Daily Archives: May 25, 2013

collaborative teacher gifts

I’m probably posting this a little late in the year if you are looking for end-of-the-year teacher gift ideas, but I thought I’d put some links on to a few past projects.  Each year the room coordinators are in charge of coming up with the gifts for the teachers – this is a collective thing rather than individual gifts from each student.  At the holiday break the teachers all get matching boxes / bags / baskets of goodies, plus a gift card specific to something that they like to do.  The year end gifts are different – they aren’t monetary gifts, but personal gifts that the children all collaborate on.  Which makes them clever and special… and a bit more challenging, particularly as the busyness of those last few weeks set in.  I’ve been in charge of this gift giving project for four of E’s five years at her school, and each year it takes a fair amount of preparation and follow through (plus inspiration – the hardest part) to get it all done.  This year’s Sun Prints ended up working out really well, and I love seeing the kids’ reactions to the finished project as much as the teachers’ reactions.

In second grade we did Paper Quilts and Summer Calendars – the calendar stretched through the summer months and had ideas of places to visit and things to do (based on what the kids like to do in the summer).  After the summer was over, they could cut the bottom portion off and keep the top “quilt”.

In first grade, the kids had just finished a poetry unit, and so I had them write poetry lines based on the same format, and then I compiled them into a four stanza poem, transferring them onto a flower pot with transfer paper.  I then painted over the kids’ own handwritten lines to create a Poetry Flower Pot for their teacher.

In kindergarten, we also did painted pottery.  E’s kindergarten teacher was moving back to her hometown, so we wanted to a thank you gift that also reminded her of her time with the school.  I had the kids draw their self portraits, write their names, and give me specific instructions on the colors they wanted, and then I transferred them onto a large plate to create a Children’s Face Platter.

I’m not sure if I have a favorite project – I always get a little nervous in the middle about how it’s going to turn out – but when it’s done, it’s fun to see just how much the kids love their teachers, and how they contribute their own pieces to the bigger project.