Help! I need some good ideas for a Christmas gift for my students' parents. I've done photo ornaments, tapped Oriental Trading, decorated pine cones... I'm tired of my ideas. What sort of gifts ideas do you all have out there in Second Grade Land???
As a teacher, you might be tired of the same old photo craft, but I can tell you that parents love those! As a mother of 3 adult children, those Christmas ornament photos for the tree are priceless. I am so glad that my children had teachers who made them year after year.
Maybe you could change the design of the frame, but please definitely keep the pictures!
My students make a frame of puzzle pieces (spray painted green) around their photo. They put on red sequins on top or those and then a red bow. It resembles a Christmas wreath. Not too pricey to make, and other than the spray paint, they do it themselves. They turn out cute.
Here's a different way of doing the pictures. Make a simple frame from popsicle sticks, spray paint old puzzle pieces with xmas colors and line the edges of the frame with them. Add photographs and you are done!
I take a picture of the entire class and run it off on a transparency. I cut it out, roll it up, and pop it into a glass ball. It unrolls. I use the end of a pencil eraser to kind of straighten it up in the glass ball. Then, I let the students use a white paint pen and draw snowflakes on the outside of the ball. The kids drop in some fake snowflakes and put the lid on. I tie a cute ribbon around the top and it turns out very cute.
I've been doing this for several years. I buy those cheap Christmas sacks and use LOTS Of tissue paper. The students wrap them up, put them in the bag, and make a cute Christmas card to go along with it.
This year, we are making beeswax candles, cedar door swags and painted ornaments. Last year we covered styrofoam balls with sequins which we stuck in with pins and then attached a pretty ribbon to hang them from the tree. They were inexpensive to make but quite labour intensive. Having said that, they were beautiful
Why do teachers feel the need to make Christmas gifts for their students to give parents? With district and state requirements becoming more intense, I do not feel I have the time, or energy, to make gifts. Maybe it should be up to parents to take care of family gifts!
And with the diversity in my classroom, (different religious celebrations) it is not a priority. I opt instead to do a publishing celebration on the last day of school before winter break. Parents come in to see their published writing from the semester and enjoy hot chocolate with us.
Someone posted a calendar on PT that I copied. The children make their handprint on each month, then embellish with their own art work. We have been doing a little bit each week, and it is a very time consuming project. I wish now I hadn't started it, but the kids are so excited and are so looking forward to giving it to their parents for Christmas. I am sure they will turn out so neat, but believe me, next year I will opt to a) either not do anything at all for because of all the added responsibilities we teachers have or 2) some sort of ornament. I am like a PP, the first ornaments I hang on my tree each year are the ones my two grown daughters made in elementary school. Precious.
The question was asked about why do we feel the need to help a student make a gift for their parent?
Lots of reasons -
1. Plain 'ole fun - We have strict objectives we must follow, also. Sometimes it is nice to just do an activity because it is fun for the kids.
2. Building memories - I have a friend whose child I had over 20 years ago. She thanks me EVERY year for the ornaments we made that year because she still puts them on the tree.
3. Gift giving - Sometimes my students cannot afford to buy a gift for their parent. Why not help them make a simple gift that they can give? I know they are so proud when we wrap it in simple tissue paper, put it in a cute (and cheap) sack, and send it home.
Love the idea - sounds simple and as quick as could be and also hard to mess up! I am trying to picture the picture you insert. How big is it? Does it just settle down on the bottom or does it kind of stand up? TIA
PS For those who wonder why bother making gifts... As much fun as it is to receive presents, don't you remember how wonderful it was the first time you actually had a present you were anxious and excited to give? What a treat to be able to give my kids that wonderful feeling of doing something special for someone they love!
Last edited by tangolily; 11-30-2010 at 12:38 PM..
I have done the hand print calendars with my kindergarden classes for several years. Every month has a different hand print and poem that goes along with a holiday or season. For example: February is a heart made of two hand prints. So here is how I made it work. I printed all of the calendars and poems first. Then I recruited family and friends to come help. I set up six stations. At each station the children decorated two months at a time. I put months together by the color of paint that was being used. At every station I had a pencil to put the child's name on the calendar, a round cake pan with paint in it, paint brushes if needed, a dishpan of water and a towel. After the child printed their two months they washed their hands and moved to the next station. The students that were waiting for their turn, or that were finished had math stations, puzzels, phonics activities, and computer stations to keep them busy. I was free to keep everyone moving along. It is very helpful to have a drying rack to put the paintings on. We printed 28 complete calendars in less than 2 hours. The rest of the week we spent embellishing our calendars at one of our activity stations. It worked very smooth. Parents were very thankful for the gift. It made a precious keepsake that the kids were proud of. I don't teach kindergarten anymore, but I would do it again if I were teaching younger chlidren.
I've never done the picture ornaments, and now you're making me feel kind of bad about it...
My class always makes the cinnamon-applesauce ornaments. They work in groups to follow the directions and make the dough together. Then the groups divide the dough, roll it out individually, and cut it with a cookie cutter. We put a hole in the top with a straw and attach a ribbon when it's dry. The room smells AWESOME for days, and the ornaments look a lot like gingerbread (which we have usually spent some time talking about). We decorate them with white dimensional paint which adds to the gingerbread "feel." I know they will smell good on Christmas trees for years to come, and the kids feel very proud of their work.
I like the class picture inside the ornament and the applesauce ornaments. I have not done either before! I guess I will be experimenting! I have done a calendar and a Styrofoam glitter ball ornament, but I think I will try one of these this year. More info on either would be great! Like how big of a picture to use, or if the kids can write their name and the year on the applesauce ornaments? Thanks!
I get a set of free student pictures that have adhesive on the back. If you have something similar, I bet you could stick them on to the backs of applesauce ornaments to turn them into photo ornaments... I like the idea of decorating the applesauce ornaments with white dimensional paint. Sounds like that would add a lot.
Regarding the size of the picture, it's about 3 inches by 4 inches (or so. . can't remember exact measurements) You roll it up tight and when you put the roll into the glass ball, it unrolls. Yes, it will stand up and take the shape of the inside. YOu can see right through it.
I made a calendar gift with my class last year and the parents loved it! I printed blank calendar pages and we filled in the days and major holidays together. We talked about which months were in different seasons and what kinds of things you'd expect to see during those seasons to help us create a picture for each month. It actually turned out to be a great review of the months of the year, seasons, and general calendar knowledge. The project definitely took a lot of time, though.
This year, to make the project more manageable, we're making a tear-off calendar. We're still going to fill out the pages for the months (which are just blank calendar forms printed on regular copy paper) and do some small seasonal decorations. Then we'll staple the pages to the bottom of a piece of 12x18 construction paper. On the top, the students are gluing a family photo they brought in (or a drawing of their family) and will decorate with drawings and foam stickers.
It still takes some time, but most of it is great calendar review time. Last year, I got tons of compliments from parents about the calendar, and the kids loved making them.
You are incredible! I just joined and LOVE connecting with other teachers. Your ideas were just what I needed. Those of you who said... "Why should we give the gifts?" Well.. good question. We are overworked, underloved, stressed out, and there is no data that says students who take time to make a Christmas gift for their parents will score better on their state tests. I've been in the trenches for enough years to know that there's so much more to teaching than those test scores reveal. Sometimes I bemoan the fact that we are being held responsible for so MUCH! Manners, right and wrong, social skills, eye contact, basic, basic things! It a HUGE societal problem!!! But I do what I can do in a very small way. When it comes to giving........ I want my students to know that special joy. Thank you so much for the great ideas!!!
I use this recipe: One large container of cinnamon (just over 3 oz) and 3/4 cup applesauce per batch. We work in groups of 4; each group makes one batch. I always make a demonstration batch for the benefit of kids who don't cook much.
When the dough is made, the groups divide it into fourths. Each person gets a section and flattens it on a paper plate with their hands. Then they choose a cookie cutter (I include Christmas ones as well as gingerbread men and houses for those who don't do Christmas). They make ONE ornament each and I always recommend they make it nice and thick --a half inch or so -- so they won't curl or be too brittle as they dry. We use a straw to poke a hole where the hanging ribbon will go, and the kids roll their scraps into a candy cane shape (if they want to). We leave them on the windowsill for several days (I flip them occasionally) to dry thoroughly. I make several extras with my demonstration batch in a variety of shapes in case people are absent or there is a HUGE accident with an ornament.
When they are dry, we paint them with dimensional paint. White is nice and looks like icing. Gold and silver glitter are also nice. I use one of my "extra" ornaments to demonstrate the paint then let the kids go.
When the paint is dry -- next day -- we tie on a ribbon and wrap them in tissue paper. Done!
The room smells great throughout this whole project. We love that, too.
Tangolily: Great idea about sticking the extra picture on the ornaments. I never even thought of that! Thank you!
Thank you guys for all of the posts and ideas! I am a first year teacher and was trying to figure out what kind of gift I wanted the students to make. I know that I wanted to include a photo but was unsure how. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!!
Your just getting caught up in the red tape. Take Christmas time, or Holiday time if you are in a public school setting, as an opportunity to teach the joy of giving. Help take the focus off receiving. Help model that to show others we care about them, we want to give to them of our time and talents. That is what making a gift is all about. Think of it as character education. All those reasons are just as important as reading, writing & arithmetic. I can't imagine working with 7 -8 year olds all through December, and not making some kind of Christmas Craft, listening to Christmas music, and participating in building a memory. That is food for the soul ;-)