Friday, June 21, 2013

End of Year Gifts From the Heart

The end of the year is a great opportunity to recognize students for their accomplishments. It's also a great time to let them know the impression that they have made on their fellow students and their teachers. Ever since I began teaching, I have made sure that my students leave my classroom at the end of the year knowing that they are in fact special in many different ways. I have made a few changes throughout the years, depending on our themes and experiences, but I always do something close to this year's gift that I am going to share with you.

The first thing that I do, around the last week in May, is send home a packet with all of the students names in it. Here is the assignment that I attach:

Of course, in the blank space will be each student's name and this will be a packet a few pages long. I always talk to my students about how important it is to take their time and choose their words carefully and I am sure to let them know that only I will know what they wrote. These words of praise are always the foundation of After all students have turned this back in to me, I get to work. Since I have a Snoopy theme in my room, and this year's students were especially fond of Snoopy, I saved different Snoopy images throughout the year that reminded me of each of my students in some way so that by the time this project came, I had at least one image saved for each student. 

In powerpoint, I placed the image of each student's Snoopy on a page with their name on it (which I have taken off of the pictures for some students). I then take the words that they have said about one another and place them in text boxes around the picture. I bought special Snoopy computer paper for the border, and after placing all of the words around the Snoopy, I printed them out, one page per student. I then went to the Dollar Tree and bought 24 document frames. I placed the printed paper in the frame and...voila! A super special end of the year gift that is personalized and meaningful! Here's what they looked like: 

I presented these on the last day of school right before our fifth grade graduation. I made up this note from me and read it to them, and gave them each a copy of the note.

Of course, I cried a river as I read it, because this has been such an amazing group. They loved their gift and their parents did too and I really enjoyed making them. It gave me a chance to reflect on my time with each student and the growth that they have made in our time together. This is an end of year gift that I will do again and again. If not for the computer paper, it would've cost me $24 for the frames, and some printer ink. Totally worth the final product and the smiles it brought to each student. Meaningful is so much better than expensive!


  1. Hi there! I had a question for you about possibly collaborating on something and was hoping you could email me back to discuss? Thanks so much!

    - Emma

    emmabanks9 (at) gmail (dot) com