There’s not much I remember from my first-grade class and end-of-year memory books weren’t really a thing back then, but I SO wish I did have one to look through now that I’m older!
Nowadays, there are all kinds of wonderful end-of-year memory books and most teachers I know have their students complete one each year. If there is ever a year to appreciate and celebrate getting through, this is it!
Whether you create your own or use a pre-made paper or digital one, here are some ideas to make a unique end-of-year memory book your kids and their families will cherish!
4 Ideas for Unique End-of-Year Memory Books
1. Include a Mix of Pictures
Most memory books allow space for kids to draw themselves, which is great because their pictures are just so adorable. I also love to add some real photos taken of them in school since parents likely don’t have any of them in the classroom.
In my end-of-year memory book, I have a few pages where real photos would be perfect to add. The cover is the perfect place for a class photo and there are other pages where you can add them instead of having kids draw or type.
You can also have your students add photos from magazines or insert clipart into digital books! For example, for their “favorites” page, kids can cut out objects and glue them into the spaces or search for the clipart and insert them into digital memory books.
2. build an avatar
Who doesn’t like to have an avatar that represents them? When Bitmoji first came out, they were all the rage. Same for Bitstrips, Memoji, and I can’t even keep track of what else is out there. We just love to see little representations of ourselves!
You can always have your students draw themselves if you are using a paper memory book, of course. But, isn’t it more fun to build? In my updated end-of-year memory book, I included some build-it pages for kids to cut and paste to create their own avatar. Of course, they can add details by drawing in features and it asks them to draw their favorite place to complete the scene.
In my digital memory book, I included movable pieces for kids to use to create an avatar. It has lots of fun little pieces they can use to customize their unique look!
Avatar the Teacher!
Who says kids get all the fun? You will LOVE seeing what they come up with for YOUR avatar! Like above, I included slides for them to create an avatar for you. Of course, you can also create your own avatar using these pieces and just copy and paste it into any slide!
I couldn’t resist so here is mine! 😀
3. Special Teacher Message with AUDIO!
Imagine hearing a special message from your favorite teacher, made just for you. I think this feature would make any child grin from ear to ear!
It may seem daunting, but it is SUPER easy to do! And to show you just how easy, I made this video tutorial. In just over a minute, I’ll show you how to record an audio message and turn it into a QR code that you can insert into your memory book.
You can also insert a picture of yourself (or use the avatar you created!).
I am NOT very techy and a year ago, this would have seemed overwhelming to me, but can we agree that this year has taught us to be a bit more open to learning new tech?
Now, of course, if you prefer, you can also just write your message or type it in the Google Slides version before printing. But I think your students would just love to hear your voice in a special message to them. Let me know if you try it!
4. Turn it into a slideshow!
If you download the Google Slides Memory Book as a PowerPoint, you can go to the “Transitions” tab and edit the PPT to advance slides automatically after a few seconds. Choose a fun transition effect, upload and insert a music file, and your students will love being the star of their own show!
Helpful Tips When Making Memory Books
Memory books can be time-consuming and tedious if you try to make them last-minute and all at once. I remember printing and stapling booklets for students to work through and by the time we were done, half the booklets had missing covers and torn or crumpled pages.
Never again. Here are some lessons I learned over the years to save you some headaches!
- Make a master copy– Most memory books have a lot of options so start by selecting the pages you like and want to include in your memory book. Print out a master copy.
- Print a few pages at a time– I never used ALL of the pages in my memory book because we just didn’t have time. So I copied just a few pages at a time, starting with the ones I most wanted.
- Collect as you go- It can be overwhelming to assemble memory books at the end of the year. To make this easier, collect the pages and file them in student folders as they are completed.
- Keep track–Absences, pull-outs, bathroom breaks….there are many reasons why a student may not have all of their pages completed. There’s nothing worse than pulling out a student’s folder to assemble their book and finding it empty! Avoid this by keeping track of students who need to complete certain pages. I’d just jot down the names of kids who weren’t in the room when I assigned a page or who didn’t finish right onto a post-it note and placed it on that page in my master copy. When kids returned, I had them complete the page and I checked off their names.
- Make the cover last– Saving the cover for last keeps kids busy while you staple all of the books together! Hand out the folders, ask kids to order the pages in the order you hold them up, then have them color in the cover as you go around to staple each.
- Review-On book assembly day, have kids go through their books one last time to color, add details, correct errors, etc.
Memory books take a bit to put together, so start early if you can! Have students work on a page daily as morning work, during centers, or as an early finisher activity.
A look at my End-of-Year Memory book
One of the things I love about my memory book is all of the options I included! There are too many to show, but here are a few more of my favorite pages and slides included.
I also included 2 versions in black and white- portrait and landscape.
A Yearlong Memory Book
For an even more special memory book, consider a yearlong scrapbook! Every year, I took pictures throughout the year of holidays, parties, field trips, and special events. At the end of the year, all of these scrapbook pages would be in their student files and we would put them all together for one very special memory book. It always made me proud to see my kids’ growth throughout the year and is such a great keepsake!
You can grab my memory book or yearlong scrapbook from my Tejeda’s Tots shop or my TpT store.
Make sure to pin this post to save the tips for later or share with a teacher friend. Let me know below if you’ll try any of the ideas or want to share your own!