Saturday, June 3, 2017

Jars of Positivity End of Year Gift


Each year, I try a different end of year gift for my students. After 12 years of teaching, it's not easy to come up with something new each time. I've used original ideas as well as ideas I've found on Pinterest. I've done some that I loved, and some that I wouldn't likely repeat again (beach balls are only a great idea if you love the idea of 25 beach balls being blasted around your room for the last hours of the school year). Since I'm a military wife, I move around quite a bit, so there's really no reason to not repeat some of the more successful ones. However, my goal is to try to come up with something that is specific to the group that I have and as anyone who has taught for a few years can tell you, no two groups are EVER alike. Thus, my attempts at mixing things up from year to year.

This year, we read some really amazing books together. We started with Rain Reign, then joined the Global Read Aloud and read Pax, devoured Maniac Magee, and ended the year with an amazing and inspiring book, Fish in a Tree. Most of our books focused on treating others with kindness and compassion, embracing our differences, and not judging a book by it's cover.

So what to create that represents those themes? I really didn't know. I contemplated those cute word cloud poems, but couldn't find reasonably priced frames that I love (yes...I'm picky). I loved the idea of embracing their positive qualities in some way, as I did something similar to that years ago and was happy with the results. Still...I didn't know exactly what to do.

Leave it to a shopping trip to Michael's to inspire me! I found these adorable little mason jars and my wheels started turning. I have a crafty parent that loves to use her Cricut and so I contacted her to see if she'd be willing to personalize the jars for me. The jars are about 4 inches tall They were about $1.50 each, but I had one of those valuable 25% off your entire purchase coupons, so it wasn't too bad. My plan was to fill them with positive words about each student and call them jars of positivity. Of course, the words weren't just going to come from me. I wanted their peers to write them because I know that those are even more meaningful at this stage in their lives. I created a letter and attached a template with the names of each student. To do this, I simply made a table in PowerPoint and made the borders thicker. I then typed their names in each box. I copied the letter and the templates on a variety of colors of paper.


Once I had all of these returned, the toughest part was cutting out each individual strip and separating them. I won't lie and say that this wasn't time-consuming, because it was.  But if you put on a good TV show in the background, it makes it go by a little quicker!


Now I was ready for the jars. They came out adorable thanks to my super crafty parent!


I folded up each strip and placed them inside the jar. This was also a tad time-consuming, but I think my excitement for the final outcome got me through. The different colors looked fantastic inside!


But...I needed one more thing, something to explain what was inside the jars. So I wrote a poem to go with it.


I put the jars in pretty bags and the students couldn't wait to see what was inside! 


Yesterday was our last day so I presented my students with this gift. I had them take the poem out and I read it aloud before they took the jars out. Because the last day is always emotional for me, I made it to the second stanza before I started bawling. 

So how did it go? Was it a hit? YES! They loved it. They couldn't wait to see what their classmates wrote about them and they had these huge smiles on their faces as they read them. One of my favorite moments was hearing a student who worked super hard all year read one aloud that said, "______ is a hard worker because she never gives up, even when it's hard for her." She beamed as she read that. That's how I knew this gift was exactly what I was hoping for. Although this gift took more time than I thought it would, it was completely worth it. I'd definitely do it again, but perhaps after I've moved so there is still an element of surprise. It was really a great way to wrap things up! 

If you'd like a copy of the poem without my name or the school year on it, you can click on the picture below. I print two to one page so that I can get a smaller version without losing any quality.




1 comment:

  1. Rachel the jars of positivity are truly gifts that keep on giving, love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

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