A Traveling Suitcase in the Classroom

The Traveling Suitcase

A few years ago now — when I taught Grade One — I had a Math Suitcase, a Writing Suitcase and a Science Suitcase in the classroom. Within each suitcase were games and activities relating to certain areas of study. Students took turns bringing the suitcases home. Once home they played the games, engaged in the activities and conducted the experiments found therein with family and friends. They loved them!

Well, one day I was sharing this idea/activity with a colleague of mine and I thought to myself, “Hey! This was so successful in Grade One … why not try it with my Grade Fives?!”

… So now,  if you were a fly on my classroom wall, you would notice a small, well-used suitcase in the corner of our room. It was donated to our class by a parent. The suitcase goes home with a different student twice a week … It is both loved and well used.

& Just in case you are interested in doing this same type of activity in your classroom I have included some information below!

Have fun!


The Traveling Suitcase

1. Students take turns bringing The Traveling Suitcase home. The suitcase goes home twice a week: Monday afternoons (to be returned Thursday mornings) and Thursdays (to be returned Monday mornings).
Please be sure to bring the suitcase back to school so that everyone has an opportunity to engage in the activities enclosed.

2. In The Traveling Suitcase you will find fun, educational activities that relate to our units of study. You may find books to read, experiments to conduct, or puzzles and games to play.Please note that as your teacher, I will be asking you, the students for suggested activities (e.g. What is it that you like to do? Readings? Experiments? Puzzles? Word searches?) on a regular basis and will do my best to include them in The Traveling Suitcase.

3. Once you have The Traveling Suitcase at home take some time to explore its contents. Please choose two or three activities to complete. Some activities must be done with an adult so read the instructions carefully.

4. Be prepared to discuss the activities with the class when you bring the suitcase back. If you have an opportunity please consider taking picture of you engaged in any of the activities. If you email the picture to email I can put it up on the Smart Board the next day!

5. Please take good care of our suitcase. Take care of the books, papers, pencils and items found inside. We have a place for everything so keep everything in its place. Finally, should you notice that anything needs replacing please let me know so that I can have The Traveling Suitcase ready for the next student.

Best regards,

Here are some sites & ideas that I have used in order to “pack my suitcase”:

1. Math:

2. Social Studies:
Word searches
Colouring pages
Easy crafts

3. Science Experiments:
Word searches
Colouring pages

4. For Fun:
Magic tricks: http://magic.about.com/od/libraryofsimpletricks/ig/Easy-Magic-Tricks

5. Books:
Library books based on a topic of study or general class interest

11 responses to “A Traveling Suitcase in the Classroom

  1. >Great Idea!! I have done the traveling backpack. This will probably seem corny to your kids but what about including a passport? They have to include a special "stamp" (cut and paste creation) they add to the passport. Bethhttp://primaryconnections-beth.blogspot.com/

  2. >Hi Beth,I love the idea!!!!!This term I think that we could even include the passports that we made first term during our study of Canadian Government! Perfect!Maybe I could give them a "travel stamp" every time they complete an activity? What do you think?Cheers,Ally

  3. >Hi!If you want it to be a stamp you could go to your local office supply store (Staples etc) and have a stamp made? It was just a thought when you said traveling because we do a "Holidays around the World" unit and our kids have a country stamp they put on their "suitcase" portfolio to show all the countries they learned about. Beth

  4. >This is awesome. I would love to try something like this next year. I teach elementary school Spanish so it'd be cute I'm just trying to figure out how I could do it since I see them once a week. Choose 1 student or let them keep it in their class so more than 1 student can use it? How would I decide who gets it? Questions to ponder.

  5. >Lindsey- good questions! You may see them only 1x a week but what if you sent it home 2x's a week? Not sure if this would work but you could have 2 (8 1/2 x 11 sized) suitcases laminated on your front board. On the day that you have the students in your classroom, pick 2 names (names can be on laminated squares of paper in a jar) and place those names on the suitcases. Find out where those students would be on those days and drop off the suitcase to those classrooms? You can have the names of students who have had the chance in another jar. I hope this idea makes sense. Another thought is if you have 2 different colored suitcases (blue and red) blue suitcase can be the one that goes home on (Tuesday) and return (Wednesday) and red suitcase can be the one that goes home on (Thursday) return on (Friday) for example. You could also ask for 2 students from that classroom (1 of which gets the suitcase) to come to the classroom to get it as well… Good Luck! Let me know if you have any questionsBethbkindyfl@gmail.comhttp://primaryconnections-beth.blogspot.com/

  6. >Hey Beth … you said it all!!! ;-)Cheers,Ally

  7. >What an incredible idea – I love it. I think the older kids have all forgotten how to play proper games as they are all addicted to their screens. In the younger years, my son kept on bringing home Bentzy, the class stuffed toy. We always had to write a little story about him, take him out with us etc and let me tell you, Bentzy overstayed his welcome.I wish they did something like this…maybe I wouldn't groan when kid comes home with the suitcase.Thanks for sharing.

  8. >Great idea! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! I love your website–keep the wonderful posts coming. Thank you!

  9. >I totally love this post and I want to link back to it! http://www.littlemisskindergarten.blogspot.com Come on over and check us out!

  10. >Love this! I have science suitcases in my classes (5th grade). This year I was able to rotate them through about 40 of my 115 students. I love the extra ideas here, and I am looking for better (more interesting looking cases) over the summer. A passport sounds great!@llacrosse

  11. >This is an excellent idea…and I'm thinking in particular those students who go home and have nothing! What a joy to bring home such educational goodies — I can just see the smiles now!Thank you for sharing!Michelle (Twitter-OurClassroomCDN)

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