Saturday, March 4, 2017

Perfect Gifts for Teachers

Life is Good: it's the weekend!

Wow. What a week. It felt like it had a couple of extra days in there! If I'm going to get extra days, I would like them to be on the weekend, please! We had special celebrations for our read-athon that wrapped up (I won't be sad to have one less thing to do and stop logging in to that website.), teacher conferences, a houseguest, and our third grader's teacher's birthday.

As the room mother for both our 5- and 8-year old's class, I feel like I am constantly asking parents for donations and that feels icky. I want to help the school out, but I also hate making families feel pressured. We appreciate the teachers so much and want to give them gifts that are useful, memorable, show our appreciate, and are things that they like. 

For Christmas, we took donations from class families and gave the teachers VISA gift cards. I put them inside of a little bag and tied it with a pretty ribbon and a special Christmas ornament. A note thanking them for the important work they do finished it up. I feel like this works well. Instead of 20 families giving a small gift to the teachers, they got one pretty big gift that they can then choose how to spend. 

For our Little Kid's teacher's birthday, I suggested that we have each child draw a picture of the teacher and sign it and we could bind them all together into a book. One of the other room mothers offered to take on the project. She ended up taking photos of each piece of art and loaded it into to make an inexpensive book from there. I've also seen great books like this from and

Here's the drawing that our Little Kid did of his teacher. I think it looks a lot like her! (And a little bit like a Cubist painting?)

For our Big Kid's teacher, the other room mother asked a local florist, Excelsior Florist, to make a little bouquet of flowers for the teacher's desk. They did an amazing job with lots of springy bright colors and even some butterflies. It looked great. We had each student sign a card and we also asked each child to give a descriptive word about the teacher which I then used to create a word cloud, also known as a wordle. I work on a Macbook Pro, so I found it a bit difficult to use some of the word cloud sites, though there are lots of them. I did a search on google to find a site that worked well with Macs. Even then, I had problems with a couple of sites not saving my files, etc. I ended up going with tagxedo. It has lots of shape options and color choices. You can also choose to have a word used once or repeated. I chose to repeat so that the entire shape was filled up. I tried it out a few times before I got the final one. 

I used a color scheme called "Quiet Morning". I really liked the shades of blue. I also thought it was hysterical to use a color group with this name knowing that it was going in a room of (LOUD) third graders!

Here's the (almost) final:

I picked a more pronounced-looking heart and for the final, added the words, "From your third graders 2017" and also "Happy birthday". His teacher seemed to like the gesture and the kids were so excited about it!

I did have one big snafu with this site. It prints out with a border and a copyright. I wanted to print this out at 50% so that the frame (this one from Michael's) was not gigantic and more of just a little memento. I ended up having to print it out, use some correction fluid (that still make that stuff!?!), and then make a copy of that. It wasn't perfect, which really bothered me since it was a gift, but in the end, it worked. And it was something I could do for under $25 and not ask the class families for a donation. 

And now the week is done, it's Saturday. Time for pancakes and board games and batting practice even though it's a bit cold still outside. Time for puppet shows and little boys running the house giggling. Life is good.