Here are some ideas on what to give teachers, school staff or students at any time of the year.
1. From the Heart
Any gift that comes from the heart will be appreciated by most teachers! Some of my favorite gifts from students have been hand-drawn pictures with a note, a clover flower from the playground, or dollar store finds that kids purchased with their own money. Likewise, people always appreciate a sincere handwritten note from co-workers.
After one has been teaching a while and has gotten all the teacher mugs, etc. consumable gifts will be appreciated. For example, movie tickets, or gift cards for their favorite drink (Jamba Juice, Starbucks, etc.) I have a teacher friend who was estatic when she got a gas station gift card, not for the gas, because that was the only place in her tiny town where she could get Dr. Pepper on ice). Also, consider a fast food place near the school.
- Instead of cute plastic wrapped pencils, consider getting Ticonderoga pencils (which won’t be eaten up by the sharpener, and won’t ruin the sharpener either!) with holiday erasers.
- Personalized pens or pencils.
- Paper cutter for classroom or teacher’s home
- Silent electric pencil sharpener (like Bostitch Quiet Sharpener)
- For special ed teachers: Velcro dots
- Hands down the best investment in your students will be to buy books for them! You can buy $1 books with Scholastic Book Clubs, or get book certificates so kids can pick their own book to order.
- Coloring/Activity pages (Get a few dollar store coloring/activity books, and split into smaller sections. Then staple together. For a class of 20, you might only need 3-4 books.
- Stickers, pencils, erasers (again avoid plastic wrapped pencils – which ruin pencil sharpeners).
- If you are a teacher on a tight budget: Print classroom coupons for experiences (not trinkets you must buy) which your students can redeem in class. Examples include: Doing something with the teacher such as recess with the teacher, play a game with the teacher (i.e. Connect Four), move the desk to be near teacher for a day, take 5 selfies with classroom iPad/tablet (if allowed per your district’s Acceptable Use policy). There are many resources like this on TeachersPayTeachers.