What Would We Do Without Those Wonderful Volunteers?
I have an "Open Door" policy in my classroom, so parents, and grandparents are always welcome to pop in and help out.
I've even had some aunts and college "big sisters" pop in on occasion as well.
My students have all benefited by their gifts, talents and extra-one-on-one assistance.
Through the years I've had those special volunteers who've been able to come in on a consistent basis, so I've wanted to reward them by giving them some sort of gift to show our appreciation.
I'm sure you have those wonderful people in your life who've been a blessing to you too. These are also nice if you've had a student teacher.
What to give them seems to be a dilemma each year. If you're having a bit of trouble thinking of something special, perhaps one of these ideas might prove "just the thing."
Make a Thank You Booklet Card:
Gather your students together in a group. Make letter cards that spell out the words "Thank You!" Give a card to 9 children.
Have these students sit with their legs crossed in the front row. The second row is kneeling and the 3rd row is standing. Print the photo off as an 8x10. Glue it to a sheet of construction paper. This is the cover of your booklet.
Make copies of the "I like you because..." OR "Thank you for helping ...." OR "My favorite thing you did with us was..." pages. Give each child the option to choose a writing prompt to finish and then illustrate that page.
Collect and collate the pages and bind them into a booklet with another sheet of construction paper as the back page.
To make it more of a keepsake make a copy of your class composite and have each student glue their photo on the page and sign their name next to it.
Click on the link to view/print a copy of the Thank You Booklet writing prompt pages.
Angel Kitchen Towel: I first posted this in December to rave reviews, but it works well here for all the angel voluteers in you life. I make these as gifts all the time. Click on the link to view/print a copy of my angel poem and pattern.
Lunch Bag Memory Book: My own room helper Cheryl, showed me how to make these. She's a retired teacher, fellow grandmother, and dear friend. I don't know what I'd do without her.
She sews the binding of her mini-scrapbooks on the sewing machine, but you don't have to. Simply punch two holes on either edge and tie a ribbon, or bind it with scrapbook paper.
You can make these using one, two or even 4 lunch bags. Leave your scrapbook looking "rustic" as a brown "campy" looking scrapbook like mine, or buy lunch bag gift bags that they sell at stores like Hobby Lobby.
You can also cover the pages with cardstock or scrapbook paper. You'll need to do some covering of the bottom of the bags that are the 1/4 mini pages inside the book.
You can make the book yourself or have students help. They can also make things to tuck "into" the scrapbook pages. These are "Pocket-pages" that are formed by the inside of the lunch bags!
Pictures add sentimental value as do notes from the children, and make great things to "tuck into" these pages. This is a wonderful keepsake.
I'd fill up pages with directions so I searched quite a few YouTube videos and found a young gal with a short and simple "how to" and several fantastic finished examples that I think you'll enjoy.
Click on the link to check it out. I know you'll have fun making these whether it's as a thank you to a special volunteer or one for yourself and own children! Lunch bag scrapbook video.
I made the one pictured out of 2 lunch bags which will give you two pockets to put things in.
Gift Basket: Nothing really "new" about this, but the way I do it might be different. Ask your students what kind of gift basket they would like to make for your room helper/student teacher.
You may want to explain the concept and what it involves. Give them some options (pamper-yourself, kitchen, fruit, garden etc.) then vote on it.
Compose a letter with them and then send it home enlisting the help of parents to send in an item for the basket. Have students color and sign a card and present it to your volunteer. Click on the link to view/print several of my letters.
Student Teacher things: Since student teachers will have their own classrooms someday I think one of the nicest things you can give them is a basket filled with your favorite kind of teacher "stuff" and then a handmade card from all of your students with a photograph of them so they can remember their time with you.
When children write why they thought this person was an excellent teacher or connected with them, it not only builds their self-esteem, but is something that they can include in their portfolio. I follow it up by tucking in a much-appreciated letter of reference as well.
Another thing that's a big hit is giving them a book from each season, or one for each month if you can afford it. Collect books using your Scholastic Bonus points, or watch garage sales and flea markets for excellent condition-used books. I've found mint-condition books that are brand new for less than a $1.00!
I hope you've had a wonderful year filled with kind people helping to get your students over those tough spots and making your life easier with all the many tasks a teacher's life is filled with.
It's a nice time to remember those thoughtful people who made time to help you and your little ones. Making someone feel appreciated is a lovely thing!