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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” end of school-year tradition

(Originally posted May, 2011)
One of my scrapbooking friends shared this tradition and I thought I’d pass it on to you!
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When her son was young my friend purchased a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.  Throughout the years she secretly gave her son’s teachers the book to sign at the end of the school year.  They left notes, poems  and some just signed their name.  When her son graduated from high school she presented the book to her son at his party.  With the party going on all around him he poured over it, going over each page, each signature, each note. 
I have one of these special books started for each of my boys and plan on not only having their teachers sign the book but also any other special people/teachers from the school.    We switched from a public school to a Catholic school this year and I wish I would have had a few others sign the books last year before we left.  I plan on having  the school principal, priests, gym teacher, librarian, etc. sign the book next year after they have a chance to get to know the boys a bit more.
I think this would be a great book to give a new mom, along with a note explaining the tradition.  I’ve heard from a lot of friends that wish they’d heard of this earlier.  I think it’s never too late to start!  If it’s convenient you could always go to the teachers and have them sign the book after the year has ended.   It will be a special gift, even if you aren’t able to capture every teacher they had!
My friend first learned about this when she was asked to sign a copy of this book for one of her students.  She then “stole” the idea for her own son.  I invite you to steal the idea, too!

 Updated December 30, 2011
This blog post was mentioned on A Sprinkle of This...A Dash of That and I've had some people contact me about the tags.  I didn't come up with the idea for these (visit A Sprinkle of This to see her tag idea & for some cute shower gifts to go along with the book!) but I did put something together in Storybook Creator Plus that you can print off & add to your gift.
Click on the tag to download the file.
I’ve had a few requests for a blank tag so here you go!
blank tag
Click on the blank tag to download the file.
These are both originally 4x6 so you can easily print them on your photo printer or upload it and have it printed where ever you print your photos.  You can also import it into a Word document and add a text box with a "From" line or add it by hand.
Here is a link to the Dr. Seuss font I used. 
I’ve also had some requests for the letter I send with the book.  I will be honest and let you know that I usually simply send an email a day or two before I send in the book that goes something like this (my boys go to a Catholic K-8 school):

Dear Teacher,
I’m sending in a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” to the office and am hoping you’ll write something in it as a surprise for James.
A friend of mine bought this same book for her daughter and had each of her daughter's teachers write a little note and sign it at the end of each school year. She then presented the book as a surprise to her daughter when she graduated high school.
I started this tradition for James with his Kindergarten teachers and hope to continue – at the very least until 8th grade graduation.
If you wouldn't mind, could you write a little something to James in his book? Anywhere in the book is fine, except for the dust cover. Even a favorite Scripture verse would be great!
When you are done could you send it to the office & I’ll pick it up there.

Here is a poem I have saved on my computer – I did not write it and do not know who did but I think it’s darling & hope to use it this year!
Dear Teacher, very grateful to you I would be,
if you would please, please do this favor for me.
I started this gift when James was small,
and plan to complete it by the time he is tall.
Each teacher who helps him along the way,
I hope will autograph –that is to say-
Please add a note, a picture or song,
A special memory can never be wrong.
You have helped make him the person he is
and you can take credit when they call him a whiz!
I will present it to him on commencement day
in honor of you who are so special today.
I don’t know which direction he’ll take – North, South, East or West,
but I do know he thinks his teachers are the best!


Edited to add:  Please consider sending in your books early to avoid contributing to the end of the school-year madness!

60 comments:

somemother.com said...

That is such a great idea! I am definitely starting this tradition for my children. Thanks for sharing!!

Lisa Graham said...

You're welcome! I teared up after reading the comments - I'll be a mess at the graduation party! :)

Amy :o) said...

I've been doing this since my kids started kindergarten. I cannot wait to see their faces when I give them their book at graduation.

Sarah said...

I absolutely love the idea! Thanks for sharing it!

Andrea said...

I plan on stealing this idea! I have a copy of this book that sits on my shelf in my closet... my parents gave it to me at my college graduation. I will use it for my daughter... I have a picture of me reading the book when I was pregnant with her! I think I'll make a copy of that picture and put in the front of the book! PS: This page has been pinned on pinterest so you may get lots of hits off of it!

Andrea said...

Or was that you that originally pinned it? LOL!

sarah @ life {sweet} life said...

Found you via Pinterest...LOVE this idea! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

kimberly t. bowling said...

Found it on Pinterest too! Great idea. Enjoying your blog as well! THanks for sharing all the neat ideas!

Lisa Graham said...

I did pin it on Pinterest - it's such a wonderful idea! Not many people I know have heard of it and just like Amy I can't wait to give the books to my boys! I thought more people may want to do this, too!

Buffalo Nickel said...

Love this idea and an sending to all my friends with babies. Thanks so much. Found it on pinterest. Maybe there's room in the book to glue in a photo from each year - first day of school?

Jennifer S said...

LOVE THIS IDEA!! Thank you so much for sharing! What a touching and thoughtful gift it will. A gift to treasure!

Jennifer S said...

LOVE THIS IDEA!! Thank you so much for sharing! What a touching and thoughtful gift it will. A gift to treasure!

Sarah said...

This is such a great idea! My eldest son just started kindergarten this year, so it is perfect timing for me to find this post. I will definitely be doing this for all three of my children! Thanks for sharing!

WebSavvyMom said...

-->I bought the book last week to do this as well. My son's in Pre-K so it's the perfect time to start.
Thanks for sharing!
deb
www.websavvymom.com

Anonymous said...

Will be starting asap. Luckily kids are in prek and kindergarten still ;-)

Carmen said...

I love this idea, and I can't wait to start this. The picture that I had seen of this, had a note that was attached. Do you know what was on that note?

Lisa Graham said...

Carmen - I posted a link to the blog that had the tag idea and also a tag you can download & print at home. :)

Sonia said...

I've been doing this since my boys were little. This year we moved overseas, so I'm hoping this will bring back some special memories for them when they graduate.

Sarah (aka Mom) said...

I LOVE this. I was linked here from Pinterest as well. It's such a great idea - I can't wait to do this for my kids (now ages 2 and 4). I just hope I am organized enough to keep track of the books from year to year :)

PletcherFamily said...

This is a great idea!! I definitely want to do this. I am so glad I read your blog today. :)

Take care,
Jennifer

Family Travellers said...

Came here because of "People I want to Punch in the Throat." Very impressed with your creativity.
www.worldfamilytravellers.blogspot.com

Flight Training said...

This was our class book the year I graduated from high school. I still have the copy my aunt gave me at my graduation party :)

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful idea!! I'm so excited about giving this to my children. I am not tech savy, so can you share how exactly I import it into Word? Is there a way to remove the text you have an insert our own text onto the card? I love yours for sending it to my friends but I'd like to use the tag as a gift tag to my children as well but with my own saying.

nicci said...

I LOVE this idea!!! Do you have a cute note that the teacher's read for this?

Basaltine said...

I was wondering the exact same thing as some of the latest posts. Is there away to remove the text you have on the card & what did you give to the teachers for them to write in the books.

Thank you for such a wonderful idea. My daughter is in 2nd grade, but her Kindergarten teacher is coming into town this week & she is going to sign the book I purchased.

I love the idea to have other teachers, principals & I will also ask her Girl Scout Leader to sign the book as well.

Thank yoU!

Lisa Graham said...

I will post a blank tag & the note I include with the book. I love the suggestion of having Scout leaders sign it, too!

kimberly said...

As a teacher I have been asked to do this for two families. Love the idea, very creative and touching!!

StepfordWife said...

I can't get the tag to download. I can get the blank tag, but not the tradition one.

Cute idea! My kids are too old for this but I am definitely using this as a baby gift idea. Very touching.

Melissa Nesdahl said...

I just wanted to confirm with you that it is okay to imbed the image on my post? It looked like it on Scrbd so I did but I want to double check.

I did a post about starting this tradition in our family with full credit and active links to your blog and printables. You can view it here http://melissanesdahl.blogspot.com/2012/05/championing-our-children-oh-places.html

If you want me to take the image off, I will, but it is so cute that I thought people seeing it might send more traffic your direction.

I have a contact me link on my blog site to email me. If you want the image removed, please let me know and I will happily do so.

Lena said...

I'm having trouble downloading either tag. I'd like the blank tag. It says the file isn't valid.

Anonymous said...

I am also having trouble downloading the file. Please let me know if you are willing to email it!

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind that if every student asked their teacher to do this, each teacher would be signing 25+ books at the end of the year - a very busy time for teachers. Some ideas are wonderful when you are thinking only of your own child...

CindyML said...

I'm having trouble with the download as well. Any suggestions?

Great idea. I just did this for my daughter who is in 7th grade. The elementary teachers signed and I go pick it up tomorrow. Thanks for the idea. Pinned it too!

Lisa Graham said...

Be sure you're clicking on the link below the tags to download the file - not on the image itself. If you're still having trouble with the download I'm happy to email it to you. You can click on "Email Me" at the top of my blog, just under the header.

Danna Chaney said...

As a Pre-k teacher, I would be so happy to do this for my kids even if each student had one!!

Marlo (aka Mama Frog) said...

Thank you for this! My oldest daughter finishes Pre-K next week and I am so excited to start this for her!

Waseem said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am going to do this for my daughter who is in the pre-k now but I am also going to buy this for my 18 yr old who graduates next week. Is there a place where you can buy a special edition that comes with a sleeve by any chance?

Sherry said...

Printed off your downloads and starting this tradition, today!! thanks!!

blessings,
sherry

Cassidy Ramz said...

Thank you for sharing, this is a wonderful idea. I just ordered the book for my son, he will be starting K next month.

Anonymous said...

Im sorry but i dont see the point of you writing this comment :(
This is a wonderful idea and im sure a lot of moms will not wait for the last day of class to give the book to the teacher.
No need to say Its a selfish thought!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful idea! I love the idea of the teacher writing and I will also add my sons football coach :)
Thank you so much!

Mommy eTime said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for this FABULOUS idea! I have a preschooler and a toddler so I'm delighted to be able to get started at the start of their schooling journey.

I shared your fun idea with my readers at Mommy eTime. Thanks again for the great post!

J Mama said...

omg i love this idea for my girls! good thing they are only 2 and 4 months... so they havent started school yet, so im not missing any years! lol

Caryn said...

I love this!! We are doing this as our theme for 5th Grade Graduation. What font did you use? I would appreciate any help...

Caryn Ross

p said...

Hi Lisa,
I found your blog over a year ago when I found a genius pin on Pinterest on starting a tradition of teachers signing the book by Dr. Suess called Oh, The Places You'll Go! Just like many others, I quickly bought the books for both of my boys & downloaded your helpful pages to get it going! Thank you so much for providing all of this!

When I first printed the pages off (I never saved the originals), the link that you had for a blank page with the colorful ribbon sides also had italicized French (?) text in the background in a light gray color. I am trying to print that same page, but I don't see it on your site anymore. Do you have the link for that page by any chance?! I would be so grateful to have a copy of it if you do!! I love the details it added to the page! I scanned & attached my copy of it so you can see what I'm referring to. In my print, the text is very light, but the original you had was quite a bit darker (not overpowering though). I'm trying to print this out again in time before the last day of school which is coming up next week (can't believe it!)! Thank you for any help you can provide!!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful idea for your child! I don't think people are trying to be negative when they ask parents to remember that each teacher might have around 25 books to sign. By the last day notes have already been sent to children and it is hectic. So, greeting a teacher with this book at dismissals or anytime on the last day of school might not be appreciated. (And yes, multiple parents do this). Give the teacher at least a week. Especially, if you would like assistant teachers and others to sign the book.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no! I am a prek teacher and I'm starting to get these books from parents as they leave for kindergarten. One child was in my class for only two months. I don't know what to write in them! I'm not one for sentimental words and I feel stressed to write something that will be read and 'cherished' years from now! Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Love your fab idea. My daughter has used the book for her showers and for her son's 1st bday, now I believe she will continuo use it each bday. I just know she will put your idea into play What an awesome thoughtful/cherished idea. Thanks foe sharing.
God bless you!

Sassy Sandrine said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I have two friends whose children are in their first year of schooling. One lives several states away, so Mom is just getting the book and poem from me, to follow up with on her own. The other, however, lives here in town, so I plan to carry this out in secret until he graduates. I contacted his school and asked if I could drop the book off for a signature or two, and received a very enthusiastic "yes!!!". They were nearly as excited as I was about the idea.

Anonymous said...

As a parent this may seem like a lovely idea, but you are putting an extra burden on already overwhelmed teachers. Let teachers decide how they will send off their students at the end of each year. This requires little effort on a parent's part and a lot of effort from others.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have been doing this for 2 years now for 2 of my children and I have yet to experience any negativity from any teachers. In fact, all have been excited about being a part of this tradition! It does help that I make sure to drop the book off within the first week of May with an emphasis on "not urgent, take your time" :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks...but as a teacher, can I request you give these to your teachers in MARCH or APRIL. I've just receive 5 of these books in the last week of school. It wouldn't hurt to tuck a gift card in too (forget the poem). 4/5 who asked me to sign didn't even make a homemade card for teacher appreciation. UGH...more stuff.

Anonymous said...

WOW - tuck a gift card in - really? WOW - I am in shock at that statement - not sure why you feel so entitled. We give teacher appreciation gifts and half the teachers complain about that - guess some people will never be happy and will find something to complain about.

Anonymous said...

As a preschool teacher, I love my job, I love my kids, and I love their families, but I do not love this tradition. I get how wonderful it sounds in theory, but it takes time I simply don't have. I'm not comfortable saying "no," so I end up doing it on my own time-- or rather, my family's time. Here's an alternative: Most teachers write things about your child throughout the year on report cards or assignments. Parents who like this idea should take those notes and tuck them in the book instead of asking teachers to write something new. And thinking ahead, in high school most teachers have well over 100 students. It's just unrealistic to expect them to write in these books -- especially when many have already been asked to write multiple letters of recommendation for college, internships, etc.

Anonymous said...

I wish all the teachers would stop complaining and just do it. There is no way all 100 students parents are going to ask you to do this tradition and if they do suck it up and do it or get a new job. Teachers complain more than any other profession - I don't hear nurses complaining like teachers do and they work so hard.

Holly said...

Is there any chance you have the full resolution of that empty graphic in something bigger than a 4x6 size? Perhaps to fit a full size sheet of paper?
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that creating a graduation present for your child is part of my job? Preserving memories falls to the parent, not the teacher. I am not complaining about my job-- I am respectfully pointing out that this is not part of it. All 100 families may not ask, but it takes 15 minutes to gather your thoughts on a particular student, then write a quick but thoughtful note. Four people ask, and there goes an hour.

Lisa Graham said...

Wow! I'm really shocked at some of these comments. I doubt anyone is demanding that teachers sign these books - they're always welcome to simply sign the book or decline altogether. I don't think that it's unreasonable, at all, to ask for a teacher to jot down a line or two over the course of a school year. Over the years some teachers have written really nice, personalized messages and also some short & sweet sentiments. I love all of the notes and know my boys will, too. Personally, I am going to try to do this much earlier in the year - maybe after we start back after Christmas break. There really isn't any downtime but I'm hoping that will help the teachers avoid feeling rushed. As far as having to tuck in a gift card to have this done - I think that's nuts. I do think that we should thank our teachers often and a gift now & then is great if you can swing it but I don't think you need to bribe them while asking them to sign these books.

April Heivilin said...

I would never want to hurt a parents feelings by refusing to sign, when we've gotten so close over the year and I love, love, love their kids. But my focus is on making the end of the year the best ever for their kids in the classroom, not to have unneccesary things to do outside of work. I bring a lot of work home already. I agree, if you are asking me to do something extra, along with multiple other parents after I have spent a lot of time on progress reports and hit me up with a bribe.