Back to School Gifts?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by AZMrs.S, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Jul 14, 2011

    Do you give your incoming students some sort of small gift on the first day of school? Especially those of you who teach the younger grades? If so, what kinds of things do you give? I don't know if I want to do something like this... but am looking for advice and suggestions to help me make up my mind lol

    Thanks!
     
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  3. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Jul 14, 2011

    I do not give them anything. I would never consider it for money reasons but I read somewhere that you should not start the year with gifts because it somehow sets a negative tone for the year.
    I would consider sending them a postcard or letter in the mail but no gifts.
     
  4. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Let me also mention this. I am not exactly sure how it sets a negative tone. I read the article a few years ago.

    I guess because the students will always be expecting something for doing nothing and this ties into classroom management. Not too sure.
    Just wanted to mention that so people would not come on this thread and get upset for something I said. :)
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I send my students a postcard and they get homework for their parent to complete (but nothing for them to do as homework).
     
  6. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    I guess I can kind of see how it would imply negative consequences... I don't know. I don't think I want to but I thought I would see what everyone else thinks. :) I was thinking maybe just something along welcome to our class or 2nd grade pencils...
     
  7. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Yes but I could also see with the pencils it will already start the year off with "that's my pencil, no that's mine". Just from experience.
    My kids share and use the same yellow pencils. I even dislike when art, music, pe teachers give out pencils for good behavior. I make them take it home because then they think they can use them and others get jealous or whatever other problems that will arise.

    Just putting a possibility out there of what could happen.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    You can definitely do a welcome to our class or 2nd grade pencils (if everyone gets one, then it shouldn't cause problems).
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Maybe you could turn it into the first of many positive reinforcements. I love that you came to school today ready to learn or something like that.
     
  10. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Yeah thats what I was thinking... Because I want to focus on the positive reinforcement.. I don't know. This year it will probably depend on if I can find some of those pencils before school starts in 4 weeks, lol. Thanks for the input so far!
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Hmmm...
    I don't give gifts, but because so many of my students bring no supplies, I have all community supplies. Therefore, when they enter my room, each child has already on their desks:

    a box of crayons
    2 pencils
    a "welcome to school packet"
    and whatever else I think they need to get started

    I do give tic-tacs & other things as incentives during the day - randomly, and much more often at the beginning of the year than the end.

    For Christmas, each child does get a small gift from me, but not at the beginning.
     
  12. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I'm going to send welcome postcards to invite them to open house, where they will get a sticker (from vistaprint) and possibly a small treat (ladybug bubbles? or something) I haven't decided for sure. Any no shows will be out of luck, b/c the treat is the incentive for them to show up.
     
  13. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I do a welcome to school bag full of junk that I think is fun. I think it's welcoming to new kids and lets them know that I was thinking of them.

    I include 5th grade pencils (that I sharpen, so I don't have to wait for 30 kids to sharpen their brand new pencils), post it notes, a bookmark or two, a small box of cereal (for snack and for a project that we do on day one (I know- allergy alert)), and usually some small trinket that matches my theme.
     
  14. time out

    time out Comrade

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    I might be in the minority here but I always give little gifts. I love to see the surprise and joy on my students' faces.

    I'm going to do the same gift this year that I did last year. Even with a grade change, the gift will still be appropriate. And what's great is that it goes along with a science demo that I do on the first day.

    I use Steve Spangler's jelly marbles to teach the value of using all of your senses to observe. After the "oohs" and "aahs", I let the students know that they'll be able to recreate the experiment at home - which they love.

    Here are some pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. thomps6

    thomps6 Companion

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    abc'n123: What does the card say on the bag? That is a really cute idea! Can you share more about the activity? Thanks!
     
  16. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2011

    I love giving back to school pencil boxes (like the ones that were just 25 cents at staples...) to my kids on the first day (or sometimes the second or third day...) It has similar things to what you've listed... a mechanical pencil, a small size pad of posts its, a red pen... etc. etc.

    I think it's neat to celebrate coming back to school - and the things that I put in their pencil boxes are things that they need anyway, so win, win!
     
  17. juliechsa

    juliechsa Rookie

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    I do "5th graders are #1" pencils - presharpened for everyone, some kind of bookmark with a post-it telling them to look for a good book in our classroom library, three "Days of Grace" to turn in three homework assignments late with no penalty, and a "Do you Know Your Teacher? Quiz.

    The parent homework goes home at the end of the day!
     
  18. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    This is what I give my 3rd graders on the first day.

    1. A sharpened yellow pencil with a cap eraser.
    2. A candy message. A small piece of paper that says "I'm so excited to have such a great group of SMARTIES! Let's have a great year! -Mrs. ____________. (only, instead of the words "SMARTIES" I tape a roll of smarties candies to it).

    I tell the kids they can either keep their smarties for lunch or they can eat them during morning work, however, after morning work if I see smarties out they are going in the trash.
     
  19. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Thank you for all of the great ideas! It is interesting to see the variety of things to give! Thanks :) I have some thinking to do.. LOL
     
  20. AsherDasher

    AsherDasher Companion

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    Yes, Yes, please share more specifics on what this activity is. It sounds really neat... and I will be teaching science to a few other classes in my grade level so I am in need of neat ideas :)
     
  21. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    I give them a little welcome bag as well! I borrowed it from someone off here a couple of years ago...I think it might of been Jem.

    Here it is: (I also put in the candy/supplies to go with it).
    Welcome to third grade!
    I'm so glad you're here!
    I've made you a bag of goodies to help describe our year.
    The eraser is to let you know it's okay to make mistakes.
    We will correct them and learn from them, no matter what it takes!
    The Smarties say I know you're smart and really special, too.
    The Lifesaver is there to remind you that I'm here for you.
    The pencil represents all the learning we will do.
    Third grade can be pretty tough, but it's a ton of fun, too!
    The Laffy Taffy says we will laugh a lot while traveling through the year.
    This classroom will be your new home-may we fill it with good cheer!

    I have it on a postcard created from Vista Print. I ordered them a couple of years ago and still have enough to get me through this year!
     
  22. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I want to know more about the jelly marbles, too!

    I usually give a book, with a school theme, that you can get from SCholastic for $1...I use up some of my points. I've been able to get Clifford goes to School, David Goes to School, if you take a mouse to school, etc, in previous years.
    Kim
     
  23. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Love it! Thanks for sharing. I see another Vista Print order in my future...
     
  24. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Love these ideas! Thanks :D I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed though as school starts for us in a few short weeks... Maybe I will plan ahead and do some of these things next year!
     
  25. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    This is my new fav thread! I am starting a new school and I really want to set a positive tone because the teacher prior was there for 20 years...I have big shoes to fill! Definitely stealing some of these wonderful ideas!
     
  26. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I provide a pencil and a pen the first day of school... and that is all. In case they don't come with sharpened pencils, the pen helps them to settle quietly when they first come in. The first thing the kids do when they enter my room is fill out a survey about themselves.
     
  27. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Last year I made a scavenger hunt for the kids to help them get acquainted with the room, policies, and teachers. They would have to find the location of their job posting, where they turn in homework, etc. but they were little riddles that would give them clues to the answer.
     
  28. janney

    janney Cohort

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    I have never given an actual gift at the beginning of school before, but I do like the idea of starting off the year with a book. It may help set the tone for how important I think that it is that children read and are read to. I'll have to think about this.
     
  29. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I give them a homework pass.
     
  30. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    If I had to give a gift it would be a book.
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I did that a few years ago, and gave it to my kids at Open House. I have not done anything the past 2 years.
     
  32. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I give all students a sharpened "Welcome to School" pencil with a pencil cap eraser so nobody has to use the sharpener until I've explained pencil sharpener procedures. I put animal-shaped pencil cap erasers on them so it's easier for the students to tell them apart. I also give them a cute magnet from Vista Print and tell them to use it to put important school notices on the refrigerator.
     
  33. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Oh, I love that magnet idea smurfette! I have to say I think I'm addicted to vistaprint now.. lol :)
     
  34. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Also, where do you guys find your welcome to school pencils? Anyone know of a good deal?
     
  35. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I got it from a vistaprint thread here a couple of years ago. Maybe I can post a picture.

    Edited to add: Most teacher stores sell the pencils for a quarter or so.
     
  36. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Here's the text on the card:

    Welcome to First Grade!!

    Inside you’ll find the AMAZING jelly marbles
    that we saw in class today.
    To use: Fill the test tube with water.
    Allow marbles to soak for 6 to 12 hours.
    That’s all there is to it!
    Be prepared to WOW all your friends!

    You can see a really cool video on jelly marbles on steve spangler's website. When soaked in water, they seem to disappear.

    As far as the activity goes, I have the students observe (just with their eyes) a bowl filled with water and presoaked jelly marbles. Then they make predictions about what is inside the bowl. I ask the students what else they could do to find out more about it. Then I have a couple volunteers come up to feel it and that's when they realize that there's more to it than meets the eye.

    I'm going to do this activity a little differently this year for my third graders. I bought these 99 cent vases from Publix last year. I'm going to fill one with just water and another one with water and jelly marbles. I'll go through the same observation steps and will guide students in using all of their senses (except taste) to find out more about it. I may or may not introduce science notebooks at this point.
     
  37. CDOR79

    CDOR79 Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2011

    Andrea-

    LOVE your idea!! Do you put all of those items in a bag for them or something? Along with the postcard?
     
  38. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I did a Welcome to Third Grade sticker last year. I give Christmas and end of the year gifts, but not too much at the beginning of the year.
     

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