Connecting Classrooms - Traveling Buddies Project Resources

Special Note: The Traveling Buddies Project groups have already been formed for the 2006-2007 school year. Please check back again next year or feel free to form a group of your own and use any of these resources. Good luck!

Welcome to the Traveling Buddies Project!

The Traveling Buddies Project is a project involving several early childhood teachers across North America for the 2006-2007 school year. Each teacher is a part of a travel group. A travel group is a group of teachers who will be working together for the school year by sending a "buddy" to each classroom in their group throughout the year. Traveling Buddies Project teachers are teachers who desire to further their students' knowledge of technology and geography through the adventures of their classroom buddy who is sent to classrooms throughout the continent. Each buddy's adventures will be recorded through a journal, emails, and if possible, through a website.

We were in the news! Read an article from Cincinnati, Ohio about Eli the Eagle from Shannon Langston's first grade class (one of our Traveling Buddies Project teachers from 2005-2006).
Click here to read the article.

Click on the links below or scroll down for more information.

Project Guidelines Traveling Buddies Teacher Websites
Creative Ideas for Your Project Resource Links
Printables Ollies Traveling Buddy Project - by Mrs. Stamp
Schedules for the Project  

Project Guidelines

Objective

  • The traveling buddies project is a mascot exchange program where collaborating classrooms will learn about other areas of the country through the exchange of a class "buddy", email, journal, and digital photos.

Personal Requirements

  • Upon applying to be a part of the Traveling Buddies Project, all members replied "yes" to being able to commit to this project for a year including mailing dates and pay postage for mailing each buddy.
  • Important Note: This project depends on the integrity and professionalism of each teacher involved. It is important that each teacher comply with the mailing dates and procedures that are involved with this project. There are many teachers and classroom children that are looking forward to the project and depending on you to follow the guidelines that go along with it. MrsNelsonsClass.com does not accept any responsibility for the loss of materials or the failure of another participant to comply with these guidelines. Personal addresses and phone numbers were collected from each member application. Please follow the guidelines and this will make everything run smoothly!

Required Technology

  • All participating classrooms must have internet access and a working email address that is checked regularly. It is suggested that you have access to a digital camera or at least a film camera for taking pictures of the visiting mascot and sending to the owner's classroom.
  • All members of the Traveling Buddies Project should also be members of our Yahoo! Group. If you are not a member, please sign up here to be a part of our discussions and to find many valuable ideas.
  • If the participating teacher has a website, it would be a helpful and great idea to create a page for your traveling buddies. You are not required to have a website, but if you would like to create one, there are many free resources available to do so. You can build you own at GeoCities or LycosTripod for free.

Procedures

  • At the start of the year, choose a "buddy" (stuffed animal) who represents your state, area, or school. Your buddy will start the year with your class.
  • Form a journal that will travel with your buddy to different classrooms. Your journal should include:
    • A flexible 3 ring binder or 3 prong folder
    • Photos of your buddy and your classroom
    • Information about your state, area, and school
    • At least 1 children's book or picture book about your state or area
    • "Souvenirs" such as postcards, brochures, etc.
    • Optional: You may send "gifts" if you would like (stickers, treats, child made gifts, etc.)
  • On the assigned mailing date, you will package and send your buddy to the assigned classroom. You will be receiving a guest buddy who you will be responsible for mailing to the next teacher.
  • You will be hosting a new buddy for a short time each month. When you have a new buddy in your classroom, it will be your responsibility for emailing and journaling with the visiting classroom. When you receive a visiting buddy, please do the following:
    • Add to the visiting buddy's journal including photos and captions (at least 6 pictures)
    • Include a "souvenir" such as a postcard or a brochure for the other class to keep.
    • Email the visiting buddy's classroom with photos and captions
    • Take care of the items that accompanied the mascot
    • The more activities you can include with your buddy, the better the experience for the other classes involved. Please take the time to make this project special for all who are involved.
  • On the assigned mailing date, you will either mail the buddy to the next teacher or mail the buddy home (depending on the date).

Schedules for the Project

1st Mail Date Friday, September 8th
2nd Mail Date (mail to next teacher) Friday, October 6th
3rd Mail Date (return buddy home) Friday, November 3rd
4th Mail Date Friday, February 2nd
5th Mail Date (mail to next teacher) Friday, March 2nd
6th Mail Date (return buddy home) Friday, April 6th

All schedules listed below are in .pdf format. Click to download:

Creative Ideas for Your Project

If you are a part of our project and you have any neat ideas or photos to share, please post them to MrsNelsonsGroup at Yahoo! Groups and I will post them here with your permission.

  • If you are looking for a buddy to use for the project, I have great luck finding just about any type of stuffed animal on Ebay. Also, if you just type "stuffed _____" into the Google search window, you may also find what you're looking for.
  • I am in the process of making my bulletin board for the project and this is what I have so far. I purchased the map at teacher store for about $2.99. When we get a visiting buddy, I will take its picture and we will post it on our bulletin board with an arrow or string connecting the picture to where the buddy came from. I will also hang brochures and other pictures that were sent for us to keep.

around the world bulletin board

  • I purchased a backpack for our buddy at a Lakeshore store for $4.99. It is a clear backpack with enough room for our buddy, journal, and other goodies to fit in. I am going to let my kids help to decorate it.

lakeshore backpacks

  • Stop at a local hotel and pick up brochures and maps of attractions and historic sites in your area.
  • Souvenier shops and gas stations are great places to find interesting items representing your state or city. Nearly every Walmart has a selection of tourist items such as post cards, books, and other interesting items. My friend, Mrs. Dominguez, found this neat camera key chain at Walmart. When you click the camera button while looking through the "lens" it shows a slide show of 10 photos of our area. It was really cheap (under $3) and so neat!

souvenir camera

  • Make copies of a map for each student. Have each student color the state of each buddy that visits
  • Put up a bulletin board displaying important information about your state such as a state map, state flag, state mascots and symbols, government officials, attractions, etc.
  • Keep a scrapbook of each visiting buddy.
  • Take a field trip to the post office and mail your buddy! We had an awesome tour and got to package and ship our buddy at the same time. The kids LOVED the trip!

Printables

You will need Adobe Reader to read and print the resources below. Click here or on the image below to download Adobe Reader for free.

These printables are resources only. Please feel free to make your own journal and activity pages.

Journal Cover Page - (.pdf format)

Blank Journal Page - (.pdf format)

Where Do We Live Printable - (.pdf format)
Where Do We Live Sample - (.pdf format)

Jamie G. shared this student writing book for the project. Click below to download and print.
Student Traveling Buddies Workbook - (.pdf format)

Rosemary G. is allowing me to share her scrapbook with everyone. She made this scrapbook to follow her classroom buddy, Georgie, on his adventures. Click below to view her scrapbook and get ideas for making your own.
Meet Georgie Scrapbook - (.pdf format)

Traveling Buddies Teacher Websites

To be added to when our 2006-2007 project starts...

Mrs. Nelson's Class - Our Travel Journal (Asheville, NC)

Resource Links

Read an article about us in the news! Click here.

Geography Printables for the USA and Canada - from KidZone

State Information Database - from NetState.com

State Information Database - from 50States.com

Printable Maps, Facts, and Activities for the 50 States - from Enchanted Learning

Printable Maps, Facts, and Activities for Canada - from Enchanted Learning

50 States Activities and Printables - from ABCTeach

Canada Activities and Printables - from ABCTeach

Interactive Geography Games for Grades K-5 - from Kaboose Network

Related Literature

I was at Borders over the weekend and found an awesome Georgia state Alphabet book that I bought to include with our class traveling buddy. I looked up all 50 states and Canada, and here they are listed below:

 

Ollie's Traveling Buddy Project

The Ollie Traveling Buddy Project was started by Mrs. Karen Stamp, a second grade teacher from Virginia. The Ollie Project was inspired by the true story of a dog, named Owney, who traveled around the United States with the U.S. Postal Service. Our project will involve sending Ollie, a stuffed dog, around the U.S. to all 50 states. This was quite an endeavor for Karen to undertake and my class i excited to be a part of the project along with our other traveling buddy project (read above).

Here are some of the procedures for Ollie's visit:

  • Ollie will travel around the country. He will have time to visit each class for 1 day only.
  • When Ollie arrives we will be adding to his travel journal and taking pictures with him.
  • We will have to mail Ollie out to his next destination immediately and also send out postcards to the other 49 classrooms/states to let them know of Ollie's whereabouts.
  • We can't wait for his visit!


Here is a picture of Ollie with his journal and traveling box!
Thank you, Karen, for starting this project!

Here are some resources for the Ollie Project:

Ollie's Traveling Journal Page - click here

Mrs. Stamp's Traveling Buddy Project Information - click here

National Postal Museum Owney's Page - click here