Dusting off and rearranging teacher appreciation gifts from former students and their families, wonderful memories wash over me as I continue to prep my classroom for August. Figurines, stuffed animals, ornaments, shadow boxes and of course, mugs, serve as affirmations that keep me going on tough days. The sweetness and thoughtfulness of each keepsake help me remember the stories, silliness, obstacles, puzzles, joys and successes of my students and the growth I've experienced in this profession. They're displayed above closet cabinetry near my desk:
One of my Super Stars created a wreath for me this past year out of fluffy white yarn and patriotic red, silver and blue gem stars. A month before school let out, I used bonus points to order a Pete-the-Cat stuffed animal, and the two were accidentally set together during our end of the year celebration.
Turns out they were the perfect match for one another:
Whether your room is spacious or small, consider creating a vignette of special items that help to tell your story, and collect and display favorite characters that will help your students tell theirs as they explore and engage with the adventures that wonderful kindergarten literature provides.
Not only do I save knick-knack treasures that I receive from my students and their families, I cannot bring myself to throw away their cards, notes and drawings. Moving from Alaska to New Mexico, New Mexico to Kansas, Kansas to Texas and finally back to Kansas, these precious papers have experienced quite the shuffle, falling from between the pages of an empty scrapbook I never seem to have time for and out of the storage drawer and boxes to which they've unexpectedly migrated. With classroom chores taken care of, I'm hoping to set aside a few hours this summer to either get caught up on the scrapbook or decorate a binder cover or art journal that I can keep on hand for this special collection. I found some inspiration at:
~ Work in Progress Kits: a teacher appreciation book filled with all sorts of decorative elements
~ Tonya's Treats for Teachers on TPT: a "Teacher Love Notes" binder cover (FREE download)
~ Aimee Salazar on TPT: Teacher Love Notes Binder Covers (another free download) with a cupcake theme on TPT
~ Home Style Cover on Etsy: wooden "treasure chest" card box, a beautiful (and sturdy) upgrade from the old shoebox many of us have recycled
Some of the cards I received in May are still hanging on a board near my kitchen, but they'll make the move to their new home once back-to-school activities are in full swing.
Happy July 4!
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