Were you worried when I posted my article on gift ideas for teacher appreciation week that I’d forgotten who my audience is? Don’t worry, I remembered who you are and I am fully aware that Wondermom Wannabes are VERY likely the moms who lead the way when it comes to organizing classroom parties and group gifts. For you, teacher appreciation week is more than sending in a small thank you gift from you and your child, it’s a weeklong mission to create a daily class-wide celebration for the teacher. For you–selfless, thoughtful, and tireless Wondermom—here is an entirely different gift list.
When organizing gifts from the class, you have two main options: 1) You can ask for each student to send in specific items for each day or 2) You can ask for cash contributions towards a gift that all the children will then sign.
Some ideas for Option 1 (asking each student to bring in items each day):
- Note from child — you can combine them all into a book or use them to decorate the classroom door
- A picture of the child — like the notes, and perhaps in conjunction with them, you can combine these into a mini scrapbook or attach them to poster board and use them to decorate part of the classroom
- A page with artwork/poetry/story by the child and signed (child’s photo may also be added to the page) – combine all the pages in a binder to make a scrapbook like the one below from club.chicacircle.com.
- Recipe card with a favorite family recipe — punch a hole in the upper left corner of each card and use a key ring to hold them all together
- Flower — provide a large vase to hold all of the flowers
- Piece of fruit — provide a basket to hold and display them all
- Candy bar — provide a small box or bucket to hold all of them
- Snack food — provide a small basket or box to put them all in
- Relaxation item (e.g. bath salts, scented candle, eye mask) – provide a small basket or bag to hold them all
- School supply item – provide a bucket, basket, box or tote to carry them in
- Books for the classroom – provide a tote bag to carry them in or have each person wrap them
- Gift cards in small denominations to area stores and restaurants – attach them to this clever clothespin wreath by kojo designs.
Here is a sample letter you can use if you want to organize a daily class gift. You can choose to also ask for a small cash donation ($1 or $2) to cover costs of the additional items you will need such as gift baskets, vases, or scrapbooks if you don’t want to pay for them yourself. If you collect more than you need, you can always put the extra funds towards an additional gift card.
For Option 2, you can purchase one of the following items and then get all of the kids to sign it (or if you can manage it, their handprints).
- Poster Board – kids can sign their names or draw small pictures in crayon or marker
- Photo Mat (include a picture of the whole class and then frame) – kids can sign their names with permanent markers or pens
- Canvas Tote Bag – kids can sign their names with fabric markers
- Apron – kids can sign their names with fabric markers or use fabric paint for handprints
- Glass Platter or Bowl – kids can sign their names in glass paint (available at most arts & craft stores)
- Director’s Chair – kids can sign their names using fabric markers
As much as possible, try to avoid collecting “traditional” teacher gifts such as coffee mugs, anything apple-themed, or knickknacks. Teachers have lots of students EACH YEAR so the typical gifts start to pile up and teachers don’t have any more storage space than we do. Yes, it’s the thought that counts and I’m sure most teachers are grateful to be acknowledged with whatever token of appreciation you choose. But as long as you’re being thoughtful, you might as well put some thought into the gift, right?
They do like to know they are making a difference in their students’ lives so personal notes from the kids are a big hit. Another popular gift among teachers are class scrapbooks or memory books because it provides them with ONE small memento that they can look back on in years to come. You can use one of the ideas provided in this article or create a professional hardbound version at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Blurb.
Also, because school funds are often limited, many teachers purchase classroom supplies and materials with their own money so gift cards and school supplies are usually well received because they ease some of that financial burden.