End of the Year Memory Binder

Woohoo!!!  We made it to the end of the year!  I don’t know about you, but today was our last day and boy does it feel great!  Another successful year is in the books.  Another group of kids moving onto the next grade WAY bigger and WAY smarter than they were when they came in.  It’s always kind of nostalgic as we go through the last couple of days thinking about everything we did this year.

One of my favorite end of the year celebrations is the End of the Year Binder we create.  I secretly save all of our “published” writing pieces and any special project or writing activity we do.  Then, one of our activities to keep the kids engaged during the last week is handing out all of these pieces and looking at them while putting them in our binder in chronological order-beginning of the year to the end of the year.  I pull them out and they are so shocked that I saved everything.  They LOVE looking at and reading through all of these pieces.  They LOVE finding things they have improved on and they just can’t believe that they spelled “they” with an a, or spelled of-ov,  or didn’t use spaces or that their handwriting was SO HUGE with ALL CAPS, or that their sentences were so short!  “Can you believe it?” I ask.  We just laugh and are amazed at how far they all have come.
Beginning of the year student writing sample.
End of the year student writing sample of same student as above-just look at that growth!
Another example, just because I love seeing how much they have grown, especially as writers!
One of the activities I have my students complete is a Writing Reflection. First, we talk about all the different types of writing from our Units of Study curriculum (small moments, non-fiction, reviews, poems and series books). Then, I have them answer the questions from the reflection worksheet (below). It gets them thinking specifically about how they have improved as writers and what they want to continue to work on.
Another activity I like to do at the end of the year is our “Toothless Grins” writing.  In first grade, most of the students lose A LOT of teeth and inevitably, they are missing their two front teeth at sometime throughout the year.  I try to grab a picture of them when they are missing a lot of teeth and then at the end of the year, I have them write about one time when they lost a tooth.  I will then tape their picture in the middle and they just love it.  Seriously, everything we do at the end, they just love.  

I also like to do a directed drawing of my students in first grade.  Just another thing to add to their binder.  If you haven’t done a directed drawing, check out “First Grade Blue Skies” on TpT for some adorable ones.  Here are a couple of my favorites:  


We all do so much at the end of the year so these are just a few of my favorite things for the Memory Binder that we create.  I think it is such a fun way to look back at the year and really see how much they have grown.  You can find the pages that I explained here in my End of the Year Memory Book Freebie!
Click on the image to get the FREEBIE!

I say it every year, but I will truly miss this group.  We had our great times and our not so great times, but every day we were learning together.  One of the things I love about being a teacher is being able to start over again year after year, but boy are these last few days difficult.  Each year I am truly amazed at how much they grow and how proud I am of ALL of them.  


So here’s to another year! Raise a glass and think about what summer has in store.



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