Thoughtful gifts honor teachers

At the end of every school year, many parents want to honor those teachers who have gone above and beyond in making their child’s time in school special. But remember, especially in these tough economic times, you’re not obligated to buy teachers a gift to celebrate the end of the school year.

For those families that would like to say"Thank You” to teachers who have put forth extra effort and attention, try out these creative yet inexpensive ideas:

•Did you know that most Chicago Public Schools teachers only receive $100 per year to outfit a classroom with new supplies? That means most teachers would love a gift certificate to a teacher supply store or bookstore. Better yet, help expand in-classroom libraries by donating some popular new children’s books.

•Get together with other parents and create a themed gift basket. Some ideas: a Night at the Movies (movie tickets or a subscription, plus microwave popcorn), Home Spa (bath salts, candles, soaps).

•It’s hard to say goodbye to a class at the end of the year. A handmade scrapbook containing pictures, messages and funny quotes from students is something most teachers will cherish and enjoy sharing with others.

•Did your teacher do a simply exceptional job this year? Nominate him or her for the Scholastic Teacher of the Year Award at and share the letters of recommendation that parents and students have provided on his or her behalf.

•Many teachers can’t even tell you how many coffee mugs, cookies, candies and tote bags they have passed on to others. What most teachers keep: the cards and letters students have written to them with their own thoughts and thanks. These are the simple gifts that mean the most to teachers and the words they will treasure for years to come.

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