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End of Year Gifts for Students

Hi friends,



I truly wanted to blog about these sooner, so you could use this idea for your end of year gifts if you wanted… however, I teach middle school and most of my students are fascinated with finding their teacher on social media. I didn't want to ruin the surprise for my students.

This year was a little different for me. For my first two years of teaching I was self-contained in 5th grade. I absolutely loved the relationships I formed, and as a result loved putting a lot of thought into my end of year gifts. I usually go way too overboard and spend way too much money, but it wasn't too bad because I had a typical class of 24.

Well at my new school, after I got hired, I found out I would only be teaching ELA so I would have two classes of 23. I honestly was pretty heart-broken for a lot of different reasons, but I was really worried about the relationship portion of teaching when you have multiple classes.

Another thing about me is that my love language is gifts. I know this is one of the more rare love languages to have, but it's very common in my family. I sometimes think acts of service and gifts are similar because I associate giving a gift with doing something for someone.

Anyway, I knew it would be hard for me to give up this end of year gift-giving that I do, even with 45 students. I didn't want to completely break the bank. I did better than my husband probably expected, but here is what I did.

Students Gifts 

For this portion of the gifts I needed the students' help. They each got a piece of paper like the following, instructing them to write one kind word about each of their classmates. I did this for both of my classes.  


On the bottom, I said to put their six favorite things, because I was going to choose shapes (you will see what I mean in a second) based on what they like. That didn't really work because of the shapes. I would recommend picking some shapes from the website and having them circle what shapes they like the best (i.e. football, circle, elephant, apple). I would also recommend having them tell your their 3 favorite colors (I went back and did that later). 

For the next part of the gifts I used the website, Tagxedo

Just select create on the homepage.


This is basically a fancy wordle. This is the best site like this that I have ever found. I used it last year with no problems, but for some reason, you need the hair of a unicorn and a DNA sample to use it now (HA!) but essentially you just have to have the right browser and you should be fine. 

I took the kids' words for each student and input them into the box. This does take time, but I swear it is so worth it. 

To put the words in select the "load" button on the top left corner. Just type the words into the "Enter Text" section. You just have to put a space between each word and you can't have hyphenated words. So if kids says hard worker about a student, I just type it in as "hardworker."



After you put the words you can choose the shape…


I ended up just choosing a circle for all of them because I liked how the words looked. For the teacher gifts I made (I had their students write words for them) I chose the apple shape. 

The color/theme… There are so many cute themes! There are some great ones for both boys and girls.



The fonts… You can also choose your fonts. I couldn't get them to load on my laptop but just choose the arrow next to fonts to change them.

You can even spin the whole thing so it changes everything all around until you find one you like.

Then you get finished products that look like this:

This picture below is of the gifts for my homeroom class. I will be honest and say it't not a quick project but I always love how it is a gift from me and from their classmates.



If I could figure out a way to get the image in PowerPoint and print everything on one page, I would do it, but no luck yet my friends. So I just go in PowerPoint and make the background page, tape the Tagxedo image to the front (in the middle). I used a font called "sweet pea."



For the frames, right around graduation time, the dollar store has them! Definitely more with 45 students, but everything else as just a matter of printing.

I also gave each student a book. I usually just try to find a book that's a dollar on Scholastic. My first year, we had read Freak the Mighty and I was able go get copies for $1.00. The next year, we read Ungifted by Gordan Korman and a different book of his was a $1.00 on Scholastic, so I got those. This year I didn't have that luck, so I just bought Pictures of Hollis Woods for the girls and Woods Runner for the boys. I also wrote a note to each student inside the books.


And yes! I fixed my grammar errors! Writing in 45 books at once wears you out!


The last thing I did was make a bookmark, for each student, so they could remember our year in 6th grade. The bookmarks had their names and the images of the 5 novels we have read together.


Then I wrapped all the present with brown paper I got at Hobby Lobby. I ran out so I just used the back of some old Christmas wrapping paper so it was white. I plan to hand them out to students at our awards ceremony at the end of year. 


Feel free to ask me any questions that you have! I would love to answer.

Muah!

Martina