Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Class Autograph Books

We are going to go back in time for a bit so I can tell you how it all began. When I first started teaching at my last center, I made a little autograph book at the end of the year.
It was about five pages long (half a sheet of paper for each page) and one-sided. Each child got one and their name went on the front. It was filled with pictures I had taken throughout the year.
(Wow, that was way back when I made astronaut helmets out of paper chef hats!)
We had a little signing party before nap. Many of the kids didn't understand that they were supposed to write their own name in other people's books. It was a hard concept to understand. But they eventually got the hang of it. Well, the next year I went even bigger. I used full-sized sheets of paper.
Each year I alternated cover pictures so kids that were in my class for two years didn't get the same cover. I also changed it from "autograph book" to "yearbook." These were about 6-7 pages long, but double-sided. And I not only put pictures in it, but also wrote in some songs that we sang throughout the year.
I started each yearbook with this poem:
When you get bigger, it's hard to recall
Everything you did when you were so small.
But if days get forgotten in years to come
May this yearbook give you a feeling of fun.
Echoes of poems or games or songs,
Memories of rights and notions of wrongs,
The joy of dressing up just to pretend -
We hope this will help with
"I remember when..."

I found that poem online many, many years ago and I changed it just a tad. If anyone knows where it's originally from, please let me know. It's adorable! And I hope and hope and hope that the parents saved these yearbooks for their kids. I spent a lot of time on them.

At the end of the yearbooks I included the "overheard" section, which had all the funny things the kids said throughout the year. (Read more about that here - it's hilarious!)
I loved the yearbooks, and I still have all of mine. But it got to be too much work -- making sure there was an equal amount of pics of each child, plus photocopying them, usually on a slow machine at work, and then putting them all together with yarn. So for my last year at this particular center, I just sent home the "overheard" section and then sent home a few pictures of each child from the year. But I was kind of disappointed in myself for giving up the yearbook. So this year, I brought back a simpler version, and called it an autograph book again.
I found a big pad of construction paper at Target. It had all kinds of colors and designs. So I used the designed paper for the cover and printed out the title on regular paper. I liked how it was thinner so you could see the design through it. Then I used all different colors of paper for the inside pages. It was only five pages long, and each page was half a sheet of paper (construction paper size). Each child had about five pictures of them in their book.
We had a little signing party last week. They reminded me of high schoolers signing yearbooks.

It was so cute! I liked this because the pictures were real, not black and white photocopies, and it was SO easy for me to put together. I had it all done in about 30 minutes. But I didn't get one for myself, so I didn't get any autographs. I'm sad about that. And I still sent home the "overheard" section, but it was separate. So what do you think? What would you rather have sent home with your child? Real photos, but just a few, or black and white copies, but dozens and of everyone in the class? Would you save it for when your child is all grown up?


Carolyn said...

What a lovely idea! Your children are lucky to have such a creative and dedicated teacher. As the parent of a preschooler, I can't think of a nicer gift than your autograph book. It gives the parents a window into their child's school world.

Betsy said...

Thank you for your kind words, Carolyn! You're making me blush!

Kimberley said...

I'm your newest follower. I love your blog.


Betsy said...

Thanks, Kimberley! Glad to have you along!