Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brilliant Birthday Bag

 Because we have many students in our building with severe food allergies, my school went to "non-edible" birthday treats this year.  Secretly I LOVE the idea! I was never a fan of the mess cupcakes made in my room or loading up my students in all that sugar (and then trying to teach).
I have given the parents different ideas to celebrate, which I think are way better than the cupcakes ever were... They can send in a wrapped book for their child to unwrap and I will read it to the class.  That book can then be donated to the classroom library or sent home with the birthday child. They could also send in a fun game for indoor recess and of course send in non-edible treats for students (pencils, stickers and other dollar store finds...). What I am most excited about though is the Birthday Bag.  As I mentioned in my "Terrific Tooth Tote" post, I got three bags for $9 at JoAnn's. Last night I got my puffy paints out yet again and made a Happy Birthday Bag.
The birthday bag will go home with the birthday child.  I have put different "birthday" books in the bag for children to read with their families and (my favorite), "Ollie the Owl."  Ollie (as I named him) was a gift from my friend Jessica who noticed my Owl decorations in my classroom and gave it to me after a blog workshop I did (thanks again, Jessica!). My students get to keep Ollie with them all day and then take Ollie home with them overnight to help them celebrate.
This is a picture of the outside of the binder.
I then made a binder (very similar to the Terrific Tooth Tote), where children can write about how Ollie spent their birthday with them. It was very easy to make.  I just searched google for an image of an owl.  You could do this for any little stuffed animal you had. I used a binder with a plastic covering which made it easy to design a cover and slide it in.
 The first page of the book includes instructions to the families on what they do with the binder.  I did put a note on the bottom of the page that says that this is an "optional" activity and not something that has to be done. This note is in a plastic sleeve and I put more plastic sleeves behind the first page for students to add the page they made.  My hope is that students will take a moment to read their friends' pages.  I will also read the page the next day in class so that everyone can hear about Ollie's adventures.  At the end of the year, I will take out their birthday page and add it to their portfolio and send it home as a fun keepsake of first grade..
In the first pocket, I have an easy template for the students to record what they did with Ollie.  I created a simple box at the top for an illustration and lines at the bottom for writing.  I created this page in Publisher.  Again, I used the same image I found on google. I am really excited about this and so were my students.  Ollie is having his first sleepover tonight!  If you like this idea too, steal, tweak and make away! If you click on the pictures you should be able to enlarge them.


Let me know what you think, and share your ideas!! (So that I can steal them!) ;-)
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