• Melanie Notaras

Best teacher gift idea for Christmas? A Teacher Appreciation Book!

Updated: Aug 13


Kids love giving Christmas gifts to all the special people in their lives - including their wonderful teachers.

But instead of a box of mediocre chocolates, give your child's teacher something they'll really treasure - an 'appreciation' or 'thank you' book created by all the students of the class!

It's simple and heartwarming, doesn't embarrass anyone who can't afford to contribute money to a teacher gift, and doesn't contravene financial gift restrictions which may be imposed by your school. It's a real snapshot of the close time your child and their classmates have spent with their teacher. Plus it stimulates children into thinking about the real Christmas spirit - yep, reflection and gratitude. And out of all the gifts you might give a teacher, it's the only one that encourages your child's literacy while also demonstrating how their literacy can make a difference to other people - and I reckon a teacher would love that concept!

It's so easy and fun to make an Appreciation Book!

First of all, it's a surprise for their teacher, so tell all the kids and their parents what you're planning but that they're not to let the teacher know (you might want to let the Principal/Head Teacher in on the secret, if you think school politics/rules require you).

Buy a new exercise book or notebook and allocate one or two blank pages to each child of the class. Handwriting and hand-drawing are a must, no computer typing or print outs - because creating a gift by hand is what makes it authentic, memorable and loved. And it helps practice handwriting, spelling and hand-eye co-ordination!

Kids can use their pages to write whatever they like. If you need some ideas it could be ...

  • a note of thanks, and why;

  • a recount of their favourite lesson;

  • a new creative story just for the teacher;

  • a joke or riddle;

  • a description of their teacher;

  • a 'mind-map' of what they enjoy about class;

  • a 'mind-map' about their teacher;

  • a drawing of their teacher with arrows pointing to descriptions of their features;

  • a drawing of themselves so their teacher remembers them (with descriptions);

  • a description of how they have changed and grown since they started class with their teacher;

  • their favourite excursion of the year;

  • an award they won that they're proud of; or

  • something memorable their teacher did.

They can decorate it with sparkles and glitter pens. If you have a spare class photo, you might want to cut out each child's face and glue it on their page.

Some kids might groan and complain that they don't like their teacher so they have nothing to write. Hey! That's even more reason why they should create an Appreciation Book. It's good for children to find something to be grateful for, even if their day/week/class/year didn't go to plan. Life isn't always ideal, but cultivating appreciation helps children see outside themselves, keeping the situation and their emotions in perspective. So tell them to pick up that pen and write! If they really can't find anything to appreciate about their teacher, they could describe something else - a new friendship they formed that year, or how an old friendship was strengthened. Because good things happened at school - and probably while their teacher was around!

If you need to organise a Teacher Appreciation Book quickly and don't have time to pass a single book from child to child (at least 30 nights to 30 kids in the class), you can simply hand each child one or two blank pages to work on at home over a night or two. When they hand them back, collate the pages together into your own handmade book. Staple the pages together, have it ring bound at a print shop, or even hand-sew your binding. Glue on a hand-drawn cover made by one of the students, and it's ready to wrap!

​​I'd love to be there when your teacher opens their surprise. So much better than a single thank you card, your teacher will be deeply touched by the love and care of the whole class creating this book.

Teaching is a job that's hard and often without reward, and I'm sure your teacher will really enjoy this keepsake of their students' gratitude and recognition. Unlike a box of chocolates, it will be treasured and remembered for years to come.

Make a Teacher Appreciation Book - it will be the best teacher gift ever!

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My School Adventure customises gamebook adventure novel The Art Show That Came To Life At [Your School Name Here] to schools including 4 real teachers as characters and 22 different endings, as a unique and exciting reading fundraiser. Stay tuned for our second novel, The Science Fair That Went Berserk At [Your School Name Here]. For more information on how we can assist your school please visit www.myschooladventure.com.

Interested in buying The Art Show That Came To Life At Bundock Primary School? Australian readers please click here; rest of the world, click here.

You can also connect with My School Adventure on Facebook and Pinterest, or with author Melanie Notaras on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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