In the shower the other day, I came up with a new use for the Capri Sun bags I've been making. I actually do my best thinking in the shower. However, I need to give you some background information so you can see why I came up with this particular use for the bags.
For the past four years my very good friend, Julie, and I have been job-sharing an elementary special education teaching position. As you know, this fall I am leaving that position to teach in a Montessori preschool. The nature of special education necessitates using lots of repetition and practice to assist students in mastering skills. Julie and I discovered that by adding a "grab bag" to any given activity, the interest level and motivation of the students was dramatically increased. A "grab bag" is bascially any little bag (we often used brown paper lunch bags and/or small shopping/gift bags with handles) into which you can place cards that reinforce the skill you are trying to teach. Students then take turns pulling a card out and performing the given skill. For example, they can pull out sight words and read them, phonetic words and decode them, addition facts and state the answer, etc. Another way we have used grab bags is with matching activities. For this, one set of cards is placed on the table with the matching set in the bag. Children reach into the bag and find the match to the card they pull out. Some examples include matching pictures to beginning letters, matching upper and lowercase letters, matching sets to corresponding numerals, and matching math facts to answer cards.
Fast forward to the eureka moment in the shower. As I have posted about recently, I have been busy working on word/picture card sets for my word drawers. In the shower it occurred to me that the children might want to do the word drawers as a matching activity using grab bags. As I was brainstorming what type of bag I could provide, I thought of making a tiny Capri Sun bag. It is perfect because it stands up by itself and can be folded flat (sort of) and placed in a basket when not in use.
Here are the two little bags I whipped up in no time flat. They are pretty cute, huh?
Here is a staged photo showing the word drawer matching activity. The picture cards are placed on the rug and word cards in the bag. The child either by themself, or with a friend, pulls out a word card, reads it, and matches it to the correct picture. Of course, as noted above, there could be many classroom uses for these little bags. Once children are introduced to the basic grab bag idea, an assortment of bags could be kept in a designated area, just waiting for children to "grab" them and go.