It’s not too early! If you’re like me, you might have rules about not admitting it to yourself until May, but the end of the school year is just around the corner and with it come the joys and pressures of wrapping up the year in a nice, neat Pinterest-worthy package. Right? Well, sort of. End-of-year gifts (a.k.a “Gratitude Gifts”) are a great way to not only express appreciation to the village surrounding your school year, but teach it to your kids as well. However, the best ones don’t need to be gorgeous, eloquent, or even cost a dime.
1. You’re already covering it, so why not make it useful?
Gratitude gifts can easily be incorporated into existing learning standards and quickly become a cross-curricular character education activity. For example, try creating this book for a school secretary. Learners practice sentence frames, handwriting, grammar and spelling, and creating appropriate illustrations for a text. Plus, any room mom, secretary, or student teacher will feel totally appreciated.
2. Consistency creates effortless gifts across the board
When you’ve got three class moms, a secretary, two student teachers, a teacher assistant, a PTA president and have dreams of sending each of your fourth graders home with a meaningful gift…make them different versions of the same thing! Try the quick “choose one word” activity- add everyone you want to gift on the sheet, and in 20 minutes you have everything you need to create sweet word art using a free program like Wordle.net. Depending on your budget, either frame these or roll them up and tie with a ribbon.
3. You’re allowed to gift yourself
While you’re busy creating finger-print trees and framed photo collages, remember that you, too, will want a way to remember these students. You won’t regret doing it, and it’s especially fun when younger siblings come into a classroom only to see photos of their big brother or sister hung proudly on your wall.