Saturday, July 21, 2012

Travel Buddy Project

In third grade, my class had a class mascot (a stuffed mouse) and every weekend someone got to take him home along with his journal and we wrote about our adventures with them, drew pictures of what we did, etc.  I thought it was the coolest thing and was SO excited when it was my turn to take him home.

Well I wanted my students to feel that same feeling but since they are in fifth grade I wanted to switch it up a little, so we are doing a travel buddy instead of a class mascot.  Some of you might already know what a travel buddy is but for those of you who do not here is a break down:
  • Get a class buddy (stuffed animal) that represents your state, town, or school
  • Place your buddy, a picture book that goes along with your buddy, a journal for writing their adventures, and a souvenir for the other class in some sort of bag
  • Send all that goodness to a teacher in another state and they will send their buddy and goodies to you
  • Your students will learn all about another state and writing through this project
You can of course tweak this anyway you would like.  I am SUPER excited to say that our buddy is not in another state but in another country... Poland!!!  My students range from all different cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses but still have little experience outside of their own town let alone state or country.  I think they will love this!  We will be sending everything as stated above and possibly be sending postcards throughout the year also (sort of pen pal like).

Our class buddy is Topher the Turtle and we got him at SeaWorld along with Sea Turtles A-Z: Loggy, Greeny & Leather by Mara Uman Hixon.  I really liked the book since it taught about the different sea turtles and how we can help save them and other sea creatures.  Look how  cute his little face is!

I will also include S is for Sunshine: A Florida Alphabet by Carol Crane.  Even though I already included Topher's book about him, the whole point of a Travel Buddy is to learn more about where they came from so I'm throwing this in there as well.  These books are great and they have one for each state!

I will probably just use a green or yellow composition notebook for the journal.  The first page will be a letter from Topher that explains to the students what they are supposed to do and how Topher likes to have his two favorite books read to him.
The bag I will be using is the large blue backpack from Lakeshore.

Now for the souvenir...  I haven't decided what I want to add in.  I was thinking some pencils or bookmarks from SeaWorld or Disney but I'm not totally in love with that idea.  I want something really unique for them!  I haven't decided if I want to give them something from Central Florida/Orlando specifically or just Florida in general and go the beach route.  I'm going to have my class vote on which one but if you have any specific ideas for either I would love to hear them!

As you can tell I am ridiculously excited about this project and can't wait to get started!  Has anyone else ever done a Travel Buddy or something similar?  If you have any advice, please share!  Any advice would be greatly appreciated :o)



  1. I LOVE this idea! How did you find a travel buddy? Thanks!

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this did you go about finding a person to switch with? I wish I had more ideas for you, but my creative side is tapped for the day...
    Stop by and check out my first linky party about first day procedures.
    Mrs. Saunders' Lovelies

  3. I'm your newest follower! Great job with your blog:) I love the class buddy idea. I have an award waiting for you. Stop by and pick it up!

    Kelly Teach

  4. I really like this idea! We just got back from Florida and I love the idea of a state mascot. I'm from Texas and although most people would think of a cow, I would use a bat and send Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats from Scholastic. We did a compare/contrast of fiction & non-fiction (using Zipping, Zapping... and Stellaluna). Then, we put our venn diagram onto a bat (each wing had a book and the body had similarities). Maybe you could include a craft and an activity. That way students could do the craft/activity and send a picture back of the process and final product.

    I teach 3rd Grade ELAR/SS as well. I see 60+ students each day. I am trying to figure out how to create a visual for class jobs, but I see 3 classes per day. Do you have any ideas? Also, what ideas do you have for stations in an ELAR/SS classroom?

  5. I actually found my person to switch with because my cousin was on a mission trip in Poland and I asked him to scout out some teachers for me. Luckily, he was staying in a school! If you go to and sign up you can find other teachers from around the world who want email pen pals (you can ask if they want to do a travel buddy also!). It let's you be very specific and pick a country, school, and age that you want. You can also post projects you want to do and see if anyone responds. Good luck and let me know how it goes!