Looking for a special way to mark the end of the school year? Try this awesome low cost idea…but you better be good at keeping secrets!
My high school graduation was certainly memorable! The staff member in charge of seating made arrangements so that couples were seated by each other, so I got to share the day with the man I’d later marry. (So thoughtful!) Later, I had a graduation party and received special gifts including a nice flute that would improve my playing abilities as a music major.
But the most special gift I received at the end of the school year was a copy of Dr. Suess’ “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” Inside was a special note of encouragement my Mom had written just for me.
I never forgot about that book (in fact, I still have it!). And as my first born son was wrapping up his kindergarten year, I decided to go ahead and buy the book for him, too.
Not so I could give it to him at the age of 6. But because I was already beginning to think about his own high school graduation!
The One Thing I Do At the End of the School Year
I don’t know about you, but I dread the month of May. Between field trips, projects, parties, celebrations, Mother’s Day, birthdays (seriously, everyone seems to have a birthday this month), and often a First Communion to plan, the month always feels overwhelming.
But even with all of the chaos, and despite the fact that I’m a “keep it simple or don’t do it at all” kind of Mom, I’ve managed to pull this idea off year after year (for 8 years so far!). You can do it, too!
Side note: If you know my family personally, please promise that you will never speak about this project in front of my kids! The fact that I’ve pulled it off and kept it a secret so far is a minor miracle, and I’d really like to keep it a secret for at least another 5 years. Hearts and thank yous!!
How to Manage the Best (Cheap) Graduation Gift Ever!
Get a copy of Oh! The Places You’ll Go. I always grab it from Amazon.
Shoot an email to your child’s teacher (or teachers). Let them know that you have a copy of this book and you’d love it if they’d write a small note to your child and sign it. Explain that this will be a graduation gift and you’ll be asking every teacher he has to write a note along the way. It will become a graduation gift.
Remind them that it’s a secret! You don’t want them to hand it back to your child.
I always drop it in the office with the school secretary and let her in on the secret. We’ve done it so long now that she knows exactly what’s going on when I walk into the office with a book in May!
Pick the book back up at a time when your child won’t see it. Be sure to keep it somewhere that the kids won’t find it…but you can!
Tips for Making This Work
Over the years I’ve learned a few tips that help this idea run smoothly.
- Ask for teachers to help early in May. If you wait until the last week of school, life is too crazy and they may not find the time to help you. And you don’t want to be a burden to busy teachers! (I’ve never had a teacher refuse to do it…in fact, most of them love the idea and want to use it with their own kids!)
- Be clear with teachers about the purpose of this book. You don’t want the kindergarten teacher taking up the entire front cover of the book! There should be room for every teacher across all 13 years to write something.
- Keep the book in a manila mailing envelope. It covers the book well, and manila screams “BORING!” to kids, so they never ask questions if they happen to see it.
- If you don’t hear back from the teacher in a week, email or call them. They’re so busy, they likely just forgot about it.
- Once you pick up the book, if you want to read what the teacher wrote, be sure the kids aren’t around. You will cry!
- Leave a reminder in your calendar to get this project rolling on May 1st of every year. I’ve not forgotten it so far, but life gets crazy this month! Reminders are always a good idea. (I’d lose my head if it weren’t for my beloved Cozi calendar!)
- If you can’t get every teacher to participate, don’t fret. This gift will be special as long as many of his favorite teachers are accounted for!
Special Ideas Don’t Have to Cost a Lot of Money!
Remember this small gesture at the end of the school year each year and you’ll create the kind of gift you can’t buy in a store! Don’t forget to add your own special note, too. After all, you were his first teacher.
Now let’s find an inexpensive thank you gift idea for the teacher!
What special things do you do at the end of the school year?