, for this post I have tried to summarize 5 Ways to Keep Classroom Control without Yelling:

1. Establish set rules
It is so important to post, establish, and review classroom rules. I really like using the 3 Bees because they are simple, yet encompass a wide spectrum of expectations and behaviors. 

But the most important thing is that you have a set of rules that you use and adhere too. Students cannot be successful if they do not know what is expected of them. I have my classroom rules posted at the very front of the room where they can be seen by all. 
We go over the rules starting the first day of school and my students know these rules by heart by the first week! I have gestures and motions that I use with them and refer back to them every day! 

2. Keep regular routines
I was talking to a new teacher recently that was struggling with classroom management and was giving her some tips. One of the best things you can do to maintain classroom control is have regular routines FOR EVERYTHING! Especially in the primary grades, routines are essential to success! We have a routine for unpacking, packing up, lining up, sitting down, coming to the carpet, leaving the carpet, walking in the halls, getting a new pencil, returning a dull pencil...truly the list could go on and on! These routines are modeled, explained, re-modeled, and practiced at the beginning of the year. Truly the first day of school, I feel like all we do is line up! lol Ok-not really, but we do do it a lot so that they know how I expect them to line up and walk in line. Trust me if you don't it makes it difficult in the long term!

And it is important to remodel and reinforce your procedures and routines throughout the year and especially after long breaks. Every teacher knows that the first week of school after Christmas break is all about re-establishing expectations and routines. Why do I have a routine for EVERYTHING? Because students need to know what is expected! Routines help students be successful and help control the workings of the classroom so that you are not losing time in transitions or with behaviors that can be lessened with set expectations. 

3.  Hold and maintain high expectations
When you have set rules and routines, it is important that your students know that you expect those rules and routines to be followed. The worse thing you can do is to tell your students you expect them to be respectful and then not keep them accountable. Have consequences, both positive and negative, set in place for your rules and routines. For example, each of my students has a white board, marker, and eraser in their desk that we use every day in multiple ways. Since every minute of instructional time is precious, I cannot afford to lose time with getting these supplies out or putting them away. I give my students a 3-5 second countdown for when I expect these materials to be out or put away. If the whole class is able to follow my instructions and get them out and be ready when I get to 1 then I give them a point on the board--this is a positive consequence. Since I have modeled and have clear expectations on how to use the white boards, the students know that if I see them not making good choices with the boards (doodling, writing on the backs, not using them properly) that they will lose the boards for the rest of the day and have to use scrap paper instead--this is a negative consequence. My students hate using scrap paper! They LOVE using the white boards! Do I like taking their boards away? Is it easy to take their boards away? No--but they need to know that I am serious about my expectations and I want them to learn responsibility and respect of others and other people's things. Trust me--it only takes taking the first board away for students to know you mean business! I don't yell or raise my voice when I take it away. I just firmly say "You are not following my instructions or making good choices with your board. You have lost the privilege of using it for the day." Then I have them give me the board and hand them the scarp paper to use. Now this is just one isolated example, but the point is that it is important for your students to know that you hold and maintain high expectations for them! This applies not only to behaviors, but to academics as well! When it comes to learning, my students know that "first graders can do hard things" and that I am here to help them learn and do their best!

4. Don't talk over your students
I made the promise not to yell at my students and by the grace of God, I have both kept and plan on keeping that promise! I will NOT talk over my students! I refuse! And I refuse to yell to get their attention. I just won't do it! I explain to my students that part of being respectful--treating others they way you want to be treated--is that when someone is talking we listen with our whole bodies. This applies both to me and to them. So when I am talking, I expect them to be listening with their eyes, ears, hands, and their whole body! And when it is their turn to talk, I expect the class and me to listen to them with their eyes, ears, hands and whole body. I not only expect this from my students, but model it as well. There are LOTS of ways that you can get students attention and keep control of a classroom! I have listed a few of my "go-tos" below in number 5!

5. Use a variety of classroom management techniques 

a. Use call back sayings to get students attention. I love using the whole-brain attention getter technique "Class! Yes!" 

Click HERE to read more about it! The main gist is that you train the class to respond to teacher directed prompts. For example: The teacher says "Class!" and the students all say "Yes!" This takes modeling and practice, but it works great! I like to switch it up by using different sayings and different voices too! A fun and powerful way to get your student's attention without yelling!

b. Use the 5 finger countdown
I use this one a lot when students are partner talking or finishing up a project or in transitions. I hold up five fingers and say:
When I get to 1, all eyes and ears are on me. As with all classroom management techniques, this one needs to be modeled and practiced, but it works great and requires no yelling to get everyone's attention!

c. Keep students actively involved in learning
Students need to be active participants in their learning! If you are doing all of the talking--you will lose them and we all know that when you lose students it only spells t.r.o.u.b.l.e. Keep them engaged by using a variety of instructional techniques. My students are constantly moving and grooving as we learn! Learning should be fun and active! There should be no time to get bored! Use instructional techniques such as partner talks, gestures, songs, movement, and brain breaks to keep your students engaged!

d. Wait until it's quiet
Like I said, I won't yell, and while I don't use this technique everyday, as I do with the previous three, standing and waiting until it gets quiet is a POWERFUL way to gain and regain control. When the class isn't listening and you feel like the teacher on Charlie Brown, it is tempting to yell at the class BUT there are better ways than yelling! Standing and waiting for it to get quiet works like a domino effect, one student realizes you are waiting for them and they help to get the rest of the classroom to quiet down.

e. Heads down to help reset
We all know that there are some classes and some days (hello full moon!) that the class can be more difficult to manage than others. When all of my "go-to" techniques don't work and I can feel the control slipping, frustration rising and tempting me to lose my cool, I will sometimes use the Heads Down method where everyone in the class puts their heads down on the desk with absolutely no talking for a minute. While this isn't used often, this technique allows them and me to get some composure. There is no talking allowed during this time and after I have taken a deep breath, I calmly yet firmly tell them that I am unhappy with their choices and that they need to think about what they need to do to follow directions, listen, and/or begin making good choices. This technique helps reset the tone, reset expectations, and reset control without resorting to yelling.

Well, we have made it to the end of this week's tip! :) Phew--hopefully it sparked some new ideas and thoughts on classroom management! I'm a little passionate about this topic, if you couldn't tell! :)

What are some tips and tricks that you use in the classroom? It could be about anything! Just write up a blog post with a trick or tip, include the button at the top with the link back to my blog, and link up below! I'd love to hear your tricks and tips and have you link up this week! The link up will be open until our next Thursday linky party begins!

2.04.2015

Tricks and Tips for Teachers: Organizing Indoor Recess Toys {A Weekly Linky}

I am SO excited to start this linky party with you!!
{Collaboration and sharing is a great way to learn and grow as a teacher! Tricks and Tips for Teachers is a weekly linky party held every Thursday as a place for you to join in and share a post about a teaching tip or trick on your blog. Just grab the button above and link it back to this post. Then come back to this post and link up your blog post by using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to read your great tricks and tips and learn and grow together!}

I hope that you will join me each week and share your own tricks and tips! I have found that the best way to learn and grow is by sharing! I wish we could gab at a coffee shop and share all of these ideas together, but I'm excited to invite you into my classroom and hop into yours as we share some tips and tricks! I'll get the party started each week with a trick or tip---some you may already know, but hopefully you can pick up some new ideas too! To join in the party all you need to do is just write up a post with a tip or trick, include the button above, and link up below! The link up will be open until the next Thursday's linky party! :) So let's get this party started, shall we?

Let's chat about indoor recess-- 

Who knew that two little words could cause such a stir in teachers!? All teachers know that students NEED to be able to get that energy OUT! But the reality is that there are days when good ole mother nature has other ideas and we are stuck within the four walls of our classroom with lots of energetic bodies needing something to do for fifteen or so solid minutes! It's a crazy, daunting, and often chaotic mess! With all of the frigid temperatures and snow, we have actually had more indoor recess days than outdoor days this winter. Two things have saved my sanity: (1) having a good supply of indoor recess games and (2) having an organization system for the indoor recess toys!

Having a good supply of indoor recess activities is invaluable! I stocked up at yard sales and Goodwill. I also tried to get a mixture of board games, building blocks, puzzles, and activities. My kids favorite thing to play is the building blocks (you know the ones that we had growing up)--they could play these things for hours! 

Can I be honest though--when I first started getting a good supply of indoor recess toys I began to DREAD having my students get them out because they never seemed to be put back away. Pieces would be missing or out of the box and things would be jammed and crammed into the shelves. Drove me batty!! One summer it hit me--everything else that ran smoothly in my room had a system and a routine. For things like supplies and centers the students knew where to get things, how to put them away, and what I expected out of them. Shouldn't it work the same for indoor recess? After putting a system in place, I found that it does!!


Organizing your indoor recess toys and games is very simple and easy! Get some labels--I just used the Avery mailing labels. Put a label on each box and bin. Everything on shelf 1 is marked with a 1. Everything that is only shelf 2 is marked with a 2. Then designate where each item will go on the shelf by using a shape after the shelf number. 
I put a matching label on the actual shelf so that my students know where to put back the toys and games after they get them out!
This has helped indoor recess SOO much!

I also have a couple of important rules for using the indoor recess toys and games:
1. Only 1 game or toy at a time. If you finish with one you MUST put it back before you get out another one.
2. Toys and games must be shared. No arguing over toys or games. If there is arguing over a toy or game no one gets to play the game or toy during recess. (Trust me-take away a toy once and your students know you mean business!)
3. All games/toys go back with the matching label and the label always faces out.
4. If toys and games are not taken care of they will be retired/removed from the shelves until further notice.

I modeled and explained the rules at the beginning of the year and reset the expectation each time we have indoor recess. I know some of these rules may seem harsh, but I truly believe that it is important for students to learn to be respectful and responsible. I also believe that when you set a high standard students can and will rise to meet the expectation. Of course you have some years where the mixture of students causes a few more issues than others, but I have used this system for the past couple of years and it has eliminated so much of the chaos of indoor recess!

Because I like to keep things tidy and nice, all of my indoor recess games and toys are kept on this shelf behind a curtain. The curtain is only removed and the games/toys are only used for indoor recess--I find that having these toys/games exclusively for indoor recess helps the kids to be excited to use them!

So what tip or trick will you share this week? It can be about anything teaching related! To join in the party all you need to do is just write up a post with a tip or trick, include the button at the top with a link back to my blog, and link up below! 

I can't wait to have you join the party and read your tips and tricks!!

2.02.2015

My Best Friend - Fun with Henry and Mudge!

Best friends are one of a kind! It doesn't matter how old you are, a good friend is a treasure worth more than gold! We were made and wired for friendship and community. No one likes being alone or left out. I think that is why my first graders love asking, "So who is your best friend?" to each other. Of course we all talk about the importance of being a team and treating each friend in our class with respect, but there is no denying that we each long for a best friend. We want that one special person to have adventures with, know will be there for us in the good times and hard times, and just to enjoy doing life with! I think that is part of the reason that our hearts are drawn to stories of friendship! And if you have a story about friendship and a dog, by george you can't beat that! First graders LOVE pets--dogs especially, so it is no wonder that the Henry and Mudge series is such a hit!
Isn't he just so darn cute!! Little side note, I had to search long and hard for a Mudge stuffed animal! I'm talking hours of internet time my friends. Apparently English Mastiffs (the type of dog that Mudge is) isn't a popular toy choice unless you want to pay $60+ from a special online toy store. Thanks, but no thanks. SO, I was so pumped to find this Mudge look alike stuffed animal on Amazon for a much more affordable price! No piggy banks broken for this one! Click HERE or on the picture below to snag one for yourself!
I love exposing my students to great series, because when they get hooked on the first book:
Click HERE are on the book to grab a copy for under $4! or there is value pack of the first 6 books for $12 HERE! #bargaingirl

There are LOTS more for them to keep reading!! 
And getting to students hooked on reading is right up my alley! :)

Which is also why I LOVE sending my students home with Literature bags!! What a great way to get students excited about reading and writing at home! I had many requests for a Henry and Mudge take-home bag and decided to focus this bag around one of the main themes in the series: friendship!
Can you imagine how excited your kids will be when they hear that Mudge wants to go home with them and be their new best friend?! #bestillmyheart

After reading the book, you can read this letter to your students from Mudge:
It explains how important friendship is and how Mudge wants to not only learn about their best friend but also become their new best friend! Students will get to write in the journal about their best friend on one page and about their new best friend, Mudge, on the second page:
Students can draw or glue in pictures, list qualities/characteristics of what makes a good friend, write an opinion about if Mudge is a good friend, and write about their old (current best friend) and new (Mudge) best friends!
Students get to take this journal home, along with Mudge (either used a stuffed animal or send the a laminated version of printed Mudge included in my packet) and I like to throw in a copy of the book too for them to read with their family in this bag or you could include multiple Henry and Mudge books for them to choose. You could use any bag but I just use the $0.50 reusable bags from Wal-Mart! Told ya I was a bargain girl! I buy these babies in bulk and use them for everything! :)
Students bring everything back the next day (or two...) and share their journal pages with the class! What a great listening and speaking activity! Then the highly anticipated part comes when they reach into a bag with name cards and pick the next student who will get to take Mudge home (with drum rolls, of course!):
Some of the best authors can be found right in our own classroom, so when everyone has had a turn with Mudge, I LOVE putting the completed journal into our classroom library! And the students LOVE reading each others pages too!
If you would like to add this fun "My Best Friend" Literature Take-Home Bag to your friendship unit, Cynthia Rylant study, or classroom activities, I have put everything in a packet for you!
Altogether this packet includes:
-Instructions on making and using the take-home bag
-Journal Cover (in color & black and white)
-Instruction Letter from Mudge (in color & black and white)
-Journal Pages
-name cards (for choosing a student each day-in color & black and white)
-a printable Mudge (incase you don't have a stuffed animal dog-in color & black and white)

AND I'm putting it on sale for the next 24 hours!!

If you are looking for other Literature Take-Home Bags, you can check out these two in my store by clicking on the pictures:


What is your favorite series to introduce your students to? I'd love to hear!!