Sunday, June 2, 2013

End-of-the-Year Student Gifts and Momentos

Can you smell that? It's skin frying in the heat of summer. Can you hear that? The pool and beach are calling my name. As my first year of teaching comes to a close, the temptations of summer fun beckon louder and louder. I still have four student days and one teacher work day to complete my mile-long end-of-the-year to-do list. In the middle of all the have-to's like report cards, permanent record files, and classroom clean-ups, I wanted to make sure to leave a little time for some fun want-to's.

First of all, after four years of trying to get a class of my own, I wanted a special way to remember them. I did not want the typical class photo with students signing the matte... mostly because I already have one of those from my student teaching class. As I was wasting time, I mean "researching," on Pinterest, I came across these gems for my favorite team... the San Antonio Spurs!

And then I got to thinking. I am pretty sure, I have worn one of my five pairs of TOMS at least 3 days every week of this year. I find TOMS to be some of the most comfortable shoes to teach in. I have them in lots of colors to match with just about every outfit and am affectionately known as the TOMS teacher. So, I thought, what better momento to have of my first class, than student-designed TOMS? I ordered a pair of white TOMS and bought some fabric markers. I used these. I would definitely recommend thin-tipped ones.

 My students this year are amazing artists, so I held a contest to design the TOMS toes. I chose two winners and let them draw their designs on my shoes. Then I had every student in the class sign around the sides. I am in love with how they turned out! I wore them on spirit day and got so many compliments! I don't think I will wear them too often because I don't want to ruin them, but I know I will have these for many years to come!

Now, for student momentos, I went with another fantastic idea I found while pinning. My classroom theme is the beach, so this beach ball idea was perfect. On the last day, I will let students write their own names large on one section and then sign each other's beach balls with Sharpies. I can't wait to see their excitement!

Finally, I wanted to give them a useable end-of-the-year gift. I definitely want to encourage summer reading, so I thought a fun bookmark would be perfect. I know you have probably seen this gem floating around Pinterest. 

They are listed as being great for a Mother's Day gift, and I agree. But I also think the students will love to read using themselves as the bookmark. I decided to try it. I erased my whiteboard and used that as the background for the photos. I had students pose with their arms over their head as if they were holding on to something. Some got really into it with faces and everything. Then I printed out their photos on 4x6 photo paper and cut out their shapes (this was the crazy time-consuming part, but my own children helped out a lot). I laminated each one to make them stronger and used a small hole puncher to make a hole on the hands. Finally I added a string to the top (I used embroidery thread since my daughter has a ton of that from making friendship bracelets).

Come on, summer! I can taste that frosty adult beverage now.


  1. I love your idea for the Toms. That is such a great and unique treasure to have!

    Teaching with Grace

  2. I love it all! I wish I could do the bookmark thing with my kiddos in the library, but over 500 kids... that might be too many. lol... Maybe I should just pick a grade next year! :-)

  3. That is the coolest idea ever! I'm sure you will treasure those Toms :)
    Fun in Room 4B

  4. I just found your blog. I'm a laminater too! Looking forward to poking around your blog.
    First Grade Frame of Mind

  5. Great! I am bookmarking your article so I can revisit and review more of your content.
    Neha Sharma

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