On the first day of school I like to read the story, A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. This book is a Caldecott Honor book, and if you don’t have this in your classroom library, you need to get it!
This story is about a little girl, her mother, and her grandmother and how they work really hard to save money to get her mother a chair. They had previously lost their home and all their possessions in a fire.
The reason I read this book on the first day of school is because I like how the family works so hard to get this special chair.
After reading the story, I talk to my students about how objects can be special to us and can be used to tell others about us. I then pull out my brown bag in which I have put 5 items to represent me. I share these items with my students and then give them each a brown bag to decorate. Then, they take it home and their homework that night is to find five (school-appropriate) things to bring in to show the class as they tell about themselves. (Get your free printable to staple to the bags here.)
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On the second day of school, throughout the day, I stop class and do bags. We learn so much about each other when sharing.
Jasmine likes Strawberry Shortcake toys and so she brought in a small doll to represent that. She passes it around so her classmates can smell the doll’s hair. Trashawn loves to play baseball so he brought in a glove and told us about his baseball team. Edward likes the color blue best so he brought a marker to represent his favorite color. Brianna has a pet dog, so she brought a dog collar and told us about her dog. Miracle has little brothers and sister so she brought a picture of them.
It’s one of my favorite activities of the year because you get to learn so much about your students. The kids learn what they have in common with each other and you get an insight into their home life!
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