10 Gifts for $10 and Under for Paraprofessionals and Aides

You want to gives your paraprofessionals or aides something nice for the holidays or just to show your appreciation, butttt at the same time, you don't want the gift to break the bank, especially if you have multiple aides. I've got you covered with 10 gifts for $10 or less, most of which can be ordered online!
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1. Travel Mug Even if they already have one, they can always use a spare when one's in the dishwasher... or when they know they're going to need two mugs of coffee to get through the day.
2. E.L.F. Nail Polish Set This set of pretty polishes is only $10 at Target!
3. Reusable Bag This cute reusable bag folds into a neat little pouch... perfect for storing in their purse or car.
4. Sheet Mask Encourage your paras to pamper themselves over break with a trendy sheet mask.
5. Thoughtful Ornament Show them you've been paying attention by gifting them an ornament of their favorite food, hobby, or pet!  Just search Amazon... there's an ornament of everything.
6.Cute Plant My go-to gift for just about anyone is an air plant or succulent. You can order them online or pick one up at your local nursery.
7. Burt's Bees Holiday Gift Set Can't go wrong with chapstick in cute packaging, am I right?
8. Fun Slippers How fun are these unicorn slippers? 
9. Starbucks Gift Card They're easy and always appreciated. 
10. Wine If you want a gift you KNOW they'll appreciate, get yourself to Trader Joe's and buy a $6 bottle of wine and tie a ribbon around it. Or if you want to get really fancy, try making a champagne + chocolate pineapple!

Need more gift ideas? Check out the Trendy Teacher Gift Guide and my Self Care Gift Guide!

My Favorite Winter Classroom Resources

While no one likes not seeing daylight for weeks on end, at least winter has lots of fun holidays to celebrate! Here are some of my favorite seasonal resources:

Get your room decked out for winter with this build-your-own banner kit. Perfect for bulletin boards or a celebration.

Make a festive, but still secular, bulletin board display with the Season of Giving Bulletin Board Kit

The stretch between Thanksgiving and winter break can be both long and hectic. It's great to have a couple low-prep activities on hand, like these Holiday Notes & Cards.

My Holiday Reflection & Coloring Journal is also a great activity to keep students engaged during the last days before break. 

Want to spruce up your classroom or hallway for the holidays? Check out my Merry & Bright Printable Posters. They would be super cute displayed using clipboards, or just stapled on a bulletin board!

After you come back from break, encourage students to set new goals with this New Year's Bulletin Board Kit.

Keep the goal-setting going with my New Year's Growth Mindset Reflection Journal!

Switch out some of your centers or task boxes for winter-themed activities, like this Winter Alphabetical Order Activity or this Hot Chocolate Prefix Sort.

You can find even more winter resources in my store!

5 Tips for Making it Through a Tough School Year

So you're having a tough year. You might already be thinking about how to avoid the same situation next year-- but what do you do now? Unlike most jobs, quitting mid-year isn't really an option for teachers. During the 2016-17 school year, I seriously considered not coming back after winter break. However, I knew they wouldn't be able to replace me (my school already had unfilled special education positions), so I decided to do whatever I needed to in order to make it through the year. Having come out on the other side, here are a few tips:

1. Treat yourself. You are in survival mode. Now is not the time to deny yourself a second cup of coffee or new shoes. If you can afford it, buy yourself a little present. It's not a long term solution, but it might help you make it through a tough day or week.

2. Schedule self care. As teachers, we're always going to have plenty of "buts" when it comes to making time for self care. So go ahead and schedule that time in to make sure it happens! For me, that meant taking at least a short break every day after school, yoga on Friday nights, and a bath on Sunday nights. You can find more self care ideas here, and you can check out my self care subscription box for teachers, Teacher Care Crate, here.

3. Say no. We all know there are plenty of tasks outside of teaching 8-3 that make a classroom and school function. I'm sure you're on a million voluntary committees and maybe even run a club or two. These things are necessary, but if you're on the brink of a breakdown, say no. 

4. Remember your "why." Why did you become a teacher? Was it for good test scores, or to make your principal happy, or to fill out endless paperwork? I'm going to guess not. Remember that you're there for the kids. I would recite
"I am here for the kids" (along with other affirmations) when I started to get overwhelmed.

5. Talk it out. If you don't want to break down crying in the middle of a lesson, you need to find someone to talk to. As much as coworkers can be great venting buddies, I actually recommend talking to someone who doesn't work at your school. Your coworkers are likely facing the same issues you are, and those conversations can sometimes get so negative as not to be helpful. I always recommend seeing a therapist to everyone, but family and friends are great too.

Everyone has a tough teaching year at some point. Whether you make a change after this year is up to you, but for now, be kind to yourself. You can do this!

Self Care Gift Guide for Teachers

Pretty much every teacher you know could use some more self care in her life, am I right? Check out these self care gift options for a teacher friend or yourself. 
This post contains affiliate links.

1. Detox Balt Salts Sunday night bath is an institution that all teachers need in their lives, in my opinion! Fancy it up a little bit with detox bath salts.
2. Floral Notebook Set Journaling is one of the simplest and most powerful forms of self care.
3. Self Care Posters Download and print these free self care quote posters-- perfect to include in a self care kit.
4. Sunflower Puzzle Puzzling is the perfect calming evening activity. 
5. Crystal Zen Garden 
6. Yogi Tea 
7. Glass Water Bottle Hydration is key! A pretty glass water bottle can't hurt.
8. Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant Plants have a calming effect on most people, and are way easier to take care of than a pet!
9. All Natural Candle
10. Cozy Throw Blanket You can't go wrong with a cozy blanket.
11. Bath Tray Take that Sunday night bath up a notch with this bamboo bath caddy!

Want to skip a step? Just order the Teacher Care Crate subscription box!

Looking for more self care ideas? Check out my post 40 Acts of Self Care for Teachers!

Find more gift ideas here:
10 Gifts for $10 and Under for Paraprofessionals and Aides
9 Gifts for the Trendy Teacher

5 Ways to Encourage the Spirit of Giving This Holiday Season

While our students may belong to different religions and cultures, most winter holidays share a common theme of kindness and giving. As winter break approaches, try out these ideas to help encourage a spirit of giving and kindness.
This post contains affiliate links.

1. Reflect and write about the gifts students have given and have received. This could be meaningful literal gifts, as well as metaphorical. What gifts or talents have your students been given? How do they give back their community? You can make up your own writing prompts, or use my Holiday Reflection & Coloring Journal. With 5 pages of reflection and 5 pages of detailed "adult coloring book" style coloring pages, this journal will keep students engaged for hours.

2. Brainstorm ways to give back together. Create a cute anchor chart with different gifts, and have students come up with ways they can give back to their class, school, community, and world. They can record their thoughts on sticky notes and place them on the respective gifts.

3. Count down with kindness. If you or your students find yourself counting down the days until break, try counting down with kindness instead! Each day, have a new act of kindness for the students to try out. I love this Classroom Kindness Challenge from Blair Turner!

4. Create a "Season of Giving" display. Students can each determine a way they will give back and record it on a gift-- this makes the perfect festive, but secular, display for your hallway bulletin board! You can snag the Season of Giving Bulletin Board Kit here.

5. Read The Wish Tree. This beautiful book has holiday cheer and highlights the spirit of giving without religious themes.

Have a warm and wonderful holiday season!

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