If you are anything like me, this is the time of the school year that I get SUPER nostalgic! It's a bittersweet time for me. I know the time with my current students is getting shorter and shorter, but I also begin to get incredibly excited about next school year. Sound familiar?
It's very important to me that we take the time to reflect on everything that we have been learning during the school year. One of my favorite ways to do this is to create a Collaborative Memory Scrapbook with my students in the last week of school. It really motivates the students to write about what we have learned and experienced, but it also allows them some "down time" to decorate their books. It is a great "time-filler" for those extra blocks of time during the last week of school! It also makes a great keepsake for the year. (I still have all the class memory books we have made. I'm sentimental like that!)
I like to use this FREE graphic organizer to help my students brainstorm about things that we have learned over the course of the year. We write down key words from the academic content, special events, and other memories. We get creative with some of the more difficult letters. For example, "X" might represent the symbol for multiplication or the science vocabulary word xylem. At this time, we include more than one word for each letter. We also might include words in more than one category. For example, our field trip to Caesar's Creek to collect fossils could go under the letters C and F.
I also get myself organized. I like to create a full-page book with one letter on each page. I leave the top half of the page empty and the add lines to the bottom of the page. I make 2 copies of each letter--one for the rough draft and one for the final copy.
Once we have collected key words, we determine which options work best for each letter and eliminate duplicates. Each student gets assigned a letter of his or her choice. Depending on class size, some students might get more than one letter of the alphabet.
Have each student write a rough draft paragraph about their topic or memory. I like to have them meet with peers to edit first, then with me. Afterwards, I give them their fresh, "final copy" paper to rewrite their paragraph in their best handwriting. If you have students that write with light pressure, you will need to remind them to press harder so that their page will copy correctly. I have students leave the top part of the page blank. This leaves them room to either draw their own pictures or to glue pictures from their school year in those spots.
I like to copy these pages front to back. I make enough copies for each student to have their own collaborative memory book. I have had students create their own covers, had the class vote on a cover, and also provided my own. You decide!
I don't know about you, but I take SO MANY photos during the school year! I like to add them into a Power Point presentation, resize the pictures so that are much smaller (I can fit a lot more on the page that way), and then print them for the students. I try to make sure that each student has pictures of himself or herself from different events or lessons over the year. I let the kids cut them out and paste them in their memory book wherever they like. They absolutely LOVE it! If you don't take many photos or you aren't able to use that much ink, you can also let the students illustrate their memory books.
I hope the end of your school year is filled with many wonderful memories! If you are interested in creating a Collaborative ABC Memory Book with your own class, you can check it out in my store here or click on the picture below. It is versatile and spans grades K-6.
What other fun things do you like to do at the end of the year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below! Also, don't forget to check out our Facebook page every afternoon this week for teacher Appreciation Giveaways!!!