Back to School Gifts for Students {Distance Learning and Every Year!}

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Hi Friends!

Do you love Back to School season as much as I do???  I love meeting my new students and getting to know them the first few weeks of school!  I'm always amazed at how different each class is every year, and each group of students has its own personality!  

One of my FAVORITE things to do at the beginning of the year is to make connections with my students and to show them that we are a family.  Our classroom becomes like a second home for all of us, and I LOVE knowing that my students feel welcome, loved, and valued.  

This year, I've had to start the year making connections through a computer screen, like so many of you.  All summer, I worried about what the first weeks of school would look like.  When I first began Distance Learning back in March, I found that it was {kind of, almost, sort of} a cool experience to learn about my students on a different level through our screens.  I was able to get a small glimpse into their lives that I would never have had in the classroom, and I was able to get a lot more one-on-one time with them, as well!  Some of my students who were more shy in the classroom opened up and let their personalities shine, and it was amazing!  Plus, I got to see all of their cool toys.  

But still...the thought of starting the year with Distance Learning and a group of students who didn't know me was a whooooole different story.  I worried that they wouldn't be able to connect with me, or that I wouldn't be able to help them feel that sense of family.  I worried that I would feel like some stranger on the screen.  Does that sound familiar to any of you?  And then, on the first day of school, I learned that I worried for nothing!  I was beyond surprised at how amazing they have done!  We've found ways to have fun and my students are engaged, and I've gotten to know them in different ways than I would in the classroom!  Kids are incredible human beings, and I love this little family to pieces!  

One of the ways I've helped my students to feel that connection happened even before the first day of school!  I love giving my students a welcome back to school gift on the first day of school, which helps them to calm their fears a little and show them how much I care even before we start the year together.  Luckily, my school gave families the option to pick up student materials the week before school started, and I had the chance to sneak a little welcome gift in with their math textbooks and devices. 

I try to change their gifts up every year {to make life interesting for me, tbh}, but this year I tried something new that I will NEVER give up.  I wrote a special poem for my students and added in bracelets that everyone would wear together to feel connected, and each bracelet came with it's own special "I am" affirmation statement that the students would say when they put them on.  {They say things like "I am smart", "I am important", "I am valued", etc.}.  It was a HUGE hit for my class, and they get SOOOO excited when they see me or others wearing the same bracelets they have on.  I also ask them often to choose an affirmation to share with the class, either as our attendance check-in question or as they leave meetings.  This was such an easy, simple gift that brought us together and we will continue to use throughout the year!  And now, I'm sharing it with you!

Click on any picture below to find the poem in my TpT store!  {Check below for the bracelets that I used!} This year's poem has more to do with starting the year apart, but I also added another poem that I wrote for any year that we start in person, too!  Each poem has variations for giving your students just one or many bracelets, and they can even be used with bracelets that have beads or charms, if you want the beads or charms to represent something special!  The affirmations are completely editable, too!  


What bracelets do I use?  Click on the pics below to be taken to my FAVORITE cute and inexpensive bracelets from Amazon!  

{Some links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  The small amount that I earn helps to support this blog and my TpT product creation. Thank you!}

I want to wish all of you a happy new school year, and I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy!  

Happy Teaching!