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alternatives to student gift exchange
Old 11-26-2007, 11:22 AM
 
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I teach third grade. I was thinking of doing an alternative to the student gift exchange. Do you have any ideas on something the students can do instead of exchanging gifts with each other? Is there anything you have done that went over well and was not extra work for you? Thanks.


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gift exchange
Old 11-26-2007, 12:36 PM
 
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This is still a gift exchange but it works out really well.

When I taught 4th grade I had the boys bring in a boy gift and the girls brought in a girl gift. There was a $5 limit on the gift. On the day of our party, the boys sat in a circle and the girls sat in their own circle with the gift they brought. I had a parent read "The Night Before Christmas" every time the kids heard the word "the" they passed the present in front of them to the person on their right. When the story was over, they were allowed to open the present in front of them - unless it was the one they brought in and then we just passed one more time- and that was their gift. There was no trading allowed and everyone stuck to the dollar amount and it worked out really well because no one was buying for their best friend or someone they didn't like. It is really fun to watch because the kids are listening so closely to the story the act as if it is hot potato with the gifts.
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Classroom supplies
Old 11-26-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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One year I had each parent send items:

Here is an example: I had 20 students so 4 parents brought in:
4 pair of scissors
4 bottles of glue
4 packs of pencils
4 packs of 24 crayons
4 packs of colored pencils
candy and small toys and paper (all parents)

Each students ended up with new supplies, plus they had some candy and toys

In the case that a parent did not bring in something (I just supplied it)...If I remember correctly all parents participated.

It was not a lot of pressure and the kids loved it! and they got new supplies
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Service Learning
Old 11-26-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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Spend some time talking about the homeless shelter or the food pantry or the local soldiers that are away -- and instead of a $5 gift or other junk to have around the house, each brings something to put under a little tree that on the last day before the holidays you'll wrap up in a big box to take as a donation. It is a great feeling to start early with the kids....and most parents encourage and are pleased with the process!
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Donations
Old 11-26-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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I have never done a student gift exchange but I have asked the childen to bring something to donate to the shelter. They bring their gift and share why they chose it and how it will make another child happy. I have also told the parents that if they were planning to bring me a present, I would love it if they would donate to the shelter instead.


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Old 11-26-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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We did a book exchange. Every student borught in one gently used book and wrapped it. Then we played the stealing game where you can pick an uwrapped gift or steal from someone else. It was very easy for me to supply extra books in case someone didn't bring one.
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"free" gift...
Old 11-27-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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Money is scarce with many of our families. So, I have my kids draw names. Then each student writes a compliment about the person who's name they have. It says, (student name), You're such an angel when you (compliment). We make a paper plate angel (pretty generic), attach the compliment and have an exchange day. Each student reads the compliment and then gives the angel to their person.
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community gift
Old 11-27-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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We brainstorm needs in our community and pick one to do. This year we are going to donate to the Humane Society...they have had a lot of exposure to them as we are a part of their pet club this year. I think a giving to others project is important and teaches a good lesson!
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Adopt and angel
Old 11-28-2007, 08:32 AM
 
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We have an angel tree at our school and one year we adopted an angel from the tree and purchased gifts for him instead of doing a gift swap. That was in an older grade so the children understood it, but now I am in kindergarten so I'm thinking of doing the book swap. I've done the boys and girls $5 gift and it was a disaster because I had one child pitch a fit because he didn't get what he wanted. Plus, some parents either find better deals than others for $5 or go over the limit so the gifts were very different. Ex: coloring book or nice barbie doll. Hope this helps!
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Stockings
Old 11-28-2007, 08:36 AM
 
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I have been doing this for 8 years when I first read about it on this site. I buy the kids stockings from The Dollar Tree as part of my gift to them (you could also have them bring their own from home). I have the kids bring 22 of something to fill the stockings with. Some kids will buy a bag of candy and give each kid a piece, other will go all out and make little treat bags for everyone. Some other items they can bring are pencils, erasers, candy canes, pens, stickers, etc. The great thing is the kids don't know who gave what so there is not embarrassment if someone forgets are doesn't have the money to participate (I always buy boxes of candy canes for those kids).


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Battered Women's Shelter
Old 11-28-2007, 06:53 PM
 
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We call the local women's shelter and find out what they need. Then we send a letter home to the parents listing the items we could use. One year we had the kids wrap all the stuff, but it really makes extra work for the shelter volunteers. Now, we just have the kids organize the gifts. At first they hate it, but they do come around and learn that it is more blessed to give than receive. We usually have someone from the shelter come and speak to the kids. The kids usually ask some great questions. After all this, they really know what Christmas is all about.
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