I read the book Library Mouse to my students every year to kick off writer's workshop. They always love the book and it motivates them to start writing...especially if you add in a few extras along with reading the story.
This year I decided to add another element to it. I discovered an actual mouse hole in my classroom and thought, "What a perfect opportunity"!
This is where Martha the Mouse comes in. Meet Martha:
The next day I put her on my rocking chair, along with a book that she wrote as well as a cover page for a whole class take home journal. I said nothing to the kids. I just waited.
It took about 3.5 seconds for someone to notice Martha and ask what it was doing there and who put it there. I of course was shocked and appalled that someone would leave a mouse on my rocking chair. I mean, who would do such a thing!
We decided we better read the book that Martha left because there might be a clue in it. And as one of my students said, "This is Serious Mysterious! We need to solve the mystery!". So, we read about how Martha is the mouse that lives in Room 2. She told us about how she likes to come out at night and ride her skate board up and down the hallways...but "Shhhh" she said, "Don't tell the principal!". Martha said that she was getting lonely every night by herself and she wondered if she could go home with a new student every weekend so she could have new adventures.
She also asked the students if they could write about their adventures with her so that it could be shared with the other students. Of course we all agreed that we must do this!
Then came the questions: "Mrs. S. are you Martha?", "Can we go on a mouse hunt?", "Can we see the mouse hole?"....they also had many guesses as to who Martha really is e.g. the librarian because she likes books a lot, the principal, the custodian etc.
BUT once I showed them the mouse hole most of them gasped and shrieked with excitement at the thought of Martha being real! They immediately wanted to start writing her stories and letters.
This was one of the best moments I have had as a teacher. Seeing and feeling the excitement in a classroom full of students is beyond rewarding. I love that this is my job.
I'll share more of Martha's adventures once the kids have started writing in the book!
Have you ever done a take home journal like this? What did you do and how did it go?