Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Classroom Year End Books

Well its that time of year again…  The end of the school year. 
The end of school is such a rush of crazy busyness that you hardly have time to slow down and enjoy it.  Then all of a sudden its over.  And even though I’m so glad its summer, I begin to realize that when I go back to school my kids that I have become so attached to over the past year will move on to new teachers and classrooms.
This past week I put the finishing touches on my kids’ Year End Books.  Year End Books are a tradition in kindergarten at my school.  All year long the kindergarten teachers collect art work, crafts, writing samples, etc to put into these special books which we then give to the kids and their families after our awards program.
Looking through my students’ books made me stop and think about the growth each of my kids have made throughout the year.  Not only academically, but in maturity, getting along with others, sharing, and in so many other ways.
Every year I start off with the best of intentions and put lots of things in the books.  Then as the year goes on and things get busier, I forget about them and the student work put aside starts to dwindle.  At the end of the year I realize I forgot and then start putting a bunch of things in them again.
Last summer I decided that I needed to jazz up my Year End Books.  So this year I have made a conscious effort to put several things aside each month.  I also found these great monthly pages to divide up student work into different months.
This is where I keep all the pages of my kids' Year End Books until they are ready to be put into page protectors and then placed in binders.

This is an example of a cover page for my Year End Books.  First I bought scrapbook paper books at Hobby Lobby.  Then I let my kids choose which paper they wanted as the background for their cover and trimmed the paper to fit in the front view sleeve.  I love that each child's cover will look different because they got to choose the paper.  I took all of my kids' pictures for the cover in front of our morning mtg board because that is where we begin each day.  I also used fun scrapbook scissors to cut out the names, pictures, and class name/year.  I love how these turned out! 

So here is a picture walk through some of my favorite pages in my Year End Books this year.
This is a picture I take on the very first day of school.  I cut the pictures out and tape them onto coconuts for my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom bulletin board.
This is an activity our students complete with their parents on the first day of school.  We read The Kissing Hand to our new students.  Then each parent paints their child's hand and completes the craft.  (We leave directions for the parents)
Halloween crafts and glyphs.

Happy 100th Day!

Fun Pinterest inspired Valentine's Day activities!

Hurray Hurray, its your birthday!

 The page on the left is what I used as monthly dividers.  They are available on TpT here.

This is the very last page that goes in each book.  A picture of me with that child.

I put an autograph page in the back cover of the binder.

I am quite proud of my Year End Books this year.  I worked hard on them all year and they are definitely better than any previous year's.

My suggestions for a Year End Book
  • If you plan on putting the pages in page protectors, trim the construction paper down before you do the activity.  If you wait until the end to trim everything it can get very time consuming and you may end up cutting off parts of the craft.
  • Put pages in the Year End Book as you go.  I suggest maybe once every couple of weeks you go through them and put papers in the binders.  This way you don't have to do it all at the end of the year.
  • Keep the binders in an accessible place so that its not a big deal to pull them out and work on them.  I keep mine side-by-side and upright on the table beside my desk.  (in ABC order of course)  I print a label with their name and put it on the spine so that I can quickly find the binder I need.
  • Pictures are fun but only put in the ones that count!  Pictures can get expensive.  I was very choosey about which pictures I printed and put in the books.
  • Don't just use art work.  Put in writing samples to see growth, math activities, reports, special homework activities.
My goal for next year is to include more writing samples!

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