Sunday, June 29, 2008

52 Blessings Project: Week # 24 & #25

Great School Teachers
{pictured above: Jackson on his last day with his amazing speech therapist Theresa. They have come a long way together in the past 2.5 years! Kobe with Mrs. Kingston. Reagan with Mrs. Clothier. Jillie with her 4th grade teacher Mrs. Oliverio who we tracked down at another school in town at the end of the year.}

We have been blessed with some great school teachers over the years. This year was no exception. Jackson has fun and caring therapists in Theresa, Kelly, and Sally. Kobe's 1st grade teacher was Mrs. Kingston whom he has really enjoyed this year. Reagan's wonderful 4th grade teacher (and the teacher I was room parent for) was Mrs. Clothier... who just happens to be Mrs. Kingston's sister in law! Jillie had many terrific teachers this year since she travels from class to class in the Middle School. What I think is great is that she always wants to go back to see the teachers from previous years (even if we have moved but happen to come back to visit we have to go find her teacher.) Having a degree in Elementary Education I have a bit of an idea how much effort these teachers put in to making learning fun and exciting to a wide variety of students. Most of the time I honestly don't think the kids realize they are learning!

{This year's thank you notes included gum and phrases like "Thank you for 'chewsing' to teach" or "'Extra' special teacher".}

I wish there was more I could do do show them our appreciation. At the end of the year the kids write personal thank yous to their teachers- including the support staff and specials teachers (art, PE, computers, library.) I really believe in this after an experience we had at our school in Colorado. My friend Stephanie Wheeler and I were in charge of staff appreciation for the entire year for our schools (2 school buildings side by side encompassing grades from Preschool - 6th grade... about 100 staff). Sometime I should write down all of the amazing things we did for those teachers. Anyhow, on one of the days of Teacher Appreciation week we had the kids bring in thank you notes to all of the specials teachers. They never get recognized like the classroom teachers do. After that day the grumpy old art teacher came up to me with tears in her eyes and said, "Thank you so much for doing this. Never in all of my many years of teaching have any of the kids said 'thank you' before today." Let me tell you for as grumpy as she usually was, she was that sweet to the kids for the rest of the year!

Sometimes when the year's end comes along I send in my cash to donate to a group gift the room parent picks out.. but we still do a personal thank you note. Here are pictures of a few things I've done for teacher appreciation gifts lately. Which also brings me to my #25 blessing-
How in the world would I have any ideas for teacher appreciation, lessons, Church callings, activities, birthday parties, cake decorating, travel, good movies to see, keep in touch with my family and friends, know what's going on in the world, and learning how to play Sudoku, etc...etc... etc... if it weren't for the internet?!?! That list could go on and on for all of the many uses I have for the internet.
Anyhow.. on to a few recent teacher appreciation gifts...

{This bag went to Speech Therapist Theresa who is leaving us after 2.5 years. These therapists come to our home with BIG bags full of activities. I tried to replenish some supplies i.e. paper, glue, crayons, markers, suckers (yes she uses suckers in therapy!) plus a little baby blanket for the new baby that's coming and a 'baby of her own' for Theresa's little 2 year old. Jackson was so excited about the tag I made that has a picture of him & Theresa 2.5 years ago and then current picture.}

The infamous "Dollar Book" idea care of Everything Pink's Kristi.

{Mrs. Clothier opening the dollar book when she realizes it's a stack of cash. She read all 150 answers that the kids gave about what they will miss about her, what she likes to eat for lunch, what subject they enjoyed the most, etc... She even took it out to recess to show the other teachers!}
Step 1: Send out a request to parents to contribute money to the gift and a questionnaire for the kids to answer. Bug everyone for a week til you get the answers & money all back.
Step 2: call and call and call and call til you find a bank that has brand new $1 bills.
Step 3: Print up all of the questions and answers on vellum. Also make pages with kids pictures on them if you have more money than answers. Cut them out and make book by alternating vellum page and dollar bill. Make a cover page.
Step 4: Take it all to Kinkos and have them glue the end like a pad of paper. Cost: $.50 (+ tax) :)
Step 5: Tie it all up in a bow Kristi style and deliver

{This one was SO fun for the kids and I to make. It was for Reagan's teacher last year ( I was room mom and collected money for this one too. It would be easy to do on your own though- just with more candy and fewer $$ gift cards!). He is SUPER creative and fun and a typical end of the year gift card to the spa that most women teachers get just wouldn't do for him! :) This is what we came up with. He and the class loved it! It walked us through some of the highlights of the year while getting him some gift cards to places he would enjoy. Click to enlarge.}

And don't forget the bus driver!
{popcorn, pop & $10 Blockbuster gift card}


Beth Soelberg said...

Amazing! I have now put you on my list as Official Tutor in All Important Things.

It really touched me, for some reason, that you thought of the special teachers and even the bus driver! I know it took a lot of effort on your part to organize these things. How cool!

Amen on the internet. I remember life without it, but not adult life - I've never had to do a calling without it. How would that be possible? :)

Sunny said...

Wow Nik! You are amazing! So this is what I have to look forward to huh? I'm not ready! Once again, you show the world how completely incredible you are! I don't know how you do it.

Leanne said...

Crazy cool ideas! I think Holly did the same thing with the money for one of her kids teachers. I never heard how it turned out. I'm sure it was just as awesome as yours. I love that Kinkos glued it sooo cheap!

My poor teachers, one being Beth's Aunt, didn't get squat outta me this year. I feel baaaad. Eek!

Shan said...

Nik those are amazing teacher gifts! I love the one you did for Jack-Jack's teacher! You inspire me...

Abby said...

I agree with everyone are Amazing! I love the gifts, so creative. I know who to call when I have to come up with some next year!

Holly said...

Awesome Nik!! I REALLY love the card you put together for Theresa. That is really thoughtful and just ANOTHER reason why we have to always take pictures. You just never know when you will need one! :) Great job with all of this, and I am soooo glad you blogged it, because you can do a re-post when we need it again. (Maybe a few weeks BEFORE we will need to do it so we have time to get the ideas going.) I have pics of the dollar book I did, but the time slipped by. Maybe I will do it later. :) GOOD JOB!! (Now go back to pulling weeds....) :)

dad said...

WOW NIK - no wonder you don't sleep much!
What a special gift - to appreciate!

Cara said...

I love that 150 things we love about.....I idn't do it this year because the class was lame about giving money, but loved how yours turned out!!!