What to Give Teachers for Christmas

I was recently approached by a friend (who’s got lots of kids in school and her husband is currently deployed, so she’s flying solo right now) who asked me what teachers really want from their students for Christmas. As we talked, we identified what resources people might or might not have (time, energy, money, creativity) that would factor into what gift they would give a teacher for Christmas. Our discussion seemed to end on the idea that teachers are people too so they don’t necessarily need a huge “Teachers Are the Best” T-shirt or a giant package of stickers.

I then asked my Facebook readership (mostly teachers) about this and they confirmed what I had discussed with my friend.  This main theme emerged from teachers: Treat us like regular people rather than teachers! (So, skip the “world’s best teacher” mug. She’s probably got a few of them already.)

I’ve combined those two ideas (varying resources from gift-givers and teachers being treated like regular people) and I’ve come up with some gift-giving advice for you:

 

If the resource you have is MONEY…

Give gift cards! Teachers love going out to eat, seeing a movie, adding to their personal music/media collection or splurging on something fun at the store. If you still want to give something teaching-related, my readers suggested a gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers. Unfortunately, gift cards don’t come on sale very often, so you probably won’t get a deal on them. But you will probably check it off your list the fastest by grabbing a gift card while you’re at the grocery store.

 

If the resource you have is TIME…

Spend time in your teacher’s classroom! I think I would die of joy if parents in my class had “gifted” me 2 hours of help in my classroom. Before, during, after school, it wouldn’t matter. I would ask them to help me grade/record papers, redo a bulletin board, sort supplies or books, or about a million other things. I think this could also apply to school things the teacher would otherwise have to bring home. For example, you could volunteer to take home some laminated things, cut them out for the teacher and then send them back to school with your student. Heck, one teacher friend of mine had a parent take home her electric pencil sharpener and the parent sharpened a hundred pencils for her at home! Unconventional gift, I know, but it saved my teacher friend so much time and sanity! This kind of gift might not cost much (maybe the cost of a babysitter?), but it will speak volumes about your appreciation!

 

If you want to save your teacher some time…

Give the teacher a prepaid car wash. You probably know how good it feels to have a clean car. And you probably also know the nagging feeling that you should just wash and vacuum out your dang car yourself, but you don’t have time (or energy)! Well, be the teacher’s hero and grab him a certificate for a car wash. It’s probably something they’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Practical, simple and something they can actually use!!

 

If you’ve got a bunch of teachers on your list…

Give baked goods! Do I really need to say more? I mean, come on. Who doesn’t like a delicious goodie! Homemade or store-bought, it’ll be delicious. Just make sure you know if the teacher has any food allergies! (And don’t worry about making your presentation “Pinterest-worthy”. Most teachers don’t have time to make everything super fancy, so they don’t expect others to either.)

 

If you’re low on time and money…

Write a heartfelt note. Yes, you the parent. Kids give teacher notes all the time, but parents rarely do. Write down a note of appreciation telling them what you admire and appreciate about them as an individual and as a teacher. Consider telling them how your child has grown since they’ve been in the teacher’s classroom. Have your child draw a picture or make their own card to go with it.

 

Merry Christmas and happy gifting!!

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Halloween Stresses Teachers Out!

Accurate.

I couldn’t find who this picture belongs to, so if it’s yours, please email me so I can credit you! (square head teachers at gmail dot com)

“Snapshot of Fall Break” Graphic Organizer

Thank heavens for fall break! It can’t come soon enough and it never lasts long enough! At least you can have an easy way for everyone to share their fall break adventures with this easy printable! Have your students write or draw something to answer each prompt.

Click here to download the PDF: Snapshots of Fall Break

 

“Snapshot of Summer” Back to School Writing Activity

As an elementary school kid, I always looked forward to telling my classmates all the cool things I did during the summer. I also usually wanted to tell my teacher about my summer… and so did everyone else! Teachers can facilitate a mass “share your summer experience” activity with this simple (self explanatory!) page. Depending on your grade level, have your students draw or write about each of the 5 prompts.

Click here to download the PDF: Snapshots of Summer Break

Some students don’t have amazing vacation stories to tell, so I tried to include things that every kid can write/draw about (like “things I ate”) when I was creating this page.  Good luck on your first day!

Sneaky Leprechaun Word Swap (Context Clues)

Looks like those pesky leprechauns have done it again! Use the context clues to figure out which words the leprechauns have swapped out for silly ones.

Free printable for upper grades! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Download the free printable PDF: Sneaky Leprechaun Word Swap with Answer Key

Click here for more St. Patty’s Day stuff!

Christmas Classroom Door Ideas

I love how creative teachers are! I’m always impressed at the clever door decorations I see. Here are some of my favorites from my web-surfing this year!

 This is how you show you’re a trendy teacher!

 

This one seems like it would be one to laminate and reuse.
I just love the Peanuts Gang! They’re pretty timeless.

 

Just plain cute!

 

New perspective of a snowman! I love it! (If you’re not a math teacher, obviously, you can change the text to fit whatever subject you’re teaching!)

 

I found these on Pinterest, and sadly, my 4 favorites didn’t have good photo credits. If these images are yours, please email me and I’l post your photo credit! Merry Christmas!

 

Easy Halloween Costumes for Teachers

Halloween in school is nuts. Not only do you have to keep your students focused while they’re on a sugar buzz, but they’ll be dressed up like what’s his face from whatever that popular new show is. AND you need come up with a costume that’s cool (and totally appropriate for school). Just what you needed – another thing to worry about. Well, here are a few easy Halloween costumes for teachers that can be thrown together at the last minute (and when I say “last minute,” I mean, 2 days – 2 hours before school).

OPTION 1: Children’s Book Characters

Viola Swamp from “Miss Nelson is Missing!” by Harry Allard (source)

Camilla from “A Bad Case of the Stripes” by David Shannon (source)

 

Rainbow Fish from “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister (source)

 

Professor Trelawny from the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling (source)

 

(If you feel the need to do a group costume)
Madeline, Miss Clavel and the girls from the Madeline series
by Ludwig Bemelmans (source)

 

Emily from “Clifford the Big Red Dog” by Norman Bridwell  (source)

 

The coconut tree from “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”
by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault (source)

 

The Giving Tree from “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein  (source)

 

OPTION 2: Puns
I don’t need to caption these. They’re pretty self-explanatory!

(source)

 

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Looking for more punny costumes? Try this list from Buzzfeed.

Also check out my Halloween free printables! Click here!

Happy Halloween!

Using Birthdays At School to Create Positive Classroom Culture

 

Birthdays can be distracting at school. But if you play your cards right, you can use birthdays to create a positive classroom culture. By focusing on positive characteristics of the birthday kid, you can allow for natural discussions on topics such as friendship, being polite, following directions, etc. I’ve got a simple page we use to acknowledge a birthday kid’s positive traits. I start by writing mine for the whole class to see (using the document camera). I talk about something the child does well, and praise them for it (subtly reminding the rest of the class of that expectation). Then I have each student complete the page for that student as well. I challenge them to use a vocab word (from the current week or past) in their writing and only let them do the picture AFTER they’re done writing.

Click here to download the full size PDF: I like ____ because

Click here to check out my other thoughts about celebrating birthdays at school.