As teachers, we love to give! We give to our job. We give to our community. But most importantly, we give to our students ALL. YEAR. LONG…and we never stop. What better way to end the school year than with a meaningful parting gift. I used to struggle to find the perfect end of year gift because I wanted to make sure that my students would love it and appreciate it. I like preparing loot bags for them for Halloween or Valentine’s Day, but I prefer something more personal for the end of year.
I came across a website called www.wordart.com, and it has become hands down one of my favourite end of year gift for students! I have been doing this for the last three years, and it does not get old. Seeing the students’ faces when they open their gift is priceless and makes it worth the time that goes into making these (which really isn’t that much longer than putting together a cute loot bag). THE BEST PART? Not only is this a great idea for in-person learning, but it is also PERFECT for remote learning because you can e-mail the image to each student to print and frame at home. If you choose to go that route, it makes for a FREE end of year gift because you can skip the printing and framing stage.
So how does it work? First, you want to go to www.wordart.com. Once you click on “Create Now”, you will type as many words as you can think of that describe your student in the “filter” column. I try to stick to anywhere between 7-10 words per student so that there is a good variety of words on the picture (ex: creative, French, artistic, athletic, science, crafty, leader, etc.). Once you have your words, you will choose their size. The larger the size, the larger that word will appear in your picture. I always make sure that their name is the largest word. You can play around with this until you are happy with the finished product.
Next, you want to choose your image. I always try to pick a picture that represents the student’s interest. For example, if they are athletic, I look for a picture of the sport they play or a generic picture of someone running. If they love art, I look for a picture of a paint brush. If they love animals, I look for a picture of their favourite animal, or a cat or dog.
Once you’ve settled on your words and picture, you can have fun customizing the colours, fonts, layout and style. When you’re happy with it, simply download your image!
From there, you can either choose to print your pictures and frame them, or e-mail them to your families. I found frames at the Dollarama and was able to print the pictures at home. One year I used 5×7 frames, but last year, I went with the larger frames because 2020 was a LOOOOOONG year for all of us and I wanted to make sure the students received something special. It is a great way to gift students something personalized and affordable!
Do you give your students an end of year gift? What are some of your favourite gift ideas? It does not have to be something concrete. It could be something fun you do with your students to celebrate the end of the year. The year 2020 was a roller coaster, and 2021 was not different. We are all exhausted and running out of steam. Students included. That is why a gesture such as this would definitely bring a little sunshine to their end of year, and hopefully yours too! Hang in there my teacher friends! We are almost at the end.