I love this time of year. I love how excited kids are. I love to decorate my house. I am a huge fan of winter break. I am not a fan of getting loads of teacher gifts. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching kids about giving generously to others and the whole bit. You can read about something I do with my son here. I honestly feel embarrassed walking out to my car with loads of stuff I do not need.
Over the past few years I've asked people to consider giving something to the class instead. We have gotten wonderful games for indoor recess, books for our class library, and extra supplies like pencils and markers.
Another teacher gave me this great idea because of a link her sister has with this school.
Last week I talked to my students at class meeting and sent home a letter that explained what I would like instead of a gift for the teacher. I am asking for school supplies for a school in New Jersey that basically lost everything in Superstorm Sandy. I was stunned that in just 2 days we already started getting boxes of pencils, folders, supply pouches and books. The kids love it, because they feel like they are really doing something to make a difference, too. I feel great, too.
If you would like to help, here are some suggestions that Angela made over at The Cornerstone. You might also want to think of a local charity where you can contribute with your students. I think there are many great alternatives, and I've had great responses from my students and their families!