Super Charge Your Classroom Warm Up Exercise

Are you looking an exercise to super charge your classroom?  A  FREE product to try with your classroom from a veteran teacher? Something fun but useful to teach with these weeks right before a holiday break?

Super Hero Cover 6 Ad

Simply put, this warm up exercise is loads of fun because YOU are the hero!  Students love creating the story around you.

Your materials list is easy:  a box of photographs of all kinds and a copy of a postcard story of your own or another student group from another time. In the lesson, I  have included a copy of one my students’ stories just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Sometimes my students dramatize their story (it’s always very short) or merely share the story with the class. When they dramatize their story, I ask them to use chanting (repeated words or phrases for an effect), a sound effect or two and some movement.  They even create a title for their story. My students LOVE this exercise!

I’d love to hear how this exercise works for you.

If you enjoy this one, please check out my store at  I’m always adding new products.  Maybe something else will help you.

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How Fulfilling is Life Without Theatre?

How fulfilled is life without theater?  To me, it is the Pièce de Résistance!

My favorite of all the arts. I would be lost without it. Life is better with a dash of theatre now and then.

For instance, last night my husband and I attended a community theatre performance of The Crucible.  I don’t know when I last saw this play.  The Barn theatre in Kansas City produced it.  It’s difficult material and can be exploited by those performing in it if the director isn’t careful.  Twice I watched a cast butcher the court room scenes, but this one was tremendously impactful.

This morning, I shared with my husband my brain felt different today.  As if I swallowed some unusual vitamin and I did, of sorts.  A vitamin filled with excellent dialogue,  a well crafted plot and  brilliant metaphor.

The play’s message stayed with me and I have pondered it from time to time today.  That’s good theatre.

My acting teacher at Stephens College, Jean Muir, was blacklisted and never worked again in Hollywood.  Her crime?  She attended a Russian ballet and wrote a letter of congratulations to the company complimenting them for their excellent performance.  I believe her ex-husband reported her. Think about it–she complimented the ballet company.


I met Jean in 1974, nearly thirty years later. She never completely recovered from the false accusation.

 Lucille Ball & Red Scare

Here is Lucille Ball.  Even she was accused, but her career wasn’t ruined.

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a metaphor about the age of McCarthyism and the Red Scare but it is as timely now as ever.

And timely, don’t you think?  This week I viewed a short video of an innocent young black man who was accused of doing something he didn’t do.  Hmmm.

The Barn made a good choice in producing The Crucible.

When I attend a live production, I can immerse myself in the story as it plays out before me.  I feel some of the emotional intensity at a movie theatre, but it isn’t the same as watching an actor only ten feet from me as he sweats and cries, begging his wife to forgive him.  Powerful stuff.

I know people who dislike theatre, but love movies. They say theatre is boring.  Really? You can’t compare them to each other, but I understand the reasons for their opinions.

It’s easier to access movies than attend a play. It’s all about convenience.  Movies are available to us continuously. The wonders of the internet have given to us 24/7 access to nearly any movie you’d like to view.

The most important difference between the two is theatre is LIVE. You can’t just sit back in your recliner, take off your shoes and fold your laundry while you watch.

When you decide to see a theatrical production, you make a personal commitment to it. Generally, you’ll need to transport yourself to the show.  You must arrive on time, take the seat you reserved (with a good or bad view of the stage), pick up the play program and deal with audience members around you.

If it’s a comedy, it’s most appreciated by the cast if you laugh or at least chuckle.  Musicals require you to applaud at the end of scenes if they are outstanding.  Have you ever applauded when a famous actress enters the stage the first time?   You have a job to do as an audience member.

 As we view the production, we must concentrate, focus.  We can’t rewind a scene or fast forward through the show to intermission just so we can get a snack. We must suspend our disbelief when viewing a play far more than we must while seeing a movie.

The magic of a live performance makes it all the more poignant.  There is something very special when one observes the dramatization of a particular thought right before our eyes. It is a unique experience.

The actors tell the story as if it is the first time it has been told.  We share the moment with them and others seated around us.  This is human interaction at its best.

Theatre discusses the human condition.  It educates, inspires, broadens our world view, explores self expression, and encourages self empowerment. Besides, it’s a fun way to learn!

As an actor, I’ve experienced what is like to be someone else.  I’ve stepped into their shoes, so to speak.  A well crafted character has flaws and strengths.  I may not have the same strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I perform, it’s a heady experience and one I never forget.  You never view people in real life with the same attitude you had prior to the production. It changes you.

We could lose more than we bargain for if we lost theatre.

 Have you considered theatre uses all the arts–visual art, dance of movement and music? It’s a one stop shop.

Art–Through designs of set, costume, and lights we utilize color, texture and silhouette to suggest themes and mood.

Ponder this photo from “Sunday in the Park with George”, a musical by Stephen Sondheim. In an earlier post, I shared  Seurat’s painting,  “La Grande Jatte”.  Notice the levels, colors, textures, silhouettes? Good stuff.

How about dance?  Or movement?

Image result for Newsies Broadway Musical

If you haven’t attended Newsies  you must.  The dancing is fabulous.  I call it “boy dancing”, because it is.  The choreography is outstanding, clever and joyful.  Musicals use dance to convey a particular message–“Look at us!  We’re Newsies and no one is going to bring us down.”

Physical movement in a play is far more effective than words.  Humans are visual thinkers.  For example, we need the actor to show the character’s depression, so he uses a hushed voice, slouches his shoulders, walks with a slow gait and heavy steps.  Blocking, the physical movement around the stage, encourages the audience to view the production like a living photograph.

As I mentioned above, one doesn’t need to know much more about a play’s story than to merely observe the action.  The above photo is from a production of The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  The Crucible tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials, however it is a metaphor for the Red Scare of the 1950’s.  Isn’t it effective?

How about this one?

I chose this photo at random, because it proves the point.  If you look closely, you’ll see the dancer is behind a scrim.  Yet the actor’s image is reflected in a mirror, but where is the mirror? Look at the positions of  bodies. He is leaning toward her, she is leaning toward him. His right foot touches the floor, as if he’s anchored on earth. She stands on her toes, as if she’s pulled to heaven. It’s so effective. (If you are dying to know the production, it is The Picture of Dorian Grey.)

Music:  When I direct a play, it is my habit to begin my pre-planning by selecting music to be played during the production.  The music inspires me.  It nurtures my creative process while I block the production.

Music does an excellent job of creating mood for an audience.  I will choose period music for a play if it depicts a particular time period in history.

While I directing The Giver, a  play set in a dystopian world, I was stumped on my music choices.  Then I remembered Philip Glass. Several moments in the play call require the falling of snow.  I considered various ideas and finally decided on Glass’ “Music Box”. A  gobo light rotator was hung. It displayed a snow flake-like pattern.  We selected the first 45 seconds of the piece.

Every time the music played, the audience was encouraged to imagine the falling of snow.

Theatre pulls the arts together.  In the world we live in at present, whenever we can come together and consider a social issue, we stand to win.  It’s very easy to become isolated now. Without theatre, we’d lose more than we’d gain.

How have you been fulfilled by attending a play or musical?  I’d love to hear from you.

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Kamishibai Storytelling Unit–An Engaging and Unique Unit for Your Students

Are you looking for an oral communication unit for your students? A guaranteed hit with your students which is engaging, fun and a unique unit for your students?  Check out my Kamishibai Storytelling unit on

 Kamishibai Ad 3 (2)

Simply put, Kamishibai storytelling is a form of storytelling which integrates art and storytelling.

It can used with reading or an ELA, english/language arts, social studies, music  or drama class.  The subjects are endless.

Let’s say you have a reading class.  That’s an easy one.  Have your students draw picture for a particular book or chapter.  The next step is for them to tell the story.  What a great way to help your students retain the plot!

How about in social studies?  If you were studying Mexico, the students could create Kamishibai for a particular region’s folk lore (I advised one SS teacher who was teaching about Austrailia and they used Kamishibai to share Aborigine stories.)

ELA?  The students could create Kamishibai for an American tall tale.

English?  Mythology would work great with this form of storytelling.

Music?  Tell the story of the life of a famous composer.

Drama?  Use it was first intended (sorry, you’ll need to check out the actual lesson at for that.)

The Kamishibai Paper Performance product is a three week unit, complete with a day by day calendar, instructions for creating kamishibai (which is a little involved if you have never tried it, but I clear those worries up right away) and suggestions for extensions.

And….it’s a bargain.

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favorite Broadway musicals

The Reasons These Shows are My Favorite Broadway Musicals


I adore Broadway musicals.  I admit it happily and freely. Last weekend we attended the University of Kansas production of Next to Normal (which was well done, I might add) and this Saturday we are seeing American in Paris at the Starlight Theatre.

For seven years,  my husband and I took tour groups of  students and families to New York.  We thought it would be a fitting way for our daughters to be introduced to the city if, in fact, they wanted to pursue a performing career.

Consequently, we saw many musicals while in NYC–twenty-one to be exact.

Broadway and West 34th St.

On occasion, people ask me what are some of my favorite musicals which I’ve especially enjoyed attending.  Here they are in no particular order:

The Phantom of the Opera ( I’ve seen Phantom at least four times. However, a gal I performed with in Columbia, MO had been part of the cast at one time and  was able to take us backstage afterward.)

The Lion King (Took a tour and saw the costumes, masks and set up close and personal. Seen it twice–visually stunning.)

Wicked (We saw Wicked before it was popular and prior to the Tonys.  Got to see Kristen and Edina, too. I heard today Wicked has surpassed Phantom of the Opera as the second longest running musical on Broadway.) Read here:

Les Mis ( I have seen Les Mis several times, but one performance included my student Becca Ayers in the cast.)

The Drowsy Chaperone (I laughed and laughed. This is one I’d like to direct.  It’s my kind of humor.)

Newsies (What can I say?  It was as much fun to see our kids (with tears in their eyes and  broad smiles)  meeting the cast afterwards as it was to see the show.)

Oklahoma!, Revival (A fella, Justin Bohon, who I directed once in Music Man in Columbia, MO was Will Parker. We were all so proud to be able to say we knew someone in the production.)

Schubert Alley

South Pacific, Revival  (Again, Becca Ayera was in the show. Got to see Kelly O’Hara, too.)

Mary Poppins (Oh my gosh, Mary flew right over us at the end of the show.  I wept.)

Rocky (Who’d think a musical about a boxer could be memorable? When the boxing ring was placed in the audience and Rocky boxed right in front of us, I was awe struck–so clever.)

Chicago (Our first tour was in March, less than a year after 9-11.  I will never forget how anxious we felt touring NYC, but Chicago distracted us from our worries and assuaged our fears of being in the city.  How?  Long legged female dancers and fabulous music!)

What are yours?

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educating other's children

What Everyone Ought to Consider About the Educating of Other People’s Children

In my daily activity of researching various topics, I found this great article in Huffington Post. Wow, it’s great!  I thought you might be interested, too! 
Why We Should Care About the Education of Other People’s Children

By Arthur H. Camin

It is time to care about the education of other people’s children. Other people’s children are or will be our neighbors. Other people’s children – from almost anywhere in the United States and beyond – could end up as our coworkers. Other people’s children are tomorrow’s potential voters. How, what, and with whom they learn impacts us all. 

That is why we have public schools, paid for with pooled taxes. They are designed to serve the public good, not just to suit individual parent’s desires.
My granddaughter Ellie is almost 2. With each passing day, my wife and I worry more and more about the world in which she will grow up. We worry about what appears to be a celebration of divisiveness, ignorance, helplessness, and selfishness among too many people. We are particularly concerned about whether her education will help prepare her for a happy, successful life in troubled times. I know we are not alone.

In school – either by intention or by omission – children learn to make sense of the world around them. They learn how to treat other children and adults and how to regard others in the wider community. They learn whether or not they can participate in shaping their lives and that of others. They may or may not learn how to live, collaborate and respect all the different people whom they will inevitably encounter in their lives.
We can’t avoid it. What other people’s children learn affects each of us.

When she is ready to enter kindergarten, her parents, Eric and Laura, will probably ask us for advice about sending her to school. The answer is far from simple. They live in New York City where making school attendance decisions is a bit like desperate folks rushing the door when the department store opens on Black Friday. 

Making a decision will be challenging. Too many schools are maniacally focused on raising reading and math test scores. Too many are racially and economically segregated. I know that Eric and Laura will find a way that is best for their child. I’m confident that if their neighborhood school isn’t so great, my son and daughter-in-law will either struggle with other parents and teachers to make it better, find another, or move. Their individual freedom to make those choices is not the kind of freedom I value. It will not help Ellie grow up is a better world.

The easy short-term answer is, “Just worry about your own child. Do whatever you must to find the best school for her.” That is the thinking behind the current bipartisan embrace of three key features of charter schools and the renewed Republican push for vouchers: Schools competing for student enrollment; Parents competing for their children’s entry into the best-fit school of their choice; Schools governed privately rather than through democratically-elected school boards. 

As these strategies gain acceptance and spread, the result is to undermine education as a collective effort on behalf of the entire community. Divided parents and their communities end up with little collective voice. Similarly, without unions, teachers have no unified influence. Millions of personal decisions about what appears to be good for a single child at a moment in time is a recipe for divisiveness, not collective good.

I refuse to accept the ethos of selfishness and winning in a world of ruthless competition. Education policy focused on the educational choices of individual parents is not just morally repugnant but stupid and shortsighted. Does anyone really think that giving every parent the right to choose which school to send their children to is a recipe for raising the next generation of knowledgeable, capable, caring Americans?

Of course, some schools do a better job than others educating for life, work and citizenship. Some of those differences are a function of natural and unavoidable variation. But the big differentials in education outcomes are the result of political decisions about local, state and federal policy and funding. More significant, they are the result our country’s refusal to do anything substantive about the residential segregation and distrust that continually enable, perpetuate, and exacerbate inequity. 
The differences are the result of growing inequality, concentrated poverty, and the purposeful oblivion of those who live comfortable stable, if insulated lives. The differences are the result of an intentional political campaign to convince folks in the middle of the socioeconomic spectrum– whose lives are hardly easy or secure– to blame other people who struggle even more, rather than the wealthy 1% who wield the levers of economic and political power.

Tragically, far too many parents have been forced to make morally and politically fraught decisions about their children’s education. Folks see the decision about whether or not to keep their children in a local school of questionable quality as a flight or fight decision.

 That is why the language of individual choice paired with policies that weaken rather than strengthen neighborhood pubic school is so insidiously successful. It is unrealistic to expect many parents who often feel disempowered to choose stay and fight. Instead, we need to build a political movement to do that. Narrow self-regard may be expedient, but it is self-defeating in the long run.
We all should worry and do something about the quality of education of other people’s children. Here are several reasons why. They apply to my granddaughter, but I think most other children too.
Other people’s children learn about whether and how to treat one another in school. Parents differ regarding whether or not they teach children to treat one another with kindness and respect. Some parents teach their kids to just care about themselves, and some teach them to also care about others. The same is true about schools.

 I think these are important, widely-accepted values. In recent testimony, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos–a parent choice zealot, refused to say that the federal government would act to ensure against discrimination. That is not OK! Every school, but especially any that gets taxpayer-generated support should teach kindness and respect. 

Kids don’t live in a bubble. So, no matter what other parents convey, other children my granddaughter encounters will influence her.

Other people’s children, of course, will eventually become adults who live and work together. Leaders across the business, public and non-profit realms all say that they value the same things among workers: good problem solvers, people who can collaborate and communicate well in diverse settings, and improve their talents and keep learning. No matter what and how well Ellie learns, she will be affected by others.

 Anyone like working with deadbeat, ignorant or nasty co-workers or bosses? Schools can’t solve ensure against all of that, but they sure can help. Leaving educational decisions up to individual parents and private charter and voucher boards is a recipe for too much selfishness, discrimination, corruption, and disruption.

Other people’s children will eventually become citizens. Some will vote, and some will decide not to. I hope that more people will vote and do so with the entire community in mind, rather than just one issue or the narrowly perceived interests of a just-like-me group of people. We would all be better off if more Americans treated one another and others around the world with increased rather than diminished decency and respect.

 Because so many communities tend to lack diversity, schools from pre-school though college can be a counterweight that broadens people’s perspective, insight, and empathy. Increasing funding for charter schools and vouchers–or worse, making parental choice the centerpiece of education policy is precisely the wrong road to take.

I won’t tell my son and daughter-in-law what to do about sending their daughter to school. I do not presume to tell other parents either. However, I urge everyone to get engaged politically at the local, state and federal levels to fight for broad equitable education for every child in democratically controlled public schools. 

I urge everyone to support elected officials who will roll back and eventually eliminate funding for charter schools and to steadfastly oppose vouchers.

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I’d love to hear from you! 

Your Backstage Life Saver: The Stage Manager

I’ve been researching on a range of blog subjects, lesson plans, etc.  I ran on to this article which I thought others would be interested in, too.

I trained with a wonderful professional stage manager, Howard Ashley while attending Stephens College.

I’ve used his instruction with my students who become stage managers for me.  One of my students, Hillary Pfeffer actually studied stage management in college and works in New York as one.  So proud of er.

From the Kansas Public Radio Website:

Stage Managers: You Can’t See Them, But Couldn’t See A Show Without Them

On Sunday night the spotlight will be on Broadway stars at the 71st annual Tony Awards. The evening also includes honors for some people behind the scenes — writers, directors and designers, for example — but there are many more, working backstage, who aren’t eligible for Broadway’s highest honor.

If you peek into the wings at a Broadway show, you’re likely to find a stage manager, sitting at a desk with video monitors and lots of buttons and switches. He or she will be wearing a headset — sometimes called “the God mic” — to communicate with the cast and crew.

“I like to think of a stage manager as the chief operations officer of the corporation that is the show,” says Ira Mont, stage manager of Cats.

Donald Fried, stage manager of the Tony-nominated play, Sweat, says stage managers are kind of “the Captain of the Enterprise.”

“I would call us the hub of the wheel,” says Karyn Meek, production stage manager for the Tony-nominated musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. “We are … in charge of communication across all departments. … During the show, we are in charge of making sure the lights happen, the set moves, sound happens, all the things … we are the person who’s controlling all of that.”

Donald Fried was formerly a dancer, and is now stage managing the Tony-nominated play, Sweat. Jeff Lunden for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Jeff Lunden for NPR

Donald Fried was formerly a dancer, and is now stage managing the Tony-nominated play, Sweat.

Jeff Lunden for NPR

Long before a show starts its run, the stage manager is an integral part of the rehearsal process, explains Fried. “Everything begins and ends with the script,” he says. “I’ve got to read the script, read it several times. Once, just to read it as a person, not as a stage manager or an artist or anything. Just to have an initial emotional feeling for it. Then, I go back and read [the writer’s] stage directions, so that I know what would happen light-wise, how she envisions the props, how she envisions the set moving, people entering and exiting, whether or not they’re changing costumes.”

Once a show is up and running, Meek says stage managers and their teams put in long hours. Her day begins at 9:30 a.m. with cast members telling her whether they’d be in or out of that day’s shows, due to injuries or illness. Depending on the day, she’ll arrive at the theater around 12:30 for a matinee or rehearsal. There’s a dinner break around 5:00 or 5:30, and then everyone’s back at the theater for the evening show.

Shows that feature complicated choreography or simulated fight scenes require daily rehearsals. Sweat manager Donald Fried says they do a fight rehearsal before every show. “We want to make sure everyone is safe and limber, and that the props are working,” he explains.

In the half hour before each performance, the stage manager walks through a beehive of activity, making sure everyone’s ready for curtain.

Meek climbs a ladder to her perch, high above stage left at Great Comet. Actors perform throughout the theater and Meek can keep an eye on them all. Once the show starts, she follows a musical score, with sticky notes showing all of the lighting and tech cues.

Karyn Meek, production stage manager for the Tony-nominated musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, describes stage managers as “the hub of the wheel.” Jeff Lunden for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Jeff Lunden for NPR

Karyn Meek, production stage manager for the Tony-nominated musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, describes stage managers as “the hub of the wheel.”

Jeff Lunden for NPR

Through one of her video monitors, she can see Josh Groban, who plays Pierre, standing at the back of the stage. By the time the opening number really gets going, Meek is calling cues to the lighting technician every other beat. She literally calls hundreds of sound and tech cues for each performance.

All the stage managers I spoke with started out doing other things — Meek was a costume designer, Fried was a dancer. As a former actor, Cats manager Ira Mont was used to getting applause — but not anymore.

“I don’t expect or look for praise or acknowledgement,” he says. “I am here to support the shows I work on and the actors who do them and that’s what gives me the joy. And I’m very fortunate to have had a 30-year career in a profession that is not easy to get into and is not easy to stay in. I’m a lucky guy.”

He’s got lucky co-workers, too. Even as Mont juggles countless cues that go into a Broadway performance of Cats, over the headset he reminds the cast and crew of one more detail: to gather for a cast member’s birthday toast at the end of the show.

New York Public Library

What Does Bette Midler Think About the New York Public Library?


I have always liked Bette Midler. Then I found out she visited the New York Public Library when she was researching Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly! I liked her even more.  Here’s an interview with Bette concerning the library and its importance to all of us.

Art is How our Life Is Affected

Arts Quotes We Love, #8

Art is Not always

Poem in Your Pocket Day

My Pocket Poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day

Okay, I have been super busy in the last month and it doesn’t appear to be any less busy for about three more weeks.  Fun! I’m not complaining, but I am behind in my blogging.


Poem in Your Pocket Day was in April. Oops!

Here is my very tardy post on Poem in Your Pocket Day.

In sixth grade we were assigned this poem to memorize. I did very well and received an A+  on my recitation. I didn’t receive many A plusses, so this was a big deal for me.

The surprise?

While learning the poem, it became my favorite.

Who would have thought it?

In many ways, I have taken the road less traveled.

I’m happier when I do my own thing.

This poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1874–1963) should be everyone’s favorite poem.  At least I think so.  I have a few others I enjoy and I’ll share them in some other post.


The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, 10


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

girl on bridge

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

main trail

Whenever I have gone a different direction than my peers (became a drama teacher when many of my college theatre friends pursued professional acting ) or my family (studied the arts and have continued to create art as an adult), I think of this poem.

On occasion, I have wondered what my life would have, could have been.  Don’t you?  I think one doesn’t wonder, you are unaware of life in general.

As I look back at my life choices, I can see where God has shaped my path into one far more interesting and beneficial to me than I alone could have imagined for myself.  That’s just pretty cool.

That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been challenging, dull or hard.  It has, but I’ve always maintained a modicum of hope that life will work out as it should even if I don’t understand it at the time.

Remember, life is a journey.  You won’t be stuck anywhere for very long, even though it may seem like forever.  Do what you can for others to help them.

My mother advised me, “When you are feeling sorry for yourself, look up and out of yourself and you’ll see others who need your understanding and care.”


Words of wisdom, I’d say.

What words of wisdom do you live by?  I’d love to hear them.

Here are some of my own poems:

Where I am From

A Favorite Poem of Mine


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Super Tips: My Favorite Teacher Appreciation Gifts

If you have taught children for any amount of time and you are half good at it, you’ve received gifts for teacher appreciation week.

Psst:  This is a perk of teaching no one even thinks about until the celebrations are upon us.


Here are a few tips of my favorite teacher appreciation gifts I’ve received which would be good choices for you to give or receive:

  1.  Gift cards for a Coffee Shop–Personally, I enjoy these the most.  One year, I was given about ten Starbucks gift cards.  Some were for $5.00 and some were upwards of $20.00. It doesn’t matter the dollar amount.  They are always appreciated.  Sometimes I combine them and purchase several pounds of coffee instead of just one drink.

  2. Flowers–Okay, this sounds cliché but really it’s nice.  For several years, I worked for a home school enrichment program and we taught different students each day.  When teacher appreciation week arrived, the parents would bring in a flower or even a bouquet and place them in a large flower vase along with everyone else’s.  That way, I would go home with a lovely vase of flowers!


  1. Tickets to a professional play or musical. This will take some research on your child’s part, but if you can find out a play or musical your teacher would enjoy attending, purchasing one or two tickets to see it would be grand.  If that’s too costly, see if one or two other families would like to join you in the gift giving. One time a family invited us out to dinner and to see their church’s musical performance.  I was a little hesitant to accept the offer, but it was wonderful fun and a terrific way to become more acquainted with the student’s family.

  2. A new coffee cup or water bottle

  3. Socks, cute ones. 🙂

  4. Something for the classroom–pencils (Ticonderogas,please), paper, markers, etc.

  5. A lovely scented candle


  1. An emergency kit for stressful days–a bottle of bubble bath, lotion and candle and some chocolate.

  2. A delightful tea–my personal favorite gift of tea is Good Earth.  I’d never had any until a parent gave some to me.  It’s terrific.

  3. Movie ticket gift certificate

  4. A hand made card from your student.  Just make sure they sign them.  I’ve kept many purely because of the thought and care behind the making of the card.  Even if your student is in high school, a hand made card from her is still appropriate.

  5. Cash.  Some people thinks giving cash is gausch.  I don’t.  It’s like a tip.  Trust me, you can’t begin to offend me with money.

  6. A simple thank you on nice stationery is good, too!


Regardless of the gift, we appreciate the thought you show for us.

I have to admit, there are parents I never hear from one way or the other.  I’ve directed productions, very successful ones, when a leading actor’s parents haven’t even stayed after the show long enough to say thank you.

Perhaps they don’t know what to say?  A simple thank you will do.

NOTE:  This is one time I don’t write thank you notes to the givers. Usually, there are just too many of them.

However, at the end of the school year, sometimes I write a thank you note to those parents who went above and beyond to support me. Usually, these are parents who chaired production committees for productions–costumes, set, props and the like. It’s the least I can do.

thank you

There you have it!

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