Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Writting Bag

I realize this is extremely Valentine red but this is an activity that I pull out for January to help put some novelty into writing during independent work time. The components come from Presenter Judy Ellis's idea called Fan Mail. I modified it to fit my classroom environment. Here is the Writing Bag. I found this tote bag in our supply room and I was intrigued by all the matching pouches. It makes a perfect mobile writing center. First I took photos of all my students, printed them and glued them on the back of envelopes. Then I laminated the envelopes and cut the openings with an exacto knife. I put all the envelopes in one of the pouches.

I added special paper, pens and markers for message writing to other pouches in the bag.

Finally I took Judy Ellis' message prompts, laminated them and put them in another pouch. These messages say things like: "I am glad you are my friend." "Let's play together at recess." "I missed you when you were not here". These messages include many of the high frequency words that we use and give students who need writing support a means to practice writing in a non-threatening way.
After a student writes a letter they place it in one of the picture envelopes. The envelope goes into a mailbox I have designated for delivery. After I deliver the letters and read the messages the student puts the message in his/her cubby and I keep the envelope. I put the envelope in a safe place until there are no more envelopes in the writing bag. This helps cut down on student claiming they never receive mail.