Project 26 | post 12 | Displays / by Carey

[see the updated book that I did for 2013 along with my tips and instructions here]

Today's post is post 12 in my group Project 26 this year.  Almost halfway!  The theme this time is Displays.  Since I already posted my own home wall gallery displays for Wendy VonSosen's Art Display Project (here and here) back in January, I decided to do a little different take for today. Here you have my display of affection for Little Buddy's awesome pre-K teacher this year.

(When you finish here, make sure you continue on my group circle to Celeste Jones and see what she has up her sleeve for Displays).

As the end of the school year approached and it was time to think about End of Year Teacher Gifts, I began to brainstorm.  I wanted something their teachers would really want themselves. While I'm sure they appreciate the sentiment behind some art my kids would make, or something they'd create themselves, it wouldn't be something their teachers would want to keep.  I detest buying gifts just because I'm supposed to buy a gift.  I want my gifts to have meaning.  I want my gifts to others to be things the recipient truly wants or would benefit from.  But at the same time, I wanted the gift to have some significance, some meaning, some remembrance of this last school year.

As Mother's Day was looming, I began to see those interviews pop up in my Pinterest feed.  You know the ones where the kids answer questions about their Mommy.  And I was inspired.

I decided to create a little interview for each child in the classroom to answer, about their teacher!  And then I would compile those into a photo book, including a photo of each child, some facts about each child, and their interview answers.  I was super excited!  I googled for question ideas and then asked on facebook for other suggestions.  A few of my friends were gold-mines!  I emailed out the questionnaire to the parents and asked for them to get the answers back to me, along with a favorite photo and a few facts about their kid.   I did this for both of my kids' teachers.

Then I went to research the best place to order the book.  The end of the year had strapped me for time.  Typically I like to design things myself.  But when I found the "The Was the Year" book template over at Paper Coterie, there was absolutely no question.  This was it! [edit Mar 2014: Paper Coterie has since, most unfortunately, gone out of business]

Instead of a page spread for each month of the year, I left the template numbers in on the spreads as the number of each child in the class.  I ordered them in the order I received the answers from the parents, so I could upload and tweak as I received the answers.  (Tip! If you do this, do it WAY ahead of time.  There are always straggler parents, and you want to have time for the book to arrive!)  I left a page at the end for the kids to sign their names.  For my daughter's class book, I thought of the idea to leave a page where the teacher could add her little 5x7 copy of the class photo, too.

I was so thrilled with the result.  I had a ball compiling all the kids' answers.  They were utterly hilarious.  I couldn't wait for it to arrive.  But when it did, I was beside myself.  Truly, Paper Coterie is an awesome resource. [edit Mar 2014: Paper Coterie has since, most unfortunately, gone out of business] I hate, hate, hate that it arrived the evening of the last day of school and the other parents weren't able to view and hold the book themselves.  It turned out SOOOO cool.  And it's awesomeness inspired me to use THIS as my post for Displays.  Here is my display of a classroom full of cool kids, and a huge display of affection for their amazing, amazing teacher.  I hope it inspires other parents to create something similar for their teachers next year.  Little Buddy's teacher absolutely LOVED it.

(This was my first time to create a book with Paper Coterie.  I've loved them for other products, but was really pleased with the ease of use and speed of their book creation 'software' on the site.  This would have taken so much longer to create on my own in Photoshop.  The template design was so perfect, and I was able to quickly tweak the template for my needs.  I deleted the elements I didn't need, and added the kids' photos and text boxes for the questionnaire.  So super easy.  And the color in print was spot on.)

Without further ado, here is the 8x8 softcover photo book from Paper Coterie.  [edit Mar 2014: Paper Coterie has since, most unfortunately, gone out of business]

Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie

I took my kids out to the preschool playground after school one day (so midday sun... not the best, but it was what I had time to do) for the cover and title page shots.  I tried to capture the playground equipment, rather than their faces, so they were creative but generic for both teacher's books.

Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie

I've blurred the names and faces of the kids, for privacy reasons.  Here is a closeup of Little Buddy's spread.  Each page included the child's full name, age, and facts about them.  So Little Buddy's says he loves science and nature, grilled cheese, ocean creatures, getting muddy, staying up late, and I foolishly left off camouflage!

Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie

There were 10 kids in Little Buddy's class, but the parent of two of the kids didn't get me the stuff in time.  I left those two pages blank besides their names, and then scrapbooked their photos and answers in when the book arrived.  I didn't photograph those pages.

Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie

Then at the end, I left a page blank where I had hoped the kids could all sign their names.  Since the book didn't arrive until the even ing of the last day of school, I had the kids sign a piece of scrapbook paper and I used scrapbook adhesive and photo corners to add it in after the fact.  I wish I'd made the "thank you" part on the left smaller and left a space for Mrs. Robin to add the class photo.  I'll remember that for next time!

Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie
Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie

And here it is wrapped and ready to go.  Mrs. Robin adores the beach, so we used a cool white starfish for the package adornment.

Displays, End of Year Teacher Gift, Book, Paper Coterie
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Do make sure you take a few moments to become inspired by the rest of my group's interpretation of Displays.  Next up is Celeste Jones


(To help others who are inspired, here is the questionnaire we used. )

About My Teacher Questionnaire

What is your favorite thing about Mrs. Robin?

How old is Mrs. Robin?

What color are Mrs. Robin's eyes?

What is Mrs. Robin's favorite food?  (I meant to ask favorite restaurant here, but accidentally typed food.  This worked in my favor, because some of the answers to the favorite thing to eat question below were hilarious, as the kids picked up on the redundancy)

What is Mrs. Robin's favorite color?

What is Mrs. Robin's favorite thing to do?

What is Mrs. Robin's favorite thing to eat?

What makes Mrs. Robin happy?

What makes Robin sad?

What does Mrs. Robin work hard at?

Mrs. Robin makes me feel good when she....

What two/three words do you think most describe Mrs. Robin?

If Mrs. Robin were a superhero, who would she be?

What does Mrs. Robin do when she is not at school?

What do you think Mrs. Robin was like when she was 5?

If Mrs. Robin wasn't a teacher, what do they think she would be?

What super hero or cartoon character would most likely hang out with Mrs. Robin?

If you could make one rule that Mrs. Robin had to follow, what rule would you make?

If could change one rule Mrs. Robin has, what would you change?

Of all the things you learned in Mrs. Robin's class, what do you think will be the most important when you are a grown-up?

Mrs. Robin is special because .......