"Come! Look!"

Friendship. Powerful, moving, hilarious. Friendship.
It is a gift to witness friendship that is created and bonded between young children at school. It is quite remarkable, really, to commit one's self to connecting with and seeking out the companionship of another who is not a family member when you are 3 or 4 years old. Remarkable really. Come, look.

what if you discovered a photo of you & your best friend in a class book? maybe you'd have a friend Come & Look.

[Oh, I am ahead of myself in my blog story already.]
Here's the real story:
There is a great deal of documentation that goes on in preschool classrooms: stories are written, dialogue is noted, secret treasure maps are detailed, & projects are posted for reflection. Also, many photos are documented - perhaps to capture a special moment, experience or discovery of a child or children. Sometimes photos have no elaborate documentation at all - the photo tells the story on its own, an image of children doing the important work of play.
And, then, there are photos that come to life in a different way...by being a personal memory for a child. Come, look.

One girl wrote her own class book and wanted to share it with her friend. Come, look.

A four-year-old boy named Brian and his friend Sam were working together on building airplanes with Legos. Both boys were making the sound of the engines at take off.  The photo I took of them working with their Legos showed (you have to imagine it) the boys with airplanes in mid-hold & their mouths formed in a "whhrrrrrr" shape. This photo was put in our Forest Room Photo Collection along with dozens and dozens of other photos. (see below about Classroom Photo Books). This particular photo had no official documentation - just the photo on its own to show the friends, the Legos and airplane designs.

The memory story came after the photo was placed in the Class Book. One of our classroom teachers had placed the book on the center welcome table in the morning one day so that children could look through for new photos at arrival and throughout the day. Brian happened to be looking at the book by himself that early morning when all of a sudden he yells to me from across the room: "Jeanne! Come! Look! I found the BEST picture of all! Look! Here's a picture of me and my friend Sam! That's the BEST picture!"
Brian kept looking at the book but kept his hand on the page of the Best Picture. Every few pages, he would flip back just to look at himself with his best friend one more time.

  ----- [grin, sigh, grin.] -----

Teacher tips: 
Making class books is something that so many schools do and they are wonderful to have in different areas of the room. You can create Class Books out of construction paper, bound by ribbon or staples; store-bought "photo albums" that could be donated by families; bound books with school or local copier store bindings. + Create a Wish List for your classroom if you'd like donations or help with creating and/or compiling books.

1. You might have an on-going photo album of the life of the classroom - perhaps photos taken by teachers AND parents and compiled throughout the year. In the photo below, the photos are in sleeves for easy handling and adding more pages: 'There's Halloween!' This book might be in the reading area, in the dramatic play area or in the block area.
class books can come in many forms: fun photo albums, art books with a topic, project books with a study focus.
2. You might create 'topic books' for art/drawing experiences to be collected together. In the photo above, the example is a "Rainy Day Book" where all the children made drawings of what school, home or the neighborhood looks like when it rains. Each child's description of their work is included. Also, this book had the title created by the children! This book might be in the science area, art area or reading area.

3. Perhaps you created a class book around a study topic or project. We made our Cooking Journal over the course of the year as parents visited every other week and shared a new food and/or kitchen tool! This book might be found in our dramatic play area, science area or reading area.

Something wonderful about Class Books is that they are, themselves, a History of Your Classroom. They chronicle the tales of different school years, children, families, studies, adventures, traditions. Having access to these class books was my memory and vehicle to writing this blog story.

Children love books. Children love books even more when they have a personal connection to it whether via photos, art or writing.
Children want to be able to Come! Look! and to Flip Back To A Page that becomes a favorite. These authentic classroom books offer children an experience that is private, or shared, where they may have their own memory just be seeing one photo. (Perhaps spying a treasured friendship in color right there in front of them.)

It is highly likely that once you have class books,
you will also hear..."Come! Look!"

** What kinds of class books have you made? What kinds of materials did you use? Any other tips for teachers?

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