During my first year of teaching I discovered that students love taking home a buddy for the night, reading a story, writing in a journal, and playing a fun learning game! They do not see it as homework, but as a special opportunity and reward!
To use this product, print out and laminate the first three pages (journal cover, letter from the character, and game/activity directions). These can be reused each year to create a journal.
Make enough copies of the writing journal prompt/papers for each student in your class - I suggest making the copies 2-sided to save paper :).
Print out (preferably on construction paper or cardstock) and laminate the game/activity items. This buddy includes an Autumn-themed memory match game that helps students practice identifying common attributes.
Purchase the book from your local bookstore, Scholastic bookfair, etc.
Bind the pages into a journal.
Place the journal, the game/activity, the book, and (if you have one available) a kitty (preferably), witch, ghost, or pumpkin stuffed animal in a duffel or pull-string bookbag.
Send home with a different student each night.
(I suggest making a list in your plan book or even on a post-it and keeping track by crossing off students' names).
After the book bag buddy has gone home with each student, read the journal outloud whole group (THEY LOVE THIS PART)! Then, leave it in the classroom library for students to read during independent reading time, read-to-self or Daily 5, etc.
Enjoy, and check out my (C)Teacher Travels store for more Book Bag Buddy products!