Wednesday, May 27, 2015

End of the Year Memory Books

For as long as I can remember, I've made Memory Books as a gift to my class at the end of the school year.  My style has changed over time and some years the books have been more elaborate than others, but I strongly believe in providing my students this special keepsake. 

Yes, it takes time and planning throughout the whole school year.

Yes, it's work to put them all together.  Like a LOT of work!

Yes, it's more expensive than giving them a dollar store beach bucket. 

Why do I make them? Well, because the children love their Memory Books.  Their families treasure them.  In fact, every year I receive numerous thank you cards, emails, and phone calls telling me how special these books are. Plenty of my former students, who are now graduating high school, tell me they still have their preschool book I made for them. 

So here's a post...a lengthy one filled with lots of pictures...on how I make my Memory Books

I actually start thinking and planning the books when I meet my little class for the first time!

The cover has a close-up photo taken at our Meet & Greet before school started. I always have the child hold up their name card in the photo. It helps me learn names and faces before the first day of school but it's an adorable photo for the front of the memory book, too.  You can see the covers weren't exactly the same but they all had that first photo, name matted on a black card, and school themed scrapbook paper accents.

Here's the page when you open the memory book. During the first week of school, I try to capture pictures of each child doing several different activities around the classroom. We make handprints in art which are used on a bulletin board. Once we take down the handprint display, I save them for our memory books.

 As you'll see throughout the book, the embellishments and accents are very simple. I mainly use bulletin board border and diecuts from the teacher store. It's easy to trim those bulletin board borders to the page width I need. Plus, I think it adds just enough of that little something extra without distracting from the photos.

These are more pages from the beginning of the year activities.  I like to use photos which include classmates and ones which will really give a sense of how much the kids have grown during the school year.  The "Me Doll" was a first week art activity we showcased in the hall for awhile and then saved for the book.

I used Wordle, a word art generator program, to create a list of things we did each month.  It's so much easier to type in words and phrases than to journal full sentences on each and every page.  I picked out words that were meaningful for that particular month...things like our themes, a few activities we did, color/shape of the month, etc.

Here are the September pages...

And the October pages...Ooooops...I failed to snap a photo of the page with the October word art.

Moving into November...

And then the December pages which showcased our Christmas program and making gingerbread cookies.  The brown gingerbread man is actually made of a craft foam and was a leftover from an art project. The foam isn't too thick for the scrapbook pages.

Two pages to highlight our January learning...

February was filled with Valentine's Day festivities...

and, of course, celebrating our 100th Day of School...

March was a very busy month!  We enjoyed Dr. Seuss week...

Donuts with Dad...

as well as an Easter Egg Hunt and jelly bean counting...

As the school year moved into April, we opened the bakery center and welcomed a special guest donut maker...

Photos to show what happened in April...

These next two pages might very well be my favorites of the entire Memory Book! As we focused on Earth Day and learned ways to take care of the Earth, we fingerpainted and created a beautiful bluish green Earth. I matted a photo of the student wearing their Earth Day headband on the art. I absolutely love these pages because I believe they show that preschool is all about having fun while you learn!

Our spring field trip to the Nature Center...

The May Memory Book pages featured photos from our Marvelous Mom Day at school...

The last few pages included a name collage and our autograph page...

A final class photo the last week of school along with an "All About Me" questionnaire bring the Memory Book to an end...

Some years I include more artwork or writing samples and some years I've had more photos from a specific event.  It just varies according to that particular class.  I suppose it also depends on how my creativity is flowing when I assemble the books!  No two books are exactly alike although they all follow a similar sequence.  I enjoy picking out decorative papers, colors, and accents for each child's book and I like the fact the pages are as unique as the child I made it for.

The past few years I've used standard sized 8.5x11 cardstock, plastic page protectors, and a one inch binder for the Memory Books. I shop during sales, use coupons, and get a teacher discount at the craft stores for everything I possibly can...packages of cardstock, rolls of adhesive, etc.  The bulletin board borders I use to embellish pages are either leftovers from my stash or purchased at the Dollar Store.  A very sweet, very generous parent donated a box of 250 page protectors this year.  I process all my photos at Costco and I do them in large batches to get a quantity discount.  At Christmas I purchased a set of picture frames at Costco which included a coupon for 100 free prints. All these things help with the cost of making the Memory Books but my biggest investment is definitely my time putting them together. 

I hope this post has been helpful for you to see how the Memory Books are created.  Perhaps it has even inspired you! But if there's anything I left out or something that doesn't make sense, please leave a comment or email me

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  1. Donna- WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to be in your class! Those memory books are a treasure. I bet families cherish them. They should! Thank you for sharing them. <3

  2. These are awesome! I tried a much lower scale one this year using photo collages (everyone got the same one from each event) and mixed them in with a memory book I purchased from TpT that my kiddos filled in throughout the last month of school. They knew we were making a "book" but had no idea that it was going to have pictures and things in it. Thanks for sharing yours...maybe I'll get more adventurous and creative!


  3. What a dedicated teacher! They will enjoy looking at their books for a long time! I love it!

  4. These are beautiful, what an incredible gift from a teacher who clearly loves her students!

  5. I love yours! Mine is similar but I take the whole class picture with me in it so they can have a picture of their teacher in the book.


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