When my youngest was in elementary school, I got a wild hair and started doing a class scrapbook each year.
Here’s what that looked like: going into his classroom twice each month of the school year - once to take pictures of each student doing a certain activity, then - after having the photos printed - going back a second time to hand out the photos, along with a scrapbook page for them to decorate.
At the end of the school year, I assembled the loose pages into books for each student to take home, and they absolutely loved it.
It wasn’t technically my idea.
My sister-in-law was doing it for her daughter’s class, and - not to ever be outdone by her - I immediately stole the idea and took it to my son’s school, claiming all the credit for my own, WHICH IS HOW I ROLL.
Over the years, I perfected the books and the overall process, and I’m excited to share it with you, because my sweet baby angel is no longer in elementary school, so I no longer need to put on appearances as the Room Mom Who Has Her Sh*t Together*.
Now YOU get to be that girl.
The fantastic thing about this project is that it really is a win-win all the way around for everyone involved: it’s a win for you because you get to be involved in your child’s school life, and get to know her peers.
It’s a win for your kiddo because it gives them a sense of comfort and connection when you’re involved in their classroom.
It’s a win for your child’s teacher because it gives her a break at least one time per month, when you take over the class to work with the students on their scrapbook page.
It’s a win for the other kids’ parents because at the end of the year they’ll get a customized scrapbook with pictures of their child, including his handwriting and artwork, and capturing a glimpse of the year their child has had - one they wouldn’t see from the pages of the school yearbook.
Also - so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, AND to make this project easier to chew, I’ve created an email series - FO’ FREE - with instructions, templates, and a list of supplies needed for that month.
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Here’s How To Make Scrapbooks For Your Child’s Classmates
Get Permission. First things first - before you can take even one baby step on this project, you need to get with your child’s teacher to ask permission. Permission to be in the classroom twice each month AND permission to take photos of each child (the district may require that a signed permission slip is on file - ask the teacher about that - the Class Scrapbook email series includes a sample of a permission slip that you can copy, if you like!)
Get Class Roster. This will be your checklist each month, so you don’t skip anyone at picture-taking time or at photo-developing time. I would make it into a spreadsheet, print it out, and keep it in the accordion file box so I could keep up with whether I’d taken everyone’s picture, and whether I’d collected each student’s completed scrapbook page. (The Class Scrapbook email series includes a template for this!)
Get Teacher Approval On Dates. Look at your calendar and select two dates each month that you’d like to go to the school; clear the dates with the teacher and put the dates in your calendar. The first date each month will be photo-taking and the second date will be scrapbook page decorating.
Take Student Photos. Take your student roster/checklist with you, so you make sure to get every student’s picture. The list below has photo ideas to help spur some creativity.
Have Photos Printed. I usually use the photo center at my local Target, but I’ve also uploaded the pictures to Shutterfly and had them shipped to me. Make sure to do this in plenty of time before you’re scheduled to go back to the school for scrapbook page day.
Prepare Scrapbook Pages. You can either design cute scrapbook pages for the kids to color, or hand out plain card stock paper for them to decorate and then glue their pictures to. Or you can sign up for my FREE monthly email series, where I’ll send you scrapbook pages I have designed for you to use, along with instructions for the month, and a few other goodies to help make this project fun and easy.
Have the students write their name on the back of their scrapbook page before doing anything else. Then have them glue on their picture. Next, they can use colored pencils or crayons to decorate their page.
Younger grades do better when you give them some parameters, versus letting them draw and color whatever they want.
I’ve found that, for this reason, it’s better to come to class with pre-designed pages that they can color in and add as much or as little as they like. If you sign up for the Class Scrapbook email series, you’ll get pre-designed scrapbook page printables for free - or you can create your own using PicMonkey or Canva.
Collect The Decorated Pages. Take up all the pages at the end of the class period and keep them in an accordion file box
Assemble The Books. At the end of the school year, after you have all the completed scrapbook pages in-hand, put each child’s pages together in a stack, and either punch holes and tie them together with ribbon, or use a report cover like this, with prongs. Don’t use the kind with a sliding bar or a clip because it won’t hold and the pages will fall out and you’ll want to set yourself on fire.
Have the students create two pages this month: A title page, with the school name, teacher’s name, and school year - I also have them write their name on that front cover because it’s fun for them to see how different their handwriting looks at the end of the school year.
The second page’s theme: This is me at the beginning of the year.
•Picture of the student with her teacher
•Against a wall with a cute height chart like this customizable one
Theme: This is me with my friends
•Student with a few classmate friends on the playground, or sitting at lunch together, or posing next to each other in the classroom
•Student with a friend looking through a book together in the library or in the classroom
Theme: Thankful for Thanksgiving
•Student on school’s Thanksgiving lunch day
•At his desk, while he creates a Thanksgiving-themed craft
•Posing with a turkey or Pilgrim cap on his head
Theme: Smiling is my favorite!
•Alone or with a friend or two, posing with photo booth props like these
•Wearing a Santa hat
•Posing like she’s climbing a rope, as shown in this ornament tutorial - but instead, have them decorate their page with a giant Christmas tree, then you can cut around their picture and make it look like they’re scaling their tree. So.Cute.
Theme: My favorite center is…
•Candid shots of him building blocks or reading, or participating in their favorite center
•Posed shots of him smiling as he’s in his favorite center
Theme: Valentine’s Day love
•From the class Valentine’s Day party
•With his/her Valentine
•Handing Valentines out, or handing one to his teacher
Theme: On the playground
•Try to get shots with lots of color - on the swings, merry-go-round, slide
•Candids are best for this one
•Running and playing with friends
•Sitting under a tree with a friend, chatting
Theme: In the lunchroom
•Candid shots of her laughing and talking with friends at the lunch table
•Posing with her favorite dessert
Theme: This is me at the end of the year. Make sure they write their name on the FRONT of the page, like they did on the cover, so they can see the difference!
•Next to their teacher, showing how much they’ve grown
•Next to the same height chart as used the beginning of the year
•With some cute summer photo booth props like these
If you get the chance to attend Field Day or chaperone a field trip, you could add those pages to their books, too.
Psst!… If you sign up for the Student Scrapbook email series, I’ve included a page and instructions for each of these extra page ideas!
It’s what I wish I’d had when I was trying to be The Room Mom To End All Room Moms: the ability to unzip my head, take out my brain, and let someone else tell me exactly what to do to put the children, the teacher, AND the other parents in such a state of awe, they’d actually be disgusted.
And now they’ll be disgusted with YOU!
Sign up for the monthly series right here.
Here’s what it includes:
A Permission Slip template for you to customize for your teacher to send home with students
A fully customizable cover page (Word Doc), which you can personalize with the name of the school, the name of the teacher, and the current school year
A spreadsheet (PDF printable) for keeping track of photos and scrapbook pages
A monthly email with
Instructions for the month
Printable scrapbook page for the month
Checklist of items to prep for next month
Or if you want the whole enchilada right now, you can buy it right here for just $9.
Have a great time with this project - you’re going to make incredible memories for you and your child.
*I was this woman once. Long time ago. Just like how perky boobs and bikini-worthy abs slipped away from me over the years, so did my ability to maintain enough of my critical thinking and organizational skills to manage parent communications, party planning, and classroom crafts on behalf of my son’s teachers, because those last few years of my son’s elementary school days were rough, room-parent-wise.
In fourth grade, as the students were coming from PE to the classroom for their Christmas party, we had them sit outside the classroom, along the wall in the hallway, because the cocoa wasn’t heating up in the crockpot fast enough and I was panicking about having too much time with the children, and not enough things planned to fill that time, and I got all sweaty and started talking really fast to all the parents who were in there helping me set things up while the kids were still outside the classroom waiting, waiting, waiting - even after everything was all set up - and I just could not get the nerve to let them in BECAUSE I AM A DISASTER.