This year I am going to read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn on the first day of school. I came across the idea for this book on a website with lots of back to school ideas (not sure which one!). As soon as I saw it, I remembered that I had gotten a copy through my Scholastic book orders last year, so I headed down to my storage space to try and dig it out. I was right that I have it, but it's in Spanish. No worries--I was still able to read it and appreciate the very cute and touching story about a little raccoon who is nervous about going to school for the very first time.
Chester Racoon (Mapache en español) does not want to go to school because he wants to stay home and play with his friends, play with his toys, read his books, and swing on his swings. He asks his mama if he can stay at home with her, but she explains to him that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do and that Chester will discover new things at school once he goes, like new friends, new toys, new books, and new swings. She also cheers Chester up by telling him the secret of the kissing hand. She kisses Chester's hand and folds the kiss inside telling him that anytime he feels alone and needs a little love he can press his hand to his face and think Mama loves me.
This is such a sweet story touching on the emotions that kids might be feeling when they head to school for the first time. I think it's the perfect story to read for Kindergartners on their first day of school. It also reflects how parents might feel as they send their babies off for the first time.
I would really love to send something home with my welcome letter that relates to the story so kids can get excited for the story and bring something to share on the first day. It seems fitting to do an activity that involves a hand cutout or handprint, but I have not decided for sure what I want to do. I searched the book on google images to get the image above and lots of ideas popped up. (Try it!)'
I came across a site called Teaching Treasures which looks really cute. They have literacy bags for many different books which are adorable. I would definitely not pay their prices, but I would use their ideas to make my own! That's what teachers are especially good at, don't you think?!
A few cute things I saw...
flannel board sets
With good parental support, this would be a SUPER fun activity to have families complete. If they were given a book and a bag and asked to put together a story bag with different items, I think they could have a lot of fun with it. I am not sure if I could really make that happen, but I can dream, right? Then on certain days the kids could take home any bag besides the one they made and enjoy the story. Oh what fun that would be! I bet canvas bags like that are sold at Michaels and I already have lots of books....hmmm. Could it work?
I also found some other fun activities to do along with The Kissing Hand at this site. I like the idea of having a little hunt for Chester (and getting a cute stuffed raccoon to hide) by reading clues. There is also a little coloring book about the story, but unfortunately the links no longer work.
This site also shows an idea of what to put in a literacy bag about the story.
We are not allowed to provide treats that were made at home, but these sure at cute!
I was also thinking it could be cute to send a hand cutout home with the welcome letters and ask students to draw a picture of someone they love on the hand. Then when we read the story they can think about that person and getting a big kiss from them. Or maybe they could have their parents help them write a prediction on the hand...what is a kissing hand for? I am still working on that part of it because obviously I don't want to just read the story, I want to have some fun activities to go with it to make their first day of school super wonderful!
If you have any more ideas for The Kissing Hand do tell! I would love to hear if you have done this story before and what kids thought of it. Also, don't forget to post YOUR idea on Jen's blog!!!