Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's Inside My Memory Bag?

Sue Donk
Leon County Schools


This is a great way to discover a special memory about each student. Children bring one special memento to class and write sentences and illustrate a picture that relates to a main topic about the memento.


The student maintains a single idea or topic in writing.


-1 Lunch-size paper bag per student
-1 Parent note per student (See Associated File)
-1 Sheet of writing paper per student
-1 Sheet of drawing paper per student
-1 Teacher Evaluation Check Sheet per student (See Associated File)
-5 Personal teacher memento items such as a house key, a family photograph, a shoelace, a dog collar, a shell, etc.
-1 Student memento item brought from home
-Chalk eraser


1. Collect 5 personal teacher mementos and extra student mementos for those who forget (i.e., an empty, wrapped Christmas box, an empty, wrapped birthday box, a stuffed dog or cat).
2. Make student copies of the parent note. (See Associated File)
3. Gather materials for activity: writing paper, drawing paper, pencils, and crayons for student drawing.
4. Make one copy per student of the Teacher Evaluation Check Sheet. (See Associated File)
5. Gather one lunch-size paper bag per student.


Prior Knowledge: (Writing Process) Students should know that all sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark.

1. Show students the 5 personal memento items one at a time. Explain to the students as you show each personal item that it helps you remember an event, place, or person(s) you have known. Share why each item is special. For example, the house key is a reminder of the home you live in. The family photograph shows a special time in the family. The dog collar reminds you about the family pet, the shoelace reminds you about a special place you walked to, and the shell reminds you about a trip taken to the beach.

2. Call on several students to generate sentences that could tell about the teacherís picture of a home. Write the students' sentences on the board. Review the main idea of all the sentences listed on the board. Tell students that all the sentences are about the picture of the teacherís home. Review capitalization and punctuation in the sentences.

3. Call on several students to generate sentences that could tell about the family photograph. Review the main idea of all the sentences listed on the board. Tell the students that all the sentences should be about the teacherís family. Review capitalization and punctuation in the sentence.

4. Repeat the same steps for the dog collar, the shoelace and the shell.

5. Explain to the students that they will be taking home a note (See Associated File) and a paper bag today. Ask the students to go home and look for one item that reminds them of a special person(s), place or event in their lives.

6. Each student is to put the item in the paper bag and return the item and the bag to class the following day. It will be a day for students in the class to share one of their favorite memories.

7. Pass out the paper bag and the parent note (See Associated File) to each student. Ask each student to take the bag and note home today.

1. Ask students to take out their paper bags. (You might want to have some generic items for those who forget.) Tell students to place their memory objects on their desks. Tell students to focus on the items and think of the person(s), place or event the item reminds them about.

2. Pass out one sheet of drawing paper to each student. Have students write their names at the bottom of the paper.

3. Students draw a picture of the person(s), place or event the object reminds them about. Encourage students to include the object in their picture. Allow a few minutes for students to complete this portion of the activity.

4. Circulate among students. Check to see if each student's picture clearly depicts a main idea of the person(s), place or event the item reminds them about.

5. Pass out writing paper to each student. Ask the students to write their names at the top of the writing paper.

6. Tell students they will be given 20 minutes to write three sentences about their items. Remind students to use correct capitalization and punctuation. Encourage students to reflect on their drawings to help generate sentences. You may assist with spelling and grammar. Circulate around the room and check to see that each studentís writing reflects the main idea of the studentís object.

7. Collect all drawing and writing papers when complete.

8. Use the Teacher Evaluation Check Sheet (See Associated File) to evaluate each studentís work.


Provide one-on-one assistance with spelling and use of correct grammar. The studentís final written product is evaluated using the Teacher Evaluation Check Sheet (See Associated File) in which the student needs 3 out of 5 points to show knowledge of the standard. Students may need more modeling and practice before they demonstrate mastery of the benchmark at this level.


The students' pictures and sentences may be bound together and assembled into a class memory book.
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