Next week is National Teacher Appreciation Week! Mark your calendars and shout out a thank you as you head through carpool line. If you want to do a little more to show some appreciation, you can borrow my idea. I always try to put together a small thank you gift for all of my children’s teachers, so they know that I do recognize the work they do each day. This year’s teacher appreciation sirsee is not too grand but remember that it does not have to be big or showy (or expensive) to be enjoyed. The purpose is to let educators know that their work is noticed.
My kids and I made mini clipboards for Post-it notes and added Papermate Flair Pens in fun colors. Teachers go nuts for the Flair felt tip pens and even if they don’t have a pen preference, all teachers use marking pens and Post-it notes, so I am fairly confident the gift won’t end up in the trash.
- 3″ x 3″ Post-it notepads (colors that match your coasters)
- 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ cardboard drink coasters (see notes below)
- 1″ binder clips (or one size bigger)
- Papermate Flair pens, assorted colors
- Remove the back paper from a Post-it notepad. Center the Post-it to the top edge of the coaster. Press the Post-it and attach.
- Add binder clip to the top of the coaster and Post-it notepad to secure. Leave the “handles” folded up.
- Print a message for the top page. It is possible to print on Post-it notes and attach as the top sheet of your notepad gift. Use THIS TEMPLATE for a Post-it message. For complete directions for printing on Post-it notes, CLICK HERE.
- Tie curly ribbon around the middle and slide a pen under the curly ribbon to complete the gift set.
- You can use coasters with cork backing too. I had a really hard time finding coasters that were not made of stone and super thick. They can be ordered online, or you can visit your local watering hole and ask if they will donate to your teacher appreciation cause. The cardboard coasters are easy to cover with scrapbook paper, and then you can choose your color scheme.
- While we were on the coaster hunt, Miss Priss found mini clipboards with attached notepads and a magnet back at Michael’s Crafts for $2 a piece. We bought every one they had and supplemented with the few pink cardboard coasters I did find.
For more teacher gift ideas I have used in the past, CLICK HERE.
I pulled out the turkey toilet paper roll napkin rings my children made when they were in kindergarten. I like to use them for a few weeks around Thanksgiving– not just on Thanksgiving day. The year my son built his, we made sets for all of the grandparents and extended family and brought them with us to our family Thanksgiving meal. My in-laws still have their napkin rings.
If you make the napkin ring at school, it’s a fun little craft students can take home to their family. If you are building these with a whole class, you may want to pre-make certain steps, and you will need two days to let paint and glue dry– or do some work at the beginning of the day and finish construction towards the end of the day.
- toilet paper or paper towel rolls cut into 2 inch wide rings.
- brown and yellow tempera paint
- brown pipe cleaners (for the feet, optional)
- red felt
- assorted colored feathers (we used red, yellow, and orange)
- googly eyes, 3 mm
- wood craft spoons ~3/5 inches in height (I used THESE)
- Elmer’s glue or hot glue gun
- Paint the wooden craft spoons yellow and the toilet paper roll rings brown. Let dry. (This step can be prepped ahead of time if you do not want the mess and clean-up of lots of tempera paint.)
- Cut the red felt into a tear drop shape about 1-inch tall.
- After the paint dries, glue the red felt tear drop shaped piece onto the middle of the spoon end of the wooden stick. Glue two googly eyes above the read waddle. Let dry flat.
- Glue the yellow wooden stick turkey face to the side of the painted toilet paper roll piece. You may need to hold the craft spoon in place for a few minutes, so the face does not slide to the side. ** Note: Hot glue might be a better option here since the Elmer’s glue takes longer to dry and hold.
- If you are adding the pipe cleaner feet, you will need an adult to poke two holes at the base of the wooden spoon. Thread the pipe cleaner through the two holes, so a loop runs around the inside of the toilet paper roll. Fold and bend each pipe cleaner end into feet shape with 3 toes. Cut any excess length of pipe cleaner off.
- Glue 3 feathers onto the back of the toilet paper roll and arrange, so the feathers are fanned out.
- Roll a napkin and slid into the napkin ring and set at each place setting for your Thanksgiving feast!
For several years now, my teaching teammate and I have organized a class business around the holidays. My fourth grade students develop, produce, and sell a product to our school community, and we donate any profits to charity. In the past, we manufactured and sold one product (like these Mason Jar Cookie Mixes) that families pre-ordered, and we had a limited production. Since I had clearly blacked out the incredible amount of work it takes to source the supplies and organize this little venture, I spearheaded an expansion of the business into a full holiday market with six products to sell.
Students filled out job applications at the beginning of the school year, and we have been running workshops every week to make all of the products. They have been calculating our costs to date and determining product prices. On the day of the market, students will man a booth where they will provide sales help and handle cash.
This week, we are making birdseed ornaments. This is a good low cost holiday gift. The ornaments are easy to make in bulk, and after we bag and label them, they will be the perfect gift for a party host, a neighbor, a teacher, or a co-worker.
- 3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 3 T. light corn syrup
- 4 c. birdseed (finch bird feed packs better into the molds)
- molds (cookie cutters, muffin tins, chocolate or soap molds, etc.)
- nonstick cooking spray like Pam
- drinking straws cut into 2-inch pieces
- waxed paper
- cookie sheet, sheet pan, baking pan, tray
- ribbon or twine
- clear plastic bags
- Put a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet, tray, or baking pan. Fill the tray with the cookie cutters or molds you will be using. If you are using cookie cutters, and there is a sharp edge and a protected edge, put the cookie cutter sharp edge up. Spray the insides of the molds with the cooking spray.
- Combine flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl until it is well-combined and turns into a paste.
- Add the birdseed to the paste mixture and stir until well-coated.
- Spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Pack the mixture down well and make the top smooth. The back of a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup work well for smoothing the top of the birdseed.
- Poke a hole near the top of each birdseed mold using a drinking straw piece. Even though the straw will be near the top of the ornament, make sure you do not have the straw too close to any edge, or it will break apart later when you add the ribbon. Make sure the straw goes all the way through to the bottom. Leave the straw in place.
- Leave the birdseed mixture in the mold for 2-3 hours. Then, remove the straws and gently remove the ornaments from the mold. Place the ornaments on a new piece of waxed paper and let dry an additional 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Thread a string or ribbon through the hole and tie, so the ornament can hang from a tree branch. I liked the natural look of twine rather than a colorful ribbon.
One Lucky Winner Will Receive TWO Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!
I am giving away two (2) Teacher Emergency Kits to one (1) lucky winner! You can keep one kit and give one to a teacher friend (or make two teachers, friends, co-workers, neighbors… super happy and give both as gifts). Click HERE to enter. Giveaway ends this Wednesday, August 17 at midnight (EST). Shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada.
Winner will receive 2 vinyl pouches and emergency kit contents. Each kit contains a $10 Starbucks giftcard, travel sized lip gloss, travel sized Shout and Windex wipes, travel sized Advil, Tums, Band-aids, nail file, and peppermints. See this BLOG POST for more details about the Teacher Emergency Kits.
Click this RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY LINK and follow me on various social media and/or share the giveaway using #theroommom to be entered to win!
You may have been concerned that I had not posted this year’s Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit, but fear not, I would not let you down. If you recall, the Teacher Emergency Kit is my favorite first day of school gift to a teacher, and I have been delivering them since my children entered elementary school. Now that my kids are getting a little bit older, it is more important that I keep this tradition going because teachers of older students always get jipped in the teacher gift department.
This year’s emergency kit pouch is made of clear vinyl (possibly a poor choice when you sew in a climate with 8,000% humidity), and it reminds me of a small make-up bag. Like my previous kits, it is supposed to be a handy little bag to store in a desk or teacher bag for daily emergencies.
This Year’s Contents
- individually wrapped mints
- tinted Vaseline in an oh-so-sweet mini container
- Windex wipes for electronics
- Shout wipes
- emery board
Other Content Ideas
- quarters for soda money
- travel sewing kit
- Tide to go stain remover stick
- cough drops
- Sharpie pen
- travel sized hand lotion
- travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste
- dental floss
- hair clip, hair tie, or rubberband
- smartphone charger
- ear buds
- safety pins
The Vinyl Pouch
- If you sew, visit BONJOUR QUILTS for the pattern and directions. You can register on the site to download a measurement guide to make bigger and smaller pouch sizes. I followed the sizes given in the blog post, and the finished bag is about 4″ x 5″. As you may have gleaned from my comment above, sewing with vinyl in hot and humid weather is not easy. I even had my special teflon sewing foot.
- I purchased the lightest gauge of clear vinyl available at Hobby Lobby.
- The FLEXIBLE FRAMES that create the opening at the top of the pouch are the same material that is in a metal measuring tape (or a slap bracelet). I ordered the flexible frames online because I could not find them in any store locally. My sewing store told me that I could cut a measuring tape into the pieces I need and slide them into the fabric sleeves as a back up idea if I couldn’t find the frames.
Other Packaging Ideas
- Use a bead box from a store like Michael’s Crafts. Sew a potholder clutch or foldover cloth bag. Pick up a small cosmetics bag; I saw some in the bins near the door at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Fill a simple paper gift bag. Click on the images below to read about other versions of the Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!