While completing my Primary PGCE six years ago, I undertook a placement in a Year Two class. While at that placement I acquired the idea of having a bear that could travel the world and return with stories to be told to the class. So, thank you Mrs. Koletzki (if you're reading this) for the idea! I suppose it's also an extension of the Barnaby Bear Key Stage One resource.
Since completing my training, I have only worked in Key Stage Two, but have had my own class bear (Austin), who spends most days sat in the classroom observing all that goes on. But, every now and again he goes off on adventures. I have a photo album that contains photographs of the places he has visited, a write up of what he did and a post card from each country. In addition to that, I also have newspapers, coins, flags and some other artifacts from each country he has been to.
The children enjoy looking at the pictures of where he has been, seeing the different post cards and, without realising it, developing their knowledge of countries and cultures from around the globe.
This of course all started as a classroom resource, but it's also started to make Austin quite a special bear because of all the places he has now been to: China (twice - including visiting the Great Wall and the Olympics), Finland, Germany, Israel, Jordan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Spain (twice), Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE and Wales. He is, at the time of writing, in the USA. He's had quite a busy six years taking in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America.
I must extend my gratitude to friends and family who willingly take him away with them on holiday (often asking for him) and then provide resources from the countries for the classroom.
You can find Austin online here: AustinTheBear
He's certainly better travelled than I am!