By Teachers, For Teachers
Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel yet? Well, if you can’t, your little friends certainly can and if they’re anything like my former charges, this realization has sent them into a fit of excitement.
Translation: Your kids are a little more off the wall than usual and you are in desperate need of an end of the year project to hold their attention that has more educational value than the ever-popular “throw in a movie” strategy.
Are your pleas to complete the most recent workbook page met with blank stares?
Has Writer’s Workshop suddenly grown a bit louder and less productive?
Are you about ready to bang your head against the wall as your friends stare longingly out the window at the sun filled playground?
Enter the scrapbook.
This bit of genius is perfect for students at all levels and can be as in-depth as you choose. Plus (yes, there’s more!), this project combines writing, reading, and art into one neat little interdisciplinary package!
Let me break it down for you a bit. At the end of the year, I would go through my arsenal of photos and print out multiple copies of some of the best moments.
To save money, I only printed the very best in color and the rest looked just fine in black and white. I made sure that each child was represented several times and that there were enough copies of group photos to go around. Yes, this could cost a few dollars, however I always found that begging your school’s technology teacher (who has access to the fancy printer) went a long way. If I was feeling particularly organized, I would create a baggy of photos for each student and then leave a large pile to be “up for grabs.”
Then, I went through my arts and crafts stash and took out all the little odds and ends that shouldn’t get thrown out but really, weren’t worth saving in such limited quantities. Scrap paper, ends of bottles of paint, leftover glitter, strange foam shapes, sequins...you name it and I stuck it on a tray to be shared in the middle of each table.
I also put together a tool kit of sorts that included rulers (for straight writing!), erasers, glue bottles and assorted colored pencils.
After a few minutes of sharing scrapbooks I had created for myself and modeling how one might go about creating such a master piece, my friends were always ready to get work. (Keep in mind that I worked with little ones, so yes, any grade can do this!) At that point in the year, I was confident in their ability to handle multiple supplies and a difficult clean up process.
Each and every year that I attempted this project, my kids became so absorbed that I had trouble pulling them away from their desks. Another bonus – this project can last for a number of days or just a few short afternoons.
And the creativity!! Be still my nerdy little teacher heart! The moments they captured through writing, the artistic displays they laid out and the exchanging of ideas was enough to bring a tear to my eye.
Is that light a little brighter now? I sure hope so, because we’re almost there!! Congratulations!!
What are your favorite end of the year projects? Share in the comments section!