Memory Books are a huge part of our writing curriculum in this classroom. Each month (sometimes more) I print out some pictures - field trips, special events, cooking projects, reading, science experiments - just us, doing what we do at school. Children look at each picture and decide what they want to write.
Very beginning writers may choose to simply copy down the captions I've written on the board. As their skills increase, they begin to write full sentences, even paragraphs. I encourage all children to do their best work, to challenge themselves. Some children are ready to add punctuation, and to write using proper upper and lower case letters. Wherever a child is on his writing journey, the memory books are a good way to encourage going to the next stop along the way.
Memory books are also an excellent tool for reflection. We can remember and talk about what we've done, and the experiences we've shared. We can take pride in doing something we were nervous about doing. It is also very fun for the students to see the difference in their written work as they progress through the year. "My letters were so wobbly!", or "Look at the way I used to spell school!"
Here is one of my favorites from today.