Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Take-Home Bags


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.

33 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Do you share your instruction pages that go with each bag?
      Dana

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  2. Wow! This truly is an amazing idea. I am going to have to adapt it to 5th grade for next year. Thank you for sharing :)

    Your newest follower,

    ~Stephanie
    Teaching in Room 6

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  3. Welcome to the blogging world! These are great! How long did it take you to put all these together?

    Thinking Out Loud

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    1. I did these bags as a summer project one year. So it took several weeks. I just pieced at them over the summer.

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  4. Annie - you have some vey cute ideas!!! Love it!
    I am a new follower and can't wait to see more!

    ✿~jeannie~
    ­Kindergarten Lifestyle

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    1. Thank you Tammy! Thank you for all the "tech support." :)

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  6. Welcome to blogging! I love your take home bags They are great! I' following you. :)
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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  7. this is such a great idea! I am now a follower! I look forward to reading many more posts : )


    thediaryofanotsowimpyteacher

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  8. I've seen bags like these before and think it is such a wonderful idea to get parents and students involved in extending learning outside of the classroom! Yours are so cute! I came from Tammy's blog, look forward to reading more from you!!

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  9. Cute take home bags. Do you iron on the label onto the bag? Also have you ever not received a bag back? Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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    1. I did iron the labels on the bags. It was really quick and easy. I always recieved all of my bags back. The kids really want to be responsible and return them. However, they will show a little wear and tear after a while but I think that make them even better! :)

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  10. I love these ideas! Thanks for sharing. I do a "Fine Motor Fun Bag" that I send home towards the beginning of the year. It is full of things like lacing beads, bending pipe cleaners into letters, and pushing pennies through a thin foam piece. Another bag I send home is called "Chester's Story" At the beginning of the year we read "The Kissing Hand." The bag has a stuffed Chester and a notebook where students write a story about what they did that night with Chester. The kids read it to their classmates the next day... and they love it!

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    1. I love that idea!! A school year can't start without "The Kissing Hand." I LOVE that idea!

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  11. Just became your newest follower thanks to Live, Love, and Laugh Everyday In Kindergarten blog. So glad she sent me your way. AWESOME take home bags!!
    Robynn
    BusyBees

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  12. Great first post! Love your ideas...and welcome to blog land!

    Gladys
    teachinginhighheels.blogspot.com

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  13. Annie, welcome to the world of blogging! You are going to love it and you'll find that you have so much to give! Writing about teaching is almost as good as teaching! I had to retire last year and I sometimes feel that I left my heart back in the classroom, but writing about teaching is so rewarding. It's wonderful to know that even if I can't work directly with students on a full-time basis, I can have a tremendous impact on them in my role as a writer and blogger. This is a terrific blog post and it's a great start to your life as a teacher-blogger!
    ~ Laura Candler
    Teaching Resources Website
    Corkboard Connections Blog

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  14. Hi! I am your newest follower(and also pretty new to blogging world!)
    Quick question, do you run into difficulties with kiddos keeping items from the bags at home(losing pieces) or kids not bringing the bags back?
    This is such a neat idea! I think I want to do something like this!

    Miss S
    jaanashingledecker24@gmail.com
    Just Teaching...Kindergarten

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    1. Good question. :) I do always receive the bag back. When the kids bring the bags back I will do a quick check for the items inside. On a few occasions something was missing and I will just email the parents. I do introduce these at parent night. I think that helps the parents understand the importance of returning the bags on time and with all of the items.

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  15. Saw you were starting a blog over on Tammy's site. Very cute bags. I hope my daughter's Kinder teacher does something like this with her class.

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  16. Annie this is a great first post! I am looking forward to seeing what else you have up your sleeve.
    Adrianne Meldrum
    Kidscogworks.com

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  17. Welcome to blogging! I came over from Live, Love and Laugh Everyday in K. Your bags look like a lot of fun and great learning!

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  18. I'm one of your newest followers. Love your take home bags. This year I started doing some take home literacy bags and my kids love them. Thanks for some great ideas to add to what I'm doing.
    www.mskerriskrazykindergarten.blogspot.com

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  19. Awesome ideas, thanks so much!

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  20. What is included when you buy the 12 dollar bag set from the site you posted? Did you buy all other parts of the bags or have links to where most can be found? Love the blog!

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    1. The packet includes direction sheets for all the activities for each bag. The site also gives a few directions as to places you can find materials. Most of the bags I was able to fill with things I had around the classroom already. My biggest purchases were the bags and materials to decorate.

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  21. I love those bags! Very addicting!!!!!! I send home a contract to the parents and children must both sign :) I have only lost a few things, but they were replaced :)

    Jennifer

    Here are mine: http://www.kinderpond.com/discoverypacks.html

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    1. I love the idea of a contract! What a great way to keep parents and students accountable. Wonderful idea!

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  22. How often did you send the bags home with your kids?!

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  23. Good question Carly! :) I would send most of the bags home once a week on Friday. I think Friday works because parents have more time to complete the bags. The tooth and birthday bag I would send home when needed.

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