Thursday, May 20, 2010


So it's that time of year when you are short on time and money and you have 1 day to thank your teacher for the countless hours she has spent with your child. My favorite gift to give teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day is a PhotoStory. It is meaningful and something they can always pull out on days they are questioning their job and their sanity. PhotoStory is a FREE Microsoft program that basically creates a slideshow from pictures you import. My friend "G" who is the BOMB when it comes to the coolest most meaningful gifts introduced it to me. You can add recording to the photos, text and music It's very easy to use and it creates a CD-ROM file for playback on a computer. If you want to burn a DVD you have to purchase a patch from Microsoft for about $20 in order to be able to burn the file as a DVD.

Below I have published the PhotoStory I made for my daughter's teacher this year (only out of respect and privacy I deleted photos of the other students). I try and do these every year and I have yet not to have a teacher in tears by the end. I usually ask the children what they love about their teacher or what their teacher has taught them this year and I LOVE the responses I get. My favorite this year was the little boy who said he loved his teacher because she was his best friend. Two years ago I had a Kindergartner tell me her teacher taught her four letter words:) You can just have pictures without recording the children's voices or you can have the children's responses without music. It took me about an hour and a half to complete taking the student photos and recording their responses for the CLASS. You could just complete a PhotoStory from your child with all the different things they love or have learned from their teacher. You could even take pictures of the different work or projects or books that they completed this year. ALWAYS get permission from administration at the school, permission from the parents as well as a media release. Below are the links to download PhotoStory yourself and the form that I use to send home.

Here's the link to download Photostory:

Sample Letter to Class:
Hi everyone! Teacher Appreciation Day is fast approaching. This year Teacher Appreciation Day falls on Wednesday, May 5th. We are planning opportunities for both the children AND the parents to show their appreciation. I will be working with children that have signed media consent/release forms* on a slideshow for Ms. D. This slideshow will consist of either a picture that you choose and e-mail to me or a picture I take of each child. I will then come in sometime next week and record each child (that has a signed media consent/release form*) answering the question, “What do you appreciate about Ms, D?”. On Teacher Appreciation Day, the children will present this DVD slideshow to Ms. D.

If you are not sure that you have a signed media consent form or chose not to sign the school media consent form but would like for your child to participate in this project please sign the form attached and return it to school in a sealed envelope with my name on it. Thank you!!

I, __________________________________(print your name) do consent to allow _________________________________(print your child’s name) picture and voice recording to be used in the making of a slideshow DVD for Ms. D’s teacher appreciation gift.

________________________________ _____________
Sign your name Date

Hospital Stay Survival Kits

If I ever have a friend or family member spending time in the hospital I try to take them some sort of "survival basket". These will usually include snacks for the waiting room or for the patients room (to save money on vending machines), mints, card games or magazines. If you happen to have a teacher who is having a baby and you have no idea what to get them consider doing a Labor & Delivery basket. These have always been well received when I've given them and they are easily customized to each mom. The teacher I gave one to today is having her 4th baby and it's a scheduled C-section. She's been around the block and probably knows best what to pack herself so I concentrated on giving her little extras that she may not have time to pamper herself with.

For first time moms I usually include slipper socks, a shower puff, shower gel & lotion from Bath & Body works (because the first shower after delivery is the BEST one you've ever had) and some sort of prayer book for moms (with really cute prayers like "Dear God today I feel grubby and am still in my pj's at 3pm"). I usually ALWAYS include a pillow case, thank you notes, a notebook, a gift card to the closest fast food place near the hospital because these are always items that can be used! What items do you like to include in hospital gifts you give?