7 Heartfelt Gift Ideas for Students
Laura Owen | Teaching.monster.com
I distinctly remember my first Valentines Day as a teacher. I was eager to give my students a heartfelt gift, so I decided to make them all homemade brownies. Although I don’t usually bake, I thought I would go the extra mile for my darling students. I bought all of the ingredients needed for scrumptious white and black brownies. I slaved over the complicated recipe, and anxiously waited for the finished product to cook and cool. I carefully cut two beautiful brownies for my 28 students and then wrapped them in green cellophane. I attached a handwritten tag to each and tied them with curly red ribbon. At 11:30 p.m. I admired my work and couldn’t wait to see the looks on my students’ faces when they got their special treats.
Much to my dismay, my cute little masterpieces were not as warmly received as I had hoped. They were actually tossed into the pile of treats the students acquired at the class party. Further pouring gas on the fire, the store-bought red velvet cupcakes with towering icing provided by a parent were too much for my dinky brownies to compete with. As I sat at home later that night, munching on black and white brownies, I decided on my new criteria for student gifts: they must not keep me up half the night, cost me my paycheck, nor have any chance of going in the trash. I am certainly not blaming the students. At 9 years old I would have done the same thing. Here’s a quick list of ideas (following my new criteria) that will bring satisfaction to both the students and the teacher:
1. No Homework Pass This is my “go to” gift. It costs nothing and kids love it. I once gave my students no homework passes for the winter holidays. I decided to mix things up a bit and gave them decorative pens for Valentine’s Day. At least seven children questioned why I didn’t give another homework pass. I guess I should have stuck with what worked.
2. Make a donation to charity I am aware that this may not be a kid favorite; however, considering the current economic times, there is no better gift. Many charities will provide thank you notes for each child which can be a nice keepsake for children and parents.
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3. Class picture or collage Digital cameras and new software make it so easy to enlarge a class picture or create a collage. As you know, every child loves to see his or her face in a photograph. I selfishly like this one, because I get one for myself!
4. CD Again, with digital cameras, you can easily take pictures, save them to a disk, and put them to music! Kids will love this now, but will get a real kick out of it in ten years.
5. Book There are lots of ways to get cheap books for students. Mail-ordered companies allow teachers to acquire points for student orders. If students buy books several times in the fall, you will have plenty of points for a book for each student by January. I am also guilty of getting “gently used” books on Amazon or at a used book store.
6. Book of Puzzles All kids love word finds, crossword puzzles, and cryptograms. You can use several sites online to craft your own puzzles. It is fun to include the students’ names, things that have happened in class, and special messages for them to discover.
7. Handwritten note This final suggestion almost didn’t make the list because it does take lots of time. Because I feel that it is an easy way to bring happiness, I thought I would include it. Every child loves to hear good things about themselves – especially from a teacher. By writing 3 notes every night at the beginning of February you will have personal notes ready to go home before Valentine’s Day. This truly heartfelt gift will bring a smile to the faces of young boys and girls.