Brown Paper Bag Family Memories
- Grades: PreK–K
- Unit Plan:
This activity helps students understand that families do a variety of activities together. Students can develop oral language skills while they learn that communication can happen through speaking, drawing and writing.
- Recall and describe a family memory.
- Collect an object that represents a family memory.
- Draw and write about a family memory.
- A book about memories (optional). I like Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.
- Chart paper
- Brown paper lunch bags for each student
- Brown Paper Bag Family Memories Letter to Families (PDF)
- Teacher's memory bag
- Family Memory Page (PDF)
- Your completed family memory page
- Class Book Feedback Page (PDF) printable
Set Up and Prepare
- Collect a family memory in a lunch bag to share with students.
- Make copies of the Letter to Families and Family Memory Page for each student.
- Make copies of the Family Feedback page (if you will allow the students to "check out" the Family Memory Book).
- Copy and complete your Family Memory Page for the class book.
- Place name labels and Letter to Families on lunch bags for each student to easily identify them.
- Set out pencils and crayons.
- Set up chart paper and marker.
Step 1: Gather students for a whole group discussion. Write the word "memory" in big letters on chart paper and ask students if they know the word. Sound out the word and describe how a "memory" is something we remember that we did. Think of a collective class experience — like a field trip — and share an object that represents that experience. Ask volunteers to share about that "memory."
Step 2: Read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge or another book about memories. Tell students that while they're listening, to look for the memories that Miss Nancy has. After the reading, review and chart the objects that Wilfred gave to Miss Nancy and what memories that helped her remember.
Step 3: Show students the lunch bag. Tell them that it's not an ordinary brown paper bag; inside there's something special. Ask students to guess what it is. If no one guesses, tell them it's a "family memory." Take the object out and model telling about the memory.
Step 4: Tell student's it's their turn to collect a family memory. Call out the children's names and have them collect their bags. When everyone has their bag, tell them that there's a letter attached for their families. Remind them that you had only one object in your bag and invite them to bring one object from home that will remind them of a family memory, like a trip, place they went, or event they did together. Suggest an object like a postcard, shell, souvenir, or any other small object. Read the letter so students know what to bring.
Step 1: Wait until all students have brought back their bags. Gather them together or work in small groups during center time and have students share their memories. Prompt students as needed to extend their use of oral language. You may want to allow questions from other students.
Step 2: Collect the brown paper bags at the end and thank all the children for sharing.
Step 1: Line the bags up with names facing out, before students gather. Tell them that sometimes we can't tell our story to everyone, so we write down our memories so that other people can read about them. Share that you will be taking all the memories they've collected and crafting a Class Family Memory Book. Tell them this is a good way for them to learn more about each other.
Step 2: Remind students of your memory. Share your family memory page.
Step 3: Invite students to come up and find their brown paper bag, take a family memory page, and draw or write about their memory.
Step 4: Bring students together and invite a few to share what they have drawn and written.
Step 1: Before class begins, bind the student family memory pages together. During story time, tell students you have a wonderful, new book about memories from your favorite authors to share with them. As you turn the each page, allow students to "read" their pages.
Step 2: After reading the whole book, tell students that you're going to put the book in the class library so others can read about their family memories.
Supporting All Learners
During oral presentations, use a microphone with students who have difficulty being heard. For those children who need it, take dictation after they've attempted to write about their memories. Provide extra paper and a stapler for those children who want to write more.
Make an "Artifact Museum" with the objects students brought. Help them make small museum label cards for their items, including the name of the object, location of origin, and student name.
Check out" the Class Family Memory Book to each student during the next few weeks. Provide a Family Feedback page (see printable).
- Collect an object that represents a family memory.
- Write and draw a page about a family memory.
- Create a Class Family Memory Book.
- Did students understand what a memory is?
- Were they able to relate their object to a memory?
- Were they able to incorporate the memory into their drawing and writing?
- Were they engaged and on task the entire time?
- How might you do this lesson differently next time?
Observe oral presentations. Assess fine motor skills and literacy development through students' drawing and writing.