Christmas Gifts for Students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Does anyone do Christmas gifts for their students? Normally, I would want to bring the kids candy or something on the last day (especially since I am going to give a test.) However, our school doesn't allow us to give the kids any food. I often find that some kids do not respect supplies but I also wouldn't mind buying something small if the kids appreciated it. I teach in a low income school. I also have 100 kids so I don't think it is expected. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    What grade?
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Grade 6
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I'm making my 8th graders personalized laminated paper ornaments with my Cricut. I'm putting them on the wall outside my classroom door, and I'm going to let them take them with them on the last day before break. I have about 100 kids.
     
  6. CharRMS

    CharRMS Companion

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    I usually do popcorn as we watch The Christmas Carol since that is our last story of the semester, but I'm not sure I am going to do it this year. I may just let the kids bring in their own snacks and still let them eat; I don't let them eat in my room normally. When I do the popcorn, I have the kids bring in their own drinks, but I require it to be a sealed drink, so no outside water bottles, opened sodas, etc. I always explain this upfront and explain my reasoning behind it; the kids usually understand, and I provide some cups for kids who forget or can't afford to bring in something so they can go to the water fountain.

    Since you can't give out food (why?) , I probably wouldn't do anything. Maybe if you absolutely wanted to buy the kids something, buy something that can be used in the classroom as a whole class gift. I don't really know what you could buy for 100 kids relatively cheap that isn't candy or small tinker toys. Ima Teacher's idea of the paper ornaments is neat.
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I don't feel like grading finals for this semester so I'm going to record their highest test grade as their final. Then I plan on watching a movie in class.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I used to buy gifts for my students as a newer teacher. I've always worked in low SES schools and I thought it was a nice thing to do because you never know how much the kids are getting for Christmas, or if they're even really able to celebrate at all. I put a lot of time and thought and of course some money into it. Honestly my kids just weren't all that grateful. Many didn't even say thank you, and those that did didn't seem that excited about it. I also used to bring in cookies and let the kids decorate them the last day (of course, all of those supplies were bought with my own money as well).

    Now I don't do anything at all. The cookies wouldn't be allowed anymore anyway (wellness policy and "no Christmas" policy). After my first couple of years of teaching, I made a policy for myself that I don't spend money on school things. If the school won't provide it, I don't use it. This is the norm in other professions and I desperately wish other teachers would stop funding their own classrooms. Sorry, that's another soapbox.

    I'm waffling between having a totally normal day that last day or putting the effort into planning something "fun." Honestly sometimes my kids do better with the regular structure. I do know that some teachers give out a homework pass with a cute note for Christmas. I don't give out homework, so that's not an option for me, but would be something free if you're willing to let the kids get out of one homework assignment.
     
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  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    For my fourth graders, my "winter break" gifts to them are
    --> A personalized/hand-written card to each of them, sharing all of the amazing things I see in each of them, and mentioning that I look forward to continuing in January (some kids still have this in their binder at the end of the year <3)
    --> A homework pass
    --> A coupon to choose a book in any future Scholastic book order
    --> A candy cane (just to make it a bit more festive - ha)

    (In addition, I mail a thank you card to their home address usually a day or two into break for any that happened to bring a gift...little bonus mail during the break for the kids!)

    Plus, it's the launch of our annual "winter reading challenge" that I have my wife (an avid reader) and I participate along with the kids, with tons of book prizes up for grabs when we return. That last day before break is one of my favorite -- not because of break the next day, but because of giving them the card and starting the fun event!
     
  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I teach in a low SES school and I know most of my students are on free/reduced lunch. However, most of them have iPhones, etc. so a small gift probably wouldn't be a huge deal to them. I do have a prize box however and the kids really like it.

    I am definitely not having a normal day because I do not want to teach when I know the behavior will be bad. I want to give my test so it's not a waste of a day and so I don't have to teach. :)
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Remember to keep a mindset of it being as normal a day as possible -- while there are certainly some circumstances that do lead to more behavior problems, as teachers, we have to make sure we don't switch our mindsets, as that inadvertently leads to it happening!

    For example, outside of brief celebrations/ special moments, if appropriate (i.e. read-in for a small chunk, or a small party, etc...), I go full-force normal on Halloween, the day after, the day after a break, the day before a break, etc... My kids don't react differently mainly because they see that I have planned it as such and hold the same expectations that I do of any other day.
     
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  12. TrademarkTer

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    LOL That's horrible.
    You can at least give an easy to grade multiple choice final so you aren't falsifying records.
     
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  13. TrademarkTer

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  14. Joyful!

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    In 6th grade, I have given a class gift. A ball for recess. A game for centers. Generally things that would be nice for them and fun, but things that are not on the needs list. I label it with their class name and year. Older grades, no gifts for me.
     
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  15. otterpop

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    Exactly!

    My "celebrations" are often showing an educational video and maybe giving them a piece of candy. Sometimes I'll give them a word search. I'm not sure if you can't do any snacks or just candy, but they might like a handful of pretzels or pre popped popcorn. They're happy with the day and they don't need a big party or gift.
     
  16. Aces

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    I mean.... I feel like my tests are easy anyways? Open book, open notes, questions straight out the book....
     
  17. mrsf70

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  18. rpan

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    I give all my students a little bit of candy but I take the time to write a little card that has something nice about the kid e.g. how kind they are or how hard they work or how they are funny and make me laugh etc. They love anything food related but I think they are more appreciative that I’ve taken the time to write them individualised memories I have of them. I have 100+ kids.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

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    If a teacher got caught doing this at my school they would possibly be terminated. We have super strict policies about exams.
     
  20. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  21. Ima Teacher

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    Wasn’t the OP just talking about gifts, not big celebrations?
     
  22. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes, we don't do classroom celebrations/parties at my school and the kids have a "fun day" with no classes the Friday before break anyways. So I am planning on having a normal day, but realistically, I do not want to teach a lesson the day before Christmas break. The test works out well for my pacing, but if I didn't give a test, I would do a review game of some sort. But I was wondering if I should get/give the kids something. I might just do a homework pass!
     
  23. CharRMS

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    Homework pass sounds like a good idea. It wouldn't cost you anymore than the paper to print it, and I'm sure the kids would love it!
     
  24. Bibliophile

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    My students are younger, 3rd grade, but I give everyone a book. I find a cheep book on scholastic and buy everyone the same one.
     
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  25. TeacherNY

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    These are the students who do not listen to you? Correct? I would treat it as any other day and bring nothing. Or maybe just for the classes who deserve something.
     
  26. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  27. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    But what if they're offended? :whistle:
     
  28. Leaborb192

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    .
     
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  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    One of my classes doesn’t listen to me! I think I’m leaning towards a hw pass or nothing at all.
     
  30. cindy lou

    cindy lou Rookie

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    I give my class “pen privileges” and an erasable black pen. You’d be surprised at how excited they are with the simple option to use erasable black pen in class! I also give them an classroom coupon (sit on the floor with the big pillow for a lesson, etc.) I put the coupon and pen privilege note inside a balloon and we play a pass left/right game during our party. They love it.

    The only other gifts I have done in the last several years are games/toys for indoor recess. I learned long ago that giving anything else is a waste of money.
     

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