Sunday, December 29, 2013

Classroom Gifts for Students and Parents (freebie)

In the spirit of prioritizing my life, I put making a few of the posts that I wanted to make before the holidays on the bottom of my holiday to do list. Just now made it to that part of my list...

Every year, I scramble to find a gift for my students for the holidays.  For my first several years of teaching, I gave each student a book.  This year, I found a gift for my students that was meaningful to me and I hope they liked it too.  I say "hoped" because I give my students their gifts on the last day of school before break, but I ask them not to open it until they get home with their families (or they can save it for Christmas morning).

Growing up, my family had a tradition.  My parents gave my brother and I a tool, a kitchen item and a book each Christmas (along with whatever else we got from Santa). They continued that tradition until we were out of college (although I did get a tool and a kitchen item from them this year as well).  The idea was to prepare us to be successful adults with our own tools for repairs and cooking and all the knowledge we would need to be successful.  We started the same tradition with our own children this year.  My son, who is 7, got a level (for his toolkit), a spatula and a chapter book.  My daughter, who is 10,  got two screwdrivers, a mixing bowl and a chapter book.

My gift for my students...

I gave each student a little bag with a cookie cutter and a coin pouch.  The cookie cutter was an effort to share my family tradition and the coin pouch is the exact same kind my grandfather carries (still to this day).  When we were little, he would take the coin pouch out of his pocket and give us a coin to get a piece of Chiclets gum.  I included a note in each child's bag to tell them about our tradition and my special memories of grandpa's coin pouch.

For the parents...

Each of my students made a handmade ornament for their parents and a 2014 memory jar for their family.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the ornaments.  I was busy managing the jar station (since glass was involved).  The kids were so proud of both gifts!

The memory jar is also a tradition in my family.  We put little items in a jar that remind us of our special memories throughout the year.  Some of the things in my family jar this year include: a Petoskey stone, a shell from Grand Turk, a birthday invite from my husband's 40th bday party, a ticket from my daughter's dance recital, a program from the circus production my son was in, a ticket to a baseball game and a Taylor Swift concert ticket.  I shared the contents of our 2013 jar with my class, so they would understand the tradition.

I ordered pint and half size canning jars, bought a variety of ribbon and made the tags.  My husband made the stickers that say (2014 and Dexter) for each jar.  Dexter is the name of the village.

In this view, you can see the 2014 sticker on the side and the Dexter sticker on the lid.

Here are the stickers (thank you, husband).  Each student put their own stickers on the jar, chose a ribbon, punched a hole in the tag and tied the ribbon.  Not a ton of creativity on their part, but a thoughtful gift to go with their homemade ornament.

You can download a copy of the tag I used if you would like to use it next year.  I removed the year, so it wouldn't say 2014.  

I'm off to walk my dogs while the sun is shining and before the cold weather moves into our area.  Need to take advantage of the mid 30 degree temps while I can.  How funny is that?