Friday, May 27, 2011

End of Year Activity and Gift

I love to give my students a little something to remember their first grade year and our time together. This year I'm doing two things, one is free and involves the students, and the other is an inexpensive handmade memento from me.

  • Wordles - I love to make wordles, as you've probably guessed by now. This year I had planned to create wordles for each of my students with their names and adjectives that describe them. As they were writing bucket notes last week (we do bucket filling), I got the idea to have them come up with the adjectives. I put a large sheet manila paper on each student's desk and had them write their names in the middle with marker. We brainstormed positive adjectives together and started off by writing an adjective on our own papers first. Several of the students said it was hard because they'd never complimented themselves before! So sad! I was really glad we started off with that because throughout the rest of the activity, everyone was smiling and feeling good about themselves, which makes it easier for them to say nice things about others. The students rotated around the room and wrote one word on each student's poster. I will use their posters to create a personalized wordle for each student.  
  • Backpack Tags - These are a cheap and easy craft to make, and I know the kids love them because I see them on the backpacks of my former students all the time! You will need: a class set of wallet size class pictures (I've used Walgreens and Shutterfly), a class set of luggage tag and loop laminating pouches, double sided tape, paper (I used colored, but white will work) and a printer. You could also handwrite them, but I love the chance to spice things up with my fun fonts! There are two different kinds of laminating pouches you can get - some need to be run through a thermal laminator to seal and some are self stick. The self-stick come in smaller packs and are slightly more expensive, but I use them because I don't have that kind of laminator at my school and it gives me the freedom to work on them at home. I used Microsoft Word to make a table with boxes that are the same size as my wallet prints (2"h x 3"w) and typed each students name, my name and the school year. After printing them out, I cut them apart and used double sided tape to attach name cards to the back of the class pictures. From there I just sealed them in pouches and voila! Last year I made them all the same, but this year I used different fonts for the boys and girls. It could definitely be made cuter with a border or clip art, but I was pressed for time because I found out on Wednesday that 3 of my kids wouldn't be back next week. Here's a sample of the name side of a boy and girl tag:

Do you make gifts for your students? I'd love to hear some new ideas!


Mrs. Kohlhepp

Well, Miss Griffin -(since I do not know your first name) ;o) This is an absolutely adorable idea! I am moving to 2nd grade next year (I have taught 1st for most of my teaching career- then 3rd and this year 4th)..hence the reason for going back to the youngin's..LOL There wasn't an opening in first so I jumped at the chance for 2nd. So, I am totally "lifting" your idea. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog, and your profile pic is perfect! Enjoy your summer.


Last year I made scrapbooks for each of my students and with advance preparation, I made them again this year. I took pictures of all of them throughout the year on certain occasions (first day, Halloween, Gingerbread Houses at Christmas, etc.) and included them. On the last page I take a picture of each kiddo and I together and journal something to each of them.
I punched them together with a "Bind-it-All" but even the school's book binding machine would work. Since I punched the holes right through their pictures, it saved me a lot of money and time!

Here's a link to see them all:

You can see pictures of the other pages by scrolling through the gallery.

Thank you for sharing your ideas!



How cute!!!! I love the idea! I actually do a slideshow for my kiddos and burn it to a DVD for them. Then, I include a little notebook and pencil. :)



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