Saturday, July 9, 2016

8 Clever Classroom Uses for Paper Bags

Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.

We don't really think about them much...  kids bring their lunches in them, we put groceries in them, and sometimes they carry our last minute take-out meal.  Paper bags.  Paper bags have been around since the mid 1800s and, according to what I have read, haven't changed much in all these year.  Why mess with a good thing, I guess.

Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year:



Ask your students to think outside the box, or should I say "inside the bag" for classroom projects. Creating an art piece and then filling the bag with items connected to the subject is a great way to connect art and content.  Students could:

  • draw a self portrait  and fill the bag with items about themselves.
  • draw an animal in its habitat and fill with items related to the animal studied.
  • do a book report by drawing a scene or a character on the bag and then fill it with items the character might have or need in the story.
  • do a historical research project. Students could draw a historical figures and fill the bag with "artifacts" related to the person or time period. 
I'm sure there are more ideas.  If you think of any, please share them with us in the comment section. 
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
This project was inspired by a pin on Pinterest.  You can find it HERE.
 Another way that I integrate art into our study of Native Americans of the Northwest is to make Chilkat Blankets.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.



In my class, I don't send student artwork home with students until Open House in the spring.  Instead, I share pictures of the artwork on our class Facebook group and display the originals in the halls at school.  When the artwork is taken down, we put our artwork in the portfolios.  Every year I purchase poster board for students to make art portfolios with.  While looking for ideas for this post I came across a pin on Pinterest about making art portfolios.  You can find the pin HERE.  
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.

Using large grocery bags to make the portfolios is mind-blowing for me!  First, I love to recycle and reuse as much as possible.  This is a perfect example of that.  Second, paper bags are strong and with a little duct tape, you have a sturdy, attractive art portfolio for students to house their artwork all year long.  As an added bonus,  a lot of grocery bags have handles already built in (The ones I used in the picture didn't so I made my own.) which makes carrying the portfolios easy.  

Interactive Notebooks are all the rage...  and great teaching tools to boot!  Use small lunch bags to create pockets for storing small items such as vocabulary cards, index cards, and other items that need to keep contained.


Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
 One lunch bag can make two pockets.  The pocket you see on the top opens up for easy access.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
 The second pocket, used with the bottom of the bag, folds behind the flap to keep items contained and more secure.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.


Paper bags make great little interactive books.  Because they have pockets, they can hold slide-out cards, photographs, and other memorabilia.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
 I made this book using three lunch bags.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
 There are a lot of clever things about this little book.  The first is that it has larger pockets for photographs, cards, etc. to slide in and out.  I made little tape tabs for my cards to make them easy to pull out.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
 When using lunch bags, you get blank pages to write on or down items.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
The third things are these great little side pockets made with the ends of the bag.  

I love these little books and have been thinking about how they could be used in the classroom.  My first thought is as poetry books.  there is a lot of space to house poems and creatively illustrate student writing.  

Another idea would be to make a personal journal/keepsake/scrap book from another person's point of view.  As with the paper bag art above, students could use book characters or historical figures.  This would take some critical thinking on the part of the student and would be a wonderful end of novel or unit project.  Hmmm... Very interesting...  

Another great use for paper bags is to use them for journal covers.  I wrote a whole blog post on how to make these pioneer journals.  You can read it HERE.  
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.


Everyone loves getting goodie bags, students and teachers alike!  Paper bags make cute little holders for any holiday or event.  For back-to-school consider making little packages for your students to welcome them your class.  Another great idea is to make packages for your colleagues with items teachers love.
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.




Kids of all ages LOVE puppets!  Paper bag puppets are a great way to engage your students and get them thinking creatively.  Even with older students, puppets are a meaningful way to apply learning and show understanding of concepts.

Just like some ideas mentioned above, puppets can be used for traditional reports on historical figures, book characters, and animals reports.  But take a moment to ask your students to think a bit more abstractly.  What would a puppet of the cell look like?  What would it say?  How about a stomach, a germ, or even a volcano?  Think about the concepts you are teaching and challenge your students to come up with puppets and scripts to present what they have learned to the class.  This would be a wonderful alternative to the traditional exam or report!

It's summer and I don't have any puppets hanging out there at home, but I did find a lot of ideas for paper bag puppets on Pinterest.  here are just a couple: 

 



I'm awful at remembering birthdays.  Even my own family's.  One year I totally forgot my husband's birthday, which is in September... bad timing with back-to-school and all!  Eventually he forgave me, but because I am so bad with dates, I have to do everything I can to help myself remember these special occasions.
  
Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.

In the classroom I've helped myself by displaying students' birthday goody bags by month on one of the classroom walls.  It doesn't take up much room and saves me a ton of time.  Checking the birthday display now and then I get a quick peek at the birthdays for the month and have a birthday bag all prepared for each student.  No more scrambling to find those "Happy Birthday" pencils and stickers...  they are already packaged and ready to go! 

Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.

Paper bags are an easy answer for this display.  The personalized bag tags dress them up and they hang nicely when stapled to the wall.  

Birthday Display and Gift Pack is a great way to work smarter not harder in the classroom this school year!

This summer I've worked on designing a brand new Birthday Display pack I'll be using in my own classroom.  I'm very excited to get it up on my wall this fall!  It includes editable bag tags and birthday book marks, 6 different birthday coupons, pencil flags, month headers, birthday crown, and "Happy Birthday" bulletin board letters.  This will make my year so much easier!
Birthday Display and Gift Pack is a great way to work smarter not harder in the classroom this school year!

It's a brand new upload to my TpT store, so I'm selling it for 50% off through July!  Click on the product cover to take a look at it.  



And now, because you stuck around through all 7 of the ideas above...  Here is #8 and a FREEBIE for Back to School! 

Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.

About Me Bags are a great way to get to know your students at the beginning of the school year.  Glue these tags to the front of your brown paper bags and hand out the first week of school.  Don't forget to fill your own bags so students learn a little bit about you.  This is also a great opportunity to model for your class how to present their bags to the class.  As an added extension, use the bags as a writing prompt to learn about how to write a great paragraph or a longer 5 paragraph essay! 

Click HERE to get your free download of About Me Bags Tags!  

So there you have it!  8 Creative and clever uses for using paper bags in the classroom!  I hope that this post has inspired you to try at least one of these ideas this coming school year!  I know that I've inspired myself and I can't wait to see what other great ideas you all have for using this everyday item in new and interesting ways!

Paper bags have always been there to hold our "stuff" but it's time to give the paper bag the glory it deserves!  Here are 8 clever classroom uses that'll make you want to "brown bag" it this school year.
Please pin me.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you all have a GREAT Back to school!



2 comments:

  1. Mrs. McClain­čîčJuly 10, 2016 at 11:27 AM

    Beautiful ideas! I LOVE the new Birthday project you created!

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    1. Thank you! It was a fun blog post to write. :)

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