May 27, 2014

Classroom Teacher Gift

It's that time of year again!  Time to celebrate our teachers and let them know how much we appreciate them and what they have done for our kiddos this year.  I saw this idea on a blog where the mom sent out an email to the class parents and had the kids secretly answer questions about their teacher.  Then she put the answers together in a book and presented it to the teacher along with some money she collected from the class as well.

Our school does not allow us to collect money from the parents for anything, but we can collect answers so I did just that.  Last year I did this for G's Kindergarden teacher and it of course made her cry.  This year, I did it again.  It's such a great idea!!  EVERYONE can participate.  It doesn't cost the students or parents anything to do and is always well received by the teacher.  Plus, G's First Grade teacher is leaving the school (and the city) this year, so it makes a great keepsake of her time at this school.  I can't wait to give it to her on Friday!

So here's a picture of the finished product!

All this is is an index card binder that I purchased from Office Max and a package of pastel cardstock that I cut to fit.  Each sheet of cardstock made 4 "pages" so the one package gave me more than enough pages to complete both this year's project and next year's too! Each of the answer pages are 4" x 5.5".  I punched 2 holes to the cardstock so that it would fit in the binder and would be easy to flip between pages.

For the Title Pages I just cut the cardstock a little bigger.  About 4.25 x 5.5 instead of just 4 x 5.5.

I covered the binder with some pretty scrapbook paper and then used a coordinating paper to line the inside of the binder so that the ugly folds were covered.  I printed directly onto the pages for all the kids answers but for the title pages I wanted them to stand out, so I printed onto velum and then taped them onto the cardstock.  I used some fancy scissors to cut around the titles and then drew around the edges with markers to create a "frame" for the title words.

To get all the answers I sent out this letter:
I sent them to school in envelopes with stickers on the back to "seal" them.  On the front of the envelope I wrote "Please return to Gabe's Mom."  I asked the teacher if I could come to school and hand out something for an end of the year thing.  I told her that they would be sending the envelopes back to school and if they came back just to make sure that my G brought them home.  It worked really well because since G is in the Functional Classroom a lot of the time it made it seam like a secret for him and she was very excited to help the kids help Gabe. :)  When I handed them out I made a big deal about the fact that it was a secret and they weren't supposed to talk about it at school or anywhere else, but could read it when they got home to their parents.  Then of course the teacher added that they shouldn't tell Gabe because he doesn't know about it and it just sealed the deal.  I also sent out this letter in an email to all the parents that I had emails for and in the letter I asked them to send me answers via email if they could.

It really worked out well because it just so happened that every time I went up to either pick up the envelopes or hand them out, G was in his other classroom, so it REALLY added to the whole idea that it was a surprise for him. :) (NOTE: later I found out that a little boy spilled the beans that it was a surprise for Ms. P, but who knows if she believed him or not)

I also went to have lunch with G during school hours so that I could add the BEST part of the book...their signatures!

Even if I didn't get answers from all the kids (which I didn't) I wanted all of them have had a part of the book somehow, so every child signed the book.  I brought up some of the smaller cards with me to lunch and walked around with a pen and had each child sign.  It worked out to 4 pages with 5 signatures each.   I then came home and added them to the book behind this title page:

I absolutely LOVE getting these answers back! Some of them were really heartfelt (This year Ms P taught me...) -

And then some were just completely hilarious! (What is Ms P's favorite color?) -

It is a great book.  I really enjoy putting it together each year.  After it's done I always send a list of all the answers to the parents so that they can see what all the kids said also.  It's just too good not to share.  I do invite them all to come when give it to her.  I always wait until the last day when they are not doing anything anyway. 

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