Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 at 10:20 am in Miss School Manners.
Dear Miss School Manners: I’m the room mom for my first grader’s classroom and other parents have suddenly started asking me about teacher gifts for the holidays. Ack! Are we supposed to give the teacher a present? Each kid or a group gift? And is that supposed to be my job? Signed, Worried in Walnut Creek
Dear Worried: It’s all optional, optional, optional. But having said that … yeah, most people observe the winter holiday in some way. That’s why educators have such massive collections of “Best Teacher” coffee mugs…
(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)
But this is a case where the thought really does count. Teachers will tell you they have more than enough mugs and magnets that say “A+ teacher” – but the most meaningful gifts they’ve ever received are personal letters from their students. That’s a little hard to do with first graders, of course, but here are a couple of classroom gift ideas – and we’re hoping other parents chime in with their tips too.
First, the safe bet: everyone chips in a couple dollars, the room mother buys a gift certificate to a book store or school supplies place, such as Walnut Creek’s Lakeshore, and all the kids sign the card, whether or not they contributed.
Group photo – Pose the class on the playground, holding a “We love …” banner. Snap the pic, print an 8×10 and have it framed. Better yet, have the children sign the mat before you seal it into the picture frame.
Class advice books – Using those sheets of grade school paper where the top half is for the picture and the bottom for writing, have each child offer the teacher his advice on a specific topic. We’ve collected adorable, hilarious child-rearing advice (and illustrations) for a teacher who was pregnant, and marriage tips for one about to be wed – a second grader shared the importance of not hogging the remote control. But read-aloud tips, book suggestions and playground games are good themes too. Add a cover and have the masterpiece spiral bound at Kinko’s or another local copy shop.
Photo calendar – Take an assortment of class photos – make sure you’ve got every child represented – and have a local copy shop or online photo service make them into a 2008 calendar.
Class tote – Buy an inexpensive canvas tote and break out the fine-tipped fabric markers and Sharpie pens. Using a biscuit cutter or other circular shape as a guide, draw as many circles as there are kids in the class. Tint each face an appropriate skin tone, using a small sponge dipped in fabric paint (practice on a fabric scrap first). When dry, add a little pinkness to the cheeks. Then have each child add hair, eyes and a grin to his “face” and sign the bag. Heat set the canvas with a hot iron, according to fabric paint directions. If you’ve got enough cash in your classroom party fund, buy some picture books and tuck them into the bag.
More ideas? Click “comments” and add them!