Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Traveling Class Bear!

What is a traveling class bear?

I have been doing a class bear project for over 10 years. Our class bear used to just travel around the United States but for the past several years he has gone global. He has visited Iraq, Afghanistan, England, Turkey, Africa, Romania, Japan, China, Haiti and other countries.  This year our class bear will be traveling to Argentina.

This is our class bear Snuggly! 
Isn't he cute!!

When I am deciding where our bear will be going I usually keep my eyes and ears open to anyone who is traveling abroad. It really works well with finding people who are going on mission trips or extended stays although I have sent him on week long trips too.  Once you have your connection and you know where you are sending him you can tell your students.  We send our bear with pj’s, toothbrush, and letters introducing our bear and what he needs. If our bear is on an extended stay, then we write letters to him and get letters in return.   

When he went to Iraq, we sent letters to service members there and asked them all kinds of questions about the war and their life in Iraq. Each service member took the time to write back and answer our questions and sent us pictures of our bear doing all kinds of things. We put these letters into a book and sent it away to Student Treasures Publishing. Each student got a hardcover copy of the book. The year he traveled to Afghanistan, he traveled with a ranger who was stationed there. Our bear went on every mission with him but we didn’t get a lot of pictures because of the high level of security.

This is the book we made with all the letters that we wrote and the service members wrote back to us. We had a huge celebration at our school, when this troop returned home. Our class was interviewed on the radio and the local newspaper wrote an article about our book. This was a very special book!

One year we sent him to Haiti with a family from our school that was going to an orphanage to run a dental clinic. It was only for one week, but the family was able to capture the meaning of their trip in photographs of the Haitian children and through our bear shared their story. We made a beautiful book that depicts what life is like for a child in an orphanage in Haiti.



             The many faces of the children                           of Haiti.

Snuggly getting his shots before he
 left for Haiti.

Sometimes our bear just has fun. One year he went to England and spent his time searching for Paddington Bear. The family he traveled with took loads of pictures all over England and we learned so much. He even got to visit a school there for a while and we became pen pals with the students there. The following year they asked if they could send us their school bear and we gladly said yes. That year each student got to take the bear, from England, home for a visit. Everyone contributed to an alphabetical list of things from Maine. We split the items up between the first grade families then everyone took a turn getting a picture of the bear with the Maine item. Then in the classroom we wrote about each one and put it together for a Maine ABC book. Such fun! 

Last year, both of my own children were at the same college several states away and I tended to talk about them a lot. My first grade kiddos were always asking me questions about college so we decided to send Snuggly to visit them and see what college was all about. After he returned we found out a friend was going to be studying abroad in Turkey. We decided to send Snuggly with her too.While Snuggly was away, we fell in love with the Mo Willem pigeon books.  We decided the perfect book would be, "Don't Let Snuggly Go to College!  It was the perfect book for this class and they had so much fun writing it!

Other books we have done.

Snuggly helped to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina 

So this year, I'm excited to say Snuggly will be traveling with one of my former students to Argentina. She will be there teaching 2nd grade. This year I have put together a traveling bear unit. We will be working on this all this week.

Click here if you would like
            to purchase this unit from  my TPT's Store

                                                                                                                                    Have a great week!!

                                Nancy S.                                                                                             


  1. WOW! This is amazing. You are providing such awesome experiences for your children. I'd love to follow you through Google Friend Connect or BlogLovin. Maybe you'd like to add one of them to your sidebar. I look forward to reading your posts. Maria

  2. Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your wonderful comments. Thanks to your suggestion I now have Blog lovin' on my sidebar so others can follow me.

  3. If we see in all these certain parts understanding how traveling works here is what that is having an appeal to me acadia national park bus tour is one of those activities which are fine enough and grow in a lot of ways.