In years past, I loved using the month of May to reflect on the school year with my kids. As much as I loved doing this for myself, I’ve always felt like there is so much power in showing kids how far they’ve come in just a few short months. This was especially fun in Kindergarten. I loved showing my kids writing samples from the first few months of school compared to how they’re writing in May.
“That is NOT my writing!”, they’d exclaim. “I never wrote like that!” Trust me sweet children. You DID. And those first few months of your writing journey were painful (for both of us). Can I get an amen?!
As soon as our countdown to the end of year began, we would spend parts of our day reflecting on the months past. Whether it was looking through pictures or going over portfolio pieces collected throughout the year, we’d spend little parts of our day reflecting on what we learned, how we’ve grown, or some of our most favorite memories.
I wanted to give my kids an opportunity to meaningfully reflect each day, but also knew we were a little short on time (I know that’s shocking ;), so I created digital slides I could incorporate into our morning and/or afternoon messages/news with different reflection questions and prompts. This way we would be able to reflect together as a class in a somewhat “quick” manner. They absolutely LOVED this! When we incorporated this into our morning routine, they wanted to write all about it during Writers Workshop. It was definitely a win/win!
To add a little something extra to the digital component, I also created reflection sheets that correspond with each slide. I’d have the kids complete one a day and then at the end of the year I bound them into little memory books for them. It was such a fun keepsake to add to their yearlong portfolios! They loved these!
Speaking of memory books, I also loved to have my kids complete their very own book of memories to commemorate their year in our classroom.
I’d try to get an early(ish) start on these completing a page here and there over the course of several weeks. Some years I’d use just a few of the pages (depending on the class) and some years I’d use them ALL! My kids absolutely LOVED the “Instagram feel”. Can you tell my why primary kids know more about social media than I do?!
I loved watching my kids light up with happiness as they completed the pages in their books. It was so much fun to see how excited they’d get when they’d remember something or when a specific memory came to mind. They tried to be so very detailed when drawing their “picture memories”.
I tried to be sure that their memory books were complete several days before the last day of school. Inevitably, there are always a few kids not present on the very last day and I wanted to make sure their memory books were complete and sent home before the last day. I also really loved when parents would visit on that very last day and tell me how much they loved those memory books, too.
Let me tell you that I’ve kept every single one of my two boy’s memory books through the years. I’m slightly sentimental (which could be the understatement of the year) and love looking back through their memories from year-to-year. And even though they cringe thismuch when looking at their work from earlier years, I’m pretty sure they like going back through their memories just as much as I do.
If you’re looking for a few different ways to reflect on the year’s memories, you can grab both of these resources HERE.
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