As the end of the year draws near, teachers often find themselves out of curriculum. Everything had to be covered before testing – plus students and teachers are just out of gas. What can teachers plan that is both educational and engaging? Instead of boring kids with a bunch of movies, spend a few periods having them record their memories of this year! Teachers and students can celebrate each other’s successes, as well as reflect on the memories that were made.
Why Make a Memory Book?
Class memory books are a fantastic way to end the year. They can be made either as a book or digitally. I used a printed book for a few reasons.
- The last week of school any tech we had was already checked in and unable to be used.
- Copying the book pages was a lot less prep for me – I could either copy it or ask a parent helper to prep it, while I spent my time on report cards.
- Autographs. It is really easy for students to sign each other’s memory book when it’s a print out.
- If your school has a binding machine, the books look very nice with a card stock covers and a binding – and make a great keepsake.
This is the perfect keepsake to send home with students. Forget the candy or cheap toys, give them something they will pull out for years to come.
Creating the Memory Book
A memory book sounds great, but how will my class get it finished? The end of the year can be really crazy and getting student buy-in is sometimes difficult. Memory books are personal, and students have full control over what they write in their book. Students are more excited about writing even if they usually don’t enjoy it – because this is writing for a personal purpose.
Teachers have flexibility in how the book is made as well. Some pages could be completed with student partners while others are done individually. Using partners can also cut down on the time it takes to finish the book. One student pair might complete the Field Trip page, while another works on the Class Pet page. Your artistic students might work on the “Class Photo” page and sketch in head shots of each student.
Individual reflection pages, such as Math, Language Arts, or All About Me, should be done alone. This is a great way for students to focus on growth mindset and goal setting. If teachers have kept portfolios, students could review their work to see just have much they have learned this year!
Once all of the pages are finished, teachers can spend a class period assembling the books. If students complete every page individually, then it is easier to bind the books before starting. Group memory books need to be assembled after the pages are finished:
- Have students keep their individual pages in a folder.
- Copy a set of the group pages for each student, then have students add those pages to the others.
- For more durability, copy the cover on a piece of card stock and use a blank piece for the back cover. (I use whichever color I have gobs of – I always seem to have one color that is hard to print on!)
- Staple or bind.
- Give them time to autograph each other’s books.
End of the Year Class Memory Book
If you’d like to purchase a ready to use resource, I have a Memory Book
in my Store. The resource includes cover pages that specifically state 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade – simply print the one for your grade or have students design their own cover.
There are 17 different pages to use plus a Table of Contents page. Simply select the ones that fit your school year. A few pages are available with different titles. For example, in our school we had Field Day, but other schools hold Junior Olympics. Both titles are included to better fit a variety of school cultures.
Two pages without headings are also included. Teachers could use these for special events that happen in their school or to write their own reflection of the year and copy it into the students’ memory books.
The Memory Book is in color, but prints nicely in grayscale. Again, I did this on purpose. Some children do not like to color – or have fine motor issues that make it difficult for them to color an entire book.
Superlative Award Certificates
In addition, matching Superlative Awards Certificates
are available. There are 27 different awards in the resource, plus nomination sheets for students to vote for the awards. Teachers can either type the student names on the certificates or write the names by hand. (To type the names, simply add a text box and type.)
The Memory Book includes matching pages for students (or the teacher) to fill in the award winners.