Meet Me Mystery Bag

Building a class community is as important, if not more so, than all the reading, writing, and 'rithmetic we can cram. If we don't get along with each other, it can make for one extremely long school year, and we're NOT about to let that happen! Seriously, if Day 7 feels long, than we are in for a lot of grape feeding and fanning heartache come Day 177. But, fortunately we're off to a fabulous start! They are motivated, and kind, and they love to talk! A lot! Like us! So, guess who's winning this battle? Need a hint? Didn't think so...

We're spending quite a bit of time getting to know each other. What makes us tick...or tock...or scream...or shout...or run...or cry...or whatever. If we can make some personal connections with our kiddos and help them do the same with their peers, than we are making progress in the universe our tiny class.

One of our favorite ways to get to know one another is through our Meet Me Mystery Bag activities. For some reason, we need to add a dramatic Dun, Dun, Dunn to the end today...just sounds more mysterious...
 These activities are both for take home and in class. We've done it on the teacher side for years, and the mom side for a few...We love it, and our kids (biological and adopted from September-June) do too!

We provide each student with a Mystery Bag to take home and fill. We use brown paper lunch bags, but any type of bag would work. BIG Rule though...All items must fit in the bag. No elephants!

Upon return, we select a few each day to share and guess. We sit in a circle, talk about the categories and use our inferring skills to make some educated guesses as to who this mystery friend might be.  Could it be a boy? Or, a girl? Someone who speaks a different language, or can do a triple twirl? Enjoys the beach? Has 80 shells? Has been on a boat? Rode a goat? Oh, oh...I don't know! The possibilities are endless!

The Masked Magician (that's us...not masked...that's weird), is the controller of all Mystery Bags when it comes to guessing time. We reveal one item at a time, help talk them through a thought process for inferring and then we make educated guesses. They get it. 

If our guesser is successful, the person stands up and we all say, "Nice to meet you." 

If we have three failed attempts from the crowd, the masked magician says in an announcerish voice, "Will the real mystery friend, please stand up?" They do and everyone giggles until the masked magician puts them under a cease spell and we start again. 

We quickly go through each item, asking a few questions, giving the friend a moment to shine and share before we get down to writing. There is always a method to our madness.

To be perfectly honest, the number of bags we get through really depends upon the class. Case in point ~ We had a "friend" who had a class who could only make it through 3 at a time. But, then this same "friend" had another class who begged for more after the 12th one and we she needed a break! 

Once we've made it through all the mystery bags, we write. 

We set the items out in the order of the writing page, touch them, hold them high in the air, wave them round and round. Whatever we need to do to make sure we're all on this planet  the same page. With younger students, we go item by item, one at a time. With older students, we talk, they write. We do not spell for them. We encourage them to try their best. We want to see how they sound words out.

We also spend time working on a directed drawing of ourselves to complete our Meet Me bulletin board in class. 

 Controlling Moment...We do the cutting around each drawing ourselves. Just gives them personality, and avoids any scissor surgery that may occur with Firstie Scissorhands maneuvering the blades. Older kids could probably do the cutting themselves.
To extend our Meet Me activities, we play Find a Friend. We make it through a row a day, and they love getting up, moving around, and above all else talking!
To help our first graders, we bring them back to their seat between boxes, to read them together. After the first few, they are old pros!

We were in love with them doing this activity the other day all alone (after a few previous sessions). We could've stepped out of the room and it was Day 4...need we say more?!? 

Until one of our "special friends" figured out they could ask the teacher. Coffee break o.v.e.r. Well, we're sure you can guess what happened next. Flood gates, mad rush, stampede the teacher!!! 

So, as far as they are concerned...We do not know how to ride bikes, have never been on an airplane, cannot tie our shoes to save our lives, and forget about blowing a bubble...Nope, our tongues are broken. We know our secrets are safe with you. Please don't tell.

This week, we're putting our Meet Me activities in the bag with our last and first activity ~ Our I'm in First Grade Now! Little Book. They'll fill in the blanks and illustrate. We'll resume our coffee break.
 Our unit on TpT includes little books for Kinder, first and second grades. 

They will be able to read them when we're done. Independently. And with each other. But, not the teacher. We can't read. Nope not our eyes. They're old. Unreadable. 
Kidding. We'll read with every last one of them. Twice probably. 
Cuz now that we know them...
we kinda love them. 
They're ours. 
For better or for worse...

Here's what's included:

So we're curious? What do you do to get to know your friends?
We hope you like what you're far! 


Fluttering Through First Grade


  1. How sweet! Great activities for getting to know each other. My mother works at kinder-garden, so I think this post can be a great help and inspiration for her. Thank you :)


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