Thank You For Being A Friend.

Do you have a favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal?

When I ask my Kinder kids that question, I am bombarded with all-at-once, passionate responses. I don’t think any other question brings out so much passion. They love their stuffed friends.

Since they are so special, we’ll celebrate Teddy Bear Day (Sept 9) for a full week, which includes a weekend sleep-over.

Not only is this a great way for the kids to get to cultivate community, Teddy Bear Day the perfect way to introduce diversity in a beginning-of-the-year low-risk celebration.

Here’s a break-down of our Teddy Bear celebration:
Monday – We’ll make a KWL chart about bears and we’ll read Sleep, Bear! (Shelby Alinsky). This allows us to also discuss bears, seasons, hibernation, and new vocabulary words. They’ll also make connections between words and expand their understanding of animals and their part in our world.

Tuesday – Read and discuss Bear’s New Friend (Karma Wilson/Jane Chapman). I’ll introduce Think-Pair-Share. I absolutely love this collaborative strategy and it gives me a great way to informally assess comprehension. We’ll do some shared writing on what a friend is and isn’t and ideas on how to make new friends.

Wednesday – I’ll take Bear Bear to school with me and introduce him to the kids. I’ll share Bear Bear’s specialness with them and how teddy bears came to be. I’ll read Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Mo Willems) and collaborate again with Think-Pair-Share. We’ll talk about our favorite stuffed friends and what makes them so special.

Thursday – We’ll read and discuss The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His Grrrrr (Rob Biddulph) and write in our journals. Our sentence starter will be, I am a friend when…. And, we’ll just have to make Teddy Grahams S’mores Pops. That will give us a chance to discuss states of matter. (I love any reason to incorporate a tasty snack!)

Friday – Kids bring in their stuffed friends. I’ll prepare name tags for them to fill in. We’ll join together in our circle and I’ll model introductions. We’ll begin our year-long conversation regarding diversity that begin with “I notice” statements.

At the end of our day, I’ll read Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson/Jane Chapman) while the kids snuggle with their stuffed friends and enjoy animal crackers. We’ll talk about the weekend sleep-over at school that the stuffed friends get to have with us.

At dismissal, the kids will tell their special friends that they’re excited to see them on Monday and give them big hugs.

After the kids leave, we stage a big photo session! We put on our robes, set up a variety of scenes and take pictures. We laugh so hard. It’s a great way to end a busy, busy first week of school.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll post photos for the parents so they can show their kids what their favorite friends have been up to. This can help soften any anxious feelings of being separated from their favorite stuffed animal.

On Monday, we celebrate being together again.

Reunited, and it feels so good!