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May 12, 2012

Open House Memory Book

The week of Open House is very much the seemingly most stressful time of year.  Don't you agree?  I know with myself, I regret sending so much work home throughout the year.  I always have so much stuff that I want to put out and have on display.  Of course the main thing that I love to have on their desks is their memory book.  I love their memory books.  It's probably because I enjoy being able to see how far they come in a year.  Every month I take a picture of something that is happening in the classroom.  Most months it is some type of project, some months it is a class picture.  I usually take the individual pictures after they have their presentation - when they are feeling elated that it is over.  

Here's the rundown of this year's memory book.

Cover - Everyone has the same basic format, just personalized for them of course
August - My first day in 4th grade
September - My Ecosystem Diorama
October - Owl Pellet Discoveries and Halloween Picture
November - Science Project
December - Learn Not to Burn Program (the firemen come to visit)
January - Mission Project
February - Art Field Trip
March - Working hard (preparing for state tests)
April - Paper Mache Easter Egg
May - Sacramento Field Trip
My Favorites - this page has a list of all their favorite units from the year
My Autograph page - this we do the last week of school before the book is sent home.

The memory book comes together pretty easily.  I don't do much to it myself.  That's the beauty of 4th graders, they are independent.  I give them a piece of colored copy paper, tell them what to write (they are supposed to write the page titles in cursive), and then give them their specific picture.  I draw a template on the board and they follow it.  When done I give them a sheet protector and they slide it in.  I keep all the pages together throughout the year until after the April page is made, then it's time to assemble.

Assembling it full class is probably one of the most stressful moments of the year.  We pass out each sheet August through April, then they add their cover to the front, and 3 extra sheet protectors to the back.  They then take 3 pieces of yarn, and starting with the middle hole punch in the sheet protector thread the book together.  Once that first section is bound, the rest of the book comes together pretty easily.  There is always at least 2 students that decide to assemble it as a regular calendar would go - starting with January. They quickly realize their mistake, and fix it.

It really is an easy project, and it's not very expensive at all.  I ask for donations for page protectors and colored copy paper.  Maybe it's something you could also try next year.  =)  Just a thought!

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