just a vent!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by txmomteacher2, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Dec 26, 2013

    I remember doing the gift exchange thing when I was in elementary school. I think the main reason I remember it is because I always hoped I would get a box thing of 5 or 6 rolls of Life Savers. Never did get it! For my students we do gingerbread houses a couple days before the start of the winter break. They each bring in a decoration item (bag of M&Ms, gummy bears, gum drops...) and give me $3 to get the graham crackers, plates, plastic knives and frosting. I only had 2 kids not bring me the $3 and maybe 2 not bring their decoration supplies. We still had plenty.

    Nobody at my school does the gift exchange thing as far as I know and based on the replies here I'm certainly not going to suggest starting it!

    As far as gifts to my students, I gave them each a copy of Hatchet (thanks to a $1 sale from Scholastic back in October), a winter pencil, a monkey finger puppet and a frog finger puppet. The finger puppets were because this group of kids will do things at the end of the day like take their animal winter hats and have the hats talk to each other, or have little animal erasers that talk to each other, so finger puppets just seemed to fit. Sure enough, on the day they got them, several of them put them right on their fingers and began to have conversations with each other. I just love that my 5th graders still do such a "kid" activity so I wanted to encourage it with the puppets.
     
  2. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Dec 26, 2013

    Our big party was caroling at the retirement home-we brought over cookies and hot chocolate and stayed to talk with them for about 45 minutes. But the kids wanted to do a gift exchange back at the school, so I said if they wanted to bring in a small gender-neutral gift, they could. I had about 10 kids do so, so we sat in a circle and those kids got to pull one out of the center white-elephant style. The kids that didn't bring one got to watch and laugh and tell them which ones to pull. It was a very small part of our day, but I thought best to let them bring and do a game with it than try to fight it, have them bring gifts for one or two friends and then have all kinds of hurt feelings. They all got a gift from me before that, so I think that appeased them. ;)
     
  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 26, 2013

    I would never do something like this with children that are not old enough to be responsible for bringing their own gifts. Actually I would probably never do this. I don't see the point in school.
     
  4. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Dec 28, 2013

    I agree....plus, if you're a child who does not celebrate Christmas, it makes it a lot more tolerable.

    This year for the first time we did nothing for the holidays except have the children make gifts for the parents. I loved it because the children were totally sane the entire time. It was wonderful.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Dec 28, 2013

    I love the retirement home idea. But it actually makes me sad to think of ten students exchanging gifts while the others watched. Your students are young, so it wasn't ultimately their call. Actually, that's true for the majority of students in all grades. Of course I would have put on a happy face as a child while classmates opened gifts, but inside that would not feel good! It may have taken up a small part of the day according to the clock, but it may have overshadowed everything good that day for the student who couldn't participate. I'm genuinely feeling sad right now... There were too many times I was excluded due to my family's poverty. :(

    I don't like to outright disagree with members here in a way that critiques their choices (especially those I like...haha), but I feel strongly this is a topic teachers should really reconsider. You are the leader of the classroom. Students don't need to call the shots. They whine about not exchanging gifts? They get over it. Friends want to exchange gifts? It is not the school's responsibility to host a social opportunity for that. Parents can arrange get-togethers for such things.
     
  6. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Dec 28, 2013

    I have a hard time with the money aspect of a gift exchange. I've taught in two schools where there was an adamant rule about the cost of education. We were not to require students or parents to spend any money for any activity. I teach special ed - students receive a free and appropriate public education. I do book clubs and ask for classroom supplies - both optional for purchase and giving. I have a hard time with the gift exchange idea. What is the lesson in all this - what are they learning? Make gifts in class or donate to an outside organization to end poverty or hunger.
     

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