Easy End of Year Gifts for Students and Support Staff

While I was only half-time this year, I still had the greatest group of thirdsters each morning for reading, writing, spelling, and all of that fun stuff. I am also blessed to work with some of the greatest support staff in the world! I definitely wanted to do something to honor my kids and several of the staff members I work closely with, but I didn't have a lot of extra time in the day for longer projects like I've done in years past.

Student Gifts

My typical project, Smile File, is an absolutely beautiful way to end the year, but it does take time. Being with the kids half-time, I realized I just couldn't give it the time it deserved, so I had to adjust it a bit and get creative in the afternoons during my daughter's nap times.

Tagxedo.com to the rescue! I blogged about this site earlier HERE and knew it would be the perfect tool to create a unique and personalized bookmark for each student.

I began by passing out a class list that I typically use to mark assignments. Since it was the end of the year, I had lots extra, so it worked out great! I blogged about this list HERE and recommend reading the post or bookmarking it for later (it's one of my most-read EVER!).

Each student circled his/her name on the list they received and then had the challenge of writing just ONE word next to the other students' names in the class. This proved to be much harder than I thought! So many kids wanted to default into a sentence! We also talked as a class about what types of words to use (so they weren't all "nice" and "kind") and I also encouraged that they not use any word more than once. Obviously, some did, but it allowed for much more creative words to come forth.

I collected these lists and, with my husband's help, wrote a Word document with the child's name on top and all of the words the students wrote about him/her below. I then copied and pasted that list into Tagxedo.com and used their dolphin shape, since that is our school mascot!

I kept the settings the same and pasted the next student's words into the template, remembering to add his/her name to the list so it would show up in the graphic as well.

With the copying, pasting, and saving, it became very routine and went quickly! I printed the images two to a page and then cut them out, laminated them, and cut them out again for a quality bookmark they can use all summer and hopefully into next school year. The end result is just beautiful!

This was taken pre-laminating so it wouldn't have the glare, but you get the idea :)
On the last day, I passed them out and gave them a minute to read through them quietly. I reminded them that these words all came from other classmates and myself, so if they ever felt as though they were invisible, not cared for, or left out, they can remember this bookmark and know that there are peers in their grade and school who believe this about them and DO care.

Support Staff Gifts 

I am so fortunate to work with an amazing group of adults in our school that help keep me sane throughout the year, which is no small task ;)

I wanted to show my appreciation in some way, but funds at the end of the year are tight and so is time. Thankfully, I remembered this dilemma earlier this year and actually *planned ahead* (gasp!) for these wonderful ladies!

My friend, Blair, from One Lesson at a Time, has a beautiful paper shop called BlairTurnerPaper.com. She came out with these amazing weekly planner pads that I *knew* I had to get my hands on! I was also fortunate to pick these up during a sale!

These arrived months ago and lived happily in my closet until this weekend. I went to Starbucks and picked up some small gift cards ($5-10), just enough for a drink or two, and then next door to Michael's and their dollar bin where I scored eight of these cute bows for just $1 and some twine for $4, but I had a coupon! So while this idea may look expensive, because it was split over several months, it really didn't feel expensive. Plus, I know these ladies will love and use both parts, so I didn't feel like I was rushing or buying something they wouldn't enjoy.... that is definitely a win in my book!

I hope these gave you some ideas for your own class, either this year or next. I'm on summer break, but I will still be writing lots of ideas over the next few months since I will finally have some time to sit and focus! Yay! Be sure you're subscribed to my blog so you can get my posts to your inbox to read anytime--- click HERE to get started. Have a great week!


  1. I absolutely love the student gift idea! That dolphin with the words students come up is not only a great way to boost their self-esteem but it's also really a good way to be exposed to new synonyms! They are so cute! Thank you for sharing this! I'm SOOOOO doing this!!

    1. Yay! I'm so glad this idea can help! Thanks so much for your comment, Tammy, and have a wonderful summer :)

    2. I love your dolphins. I am pinning them so other teachers can be inspired for an inexpensive end of the year gift.
      Grade School Giggles

  2. Absolutely love the bookmark use! Genius! Thank you!!!

  3. Hi There!

    Love your blog!

    I am currently in a masters class and I am researching learning styles. If you could hop on over to my blog and take a look I would love that! Mrs. Crouse Goes To Third