Dream Team

I love my team - plain and simple. I work with some of the best people you could ever imagine. As the team leader, I always like to welcome them back with a little gift. Our team varies from 9-12 people in any given year, so little gifts can add up fast. A few years ago I put some heart shaped sweet-tarts in a clear baggie tied with a ribbon and a tag that said "Wishing You a Class Full of Sweethearts!" I've made journals and clipboards and teacher survival kits among other things.

One year I scoped out the sample size aisle at Target and picked out some things to work with. I ended up with a bottle of Dial hand sanitizer, Shout wipes stain removers, lotion and Downy wrinkle reducer. I put them in a colored lunch bag with this tag on the front. I wanted to share this in google docs, but it gets a little wonky and distorted for some reason. If you want a copy, leave me a comment w/ your email and I'll send it :) You may just be able to snag it right from here too. On a Mac just click and drag to your desktop. PC peeps, is there a way to do that?

Here's last year's & my personal fave so far. I printed the poem below on little tags. Then I added a magnet to the back of a seashell and put it in a little organza bag. It was fun to try to pick out a shell that matched each teacher. I gave our supported teacher an otherwise beautiful shell that had a big chip missing and for our art teacher who was temporarily reassigned to 2nd grade, I found a really pretty pearly one with all different colors. One of our teachers is crazy about animal print (hi Laura!) so hers had a leopardy-spot look to it.  It will make sense when you read the poem, which I LOVE! I went all sentimental-dork on them and gave them all their shell while I read the poem out loud. We had a moment. It was like a little secret we all shared whenever we saw one of the magnets on each other's boards the rest of the year (see - sentimental. dork. If the shoe fits...)
I just had to play around with my fancy Picnic collage program...

This seashell is a gift to help you reflect 
on another gift you are about to receive...your students. 
What can this shell can tell us about them?
Maybe your shell is fragile, delicate, and easily broken.
So are your students. Handle them kindly and with care.
Maybe your shell looks beautiful. Each student in your class 
has a special beauty. Discover it and help others to 
notice it and appreciate it.
Maybe you noticed that your shell has pieces chipped away or 
broken off. Some students have had difficult experiences 
that have chipped away their self-image and broken their spirit.
Help to rebuild their self-image and rekindle their enthusiasm.
The shell you have in your hand is unique.
It was carried to shore by the ocean just for you.
What will you do with it now that it is yours?
Each student in your class is unique, too. 
Each one is in your hands now.
What will you do with your students 
now that they are yours?
   -adapted from Mary Madden’s “Seashell”

 Click here to get the poem.

I'm running out of time for this year's little gifty, but I've been doing TONS of "research" on Pinterest. I'm sure I'll stumble upon something sooner or later!


  1. I love those ideas! I am our grade level leader too and I have been trying to figure something out. I love the seashell idea :) Thanks!

  2. I love the poem and the seashell idea. That is very sweet.

  3. I love the Helping Hands hand sanitizer. I think it was an earlier post of yours. I only have 7 on my team this year. We'll be missing some fine teachers! :-(

  4. Awesome ideas! Love the little poem magnet! Thanks for sharing with us :)


  5. Love this idea!! I just right clicked it and clicked save picture as. Now it is on my desktop! Perfect! Thanks for sharing.
    Mrs. Ayala’s Kinder FUN

  6. I love love love love these! I'm borrowing the seashell idea because we are in our second year, and we will have students who will return to us for Year 2...and new ones both to our school and our grade levels. It's perfect!!

  7. I would love a copy of the poem! Thanks for sharing these great poems to share with the great teachers we work with daily!
    Here We Go Loopty Loo

  8. I would love the items emailed to me. I couldn't save it from Google Docs...I am a little tired too...just got through running with my kids. Thank you so much. My home email address is suzyq007us@yahoo.com.


  9. I LOVE these ideas but the shell one is so touching! I am definitely going to use that idea!

  10. Love your ideas! Have fun doing more "research"! LOL!
    Counting with Coffee

  11. What a fabulous idea!! It's so nice working on a great team, isn't it? :)

  12. love your "Fresh Start" idea! Could you please send me a copy? Josieviajar@gmail.com

    Thank you! keep up the great stuff!

  13. What a great idea! I love that you thought of giving to your team - usually I focus so much on parents and students that I forget about everyone else. I am definitely using this idea, thanks so much!

    HerdingKats In Kindergarten

  14. What a great way to great your cohorts when they return! Would you mind emailing the "Fresh Start" idea to me? After the year we had last year, it will be spot on. Thanks so much! I enjoy your blog.

  15. Ha! Helps to leave an email addy now doesn't it?? mcbridejulie6@gmail.com....blonde moment! :)

  16. This may very well be the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Thanks! One of our favorites has been the baggie of homemade scented salts for a foot soak and little poem about putting your feet up to relax.

  17. I love both the shell poem idea and the Fresh Start idea. Can you email me a copy of the Fresh Start tag? I appreciate it. pks0221@suddenlink.net

  18. Didn't really want to get teary eyed.... but the shell poem is just lovely! I made little Teacher "First Aid" kits... I wish I would've waited for your cute little idea!


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