*** This is not a Project Life post, but it is related to Becky Higgins and another of her concepts***
For as long as I’ve had my blog, I’ve made mention of “the school scrapbook project that I do”. It may be more commonly know as Becky Higgin’s Personal Yearbook (not to be confused with Project Life). HERE is a blog post where she talks about her newer, digital version of the Personal Yearbook, but also gives a little back story on how it began. I’m not a very naturally trusting person when it comes to who is around my children/who is responsible for them when I am not around. I spend a lot of time volunteering at school and have since my oldest started school(let me clarify, I completely trust my girls’ teachers, but in the beginning, they were all strangers). Around the end of her kinder year I read about Becky Higgins doing the personal yearbook with her son and thought it was a great idea for a few reasons. First of all, it gives me a “reason” to be at school and know what is going on with my child. Second of all, I was already planning to make my girls their own school scrapbooks and this project would make it easier for me to get photographs of her and her friends at school without looking like some sort of stalker :) I spoke to her first grade teacher very early on and she was so excited about the project and couldn’t wait to start. I offered to help the other first grade teachers if they wanted to do it as well and the first year I worked with Natalie’s class and two other 1st grade classes. Just like anyone else that has done this with their child’s school, I learned quite a bit that first year of what to and what not to do. The following year, Natalie moved on to 2nd grade and Sydney started kinder. Even though I hadn’t done this project with Natalie in kinder, I approached Sydney’s teacher (who was also Natalie’s) about the project before the start of the year to get her thoughts. At first, she wasn’t sure, but after giving it some thought she decided we would have the student’s copy in the beginning (which is a skill they need to practice anyway) and towards the end of the year, they would write themselves. Okay, enough words, let’s get to the pictures :) Here is a sample of one of Natalie’s layouts for this current school year:
We do a layout every month (sometimes two) and the teacher chooses the topic (sometimes I suggest things as well). The paper strips are 8.5×2″ and are a great way to use up patterned paper you aren’t going to use … or can be picked up at Michaels/Joanns/Hobby Lobby cheaply using coupons or when on clearance. I also get donations from parents on occasion. Since her class is all fourth graders, I’m trying to encourage them to give a bit more detail in their journaling instead of “I liked it. It was fun.” Some of the kids are doing this, some are not. It took me a while to finally understand that even if there is not a lot of “deep” journaling on the page or if there’s not a whole lot of effort of any kind, it’s not a reflection on how hard I work, but of the student his/her self. For the “art page”, I usually bring up stamps from my personal stash along with blocks and ink and let the kids stamp to help with their illustration. It started as a way for me to feel like I was getting some use out of some neglected stamps (and sometimes an excuse to buy a new one). The kids absolutely LOVE this part! Even the youngest ones learn the “rules” quickly about what is acceptable for using my stamps and what isn’t, so I don’t really worry about my stamps getting ruined. Here are some examples from Sydney, my second grader. Here is her title page: Some months, the topic isn’t something that a photograph of each student will work well with. This is one example – Sydney’s class grew some plants from seed in class and I took some progress photos. It made more sense to use the same collage-style photo for each student, instead of having them each pose with their plant.
Here is a closeup of her journaling: The girls have two weeks of school left, so I am at my frantic “will I get everything done?” time, but this three day weekend helped a lot! I do try to file the pages into the page protectors as we go during the school year. The first year I waited until the end and ended up staying up until midnight for about 3 weeks trying to get it all done. The only thing I really save to the end of the year (last month and a half or so) is the cover page. Since these go into 3 brad folders, I wanted to make them look a little nicer. Also, the parents don’t always know about this project, so when they are going thru their kid’s backpack that last week of school, I didn’t want this to look like just another random folder. I stamp a generic cover page and have the teachers run off black and white copies. Then at night, while I watch tv, I use my favorite Lawn Fawn alpha stamp and stamp the students’ names in colored ink. This is extra work that is so not necessary, but I know it makes the kids feel even more special.
One one last note, I just did this layout a week or so ago and wanted to share it. Last year was my busiest/craziest year (and I don’t think I’ll ever do that much again), but seeing that many happy kids made it worth all the work! Okay, I think that about wraps up everything. If anyone has questions about specifics on how I get this project to work, especially with multiple classes, just leave me a comment. I will be linking up with The Mom Creative (next week) and will be getting my PL layouts back up on a regular basis real soon … in about two weeks :)