Hi, I’m Polly from Helping Little Hands. I’m excited to be here as a guest on Or So She Says.
My blog has a little bit of everything as I share all kinds of crafts and DIY projects, as well as lots of fun crafts, activities, and books to enjoy with kids. Some of my most popular series have been my felt food tutorials and Hand-Me-Down Rehab (re-purposing clothes) posts. As a former math and science teacher, you’ll also find some unique nerdy crafts. There are always plenty of traditional sewing and seasonal projects, and lately I’ve been rediscovering my love for quilting. I never stick to one theme for long, so you never know what my next big craft adventure will be. I’d love to have stop by and say hello.
It’s hard to believe we’re only a month away from the end of the school year. A lot of us are starting to collect ideas for Teacher Appreciate Week or End of the Year gifts, so today I’d like to share two of my favorites.
As a former math and science teacher and wife to a science teacher, our family knows how nice it is for teachers to feel appreciated. Any gift I received from a student was appreciated, but the ones that showed a little extra thought were more meaningful. It can be hard to know what will make an ideal gift for your child’s teacher because we don’t always know their personal preferences and favorites, but I did want to share my two favorite teacher gifts that can be adapted and personalized for any teacher.
Letter of Appreciation
Sometimes the very best gifts are also the simplest. Everyone loves a sincere compliment…and it’s even better if you also share it with their boss. I’ve made it a rule to write two letters a year to my daughter’s principal letting her know about some of the wonderful things my daughter’s teachers do in their classrooms. I write one at Christmas and one during Teacher Appreciation Week in the spring. I also include a small gift…but it’s always the letters that her teachers gush about when I see them next. It’s clear the letters mean far more to them than the gift.
Be as specific as possible. Think back to
lessons that made a particular impact on your child, things your child
came home excited to tell you, things that went over and above
expectations etc. I try to make a mental
note about things that are especially impressive, so I can remember them later when it’s time to write the letter. Being specific lets your child’s teacher know you’ve really been paying attention.
Ask your child for ideas…I tell my daughter I’m writing a letter to the principal about her teacher and ask what I
should say. It’s cute to hear her answers.
- Think of any other support staff or teacher’s at your child’s school who deserve special thanks. I try to think of at least one other helper at the school who has done something extra for my daughter to write a letter to. Many of the support staff don’t get the cards and gifts that student’s often give their classroom teachers. Over the last couple years I’ve included the classroom parapro, the librarian, the computer teacher, and the sweet ladies that stand outside in the cold and help my daughter cross the street every morning.
- Send or deliver the letter inside a card to the principal (and maybe the superintendent too). Be sure to include a compliment for the principal as well. (i.e. “Thanks for
running such a great school…I really appreciate the way you support
- Include a copy of the letter inside a card to your child’s teacher with a note telling him/her that you’ve sent the letter to the principal. We just made informal cards on card stock that Firecracker decorated rather than buying one.
- You can include a gift too…or not…I can just about guarantee that the teacher will remember you letter more than your gift. You can click here to see some of the teacher gifts we’ve included….and my very favorite teacher gift is shared below.
Signed Mat Art or Photo
This is the gift we gave my daughter’s teacher at the end of the year last year. I wanted something she would be able to enjoy for a long time without taking up too much room. I also wanted it to be something that could be from the whole class because I know that a lot of kids in her class don’t have the money to buy teacher gifts and at 6 years-old don’t always realize they could make one on their own.
I made up a quick “faux embroidery” picture (uses pen and crayon instead of all the stitching – tutorial here) using the A+ Teacher Pattern from Twin Stitchers.
It’s not so important what you put in the frame...the important part is to have the class sign the mat. I think that’s what really makes this gift special.
And it’s usually not that hard to have the kids sign it and still have it be a surprise for their teacher. I arranged with the computer teacher to go in during the class computer time, so my daughter’s classroom teacher wouldn’t know. I had the kids come over one at a time and practice writing their name on a cardstock mat I’d traced for practice, and then I had them write their name on the real thing. I was lucky enough to find the frames with mats at Goodwill for $2 each. They are 8×10 frames with the mats making them 5×7. I used a scrapbooking pigment pen, but an ultra-fine tip sharpie (or even a good quality ball-point pen) would work well too.
And don’t underestimate the ability of a kindergartener to misspell their name…even after the practice run. A couple of them lost track and either left a letter out or wrote one twice. Oh, well. It all comes with the charm of kindergarten.
If you’d like to see some of my other teacher appreciation ideas, you can click here.