One way I love to get parents involved with their child’s learning is using take-home bags. Several years ago I found these wonderful take-home bags on Shari Sloane's website . If you have not ever seen this site you must go and browse!
I purchased the “It’s In the Bag” packet from this site. All of the blackline masters for the activities are included. I then made the same bags but made my own bag covers. Then I ironed the covers to canvas bags and began decorating. J
Inside each bag is a laminated direction sheet. The sheet helps parents understand the expectations for the take-home bags. It also gives instructions as to when to return the bag. Most of the bags are to be brought back the following day. However, some bags will be kept for a couple days or over the week. I also include a laminated folder with the title “Activity Pages Take Only One.” This allows me to make class copies and include them in the bag. This will save LOTS of time! See picture below of page folders.
I have twenty five different take-home bags but I am highlighting only a few. These are my favorite and most popular take-home bags. Again, all the ideas and content came from Shari Sloane. I just recreated these wonderful ideas! Enjoy!
Bag #3 Scientist of the Week
This is the student’s favorite take-home bag by far. Each week one student takes home this bag. I always sent this bag home on Fridays. Then parents have the weekend for the project. Inside the bag is a science experiment book. The student picks one experiment to do for the class during the week. At home the student practices the experiment once. Then during the week the student will wear the lab coat and goggles (included in the bag) during the experiment. Most of the time parents would come in to be “assistants” for the students during the experiment. The kids LOVE this bag and it is a great way to get parents involved in the classroom. Also, I pick experiments that relate to our science curriculum. It is a great way to make science fun in the classroom!
Bag #4 Lost Tooth Bag
When a student losses a tooth they get to take this bag home! Inside are different tooth books. The student’s also journal about how they lost their tooth. They can draw a picture to show the class. Then I make these into a growing classroom book.
Bag #6 Katie Caterpillar Counts
In this bag the students take the caterpillar inside the bag and count things around their house. They record the objects they count on the activity sheet included in the bag. The kids LOVE Katie the caterpillar. J
Bag #7 Gingerbread
Inside this bag are several versions of the book The Gingerbread Man. Parents are to read the stories together with their child. Included in the bag is a puppet gingerbread man to retell the story. After reading the story the students may use the play-doh and gingerbread cookie cutter to make a gingerbread man.
Bag #9 Estimation Jar
The kids LOVE this bag. It is so simple but it is amazing how much better the kids get at estimating over the year just because of this take-home bag. Students fill the estimation jar and then complete the activity page and bring it back to school. The student s will take guesses on the amount inside the jar. At the end of the year I will let the kids write their answers on paper and then have a winner for who got the closest.
Bag #11 Ladybug
This bag works on telling time. The students read “The Grouchy Ladybug.” Then they use the ladybugs inside to work on telling time. I also include a ladybug puppet for the kids to use while reading and working on telling time.
Bag #12 Miss Spider
This bag is a favorite because they kids get to have a tea party with Miss Spider. J At home the students read “Miss Spider’s Tea Party.” Inside the bag are Miss Spider, her friends, and a tea party set. The students then have a tea party. After the tea party they will write on the paper provided in the bag about what they did with Miss Spider. The next day the students are always really excited to share. I also include a disposable camera for the kids to take one picture of their tea party. At the end of the year I print them for the kids.
Bag #14 Quack and Count
This bag works on addition. Students read the book “Quack and Count.” Then the child will play an addition math game using the ponds, ducks and dice inside the bag.
With this many bags it is impossible to remember who has taken home which bag. So I created my own little system for sending home and returning the taken-home bags. Using this document I created a pocket for each bag. Then I put a stick with a student’s name inside the pocket when they take home the bag. Once the return the bag I cross out that student’s number. For me it is the quickest and easiest way to figure out which bag goes home or needs to be returned. J
Take-home bags are a great way to get parents involved in their child's learning. Plus the kids love having homework. :) Again, check out the packet for the wonderful take-home bags at Shari Sloane's website. They are great! Enjoy!
If you would like to download the covers I created for the bags click here. Just a quick note...... in the process I did lose one cover. Bag #3 Scientist of the Week is not included in the packet.