August 11, 2004
I have found that families and students really love having a 'memento' of our year together to look back over and see how their child has grown. The original memory book idea came from Judy Ellis of Kindergarten Workshop fame, but I have made it my own after all these years. I still have 6th grade students telling me they have and love their Kindergarten Memory book we made! The format of my Memory Books has changed over the years, but the goal has been the same: a happy memory keepsake. Whether you use 9x12 or 12x18 construction paper or a 3 ring binder with page protectors, what goes into the memory book is pretty much the same. There is at least one page (front and back) per month with a decorated theme. Other pages include monthly student artwork scaled to fit the desired book size, self portraits, monthly student poetry in their handwriting, monthly teacher inspirational poems or sayings, samples of student work in spelling, math facts, creative writing, and more, a page for their birthday celebration, awards and certificates earned, autobiographical pages about pets, hobbies, sports, family, and more. I use photographs or digital pictures as much as I can. Then at the very end a 'love letter' from me telling them how much I enjoyed having them in my class that year. This past year I used white 1-1/2 3 ring binders with the clear plastic on the outside with inside page protectors. As I made the student books, I made one for myself, placing the sample pages in order, so I will be more able to quickly do this coming year's version. The students loved looking at them on the shelf as they continued to grow during the year. They could find their own book easily because I'd made their name to fit on paper that slid in to the spine of the binder plastic. Parent volunteers helped a lot with the page stuffing and insertion into the binder. Those of you with creative genes in the scrapbooking or computer graphic areas can really make lovely books. I shop at sales as much as I can for $1.00 binders, themed computer paper (which can be run thru the copy machine to make lined paper for poetry), and the economy version of acetate page protectors. I find the money I spend on these books nets the best return with happy parents, students, and good memories for all of us, not to mention you've got documentation of a student's abilities for the entire school year. Have fun with this idea!