To the Learning Community and Add Dignity and Delight
A hug magically turns children into First Graders: Kindergarten teacher Barbara Sagen gathers the children around her, and together they remember many of the magical things they have shared during the year. On the last day of school, they remember being the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and other animals and characters from stories... But today, she says, “We’re going to do the most magical thing of all—we’re going to turn you into first graders! We’re going to do it with a hug.” She puts on special music, and one at a time, she calls the children up to her. Barb takes time to share with each child something special that she will always remember about them, and then they hug. The child goes off with a look of wonder and transformation on his or her face, saying, “I’m a first grader now.”
Every child gets a medal: On the last day of school, Sandy Hoffman hands out paper “medals” to each child. “To begin we talk about what a medal is and why people get them. I ask for reasons that we could give medals to people in the room. After some discussion on this I explain that everyone is getting a medal and we all have to figure out why they should get one. Then I call the students up one at a time and his/her classmates tell me why that student deserves a medal. I write all the reasons on the back. (Reasons given range from being a good friend, being a helper, a good reader, good at playing ball, a nice smile, etc.) Then I add a reason (thought of earlier), talk a little about that student, pin the medal on them amidst applause, give them a hug, and then call the next student to come up.”
Memory Books highlight the children’s year in pictures and language: In some classrooms the teacher and students create an 8 1⁄2 x 11 group scrapbook of the children’s learning experiences throughout the year. This includes projects they have pursued, field trips and spontaneous photos of the children in action. Writing pieces and drawings can be added. The entire book is then copied for each child as a history of their year together. Leave a few blank pages for autographing. Parents may raise money to have these books photocopied in color and obtain special printing rates on such a project. Even in black and white, these memory books become a treasured keepsake.
Individual Memory Scrapbooks: Compiling photos, pages from classmates’ books, art samples and project work from each child into an attractive spiral bound notebook is a project requiring quite a lot of time, commitment and parental help. These books often include a beginning and end-of-the-year self portrait and a photo with teacher and the class mascot. I compiled many such scrapbooks as a kindergarten teacher. For the families these scrapbooks become a cherished gift that communicates clearly each child has been a valued part of the learning community.