21 November 2018

What Teachers Really Want (and Need) for Christmas

Each year around this time I see my Facebook friends asking for ideas of what to get their child's teacher for Christmas.  I have walked the aisles of Walmart with the lotion and bath product gift sets.  I see the catalogs and websites putting out the cute teacher ornaments and mugs.

I am a huge proponent of "it is the thought that counts", so put those thoughts out there!  The absolute best gift is the expressing of your appreciation and thanks for all he or she does!  The best part about this is it costs NO money, but it does take your time!  Write your child's teacher a letter of appreciation and thanks for all the work he or she does for your child each day.  Don't forget to include the specifics about things he or she does that your child talks about at home.  Teachers often feel that their work isn't noticed or appreciated.  Don't forget to have your child write or dictate a note to you as well.

But if you are wanting to do more, what do teachers really want (and need) for Christmas?  Here are some ideas to delight your child's teacher during this holiday season...

🎁 Gift Cards

Ok I know what you are thinking..."Gift cards are so impersonal!"  Yes they can be if you don't put a little thought into them.  When I was a classroom teacher, I could tell the difference.  For example, I don't drink coffee at all...can't even stand the smell of it!  What gift card did I get more than any other?  Starbucks!  I would just give these away...most often to my colleagues who didn't receive student gifts, or I left on police officers' patrol cars as a random act of kindness.

But gift cards really aren't impersonal if you do them right!  In fact, the well-thought gift cards were some of my favorite gifts!  If you are lucky, you have a room parent that gets the teacher to fill out a favorite things list like mine used to.  (Are you a room parent and don't use a favorite things list?  Get one here.)  Any place your teacher included on this list they would greatly appreciate a gift card for!

No favorite things list?  Ask your child about what some of the teachers favorites are... does she drink a Starbucks iced coffee every morning?  does she talk about getting lost in the Target all the time? does he have a Friday tradition of having Uber Eats delivered to school?  Maybe your child notices her nails are always nicely done but doesn't know where?  Send your child into on a detective mission!  Teachers are asked so many random questions during the school day that she won't suspect a thing with a question from a child of where do you get your nails done!  Anything your child notices frequently about his or her teacher, that would would be thrilled to receive in gift card!  

If all else fails...an Amazon gift card would make any teacher happy!

🎁 Classroom Supplies

I loved receiving classroom supplies as Christmas gifts!  By December, classroom supplies are already starting to run low!  First, classroom supplies don't have be lugged home! Second, who has to pay to restock the classroom...the teacher!  Take a peek back at the beginning of the year supply list (already threw that away?  Most schools keep that list on their website!)  A gift basket of pencils, glue sticks, dry erase markers, or brightly colored copy paper will make a teacher squeal with delight!

Not sure what supplies to get?  Then see the previous idea...gift card!  Give the teacher a gift card to Office Depot, Staples, or Amazon with a sweet note!  A teacher would also be excited to receive a TeachersPayTeachers gift card too!


🎁 Movie Tickets or DVD Rental

Have you seen the price of movie tickets these days???  An evening at the movies makes a teacher's wallet cry!  Give him or her a gift card worth two tickets to the luxury of an evening movie!  Or if you have Red Box in your area...a gift code for a DVD rental will be greatly appreciated as well!


🎁 Don't Forget Gift Presentation!

The presentation of your gift is the best way to make it even more special and the best way to show you put the same amount of thought and energy that your child's teacher does each day in the classroom. Your child's teacher spends countless hours every week preparing the best possible lessons for your child.  He or she has spent their summer creating a space your child will feel at home in. So don't just slap a sticky bow on lotion gift set!

Presentation doesn't have to be fancy or difficult.  Pinterest has loads of ideas of how to present teacher gifts.  I have created a whole board full of ideas here.  Most have free printables to help you make your gift a little more special.  Here are some ideas from my board...
from Pioneer Party
from Paper Trail Design
from Creations by Kara
from Delightful Order

In the comments...Teachers, tell us some of your absolute favorite gifts!  Parents, get advice on your gift ideas!  Can't wait to hear them all!

12 November 2018

Getting Emoji-fied with Emojily

This past week, I attended GaETC, an educational technology conference here in Georgia!  This conference is awesome, and if you ever get a chance to go...jump at it!  There are so many great edtech gurus...including one of my favorites, Tony Vincent of https://learninginhand.com/.  I attended a couple of his sessions, but one of my favorites was about how to use emojis in instruction.  

Well today, I was creating in the app, PicCollage, and of course an ad for another app popped up!  (By the way, I very rarely pay for apps, so I see plenty of ads!). This free-mium app allows you to create your own emoji...I couldn’t not download it!  It is an adorable app that allows you too...

Because it is free-mium, you have a basic set of parts to create your own emoji.

But even with just those basics, you can still create a pretty cute emoji to use as a sticker in your messaging or texting app!
But you can also save your emoji to your device, so there are a variety of cute ways you and your students could use this app.  Students could create their login/account image for G Suite.  Creating an emoji is pretty quick, so students could create an emoji as a response to their learning.  As the teacher, you could create a variety of emojis to use as feedback for grading.

Emojily is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.  In the comments below, share other ideas you have for how to use this app!


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