General Information Packet and Take-Home Bags

21 May 2012
I have gotten a few questions about what I give the parents at the beginning of the school year.  I am posting my General Information Packet for you to look through.  I find that creating a packet saves me time because it clearly explains things to the parents.  I don't get notes asking me the same thing over and over.  If I do find myself getting more than one note asking for clarification on something, I make sure to either clarify that in the packet or if it is not already in the packet, I add it to the packet.  I place the packet in a folder (the penny ones from Staples), along with the class list and class directory.  For more of my organizational forms, check out my Back to School Organizational Forms & More packet on Tpt.  I have just added a page to my Back to School Organizational Forms & More that includes a link to bare-bones editable versions of many of the pages.  Please, re-download if you have already purchased this packet.

To check out my General Information Packet, click the cover picture below.  Feel free to use my packet as a guide for creating one for your own classroom.
Click {here} to purchase the editable file from TpT :)

Here is my Back to School Organizational Forms Packet, if you would like to check it out on TpT:

In my general information packet, I explain the take-home bags that I utilize throughout the school year.  I feel that the take-home bags enhance the home-school connection and are a great way to make the students feel special.  The summer is the perfect time of year for teachers to put these bags together.

I have created packets for all of my take home bags except for the Nursery Rhyme Bag.  If I get enough requests for it, I will work on it during the summer.  I will also take requests for other classroom mascot bags.

Click on the covers to check these packets out on TpT!


SkippyJon is available at Kohl's along with his books and a cute bag! 

My free Take-Home Bag Packets:

In the past, I decorated canvas bags or had my grandmother sew a patterned ones for me.  Now, I use these clear totes from  I find they are easier to keep clean and hold up better.  Plus, I like that they have zippers.  Click on the picture below to check them out.
I use a class list record form to keep track of who has what bag.  I put the date the student takes a bag home in the row with his/her name and under the column for the bag title.  I keep this list in the front of my plan book.  I highlight the date when the bag is returned to school.

I have three bags/journals that we share on Mondays: Star of the Week, Scaredy Squirrel,  the Guinea Pig Journal.   I don't do "Show and Tell," instead I have these bags that we share.  The students and parents write in the journals and include photographs.  After the student shares his/her bag, he answers three questions from the crowd. 

We share the Lost Tooth Bag and the Birthday Bag the day the student brings it back.  I ask that they only keep them one to two nights because other students will be needing them.  

I am always the first Star of the Week and I leave my poster up for "Meet the Teacher Night."  This gives the parents an opportunity to learn a bit more about me.  The next Star of the Week is a randomly picked student.  He/she gets the Star of the Week bag on a Thursday night and they return it to school with the completed poster and photos on Monday morning.  They are then the Star of the Week for the entire week. The next Star of the Week is the next student in alphabetical order.  Click {here} to read my complete post on Star of the Week. 

For the classroom mascot, Scaredy Squirrel, I start at the beginning of the alphabet and work back.  The students get Scaredy on Thursday or Friday and return him to school on Monday.  

The Guinea Pig Journal goes home with the guinea pigs for the weekend/holiday.  The parents sign up for a weekend or holiday to take the guinea pigs.  For more information, click {here} for my free Critters in the Classroom packet.

The extra take-home packs, Dr. Seuss and The Nursery Rhyme Bag, go home starting at random points in the alphabet.  Students can choose not to take these bags home and parents can choose to return them to school without completing the activities inside.  These are completely optional bags.  I don't want something that is supposed to be fun, turn into a burden.  However, if a student and family chooses to complete the activities in the bag, the student earns a prize for doing the extra work.  These bags are not shared in class, since the activities are not journal type activities.  

For more detailed posts on my take-home bags and their contents, click {here}!

I hope you found something useful!  As always, you have permission to Pin anything on my blog, as long as you link it back.  If you are done with the school year, enjoy your summer!  In NY we usually go until the end of June.  Our last day is June 22nd!


  1. Permission to pin please? Thanks!


  2. Thank you so much for sharing your general info. packet!! I was just looking for a template today :).

    Miss J

    Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

  3. Erica, you are the best! Thanks for posting your general packet. I think that will be a great addition to how I prepare my parents for first grade!

    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  4. Yes!! I get out one day before you! lol

  5. I LOVE how organized you are! The packets are amazing! One day I will get that organized! ;)
    Apples and ABC's

  6. Love the clear plastic totes! I will have to switch mine out this summer!

    Totally Terrific Teaching Tools

    Lohren Nolan

  7. Thank you for sharing, Erica. I love the bags!
    Eileen Griffin
    Second Grade Sunshine

  8. Thanks for sharing this Erica! I also wanted you (and your readers) to know that your "Just-Right Reding Response Activity Sheets for Young Learners" is available in the Really Good Stuff catalog! You're a rockstar! :o)

  9. This is all awesome Erica!! I don't know how you do it, you are like wonder woman! We get out the 22nd of June too :)

    1. Kristen! How do you read all these posts? I cannot keep up with all the blogs out there.

  10. I'm behind on reading your latest post...y'all get out in June?????? We are out next week. I can't believe y'all stay that late. When do you start back in the fall?

    1. Haha, we don't go back until after Labor Day. So, I don't really mind going until June 22. The weather is not hot here yet anyway.

  11. Erica ~ How many book bags do you have? Do you have different themes / topics over the academic year? How do you cycle them! I LOVE the idea, I just dont now how / what I need to really make it operation in a class of 22 families for the next academic year. Thoughts? Ideas?! Tips!

    Thanks!! (Happy Almost Summer! 5 days left for us!! Woot! Woot!)

    1. I just added a few more details to the post for you!

  12. Thanks for sharing with us all your great ideas! I definitely want to do a class mascot bag for next year. I plan on thinking through some of your other bag ideas once school gets out. Thanks again! ~Heidi V

  13. Thank you so much for sharing Erica! I'm going to put all of these on my wishlist and (probably buy them sometime this summer) and then work on it for next year. I'm in California and we are still in school until June 21st so I feel you!!

    - sally

  14. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  15. I have never done take home bags, but after reading this post, I am going to start next year! Thanks for these great ideas!

    Delighted in Second

  16. Love your take home packets. I'm actually in the middle of redoing mine since we go some awesome new materials from Lakeshore via

    Feel free to follow my blog so you can check mine out when I post them!

  17. Your ideas look amazing! I bet the kids and parents love you for your creative learning style! Thanks for sharing these ideas!

  18. Love all your different ideas! Thanks for sharing:-)

  19. I really love your classroom ideas. I just discovered your First Grade General Information Packet. It is awesome! Would you consider sharing or selling an editable version?

    Thanks for all your GREAT ideas!

  20. Great ideas. I like your warning board. What happens when a student breaks a rule after recess? Where is the named moved then?


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