Take home stuffed animal

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by mbboss, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. mbboss

    mbboss Rookie

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    Jun 18, 2008

    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 so I can get an idea of what to write? I need guidance. Thanks
     
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  3. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I'm going to be devil's advocate. A stuffed animal being sent home kind of worries me. I guess because I think of lice or something getting on the stuffed animal. I'm not saying it will happen, but it could & then could spread to another's house.

    Maybe some sort of plastic animal or something. I have never done this personally.

    Just had to add my 2 cents.
     
  4. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I remember doing that in kindergarten! It was a huge treat to get to take home "Ted E. Bear" over the weekend. I remember having to "document" what we did together in a journal. I'm pretty sure I dictated what I wanted to say to my mom who wrote it down for me.

    I can see how cleanliness, lice, etc. might be a problem, though. I don't know what my teacher did, but she might have taken it home herself after it came back and washed it. I like the plastic toy, idea, Diznee. That might be a good alternative.
     
  5. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I have a pretty clean group of kids and I did this this year. I had a duck beanie baby with a journal. I just wrote on the first page as if I were the duck, named "Cheese N. Quackers" I sent him home weekly with a new student each time. They wrote in the journal what Cheese N. Quackers did as a guest at their homes. I would put the duck and the journal in a ziploc bag, but most times it came back to school without the bag. The kids loved it!!!

    I will do it again next year too. :p
     
  6. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jun 18, 2008

    http://www.pre-kpages.com/bears.html This might give you an idea of how to do a bear bag or other theme. I wouldn't be afraid to send home a cute stuffed bear, but I would wash it when they return it. Any stuffed animal can be safely washed and dried if you wash it inside a pillow case.
     
  7. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I think this might be a good thing to implement when I start up my Star Of The Week activities next year. Maybe the Star can take the class mascot home and write about what they did during the visit. Hmmm????
     
  8. TeacherMJ

    TeacherMJ Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    mbboss - I love the idea! I think having the children write in a journal about their week with the class mascot is a great idea. Maybe allowing the children to have it over the weekend too so they'll be able to really take the stuffed animals places too.

    At the center I work there are teachers that send home backpacks with a book and a stuffed animal that relates. They use cloth bags. Maybe you could also incorporate a journal in addition/instead of the book.

    Let us know what you decide :)
     
  9. Matt633

    Matt633 Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I did this activity with my first grade class. Every year I picked a new stuffed animal. The class got to name it. It is always our first "vote" of the year.

    I had a three ring binder and on the computer I would find a picture of the animal and type the name below it and put that on the front and back of the binder (the one with the clear plastic protective cover.) I had picture/journal paper in it but the first page explained to the parents what it was all about. I would start with your most "with it" student to get the ball rolling. But make sure you make as big a deal about the journal you get back with hand drawn pictures as the one who has real photos or computer pics (one family made a video!)

    You could start it out yourself...showing how you and the animal spent time together...great way to show the children about your life away from school!

    In 6 years of doing this, I never encountered a problem with lice or anything, only students keeping it longer than they should.
     
  10. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2008

    I do something similar- and it is a definite highlight of the year! I choose who will take it by raffle - I love when they clap for the winner of the raffle :) Note: I don't like to tie it into behavior because what's the last child going to think: "Am I really that horrible that I was chosen last to take it home?" I want this to be a completely posititive experience, no matter how hard they struggle in school.
    Considering that I have a lice phobia, you would think that I would stay away from such a project, but I don't, Despite the fact that their journals prove that the stuffed animal goes EVERYWHERE with them!
    Maybe I will wash it every week. That's a good idea!
     
  11. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2008

    How long into the school year are you going to wait until you let them take it home? I think this is a great idea especially with the journal and the book! This will help give them extra practice with their handwriting and reading skills and they will love it! I think I am going to do it...I also think that I am going to take their picture holding the animal before or after they take it home. I thought about sending a disposable camera in the bag, but....not sure what kind of photos I might find.
     
  12. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jun 19, 2008


    That's funny!!! Plus it's much cheaper to print a digital.

    I know a teacher who used a sharing box & the kids had to come up with 3 "hints" about the item in the box. This was in K...they came up with questions & adult would help write them. It was pretty cute because they started with the 3 hints & then the teacher said you could have between 3 & 5 other questions before guessing what it was!!!
     
  13. TeachnRox

    TeachnRox Companion

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    Jun 19, 2008

    Take Home Tiger

    We had a tiger mascot this year, and also voted on a name..oh..the names they wanted, Tommy ended up being chosen. I sent him home in one of the Build a Bear boxes, but that ended up falling to pieces. I sent him home with one person on Friday, and return it on Monday. I washed him, but at times I sprayed him with lysol, it was our tiger perfume! He had a folder with a note describing what to do with him and an example to follow, with loose paper. I had some come back with photos (on their own). Then I had some that completed the assignment without parent help :(...but they had fun.

    The plan was to ultimately make a class book, I didn't get this far :(

    This year, I am on the look out for a cat carrier, to replace the build a bear box. If I can't find one cheap (yard sales, flea markets), then I am just going to decorate a backpack! :)
     
  14. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Jun 19, 2008

    An animal carrier......good idea!! Oh, my daughter had a toy veternarian kit that had a little animal carrier with it, I wonder if I could find it!!!
     
  15. summersun61

    summersun61 Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2008

    I just found a Clifford stuffed animal backpack on EBay for 6 bucks! I am going to let the star student take home a
    Clifford book of their choice as well and a journal to record how they spent the weekend wth him.
     
  16. repete8

    repete8 Companion

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    Jun 19, 2008

    A first grade teacher at my school sent home Phillip Johnny Bob from Junie B. Jones with the boys and a ballerina doll (I think) for the girls. The students kept the "mascots" for the night and had to write a log about their adventures.
     
  17. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2008

    What happened if the child did not bring the animal back?
     
  18. repete8

    repete8 Companion

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    Jun 19, 2008

    I would send a note home reminding them to bring it back the next day.
     
  19. RugRats

    RugRats Companion

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    Jun 21, 2008

    I do this with my first graders and LOVE it! Here's a nutshell version of what I do.

    I start it the very first week of school. On Monday I introduce Quackers to the class. Throughout the week I move him around the room. Each day the kiddos come in and immediately look for Quackers. Together we write a journal about why we think Quackers is... in the Library, at the Writing Center, by the sink...
    Then we draw a picture.

    On Friday I tell the class that Quackers wants to go home with someone for the weekend. We talk about how we wrote what he did during the week and how the student that takes him home would have to write what he does with them so they can share it with the class on Monday.

    I show them the special bag he travels in and the extra special journal they get to write in. On the inside of the journal I explain everything to the parents.

    I "draw" a name out of our Crazy for Quackers jar (but I really pre-pick a student I know will do it).

    On Monday they get to come up and share their page in the journal.

    Quackers has a little home in our class where I put the journal for everyone to read and Quackers. (He only moves around our class the first week of school). I also leave out Crazy for Quackers jar out for students to put their name in. If they want to take Quackers home they write their name down and put it in. They can only put their name in one time each week.

    I don't empty the jar each week so some students may have their name in there several times if they haven't been picked. Some students get picked more than once, but they love it! I always make sure every student gets picked at least once.

    Every so often Quackers goes on vacation (I take him home to clean him.) When he comes back I share the pages he has written in our journal (my husband's writing).

    Every day a student forgets to bring back Quackers I put a tally mark on the board. I take out one piece of paper (from the CFQ jar) with their name on it for every tally mark. In the beginning everyone is SUPER great about remembering so by the time people start slacking off everyone has a good 3-4 pieces of paper with their name on it.

    Sigh, I guess this wasn't really the nutshell version :). Sorry :)
     
  20. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2008

    RugRats---I love your idea!!! I am going to have to go out and find a really cute stuffed animal and bag! Maybe even something with a change of clothes--like something small from build-a-bear.
     
  21. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 21, 2008

    I have done this every year! The kids love it....and the animal becomes another person in our class!

    I send the animal home every weekend (not any 3 day weekends or vacations, to be fair) with a student.
    Each student gets one turn (my classes are too big to do it twice) to take him home with the journal for the weekend. Kids write, draw, include pictures etc... They then share during our morning meeting time on Mondays.

    I have a cover letter taped into the front of the book explaining the activity. Parents and kids love it!!

    I will take the animal home every once in a while for a "bath" I also tell the kids that he loves "baths"!! Kids will include in their journal entry that the animal look a bath as soon as he got to their house (my kinda mom/dad!!)!!
     
  22. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    That's a great way to get the kids writing early in the year especially when they seem reluctant to write!! I like that idea. I might try this out as a "getting to know you" activity for the first couple of weeks of school because I don't start our Star of the Week activities until like near Thanksgiving or beginning of December. I think I might only have my kids take the stuffed animal home once though. Could you share the letter that you send to the parents explaining the activity??
     
  23. jenejoy

    jenejoy Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I have done it every night and I found that it got way messy. I personally liked it best when my star of the week took it home for the weekend. By the way we voted on our mascot, name, etc. the first week of school and then I always went out to buy the animal that matched the animal we chose. Placed it in a bag with a journal, fancy pen and a disposable camera. The students took one picture while they were out and about with the mascot and we made a classbook after everyone had their 1st turn. I didn't worry about lice except during the times I knew we had an outbreak (anywhere in school because someone is always related or friends with the person who was exposed) I found that I just kept a bottle of the rid spray for furniture, etc around and sprayed the mascot and the bag after getting it back. I could have done it every week but didn't feel the need.
     
  24. MissR

    MissR Comrade

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    Jun 25, 2008

    So, has anyone ever just completely lost the animal? I'm thinking this could be more likely with a small plastic animal than with a stuffed animal... What would you do if they did? Stop the activity? Buy a new one?
     
  25. repete8

    repete8 Companion

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    What about a Webkinz? They have carriers and clothes you could buy them. The students (who have internet access at home) could play with the online version as well as take home the stuffed animal. I am not sure about sending mine home, however I did think that I could use the online version as a reward for behavior, etc. (here's hoping I have internet access when school resumes). :)
     
  26. repete8

    repete8 Companion

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    How about a letter to the parents informing them of the class activity and in the letter setting expectations for the project (ie..mascot should be sent back to school by (date) and if its lost they may have to pay to replace it (they do the same thing with library books). Maybe parents could choose whether to participate or not.--Just a thought.
     
  27. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jun 25, 2008

    repete--i think the letter is a good idea but i dont know if i want to give my parents to choice of doing it.........i want my kids to be able to choose. i think that this would be a great community building activity and it could reinforce good behavior.
     
  28. jenejoy

    jenejoy Companion

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    Jun 26, 2008

    If you lose it you can always ask the parents to replace it at that poinr. But typically you would not be able to require them to buy another even if they had agreed to it in the past. Might as well keep it positive to start with. I do explain a little about our mascot in my beginning of school letter home (3-4pages of info they need to know about our classroom/grade) Other than that I have a detailed letter that is laminated to the front of the journal that goes with Tommy.
     
  29. summersun61

    summersun61 Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2008

    MissR, I had two stuffed animal bees ruined last year. I got the bees at garage sales so it wasnt a big deal when they were lost. It was annoying though...I had to go find another stuffed bee. This year I bought a clifford stuffed animal backpack and I'm not so sure I will be as lenient with this one if it gets ruined. Does anyone have a responsibility letter typed up for this that they could share here?
     

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