1 Introduce memory books. At group time, discuss the concept of making memory books. Have you ever seen one? What do you think would be in a memory book? What do you want to remember and celebrate about your year together? Brainstorm and record a list of children's ideas on chart paper.
2 Supply the materials. Collect three-ring binders on sale or at a local dollar store. (Parents are often willing to send one in.) Look for the kind that lets you slip a piece of paper into the cover sleeve (for the title page) and the spine (for the child's name).
3 Protect the pages. Make the book durable by slipping each page children create into three-hole sheet protectors. You can buy them in bulk in most office or department stores.
4 Decorate the cover. Provide a wide variety of art materials (such as watercolors, markers, crayons, flat collage items) for children to use to create a very individual cover and spine that can be slipped into the binder sleeve.
5 Use a digital or disposable camera. Invite children to take photos (with your help) of each other, the classroom, and events of the day. A "headshot" makes a great addition to the cover art, as it makes the book more like an autobiography.
6 Organize the book. It is helpful to have an organization plan for the body of the memory book. For example, you might begin the tide for each page with "Celebrate..." and fill in the blank with words (and categories) such as: "Celebrate...friends, events, trips, teamwork, favorite books, songs, themes." Save a page for children to celebrate what they think was their "Biggest Achievement" of the year.
7 Make wishes. Invite children to think about their wishes for the next year. What do they want to do in the next class? What will they learn? Take children's dictation or ask them to draw or write their thoughts on this page.
8 Leave a message. Be sure to write a personal note to each child on the last page, telling him what a pleasure it has been to spend the year with him.
9 Put it all together. Have a construction day. Put on some happy music, set out all the materials and the albums covers, and hum along as children share the warm community of putting their memory books together.
10 Plan Ahead. Consider starting this process in the first few months of school next year. They can decorate their binder cover and spine (with their name) and leave it on a low shelf where they can easily find it and add to it throughout the year.