Parent Gifts

As the break gets closer and closer the one thing I ALWAYS forget about is making parent gifts with the kiddos. The other thing I forget about is how long it takes to make them (and my lack of patience during the whole process!)

Last year, my team told me about making snowman mason jars (a project they found on Pinterest.) It was a very cute idea but it involved paint, crafty supplies, and a glue gun. 3 things that make for a long day and a BIG mess! I decided this year I was going to keep it as simple as possible.

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I had them make a class collaboration list on everything they are thankful for that their parents do for them. We took that list and they each wrote a letter to their parents saying how much they loved them and what they are thankful for when it comes to their families.

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Most of my kiddos took this pretty seriously. We talked about how the most meaningful thing you can give to another person comes from the heart and there are very few things more from the heart than your words. We took the letters and mounted them on construction paper to create a thick card.

As we let the letters dry we made very simple and easy ornaments using craft foam. I traced out yellow lights and blue mittens that they could pick to cut out. They then got to decorate them and put their school picture on it with the year. (They are super simple and pretty cheap but I’m a new teacher with hardly any money so this was the best I could do!)

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This was all we got done today. I overestimated our abilities to get it all done and wrapped in one solid day.

Tomorrow I plan to have them hole punch the top of their ornaments to add a string at the top. We will then take their letters and fold them into cards. Last week I bought some Christmas photo booth props from Target and took pictures of each of them in front of a tree with their props. (They look so cute!)

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I ordered them to have them put on the cover of their cards. After that we have the whole wrapping process, which I’m going to keep as simple as possible because my patience level is slowly declining. We’ll just put the ornament in the card and make a paper envelope to put the card in. Simple. Easy. DONE.

What are some ideas for parent’s gifts you make?

ONLY 4 MORE DAYS!! I just have to keep telling myself that. I. CAN. DO THIS.

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December 1st = Day 1 of Kindness Month

Happy December 1st! I am so thrilled that my favorite month is finally here! In my classroom I like to focus on the idea of teaching random acts of kindness. This is the time of year we hear about giving to others in need. To me, that also means doing anything you can for another person. I use each day to talk about how we can help others through something as simple as giving them a smile. There are a few activities that I like to do throughout the month that helps get my students in the mood. (Thank you TPT for having my back and giving me these FANTASTIC ideas!)

The first thing I like to do comes from  Kile’s Classroom. This is the “Random Acts of Kindness Chain.” (Click on the link to be directed to his store.) This is essentially a countdown chain that shows how many more school days are left until Christmas Break. When you take off a chain, it shares an example of a random act of kindness the kids could easily accomplish in one day. It gives ideas like, “write a note to a teacher in the past who you want to thank,” or “give someone a compliment about their personality.” It is AMAZING!!! We do it every morning during our morning meeting. One student gets the chance to take off the day’s link and read the act. From the moment the kindness act is read, my students get incredibly motivated to start right away. My class last year did not get along most days and we did so many team bonding activities and games to make them closer. It wasn’t until we did this, starting December 1st, that they put aside their differences and got along better than they had the whole year. The best thing about this activity is that it is FREE and it only takes 2 minutes of the day to complete.Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 3.37.00 PM

The next activity that I love to do comes from Tails of Teaching. This activity is called the Top 2 Class Kindness Activity.

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This activity is something I do once a week, for the 3 weeks we have until break. On Monday morning, each student is assigned another student in the room to fill out a kindness note. They write the student’s name followed by their 2 most favorite things about them. I made it an anonymous activity, so the student didn’t know who had them and no one knows who they have. It is sweet to see the comments they can come up with about their peers. When we did this activity, I noticed my students with very little self esteem, start to speak up more in the room and reach out to other students who they may have been afraid to speak to beforehand. It builds incredible new relationships that last for the remaining of the year.

Last but not least is my favorite activity that I use as a decoration for my classroom. It is called the Gift of Kindness from Jodi Southard’s Shop on TPT. Students each get a light bulb that prompts their writing with the phrase, “I can light up the world with kindness by…” Each student fills it out with their own answer and then, when they’re all cut out and completed, I use string to make them look like actual Christmas lights and put them up around the room. It is such a simple and quick activity that helps put the room in the Christmas (and kindness) spirit!

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I LOVE this time of year and want to use it to share with my students the true meaning of Christmas (or the holiday season). These 3 activities are so easy and teach so many lessons in such a short amount of time.