A few years ago, I found this system for organizing all of the stuff that comes home throughout the year in a meaningful way. This is the blog post about it.
First, I purchased these bins at Staples a few years ago.
Using the Cricut machine that I have had for almost 10 years and this self adhesive vinyl paper, I cut out the letters for the kids names and stuck it on.
I couldn’t find the cute books that were in the post link above, so I used report covers and sheet protectors to preserve pages. I found these in a 5-pack at staples.
I printed out the dividers and cover page from the blog post, and we do the handprints around winter break. A few things that I include are: the class photo, a letter from the teacher (that I ask them to write at the end of the year and give them a sheet of lined paper with a school design), “I Can Write My Name” which is from Confessions of a Homeschooler’s pre-K pack, artwork, writing that was worth saving, awards, and report cards. In the beginning of the year, I have them do a “back to school interview” and at the end, I try to find printables for the end of the year recap. There are so many good ones here.
I also print out pictures from the class throughout the year and use a 5×7 2-pocket sheet protector for those.
This keeps all of the 8.5 x 11 papers that come home and smaller things in one place! I place the book into a hanging folder, and there is also room for anything else that didn’t fit into the book or that didn’t make it into the book. I also put writer’s notebooks and journals into the hanging folder. For Kindergarten and First Grade, I used two hanging folders for one grade. On the front of each folder, I slapped a label from this website with the name, grade, and teacher. Love the idea of putting their school photo on the cover too, but I did not end up doing that!
As far all of that artwork (that you see on top of the bins below), I hang it up in the playroom when it comes home, then I take it down and replace with new and save it all in a pile. At the end of the year, I take pictures of all of it and make a Shutterfly book (above) featuring of all the events for the year and the pictures of the artwork. Anything with handprints or worthy of saving that is oversized, I keep the original in a storage bin under the bed!
On the right in the photo above, starting at the beginning of the year, each child has a folder and this is where I store important papers throughout the year that I know I will save for the book. This made it really easy and quick on the last day when I had everything in order to put the books together!
How do you organize papers and keepsakes from the school year? There are so many good systems out there and I love hearing new ideas.