One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey
It has been AGES since I’ve written a post for Boy Mama Teacher Mama. Life this year was a bit hectic. Summer is finally here and I have a bit more time AND an amazing book to share.
My mom loves children’s literature as much as a I do and is always looking for a good book for me to share with my first graders. A week or so ago, I got a package from my mom and inside was the most amazing book I have seen in quite a while….
by Henry Cole
From a tall tree growing in the forest–to the checkout counter at the grocery store–one little bag finds its way into the hands of a young boy on the eve of his first day of school.
And so begins an incredible journey of one little bag that is usedand reusedand reused again.
In a three-generation family, the bag is transporter of objects and keeper of memories. And when Grandfather comes to the end of his life, the family finds a meaningful new way for the battered, but much-loved little bag to continue its journey in the circle of life.
After reading this book I knew I had to find a way to use it in my classroom before the school year ended– I had about 4 days. I decided to play on the memories message in the book as the year came to an end. Here is what we did.
- I purchased brown paper lunch bags. I added a heart to each bag just like in the book.
- I wrote a poem to go with the bag, printed it out and also glued it to the paper bag.
- I wrote one favorite memory for each student from the school year.
- Finally, I completed this My Favorite (First Grade) Memory activity with my whole class.
The big day…
Finally came the day when I was going to read, One Little Bag, to my students. They were mesmerized by the story as well as the amazing illustrations. There were so many details to be noticed- many of which I did not notice, but they quickly pointed out.
After the reading was done, I talked a bit with the group about memories and how people “collect” memories. We decided that the boy in the book collected memories in many different ways throughout the story and they all centered about the bag– the hearts, the graffiti, the homework assignments, the photos, the items collected with grandpa etc. We also talked about how we have collected memories this school year. I then gave them each their own bag with a favorite memory I wrote for them, the memory they had written earlier in the week andI read them the poem I had written.
I challenged my students to use their memory bag over and over and to continue to fill their bag with memories from home and school and from all the places life will take them. Finally, as with the bag in the book, we wrote on it- we all signed each other’s bag just as we would sign a yearbook at the end of a school year.
After this activity was done, bags were signed and put into backpacks to take home, I was delighted to hear my students responses–
“I am going to use this to take my lunch to camp everyday this summer!”
“I am adding hearts for my mom, my dad and my baby brother.”
“I will put sea shells in it from my trip to Hawaii this summer.”
But my favorite of all time was from a parent who told me the first thing her daughter did when she got home from the last day of school was hang the little paper bag with the heart and her memory on the wall right beside her bed.
This was the perfect and most unexpected way to end our school year. I cannot wait until fall when my students come back to start their second grade year and I get to hear their stories about their “one little bag.”
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